Want to escape to a place where the jungle meets the ocean? Where tantalizing cuisine is a given? Where natural and cultural wonders are nearly ubiquitous? Plan a trip to Peru, where outdoor adventure, historical sites, pisco sours, luxury spas and rich culture synthesize for the ultimate visitor experience. Here are six of the best reasons to visit Peru.
1. Indulge on breathtaking natural diversity
Although Peru is home to a section of the magnificent Amazon rainforest, it also encompasses 28 different climates and the intersection of three primary geographic regions: coast, highland and jungle. Sunbathe on one of Peru’s pristine beaches or take a tour of the rainforest and stay in a jungle hut. Guests also can explore one of Peru’s eight national reserves and eight national parks, including the Manú National Park, the Paracas National Reserve, the Titicaca National Reserve and the Huascarán National Park. Within the parks and reserves, nature lovers can view a wide array of wildlife, from cougars and wild Peruvian camelids to cave-dwelling guácharos and Humboldt penguins.
2. Explore enigmatic ancient ruins
Machu Picchu, a 15th-century Inca citadel located in the Andes Mountains along the Inca Trail, is Peru’s most well-known ruin and one of the world’s most important archaeological sites. However, Peru has many other interesting sites to be savored by those with an appetite for history. Sacred Valley, the mysterious Nazca Lines, Saqsaywamán near the city of Cusco, ancient tombs near Chiclayo, the Moche ruins, the city of Puno and the fortress of Kuelap all promise visitors an unparalleled journey into the past.
3. Mix luxury with adventure
While Peru is a hive of natural wonders that offer visitors extreme sports and rustic outdoor recreation, the country also offers leisure and relaxation. Luxurious resorts, such as the Libertador’s collection of upscale Hotels, Resorts & Spas and Sacred Valley’s Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, are waiting to pamper guests after days full of kayaking, hiking, mountain biking and exploring.
4. Enjoy exquisite handcrafts
Peru is famous for its textiles, which are just one example of the country’s handcrafts that combine art, culture and history. The Center for Traditional Textiles holds exhibits and puts on presentations to demonstrate different spinning and weaving skills. In many towns, you can buy a handmade scarf or decorative wall carpet to take home as a souvenir. Peruvians also craft instruments, jewelry, canvas paintings and wood carvings, according to GloboTreks. By purchasing handmade crafts, you can support Peru’s rich cultural traditions and bolster the local economy.
5. Treat yourself to delicious food and beverages
In the mood for food? You won’t go hungry in Peru. While touring the country, try classic Peruvian delicacies, such as Chicharrón, Lomo Saltado, empanadas, Butifarra sandwiches and Ceviche Mixto. Many dishes are made using locally sourced meat, cheese and produce. Peru also provides unique libations, including strong beers, caffeine-rich Inca Kola, wines and pisco, a grape brandy produced in the country since the 16th century. It often is mixed with egg whites, lemon, sugar and simple syrup to create the pisco sour, a South American classic.
6. Partake in cultural festivals
Every year, Peruvians host numerous festivals that feature interesting cultural ceremonies and a blend of indigenous and colonial traditions and activities, according to About Travel. Some popular festivals include: Carnaval in February and March; Semana Santa, a religious festival held the week leading up to Easter Sunday; Cusco’s Fiesta del Inti Raymi (the Festival of the Sun) in June; the Festival San Juan in the jungle; Peru’s Independence Day on July 28; and Dia de la Pachamama (Mother Earth Day) in August.
Visiting Peru has never been easier, thanks to Pacific Holidays’ new special tour, Fascinating Peru, which includes airfare from Miami. During the five-day trip, you can visit ancient ruins, peruse handmade textiles and indulge your senses on the sights, sounds and tastes of Peru. So, what are you waiting for?