Machu Picchu, the Inca Trail, Sacred Valley – the Peru hot-spots that we all know and love – and for good reason! But what else is there to see and do once we’ve conquered the heights of the Andes? Peru is surprisingly vast – this amazing country boasts a pretty famous rainforest, mountains, desert landscapes, coastlines and so much more! So, get searching for the most diverse packing list and get ready for the trip of a lifetime.
Explore the charming city of Cusco
This is the starting point for many heading to Machu Picchu, the perfect place to acclimatise before a trek and get a real glimpse of Peru. Sample local food, from cuy (guinea pig), lomo saltado (steak & chips), aji de gallina (creamy, spicy chicken) – the list goes on. Head to the San Pedro market to try local foods on the cheap and stroll through the best handicraft/food/clothes market under one roof – say hello to llama goods galore! Before you leave, try a free walking tour to understand the history of this incredible city, chat to some of the friendliest locals you’ll ever meet and try Peru’s national cocktail – the pisco sour; it won’t disappoint.
Sand board in Huacachina
Head to the tiny desert oasis of Huacachina, where a small town surrounds a calming green lagoon, all tucked between high sand dunes. Canoe across the lagoon or sip cocktails from one of the many bars before taking an adventurous afternoon trip onto the sand, where buggies zip you up to the top of the dunes at full speed, bouncing and thrashing you about – a total rush. Once you get to the top of the dunes, try your hand at sand boarding – whether you lay on your front and slide down or attempt to stand up, whichever way you opt to go down, you’ll get there with a grin on your face (and a whole lot of sand stuck to it too).
Camp on the beaches of Mancora
Would you have thought beaches like this exist in Peru? It’s not exactly the first place that pops to mind when you want some chilled beach time but Mancora and Punta Sal are perfect for setting your tent down and waking up to the sound of crashing waves. Plus – brave a midnight dip and you’ll get to witness the bioluminescent plankton come to life – the ocean will glimmer with flecks of blue. So dreamy.
Explore the Amazon
Tick off another bucket list adventure here in Peru and make your way to the Amazon jungle via Puerto Maldonado. The best way to experience this is with a tour group – stay in a jungle lodge, taste delicious food and go on guided walks to find out more about the expansive rainforest life. As well as spotting exotic birds and creepy crawlies as big as your face, you’ll cool off from the sticky humid heat with swims in waterfalls.
Hike Laguna 69
It’s not a secret that Peru is full of incredible treks and hikes to blow your mind just around every corner – perfect for the active traveller. Aside from the more obvious Inca Trail, Lares Trek or Rainbow Mountain, why not try the day hike to Laguna 69 in the Huascaran National Park, for alternative, yet equally spectacular views. Gentle strolls past streams and grazing cows soon ascend into the magical snow capped mountains hiding beyond the clouds. After a strenuous trek, you’ll arrive to a surreal, secluded turquoise blue lake nestled between mountains – feel free to take a dip if you fancy braving the cold waters. This is a really challenging trek, reaching heights of 4570m, so it’s highly recommended to take a few days to acclimatise in Huaraz before beginning this hike. It’s not easy but it’s worth every step.
Peru really ticks all the boxes in terms of adrenaline, culture and beach time so get ready to pack your suitcase with the most diverse range of clothing and get ready for a full blown adventure!