15 Outstanding Things to Do in Peru

Steve Cummings

Miraflores Park, Lima

View the mountain's rainbow-colored minerals, experience the traditional Peruvian poncho's woven texture, and enjoy the charming song of the Amazon rainforest and its creatures. Yes, you read that right—home to 75% of the world's alpaca population and some of the greatest spectacles ever seen! 

Peru's Amazonian rainforest is gradually gaining popularity as a popular tourism destination for all people. The country, perhaps one of the coolest in the world, has much to show that visiting it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for every hodophile. There are a lot of activities and things to do in Peru that you will need more time for during your vacation.

Choosing the greatest things to explore in Peru may be difficult because it is home to some of the world's best tourist attractions, ranging from mountain climbs to desert dunes to one of the Seven Wonders of the World. 

1. Explore Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu
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Machu Picchu, a magnificent Inca city, is positioned 300 meters above the Urubamba River on a ridge. It is one of the most striking sites for a deserted city worldwide. As stunning as the ruins themselves is the spectacular backdrop of high, lush, and frequently covered mountains. 

You can see why the Incas picked this location for their city when you're standing close to the caretaker's cottage and gazing out over Machu Picchu, the mountains covered in vegetation, and the river far below. It is one of the greatest things to do in Peru.

2. Trek Through the Amazon Jungle

You can lose yourself in the sounds of the selva and keep an eye out for uncommon creatures and birds while exploring the planet's most biodiverse region. Numerous towns and cities will be ideal for serving as entry points into this vanished realm.

The most well-known is Iquitos, where you can discover numerous multi-day excursions that lead you deep into the jungle. Another well-liked choice for people near Cusco is Puerto Maldonado, which is situated in the Madre de Dios region. 

3. Get the Most out of Lima.

Most tourists are pulled magnetically to the tourist hotspots of Cusco and Arequipa; thus, Lima's charms are frequently disregarded. Lima provides relief and fascinating alternatives to the oppressive crowds and bus travel waiting for you along the Gringo Trail because it is only a few hour's drive from the coast, the mountains, and the jungle.

White river rafting and wineries are available at Lunahuana. Tamra's pre-Columbian adobe structures surround a jungle and South America's deepest cave.

4. Marvel at Qorikancha temple

If you have time to visit Cusco's historical site, visit this magnificent Inca ruin, which is the foundation of the convent Santo Domingo from the colonial era. The Inca Empire's grandest temple, Qorikancha, was thought to be filled to the brim with gold. Around 700 sheets of gold-colored fabric covered the walls, and there were also lifelike silver and gold replicas of llamas, babies, altars, and corn. Sadly, the Spanish stole all the gold, but the beautiful brickwork is still visible.

 The cultural interaction between Spanish and Inca architectural styles is best portrayed by Qorikancha, one of Cusco's main tourist attractions. 

5. Explore Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca
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Undulating hills and traditional tiny communities encircle Lake Titicaca's sparkling blue lake. The lake region stands out from other parts of the nation due to its stunning beauty and unique culture. It is the highest-good lake in the world, rising 3,820 meters above sea level.

The best way to experience the lake is to take a boat ride to the nearby villages and islands. The Uros Floating Islands, which support small villages of Uros Indians, are one of the principal tourist attractions. 

After visiting Lake Titicaca, you can go and visit Bolivia and see the many things to do there.

6. Discover Another Side of Cusco.

Most tourists are tempted to leave Cusco quickly because Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail are only over the hills. However, this beautiful colonial city reveals even more of its charms to the patient visitor willing to extend their stay by one or two days.

Fifteen important historical sites are accessible with a Boleto Turistico del Cusco pass. Go to Sacsayhuamán, which offers a city view, and then return to Cusco through the San Blas area, known as the “artists' quarter,” with its galleries and shops. Once there, visit the ancient Inca sites at Pisac, Ollantaytambo, and Chinchero. 

Related: 14 Unique Things to do in Cusco

7. Fly Over the Nazca Lines

Nazca Lines
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Nazca Lines is a collection of hundreds of enormous designs carved out of the earth by the Nazca civilization more than a thousand years ago. They range from simple geometric forms to highly stylized images, most featuring native plants and animals. 

The Nazca Lines are best seen above because some images are more than 200 meters wide. This is the only way to see them. If you're interested, many tour companies offer flights above the lines.

8. Trekking Around Glacier Lagoons

If Peru is famed for anything, it is its extensive trekking opportunities. The Cordillera de Los Andes cuts through the Andean region from north to south. These mountains produce enormous rocky summits, vast abysses, deep valleys, and charming snow. This mountain range then creates magnificent glacial lakes situated over the slopes of enormous snow, adding to the breathtaking scenery of the Peruvian mountain range. Two of the most representative lagoons in the country are Humantay and 69 lagoons. 

Peru is a Menu for glacial lagoons, with more than 8355. It is a complete package for those who want to travel to Peru and enjoy beauty and adventure.

9. Sandboard or Take a Buggy Ride in Huacachina

credit: depositphotos

Even though Huacachina appears to be a panorama from the Sahara Desert, Huacachina is actually in Peru. The Nazca Lines are situated in the same district of southwest Peru as this tiny oasis settlement, which has been drawing tourists for some time now. 

Even though more water is now pumped to the oasis from the nearby city of Ica, it is still a cool location. Sandboarding and driving dune buggies are popular pastimes in this “oasis of the Americas.”

Sandboarding could be one of the coolest things to do in Peru.

10. Eat the Best of Peruvian Gastronomy. 

Peruvian cuisine combines regional ingredients and methods with many foreign influences. Due to the significant influx of immigrants the country had in the past, European, Asian, Italian, and African influences were among the various factors that contributed to the development of contemporary Peruvian cuisine

Not to mention the pastries from Peru, which are a true treat for the taste buds. In modern times, Lima is not just Peru's capital but also South America's culinary capital.

11. White Water Rafting on the Rio Apurimac

Peruvian white water rafting is thrilling and amazing. High in the Andes, rivers that begin as streams become stronger and larger as they approach the Amazon, slicing through craggy mountains and breathtaking valleys.

Only a short distance from Cusco, the Rio Apurimac cuts through a deep canyon, making it one of the most exciting rafting trips. Rafting begins slowly as you meander through the calmer sections of the river, starting at an altitude of 3,400m. A sequence of difficult rapids in the shadow of cliffs signals the start of the real fun after lunch on a sandy beach across the river.

12. Hiking to the Rainbow Mountain

Rainbow Mountain, Peru
credit: depositphotos

This is another fascinating activity the country is offering. From the city of Cusco, the mountain walk takes one day. The spot just recently opened to tourists, but due to its rising popularity, it is already a top tourist attraction. 

The mountain is 5200 meters above sea level, and the trip is 11 kilometers long. Witness the canvas of colors come to life before your eyes as you undertake a unique adventure. You must include this location in your list of incredible things to do in Peru.

13. Take a Walk at Manu National Park

A wonderful variety of ecosystems for cloud and rainforest is found in Parque Nacional Manu. The fact that the park is incredibly remote and challenging to reach is one of the key reasons it has successfully maintained its untainted beauty. This demonstrates that hunters and rubber tappers haven't harmed the park. 

June through November are the ideal times to visit the park. The Parque Nacional Manu is home to various wildlife, such as squirrels, pacas, and brocket deer.

14. Visit the Sacred Valley

Moray, Incan Agriculture Laboratory
credit: depositphotos

The picturesque Sacred Valley and the cities of Pisac, Urubamba, and Ollantaytambo are only a short drive north of Cusco. In addition to being a tranquil place to spend some time searching markets or learning about the local culture, this rich valley is home to numerous Inca ruins worth exploring.

The Pisac Ruins and the Sunday Market in Pisac (market days are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays) are two of the valley's highlights. The village of Moray, which has circular terracing that the Incas utilized as an agricultural trial ground, is a little out of the way but well worth the trek. 

15. Swim with Sea Lions

Another wildlife experience in Peru that many tourists have never heard of is swimming with sea lions. Unbelievably, you can take this journey from Lima! It's one of the most pleasurable activities in Lima. After a brief drive along the coast and a next boat ride, you will reach an island where thousands of sea lions congregate. 

You won't visit their island, but if you dive into the sea, these curious animals will come to investigate!

Key Takeaways

Peru is a fascinating country with some mind-blowing landscapes. And it is true what they say—aside from Machu Picchu, there is much more to see in this country. Almost all of Peru's attractions and activities surpass most expectations. Wake up your wanderlust and start planning travel to this unique country in South America immediately. Sometimes it's promising to take a vacation from your regular day-to-day activities.

Related: 15 Unforgettable Things to do in Colombia

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