Situated in the very heart of the continent, Peru is one of the most vibrant and scenic destinations in South America. Simply put, the variety of attractions and opportunities for unique adventures in this part of the world is unrivaled, from the Inca Trail and Sacred Valley to Ollantaytambo and Colca Canyon.
At the same time, it would also seem that many travelers are just as quick to leave this region as they are to arrive. That is to say; there are many reasons to feel excited about a trip to Peru but too many travelers make the same mistake of underestimating how much time they should allocate to exploring the attractions. With this in mind, let us look at some of the most prominent attractions and reasons to stay just a little bit longer in this fascinating country:
Awe-Inspiring Encounters and Experiences in Peru
Insight in the City – Lima & Cusco
In truth, when it comes to travel, most cities are merely a gateway to something slightly more abstract. While the same could be said about both Lima and Cusco, make no mistake, these vibrant cities are an important part of the experience in Peru.
As for Lima, you should find many attractions in the city including historic landmarks, fine dining, exciting museums and the vibrant Miraflores neighborhood. On the other hand, Cusco is arguably the best-known city in Peru which is famous for being the starting point of a trek to Machu Picchu.
Although founded by the Inca tribe, the town was a Spanish colony which is now evidence in the colorful facades and distinctly European vibe. Featuring a host of markets including Plaza de Aramas and San Pedro, this is the perfect place to get lost in local culture and mingle with the locals who call it home.
Of course, Arequipa is another example of the bustling cities in Peru, but the moral of the story is that spending time in the city is just as insightful as venturing further afield.
Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo
As the Urubamba River winds through the valley floor, towering peaks dominate the skyline in the Andes Mountains. Sacred Valley is renowned for being an Inca region where fertile soil made it easy for locals who cultivate the land.
Today, the region offers an insight into this ancient culture and a journey through some of the most traditional villages in Peru. Aside from the markets, and colorful streets in these villages, it must be said that the sacred temple in Ollantaytambo is one of the main highlights in the region.
Ollantaytambo is situated in the midst of majestic mountainsides which comprise of many Inca ruins. These ruins are incredibly well preserved and serve as a reminder of the skillful nature of the Inca people. Meanwhile, down below you will find an enchanting myriad of streets with a central plaza and busy locals going about their daily business. With cobblestone alleys, craft shops and markets, Ollantaytambo seems very busy for such a small town, but at the same time, when coming from Cusco, it should appear quite the opposite.
As you may already know, Lake Titicaca is one of the biggest lakes in the world and famous for floating villages and traditional culture. While myths are said to keep a watchful eye over the lake, this is nevertheless a great opportunity to witness a truly unique way of life.
In fact, this can feel like stepping back in time or into another world entirely; such is the bizarre nature of these islands and the very vibrant characteristics of the people who make it their home. Speaking of the homes, you can also opt to stay overnight with families on the lake, join in with celebrations in the local community centre and even get active on the local football pitch.
If you yearn to encounter an authentic experience in Peru far from the beaten path, even the infamy of Lake Titicaca should not stop you from finding an isolated pocket where very few tourists will ever roam.
Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail
Needless to say, Machu Picchu is the most famous attraction for a good reason, and many people opt to plan their entire travel itinerary to South America around the infamous Inca Trail. In case you might be asking yourself, Machu Picchu is an iconic forgotten Inca City in the mountains, and the Inca Trail is a multi-day hike which leads to this wonder of the world.
Although the historical nature of Machu Picchu is undoubtedly important, the striking appearance of these ruins makes for a breath-taking encounter. That being said, there is simply no better way to journey to this ancient site than hiking the above mentioned Inca Trail.
In fact, the Andes are one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world and comparable with the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal. While the trek is demanding at times, the scenery is more than rewarding, and the incredible wonder at the end of this trail ensures every step is worthwhile. Furthermore, the primitive campsites and meetings with rural people along the way provide an insight into life in Peru which is often missed by travelers who decide against taking the hike.
Travelling to Peru – How Long Can You Afford to Stay?
When it comes to international travel destinations, LATAM Airways makes it easy for South Africans in particular to access this magical pocket of South America. As for time frame, there is really no limit regarding how long you could, or should, stay to explore the many attractions throughout Peru. In fact, as already mentioned, this is often the mistake many travelers will make, for they often underestimate the immense number of attractions which make Peru deserving of an extended period.
Either way, the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley and all of the above never fail to amaze the intrepid traveler, but at the same time, these are just a few of the most impressive destinations in Peru and reasons to stay for as long as you can afford.