Peru Travel Guide

Peru Travel Guide

Peru Travel Guide

From the slopes of Machu Picchu and Inca architecture of Cuzco, to the depths of the Amazon Rainforest, to the highlands lake of Lago Titicaca, Peru is an adventure traveler’s dream.

Land of the Inca – Cuzco, the Sacred Valley, the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu
The heart of the Inca empire is centered around Cuzco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.

Cuzco is a sprawling city with a historical center where many buildings still have Inca-built walls and colonial churches are built from Inca stones pillaged by the conquistadors. Cuzco merits two or three days exploring museums, churches, markets and the beautiful countryside. Mountain biking, rafting, kayaking, trekking and mountain climbing are all accessible from Cuzco Not to be missed is the famous Sacsayhuaman ruins, just outside of Cuzco, with gigantic stone structures considered by many to be the finest example of Inca architecture on the planet.
For more information about Cuzco, see V!VA Peru travel guide.

The Sacred Valley
The spectacular towns and inca ruins of Pisac and Ollantaytambo are another must see. Pisac is home to a famous colorful indigenous market and day hikes to the ruins above the town afford spectacular views of the Sacred Valley. Ollantaytambo is a remarkable inca fortress that displays impressive Inca architecture. The train to Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail can be caught from here.

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Today, hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu allows the visitor to step back in time and walk through a variety of eco-systems and dazzling scenery. The length of the 39 kilometers (24 miles) includes unforgettable views, archaeological remains and andean wildlife. The Inca Trail is one of the world’s leading trekking and camping routes and ends at the Machu Picchu ruins. Hiking the Inca Trail now requires advance reservations and the government has substantially reduced the number of trekkers allowed on the trail. Please contact an Inca Trail tour operator for more details.
For more information about The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, see VIVA Travel Guide’s Peru vacation guide.

Machu Picchu
Many would say that one’s life is not complete until you have visited the Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu. Built of stone, the ancient town is perched on a mountop above the raging Rio Urubamba and surrounded by spectacular vertical landscapes. The locals have known about Machu Picchu for centuries, but professor Hiram Bingham is credited with “discovering” the ruins in 1911. Since then, the site, only accesible by train (3-4 hours from Cuzco) or by foot (via the Inca Trail) has become a major travel destination attracting travelers from around the world.
See our list of Machu Picchu Tour Operators
For more information about Machu Picchu, see VIVA Travel Guide’s Peru travel guide.

Huaraz, Cordillera Blanca
The Huascaran National Park, in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range, covers an area of 340,000 hectares (840 hectares) that includes 296 lakes and 663 glaciers and Peru’s highest peaks in including Huascaran at 6,768 masl (22,206 ft), Huandoy and Alpamayo. The Huascaran National Park was listed by UNESCO in 1977 as a nucleus of the Biosphere Reserve and in 1985 was declared a World Natural Heritage Site. Popular sites include the Pastoruri glacier (70 km/42 miles south of Huaraz); Lake Llanganuco (at the foot of Huascaran) and the thermal springs of Monterrey (5km north of Huaraz). World class trekking and mountain climbing abound. Contact a tour operator for more information on planning your journey.
For more information about Huaraz, the Cordillera Blanca and Huascaran National Park, see VIVA Travel Guide’s Peru vacation guide.

Peru’s Capital – Lima
Lima was founded in 1535 by the Conquistador Francisco Pizarro. It is the capital of the country and the gateway to the rest of Peru. In 1991, UNESCO declared it a World Cultural Heritage site for its colonial architecture.
Travelers can visit everything from pre-Hispanic temples such as Pachacamac -which was the center of oracles and religious pilgrimages over different periods– to old colonial mansions and churches rich in history, such as the Cathedral, the convent of San Francisco, the church and convent of the Nazarenes. For more information about Lima Peru, see VIVA Travel Guide’s Peru vacation guide.

Lake Titicaca Lake
Titicaca is the world’s highest navigable lake at two and a half miles above sea level stretching from southern Peru to the Bolivian Andes. Besides spanning beautiful landscapes that reflect on its transparent waters, Lake Titicaca is home to some beautifully unique settlements on man-made reed islands and cultures following agricultural techniques used for centuries.
For more information about Lake Titicaca, see VIVA Travel Guide’s Peru travel guide.

The Nazca Lines
These mysterious lines and figures etched into the landscape on the desert coast of Peru are now a World Heritage Site and are best seen from the air. Much is unknown about the lines: what they were meant to represent, why they were created, even exactly when they were created; today scientists estimate they were made sometime between 900 BC and 630 AD. The pre-Inca representations were made by removing large, dark-colored stones to expose lighter patches of stone just below the surface.
For more information about The Nazca Lines, see VIVA Travel Guide’s Peru travel guide.

Gulliver Travel Peru – based out of Cusco, Peru the company organizes custom crafted tours to Machu Picchu, The Sacred Valley, Cusco and Lima in addition to extensions the the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador.

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Provider Spotlight

Free Galapagos Trip Planner at Galapagos Islands .com – easily plan your Galapagos vacation online, find great value, and a wide selection of customized Galapagos cruises and vacations.

Galapagos Tour Experts – Adventure Life Specialize in luxury Galapagos cruises, and land-based Galapagos tours. Adventure Life can help you design the perfect trip to Ecuador. As seen in Outside Magazine, NatGeo, and the New York Times.

Voyager Galapagos Tours haS excellent Galapagos cruise deals & last-minute offers, and land-based Galapagos tours (aka Island Hopping).

Galapagos & Ecuador Insiders use their local expertise to assist you in planning the perfect Galapagos cruise or Ecuador tour for your precise budget, needs, and interests.

Latin Trails craft customized journeys to the Galapagos Islands, the Ecuador mainland, the Amazon rainforest, and Peru. They operate the highly-rated Galapagos cruising yacht: Seaman Journey and the day tour yacht the Galapagos Hopper.

Andando Tours – Pioneers in Galapagos tourism. Two generations of sailing and shipbuilding showcase unparalleled knowledge in creating the most unique Galapagos Cruises. Owners & Operators of S/S Mary Anne & M/Y Passion.

Gulliver Expeditions – Learn more about our Ecuador ToursPeru ToursEcuador Climbing Expeditions, Galapagos Land Tours, and Machu Picchu Tours. Gulliver Expeditions offer fantastic travel experiences since 2005.

Surtrek Galapagos Cruises – has offered exceptional custom-designed trips to the Galapagos for over 20 years. They now bring their brand of off-the-beaten-path trips to other countries in South America such as Peru’s Machu PicchuBolivia’s Uyuni Salt Flats, and Chile’s Atacama Desert.

ViaNatura – provides excellent value Galapagos cruises on the Monserrat yacht, a luxury cruise experience on the Hermes yacht, and a variety of tours in Ecuador and Peru.

Exclusive Galapagos Cruises, part of the EQ Touring group – specializes in private Galapagos yacht charters. They can help your group find the perfect yacht that matches your needs at a price negotiated by a true insider who has been doing charters in the Galapagos for decades.