Top Five Experiences in Peru

The single hardest part of planning a trip to Peru, is deciding what to do while you’re there (for most people, Machu Picchu is a given). I’m still amazed by how much we crammed into a 10 day trip last year. Trying to decide what you can fit in? These are my top five recommendations for a visit to Peru.

1. Tour the major sites of Lima – Many people I spoke to told me Lima wasn’t their favourite city. Spending some time here was unavoidable though, as we flew in and out of Lima. I wanted to approach the city with an open mind. Being short on time, the easiest thing to do was to arrange a tour (which would pick us up from our hotel in Miraflores), to see some of the city’s top sites. The city has some incredible old architecture. Lima even has catacombs which you can visit at the Franciscan Monastery – apparently the bones of 10,000 people can be found here. Who knew?!

Lima's beautiful historic centre

Lima’s beautiful historic centre

A popular spot to sit and relax

A popular spot to sit and relax

Outside the Monastery

Outside the Monastery

Larcomar, an outdoor shopping complex built into the cliff in Miraflores, is the perfect spot for dinner and drinks. We enjoyed a delicious meal and a number of Pisco Sours with a Peruvian friend, as we sat overlooking the ocean. *Warning – drinking too many pisco sours will cause you to move very slowly the next day. If you have a flight to catch the next morning, don’t consume too many the night before! Domestic airlines oversell their flights. Yours may be oversold by the time you arrive, even if you’re there a full hour early.

2. Visit Machu Picchu – No trip to Peru is complete without a visit to Machu Picchu. Yes it is touristy, but it’s also one of the most amazing sites I’ve ever seen. The train ride from Cusco to the town of Aguas Calientes (at the base of Machu Picchu), is breathtaking and gives you a little taste of what’s to come.

It’s crazy to think of how the Incas built Machu Picchu hundreds of years ago, before any of today’s modern technologies existed. Hiring a guide is something I’d highly recommend because they’ll provide the background history, which you won’t get exploring on your own. Our guide, Mirabelle, was arranged through our hotel, the SUMAQ, and she met us there at 6 a.m. Mirabelle spent the entire day with us and was a wealth of information on Machu Picchu and the surrounding area.

Sunrise at Machu Picchu

Sunrise at Machu Picchu

3. Hike Wayna PicchuWayna Picchu is the mountain seen behind the Machu Picchu ruins, which 400 people hike per day. I loved this hike, although hated parts of it as we were making our way to the top! It is very, very steep and the trails are busy. Combined with the altitude it is definitely a challenge, but the view at the top is well worth the shortness of breath and racing heart. It’s amazing how many times my blog has been found by people searching ‘Wayna Picchu stairs of death!’

View from the top of Wayna Picchu

View from the top of Wayna Picchu

4. Take the train from Cusco to Puno – Cusco is a beautiful ancient city and a popular stop for most travellers. Exploring this old city is a must for anyone visiting the region. Unfortunately, we didn’t spend as long here as I would have liked, as we had a train to catch! We took a 10 hour train journey from Cusco to Puno on the Andean Explorer. I loved this experience! A three course lunch and afternoon tea are served on this luxury train. The bar car was a perfect spot to sit back and enjoy a drink, while watching the breathtaking scenery, or listening to the live traditional music.

Nightfall in the old city of Cusco

Nightfall in the old city of Cusco

Train trip on the Andean Explorer

Train trip on the Andean Explorer

Riding the rails

Riding the rails

5. Suasi Island – Near the end of our trip, we had the opportunity to visit Isla Suasi, an ecolodge on a private island on Lake Titicaca. This place was like nothing I’d ever experienced. Each room had a fireplace in it which was lit at night. When you returned to your room for the evening, after a home-made three course meal, there were hot-water bottles in the beds. A guide was available for hikes and star gazing excursions. Families of alpacas roamed around the island. It was one of the most unique places I’ve ever stayed.

Isla Suasi

Isla Suasi

Tips for visiting Peru

  • Change your money into Peruvian sols. We didn’t change our money right away and were paying in $US for the first little while, which led to being frequently overcharged.
  • If you’re taking a taxi, ask the driver to user the meter, otherwise the rate may have mysteriously changed by the time you reach your destination.
  • Wear comfortable clothes for your visit to Machu Picchu, especially if you’re hiking Wayna Picchu. You’d be shocked by how many people wear clothes that are totally inappropriate for a day of activity (skirts, flip flops, etc).
  • Be cautious of what you eat. If you’re trying ceviche make sure it’s from a reputable restaurant and remember to watch what you drink (no ice). Two of the three people I was with got quite sick.
  • Try and speak some Spanish, even if you’re terrible (like me).
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About AdventuressAbroad

adventure seeker.traveling fanatic.food lover.occasional blabbermouth.travel-based PR professional.

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2 Comments on “Top Five Experiences in Peru”

  1. Lazy Travelers (@lazytravelers) Says:

    sooo jealous. we had every intention of visiting peru this year, but unfortunately airfare was waaaaay out of our budget during the only time we could visit. xo! the romantic

    Reply

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