Those of us who are lucky to live in Peru know that Machu Picchu is only one of a great variety of destinations that Peru can offer, those of us who adventure to know each and every corner know that Lima has its charms, the colonial architecture, legacy of our pre Hispanic past, archaeological museums and a gastronomy that is considered among the best in the world, but further than Lima, there’s still other treasures to be found:
South of Peru
The city of Cusco, ancient capital of the Inca Empire, is still open and offers the visitor a great variety of attractions, including spectacular colonial structures, Inca and Spanish, the textiles and other handicrafts are truly amazing, museums, restaurants and numerous Inca ruins, among them the Sacsayhuaman fortress which is now the place of celebration of the Inti Raymi, every year in June.
An hour away from Cusco you can find the beautiful Sacred Valley, once the barn of the empire where people nowadays still live the way they used to, back before the conquest.
Further south, between the limit with Bolivia, you can find the spectacular Titicaca Lake that at 12 500 ft. is the highest navigable lake in the world.
Another destination is the beautiful city of Arequipa, called the “white city” because of the white volcanic rock that is still being used in construction. Arequipa is a picturesque colonial city and where you can’t miss the majestic Colca Canyon, which offers some of the most amazing landscapes of this beautiful country.
The characteristic place on the coastal south region is Paracas and its National Reserve, Ica and Nazca. The main attractive of this area are the Nazca Lines, carved in over 1000 square kilometers (approximately 386 square miles) on the sandy plains.
North of Peru
A short distance North of Lima you can find Caral, a fascinating archaeological site that is believed to be 5000 years old and therefore the oldest city of the occidental hemisphere. A couple of hours up north, close to the prosperous city of Trujillo, are located the ruins of Chan Chan, the biggest city of adobe on this hemisphere. Very close by is the city of Chiclayo, where the Lord of Sipan was discovered.
Maybe the most impressive archaeological site north of Peru is the Kuelap fortress, located on the top of a mountain on a region of the high jungle, close to the colorful town of Chachapoyas.
On the northern Andes you can find the city of Cajamarca which has the Inca Baths, thermal baths or hot springs where the Inca Atahualpa came to take baths and who later on was captured and murdered by the Spanish conquerors lead by Francisco Pizarro.
Jungle of Peru
The jungle of Peru is formed by the Amazon River, the longest river in the world, which starts of the mountains south of Peru and continues its course through Brazil. The visitor can make a visit to the Peruvian Amazonian region starting at the jungle cities of Puerto Maldonado or Iquitos. These areas have natural reserves of incomparable beauty, including the Manu National Park, Tambopata Candamo and the Pacaya Samiria, among other Natural Reserves.
If you are looking for an adventure in the jungle or the mountains where you can appreciate the archaeological richness or just want to relax at the beach or by the pool while you enjoy a Pisco Sour and the most fresh cuisine you’ve ever tasted, then I can sure tell you that Peru has a lot more to offer than just Machu Picchu.
Links: Peru Tours