Peru is one of the most visited countries in South America and in the world. It has various attractions that make it a very complete and seductive tourist destination.
This country, full of charm and mysticism, has three natural regions Costa, Sierra, and Amazonia, that allow tourists to carry out endless activities. And to its fantastic Inca and pre-Inca sites, the country adds colonial cities, beaches, nature reserves, snow-capped mountains, and splendid spaces in the Amazon. Each place has its peculiar characteristics, which attract more tourists every day, making Peru a destination to be explored more and more.
In this post, we highlight the 15 top-rated tourist attractions in Peru so that when planning your trip, you can include the places that best suit your interests. Read on!
Machu Picchu is arguably the most famous tourist attraction in Peru. In addition, it is one of the most recognized archaeological sites in the world.
Perched in the middle of the tropical mountains, the city, as legendary as it is, offers an exceptional spectacle. Discover this archaeological site where you can see remains that are still very well preserved. Ancient cities, temples, pyramids, cultivation terraces, and sacred places extend over more than 300 meters square.
Don’t hesitate to take a guide who will not only show you everything, but also tell you the secrets of this place suspended in time. Every corner of the site has a fascinating story to tell. And in addition to being listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is also on the list of the New Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
2. Nazca Lines
Peru is a real treasure trove of unique sights on a world scale, and one of them is rightfully considered the Nazca Lines. The ancient civilization of Nazca supposedly left us stunning monuments: from the still functioning system of underground aqueducts to the famous Nazca lines.
Nazca line designs range from simple lines to stylized spiders, fish, monkeys, llamas, human figures, and lizards. Nobody knew about these lines until the 1920s when Peruvian airlines began flying from Lima to Arequipa and saw them from above.
To observe them, you will easily find planes that make you fly over the lines and see each of the figures clearly. Apart from the lines, do not miss the planetarium, which helps you to understand the role of the lines. Truly, the Nazca Lines are probably one of the main attractions of Peru.
3. City of Cusco
The old imperial capital and national “historical capital,” make the tourist visiting Peru appreciate the greatness of the Inca civilization.
All over the world, it is considered one of the oldest as well as the strangest. From the reviews about the city of Cusco, you can find out that the spirit of American and European civilization is felt in it. Among the most important Inca testimonies of Cusco are Coricancha, the temple of the Sun God (Inti), the Sacsayhuaman fortress, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and Tambomachay (resting place of the Inca rulers and where water was worshiped).
4. Colca Canyon
It is a spectacular canyon 4160 meters deep and one of the most impressive tourist places in Peru. It is located about 160 kilometers northwest of Arequipa and is the second deepest canyon in the world, a sanctuary for adventure sports and outdoor entertainment.
It began to form about 10 million years ago in a process in which the movements of the tectonic plates, the growth of the Andes Mountains, de-glaciation, volcanism, and the erosion produced by the Colca River.
The canyon is 100 km long, and its name derives from the Collaguas and Cabanas ethnic groups that lived there. It is part of the Colca Valley, which also has lakes, waterfalls, geysers, and hot springs. The main activities are trekking, zip-lining, climbing, boating, and cycling.
5. The Sacred Valley
Among the places to visit in Peru is The Sacred Valley of the Incas, an extensive territory that will offer you a picturesque vacation, along with architectural constructions that preserve the culture of what was the great Inca civilization.
During your visit to this beautiful valley and its villages, you will find impressive architectural enclosures and agricultural camps. Likewise, you will appreciate the rich fauna and wild flora of Peru. You will also have the opportunity to practice some extreme sport such as mountain trekking or canoeing along the extensive tributary of Urubamba. Likewise, this tourist site in Peru offers activities such as horseback riding and bicycle tours that you should not miss.
If there was a trek to do in Peru, it would undoubtedly be this one. Also called “Cradle of Gold,” the Choquerirao is considered the little sister of Machu Picchu. It is just as mysterious, majestic, and astonishing, but much less touristy.
The unearthed part of the complex has nine sectors that house temples, squares, buildings, gigantic staircases, platforms, corrals, and channels for the supply of water. These constructions are quite well preserved, despite the time. More than 20 engravings with figures called “flame of the sun” have been found on the edged stones of the buildings.
Some archaeologists affirm that Choquequirao has the appearance of having been a city in expansion, whose development was stopped by the arrival of the Spanish.
One of the famous places in Peru is Moray, a complex full of magic and history from the pre-Columbian times of Peru. It is made up of four elliptical galleries that functioned as an agricultural research center where more than 250 plant species were cultivated and that today are preserved to be admired by tourists.
If you come to visit this tourist place in Peru during the months of September, you will also have the opportunity to appreciate various typical dances of Cusco marked by their color. In addition, during the tour, you will be able to learn the craft of salt production practiced by the ancestors.
8. Manu National Park
One of the places to visit in Peru is the Manu National Park, a paradise that keeps great natural biodiversity with five areas to visit that will allow you to explore the richness of the biodiversity found within the park. Likewise, during the tour, you will be able to appreciate the exuberance of the Amazonian plain.
Being an expansive area, you will find several viewpoints on your way where it is possible to observe this beautiful natural setting from the heights. With a large amount of fauna and flora, this park is one of the best tourist places in Peru, where you will also enjoy hot springs, canoe rides, and bicycles.
9. The Amazon forest
In Peru, you can see a lot of mountains, but the country also hosts a large part of the Amazon rainforest. It is the perfect place for ecotourism.
In the middle of lush vegetation, go on an adventure for an exceptional experience. You will be able to see different species of tropical animals: monkeys, birds, reptiles, but also all kinds of plants, trees, flowers, and fruits that exist only in the jungle. It is also a golden opportunity to meet indigenous communities. Discover their way of life, their natural remedies, their thought-provoking way of seeing the world, and in turn, learn this knowledge and respect for nature.
10. Huacachina oasis
Among the tourist places in Peru is Huacachina, an oasis surrounded by abundant vegetation in the middle of the Peruvian desert.
Lost in the middle of the dunes of the Ica region, this mini-town is ideal for taking a break. Take the time to walk there and take the opportunity to take a Jeep ride in the middle of the mountains of sand.
Most visitors also discover a surprising activity such as sandboarding. With a surfboard, you can hurtle down the dunes and admire the landscapes while having a dose of adrenaline. This charming town is made up of beautiful resorts and good restaurants.
11. Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum
One of the best destinations in Peru is the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum. This enclosure keeps impressive archaeological pieces from the Peruvian pre-Columbian era, which lead you to explore the Mochica culture. To enter this museum, you climb a ramp as it was accessed in the ancient Mochica temples.
Located a few hours from Chiclayo, the tour of this Peruvian tourist destination will start from the third level, and you will go from top to bottom, while you will appreciate some 2000 authentic pieces. Its main attraction is its sarcophagi showing royal mummies from the ancient civilization. So, don’t think twice. Come and discover everything that one of the most important museums in Latin America keeps.
12. Lake Titicaca
One of the attractive places in Peru is Lake Titicaca, a magical estuary with extensive Peruvian nature and history. The lake has 42 natural islands where the ancestral communities that have preserved their customs and cultural traits live.
And in this tourist resource of Peru, you can practice sports such as kayaking, trekking, and cycling, ideal for enjoying the flora and fauna that keep the beautiful Andean landscapes. In its surroundings, you will also find a variety of artisan markets and fresh fish sales.
If you wish, you will experience experiential tourism because in many of the islands, there are no hotels or hostels, so the inhabitants open the doors of their houses to accommodate tourists, which will transform your trip to Peru into an unforgettable experience.
13. Paracas National Reserve
One of the tourist attractions of the Peruvian coast and that you must visit on your vacation is the Paracas National Reserve. This protected area offers beautiful horizons along with its varied flora and fauna. Almost 2/3 of its extension is made up of coasts, wetlands, and other aquatic spaces, and the rest is mainly desert territory.
Its marine biodiversity is among the richest in the world due to the abundance of plankton and the impact of the Humboldt Current on cooling water. Also, during your visit to this natural attraction in Peru, you will enjoy walks and sandboarding rides.
This national reserve is among the tourist places in Peru that are naturally best equipped for outdoor entertainment thanks to its beaches, spaces for observing life, extreme sports, archaeological museums, and natural monuments.
14. El Brujo Archaeological Complex
To the northeast of the city of Trujillo, Peru, a magical place full of history stands out: the El Brujo Archaeological Complex, a ceremonial and cultural center built by the Mochicas. Today it serves as a tourist attraction for lovers of history and adventure. Made up mainly of pyramids and impressive pictorial structures, El Brujo takes you on a journey to the past that shows you how these ancient ethnic groups lived.
The complex also has a museum where you can see the different archaeological pieces that researchers have rescued. Among those that stand out the most and that you cannot miss is the discovery of the Lady of Cao, the first woman of a ruling character, dressed in jewels. Also on your tour, it is possible to enjoy a coffee in the complex’s restaurant, as well as its shops where you will be able to take a souvenir of this adventure with you.
If Peru is known for its archaeological sites, we forget that there are also magnificent beaches. With 2,500 km of coastline, it is in the north of the country. And of all the beach destinations, Mancora is Peru’s most popular beach resort.
The water is warm and rather calm. The coconut palms and the fine sand call for relaxation. It is perfect for those who want to take the time to rest. This is where surf and kitesurf enthusiasts meet to face the waves. The beaches are superb, and there is a relaxed atmosphere day and night. If you are an animal lover, you can easily dive or watch turtles and whales.
Peru is a country full of history and earthly beauties to discover. It is the perfect destination for having a vacation full of adventure, accompanied by excellent gastronomy and captivating shows. Its extensive territory is unique to the world, as it houses hundreds of species of animals and exotic flora typical of the region that make your stay an unbeatable experience.