Travel Guide: Peru Mountains and Seaside Treasure of the Incredible South America

The majestic mountains of Machu Picchu in the adventurous country of Peru count as its most descriptive sign. Beyond the Rainbow mountains and the famous Inca trail Peru hides numeral wonders where delicious cuisine resides. Let’s add the largest South-American lake Titicaca to your unmissable itinerary, but Peru deserves to be understood at the local point of view.

The ancient civilizations have left the traces of the oldest cultures at South America where even now today some Peruvians speak Quechua languages (it’s interesting to learn about the Quechua weaving), Aymara or other indigenous languages.

The name Peru itself is believed that pulls the roots from Birú who was a local ruler from the early 16th century. Chico and Cupisnique civilizations at the Peruvian coast shaped the base of the famous Inca world. The Irrigation system, exquisite ceramic pottery and architecture skills describe the establishment of the following cultures of the Moche and Chimu. The Incas developed the powerful empire starting from the 15th century with the Cusco as their capital.

The Capital of Peru – Lima

Often staying in the shade of the touristic places like Cusco and Arequipa Lima is endowed by the amazing coastal line.

Plaza Mayor or previously Plaza de Armas is the central point of cultural and historical heritage. It’s the place where the elegant and dazzling buildings of government shining all in yellow are placed. Plaza de Armas is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Beautiful colonial architecture of Plaza de Armas, Lima
Beautiful colonial architecture of Plaza de Armas, Lima- photo by Museos de Lima

Popular attraction for the tourists is the exchange of the guard every noon during the week in front of the Palacio del Gobierno. Cathedral of Lima characterises the Baroque etiquette of the city’s first church from the 1535.

Among the lovely pedestrian street Jiron de la Union, peaceful Plaza San Martin and Casa de Aliaga as the oldest colonial house hidden beauty awaits.

Fabulous views of the Malecon of Miraflores or the boardwalk will give any visitor the gift of immense admiration along the 8 km. The floral gardens will not lack and the special enchantment comes at sunset. Love Park profoundly catches the creative wire within the mosaic benches of Barcelona style and “El Beso” statue. Probably the most romantic sunset can be found here.

Parque Kennedy is the quiet spot filled with crafty shops. The richness of Malecon stays at the lovely pyramid of clay named Huaca Pucllana. In the ancient times it served the ceremonial and administrative purposes.

Lima offers the magic tour within the Park of the Reserve where the largest fountain complex in the world creates the shine. 13 separate fountains amaze each in their own beauty among which the highest Fuente Magica, Tunnel of Surprises within 35 m and Fuente de la Fantasia with the music show.

The Monastery of Santo Domingo from 1540. brings elegance and historical art. Lovely tile mosaics about the life of St. Dominic are its unique feature.

Street Art at the Barranco Neighbourhood

The bohemian suburb of Barranco is the colourful and artistic soul of the city. It’s the popular gathering place of the artists and writers where colonial houses intertwine with the lovely parks.

Amazing street art at the Barranco neighbourhood, Lima
Amazing street art at the Barranco neighbourhood, Lima- photo by Take a Trip

Puente de los Sospiros is one of the charming bridges near the beach and local vendors. The statue of Chabuca Granda represents the famous local of Barranco and the amazing Peruvian singer of Musica Criolla.

Museums of Lima

Some of the museums of Lima that explore the Inca culture include:

Museum of the Nation

This modern museum from 1990. is one of the biggest in Peru. It shows the original artwork of many cultures thousands of examples.

The room deserving most attention is the one covering the tomb and ornaments belonging to the Lord of Sipan.

National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History

This museum holds several attributes, being the oldest one in Peru and the most visited. This can give thanks to the large collections of exhibitions and Peruvian heritage. Ceramics, textiles and metal present the comprehensive history of Peru.

Museum Larco

Located in the elegant edifice decorated with the gardens, this is a comprehensive testimony of Peruvian art. It’s open only in 1926. and it can be seen gold and silver art of ancient Peru but also the erotic art.

Museum Larco, Lima
Museum Larco holds the amazing Peruvian art, Lima- photo by Travel And Living Peru

Gold Museum of Peru

Founded by the Peruvian politician and diplomat Miguel Mujica Gallo this museum covers his travel souvenirs many of historical meaning. Gold Museum of Peru is considered as one of the most significant Peruvian museums.

Lima Art Museum

Lima Art Museum is placed inside the elegant building or the old Palace of the exhibition. This pretty popular museum collects few thousands Peruvian artworks of historical matter.

Cusco

Cusco is not only a touristic town of Peru but the powerful heritage of Inca Empire. Protected as the UNESCO World Heritage Site Cusco is living its museum appearance. Colonial architecture and romantic vibes stay upon focus of the main square or Plaza de Armas. The cathedral and La Compania impressively occupy the beauty of Plaza de Armas.

The streets of Cusco
The streets of Cusco- photo by Along Dusty Roads

Being on the threshold to Machu Picchu Cusco is embraced by magic.

Koricancha or the Temple of the Sun glorify the lovely streets of Cusco with the Incan mythology joyfully appearing at the surface. The church next door entitled Santo Domingo is built upon the temple’s ruins.

Nothing will enlighten exploring the history of Inca as dwelling into its astrology and science. Then Planetarium of Cusco should represent an awesome panorama of knowledge.

San Blas neighbourhood will enchant with its artistic vibe and sweet little shops. Not only that, its charming architecture is the perfect addition to the adjacent Plaza.

Puno

Nestled at the shores of Titicaca lake, this city is the home of the Peruvian folk tradition. Floating Uros islands enchant with its colourful images. Puno is not a city of sightseeing like Cusco but rather the city to relax at the lake. Artificial islands of Uros were made with the defensive purpose.

colorful locals and traditional boats of Puno & Uros islands, Peru-
colorful locals and traditional boats of Puno & Uros islands, Peru- photo by Explorandes

Arequipa

Arequipa is a lovely colonial city full of wonderful bars and restaurants often visited as a base to explore Colca Canyon. Arequipa will just take you in awe with the wonderful architecture, specially Plaza de Armas. This place is framed by the palm trees and the mountains with the golden architecture in shine.

The majestic cathedral of 17th century shadows all the other buildings with its white volcanic rock. Iglesia de la Compania stands on the other side of the cathedral where its carvings pull out the magic of elegance.

Majestic cathedral at the Plaza del Armas in Arequipa town, Peru-
Majestic cathedral at the Plaza del Armas in Arequipa town, Peru- photo by Butterfield & Robinson

Monasterio de Santa Catalina is the colourful labyrinth full of history from 16th century. Its religious meaning stays unique to Peru, its high walls impress alone.

Yanahuara is the authentic neighbourhood full of elegant churches. Volcano views that frame the city enchant on their own.

El Misti embraces the city with its volcanic beauty and majestic height of 5822 m. All of the three volcanoes were used a the building material to the historical architecture.

Reaching the summit of El Misti usually lasts 2 days considering the height. The challenging hiking leaves you breathless, but not if your physical condition is not appropriate.

Mancora

Peru owns the significant line of the coast where Mancora captures the beauty of the sweet little seaside town. Mancora attracts with the surfing vibes and the charming streets. This is a place to eat authentic Peruvian food, not to get tricked by the international chains or large supermarkets.

Surfing is very popular at the beaches of Mancora town, Peru
Surfing is very popular at the beaches of Mancora town, Peru- photo by Selina.com

Lake Titicaca

Shaping the border with Bolivia lake Titicaca just invites with its natural wonders and authentic vibes. This is the place to know the locals, its colourful appearance and peaceful existence.

Taquilenos or locals live in their sustainable lifestyle where tradition speaks the main word. Their own communities stay away from touristic focus being engraved by the Inca’s moto: „Do not steal, do not lie, do not be lazy.“

One of the many typical small islands at the Lake Titicaca, Peru
One of the many typical small islands at the Lake Titicaca, Peru- photo by Peru-Explorer

Visiting Taquile people means diving into the time frozen in the past where absorbing the culture means staying the overnight. This is the place to see the traditional colorful clothes of South America and Peru

Uros floating islands are made of 42 islands that represent the highlight of the lake Titicaca. They can be reached only by boat and though people still live here in the authentic way, the tourism has touched its steps.

Exploring the Amazon in Peru

Peru is the cradle of the Amazon rainforest being the wild in its true shape. As the world’s largest rainforest Amazon is the treasure of the biological life ie. plants, fishes, birds and reptiles.

Being the birthplace of the Amazon Peru also represents the more personal touch between the jungle and this mighty river at the smaller area than the other countries. Luxury ships can give the unique experience.

Cruise ships on the Amazon river in Peru floating around the greenery
Cruise ships on the Amazon river in Peru floating around the greenery- photo by Aqua Expeditions

Amazon forest is easily reachable from Iquitos as the largest inland port and Lima. Amazon cuisine is praised by the unique flavours and special delicacies.

Inca Trail

Inca Trail is a majestic route of the Andean mountains within 45 km that leads to Machu Picchu. The ancient magic envelopes all the way from Cuzco. Once being the capital of Inca Cuzco is a charming town intertwined with the cobblestone streets. Authentic Peruvian vibe is not only present at the colonial architecture but at its lifestyle, food and heritage.

The trail usually takes 4 days passing through the steep and narrow challenges full of sacred places and sweet wisdom.  The world’s famous trail spells the most beautiful shine at the Sun Gate which give entrance to the fabulous Machu Picchu.

People hiking the majestic Inca Trail in Peru that leads from Cusco to Macchu Picchu
People hiking the majestic Inca Trail in Peru that leads from Cusco to Macchu Picchu- photo by G Adventures

 

Following the Inca Trail is not possible without the permit which is limited to 500 people per day. That means that hiking on your own is not allowed but only by an approved tour company. From May to the October is the dry season in Peru which means more traffic along the road roads, but the rainy season brings slightly cheaper tours. February is closed for Inca Trail to fill up the energy and maintain the routes.

Regarding the prices Inca Trail requires from 699$ per person to 1900$.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is declared as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. bringing the sacred power of the mystical past. More than 150 buildings which includes houses, baths and temples shine with the eternal spirit. Abandonment of the site stays enigmatic, most probably due to the lack of the water.

Llama in front of the Macchu Picchu in Peru
Llama in front of the Machu Picchu in Peru- photo by The Blonde Abroad

The Temple of the Three Windows is the highlight of this ancient site.

Colca Canyon

Peruvian mountains shine at the panorama of discovery and hidden gems. Nestled on the route to Arequipa within 160 km Colca Canyon captures one of the deepest canyons in the world. This popular hiking spot attracts more than 160 000 visitors yearly.

Andean condor conveys the focus of touristic eyes upon the animal kingdom here. Being the endangered specie, andean condor can easily be spotted.

Condor flying above the Colca Canyon in Peru
Condor flying above the Colca Canyon in Peru- photo by Exploration Online

Colca Canyon deserves the splendid shine where adventure is the the first and last word. Living under the umbrella of many hiking trails, rock climbing opportunities, mountain biking and rafting Colca Canyon knows no further excuses to avoid it.

Peru’s Rainbow Mountain

Rainbow Mountain in Peru or Vinicunca is officially the treasure of Peruvian magical nature, located only 3 hours away from Cusco. Minerals absorbed in the earth create this mesmerizing beauty that stays unparalleled to the world.

Incredible colours of the Rainbow Mountain in Peru
Incredible colours of the Rainbow Mountain in Peru- photo by Peru Quechua’s Lodge

 

The mysterious colours appear only in 2015. when the snow and ice starts to melt probably due to the climate change.

The Sacred Valley

The alluring nature never ceases to impresses, specially when the green comes into focus. Only 15 km north of Cuszo upon the shelter of the Urabamba river and charming touch of the towns Pisac, Calca, Yucay, Urubamba, and Ollantaytambo stays the Sacred Valley. Ancient ruins play their magical song specially powerful at Pisac and Ollantaytambo.

Inca ruins at Pisac town in the Sacred Valley, Peru
Inca ruins at Pisac town in the Sacred Valley, Peru- photo by Jonis Travelling

The salt mines or Salinas capture your destination at the highlight of choice, particularly in Maras and Moray.

Cordillera Blanca

The mountain treasure of Peru find its picturesque sights at Cordillera Blanca where stands the highest peak of Peru, Huascaran. The stunning beauty to the place adds the charm of the turquoise glacial lakes. This National Park marvels within more than 600 glacial lakes and abundant flora and fauna. This snow-capped mountain offer the wide range of adventure activities like water rafting, mount biking or rock climbing. The best starting point would be the town of Huaraz as the nearest airport spot.

Amazing turqouise lake at Cordillera Blanca in Peru
Amazing turquoise lake at Cordillera Blanca in Peru- photo by Two Wandering Souls

Peru Conclusion

Mountainous shine holds the inner beauty of Peru with its numeral surprises. Under the shadow of Machu Picchu Peru holds the fabulous panorama of tradition picking into the ancient Inca world.

Sand dunes of Huacachina or Paracas Desert lying cosy in front of the ocean hide their existence upon this marvellous country. The country full of diversities lives its colourful life at the authentic vibe of clothing and tradition. To absorb the local lifestyle means to dwell in its natural surroundings where the nature speaks with the thousand wonders. Exploring beyond the surface is what makes Peru alive as the hidden gems appear like the true magic. To enter the ancient world means to be one with the mountains.

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