As one of the most diverse and culturally wealthy countries in the whole of South America, Peru is one of those vacation destinations that offers so much to visitors. But where, what and how do you get the very best of it? You have to have at least 10 days to truly enjoy what the country has to offer. Lake Titicaca, which straddles Peru’s border with Bolivia is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. The Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, which would be stunning anywhere, are truly spectacular in their Andean setting, high above the Urubamba River. And Cusco, once the center of the Inca empire and now a vibrant gateway to Inca ruins, is also high in the Andes.
Yet even at sea level, Peru can leave you breathless. With unspoiled beaches, coastal desert, deep canyons and dense Amazon jungle, its variety of natural wonders is astonishing.
Then, there are the cultural treasures. The contrast between old and new runs throughout the land: Poncho-clad indigenous peoples walk their llamas through modern cities, past Spanish cathedrals built on the foundations of ancient Inca ruins. Giant, stylized designs were etched in the earth by the Nazca—a great pre-Columbian civilization.
Peru is where pre-Columbian culture reached its most graceful peak. Like the Parthenon in Greece or the Pyramids of Egypt, the Inca and pre-Inca ruins of Peru provide an unforgettable glimpse of the genius of a lost world.
The main attractions of Peru are Cusco and Machu Picchu, ecotourism jungle adventures, the Nazca Lines, Lake Titicaca, vast coastal archaeological sites, bird-watching, world-class cuisine and friendly people.
Almost everyone will be impressed by what Peru has to offer. Outside of the few major cities and increasing amount of tourist areas, do not expect deluxe accommodations, high standards of service or high levels of sanitation. Nevertheless, simple but comfortable hotels and surprisingly good restaurants are found throughout the country.
SLEEP…in a rustic hut at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica.
VISIT…the Inca Citadel of Machu Piccu near Cusco.
SEE…scarlet Macaws in the Amazon basin.
SAVOR…the organic and locally made coffee.
EXPERIENCE…cruising the Amazon River in a luxury riverboat.