16 Best Places To Visit in Peru πŸŸ₯⬜️πŸŸ₯

Discover the top 16 popular Peru destinations and attractions including Machu Picchu and the bustling city of Lima and the stunning Sacred Valley 🏞 πŸ¦™

Peru offers some of South America’s most captivating landscapes, archeological wonders, and cultural attractions. From the majestic Machu Picchu to the world’s highest navigable lake, this diverse country promises unforgettable adventures. Read on for the 12 best places to visit in Peru.


The historic city of Cusco stands as the heart of the Inca Empire and the gateway to Machu Picchu. Top attractions surrounding the lively Plaza de Armas include the elaborate Temple of the Sun, the imposing Inca fortress Sacsayhuaman, and the bustling San Pedro Market. Cusco also serves as the typical starting point for the Inca Trail, a scenic four day trek along ancient pathways culminating at the majestic Machu Picchu ruins.

Things to Do in Cusco

As the historic heart of the Inca Empire, Cusco offers far beyond iconic archeological sites. The creative restaurant scene celebrates distinctly Andean ingredients like quinoa and alpaca meat through meals at destinations like Cicciolina or Limo. Unique local handicrafts like alpaca knits and ceramics sell at artisan markets and village cooperatives. Fascinating museums like the Pre-Columbian Art Museum provide context about indigenous cultures and history. Active travelers can arrange hiking, rafting, and other outdoor adventures departing right from the city.


Lima serves as the capital and largest city in Peru as well as a top culinary destination. Foodies flock to Lima to sample exceptional ceviche, lomo saltado, and other Peruvian specialties found at the city’s many exceptional restaurants. But Lima has much more for travelers to enjoy beyond the dining scene. Stroll through the Plaza de Armas to see the cathedral and 16th century monastery or wander through the vibrant, artistic neighborhood of Barranco lined with colorful colonial architecture and dynamic street art.

Miraflores District

The vibrant district of Miraflores in Lima offers visitors beautiful parks, high-end shopping, and exceptional dining. Miraflores attracts travelers to its sparkling oceanfront promenade lined with cafes, art galleries, and luxury hotels. The district also entices foodies to its exceptional restaurants serving creative renditions of Peruvian classics alongside international fusion cuisine. Don’t miss visiting the historic Huaca Pucllana pyramid complex right in the heart of modern Miraflores as well.

Machu Picchu

The 15th century Inca citadel of Machu Picchu ranks as the most iconic destination in Peru. This breathtaking complex remarkably built atop a mountain ridge without mortar stands as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Visitors can take a bus or hike the Inca Trail over four days to reach Machu Picchu. Make sure to also explore the intricate structures and terraces throughout the site. For stunning views, climb nearby Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu.

The Sacred Valley

The Sacred Valley provides the perfect spot to acclimate to the high altitude while encountering Inca ruins and picturesque villages. Pisac Ruins features temple complexes and an expansive agricultural terracing system. Local markets in Pisac village and Chinchero village offer great spots to view vibrant textiles and handicrafts. The salt pans at Maras and ancient agricultural labyrinth at Moray also make for worthwhile stops between Cusco and Machu Picchu.

Lake Titicaca

Straddling the border between Peru and Bolivia, immense Lake Titicaca stands as the highest navigable lake in the world at over 12,500 feet (3,812 m) above sea level. The Uros people dwell on remarkable floating islands handmade from dried totora reeds. Local boats transport visitors to quieter islands like Taquile and AmantanΓ­ to experience everyday island life in serene natural settings.


The charming city of Arequipa lies in the shadow of the picturesque triple-peaked El Misti volcano. Its dazzling architecture hewn from white volcanic stone gives Arequipa its nickname as the “White City.” Top attractions include the arcaded Plaza de Armas, the massive 16th century Santa Catalina Monastery, and the Museum of Andean Sanctuaries featuring the frozen mummy of Inca girl Juanita.

Colca Canyon

For thrilling scenery, Colca Canyon cannot be beat. This epic chasm doubles the depth of America’s Grand Canyon at 13,650 feet (4,160 m) deep. Visitors can gaze down at the rugged topography and perhaps glimpse majestic Andean condors soaring above. The route from Arequipa passes through scenic highland villages like Yanque before reaching breathtaking miradors. Hiking into the Colca Canyon itself takes at least two days but provides an unforgettable adventure.


The tiny settlement of Huacachina surprises visitors with its location surrounding a shimmering oasis in the middle of endless sand dunes. This desert oasisscape provides the backdrop for heart-pumping adventures like dune-buggy rides and sandboarding down the enormous dunes. Afterward, relax around the lagoon or visit nearby wineries and pisco distilleries in the Ica Valley.

Northern Peru

Northern Peru tempts travelers with archaeological wonders beyond the mainstream tourist circuits. Trujillo provides access to enormous pre-Incan mud-brick pyramids like Huaca de la Luna, Temple of the Dragon, and Temple of the Moon. Further north, Chan Chan constitutes the largest pre-Hispanic city in South America. And remote mountaintop citadel Kuelap predates Machu Picchu by more than 1,000 years with remarkably preserved stonework.

Puerto Maldonado

Puerto Maldonado provides the best gateway for exploring the Peruvian Amazon. Visitors can navigate jungle waterways and hike forest trails with experienced guides to uncover an astonishing array of wildlife. Spot playful monkeys swinging through the canopy, giant river otters gliding through murky waters, and maybe even elusive jaguars crossing your path. Trips also provide glimpses into local indigenous culture through village visits.

Amazon Jungle Lodges

To properly delve into the Peruvian Amazon’s astounding biodiversity, staying at a remote jungle lodge proves essential. Trusted operators like Rainforest Expeditions arrange personalized tours by expert naturalist guides for small groups. That ensures excellent opportunities to see wildlife while minimizing environmental impact. Based outside Puerto Maldonado, you’ll venture into Pacaya Samiria National Reserve to quietly navigate jungle waterways, learning about medicinal plants, glimpsing colorful birds, and hopefully observing timid giant river otters or elusive jaguars in their natural habitat as well.


Far-flung Iquitos offers the only way to access the world’s largest rainforest city not connected by road. Visitors fly or boat in for an immersive Amazon experience. While cruising the Amazon, Madre de Dios and Ucayali rivers, you may spot pink river dolphins or fishing bats. In Iquitos itself, the bustling BelΓ©n market and historic Iron House architecture reflect the city’s faded rubber boom wealth. Make sure to try unique Amazonian dishes like juicy tree grubs.

Nazca Lines

The mysterious Nazca Lines rank among the most intriguing attractions in Peru. Etched into the arid plains 250 miles south of Lima, these massive geoglyphs depict creatures like hummingbirds, monkeys, spiders, and other intricate designs measure up to 1,200 feet across. Some date back over 2,500 years. While their exact purpose remains unknown, viewing the Nazca Lines from the air reveals the incredible precision and artistic mastery of their creators.

Ballestas Islands

A boat trip to the rocky Ballestas Islands makes for an unforgettable excursion while visiting Paracas National Reserve. Nicknamed “The Poor Man’s Galapagos,” the islands teem with wildlife thanks to the nutrient-rich waters surrounding them. Visitors will be amazed spotting thousands of noisy seabirds nesting along the cliffs and playful groups of sea lions lounging below. Other species to catch a glimpse of include Humboldt penguins and hammerhead sharks.

Paracas National Reserve

Along Peru’s southern coast, Paracas National Reserve protects rich marine ecosystems and striking coastal landscapes. Visitors can embark on boat trips to the Ballestas Islands to spot sea lions, penguins, pelicans, and other birdlife. On land, the National Reserve’s beaches, dunes, and unique rock formations offer wonderful hikes and photo ops in a starkly beautiful setting.

Kuelap Fortress

In northern Peru, the remarkably preserved Kuelap Fortress constitutes the greatest achievement of the Chachapoya culture. Perched at 9,842 feet, its 20-meter stone walls encircle more than 400 cylindrical stone houses. Construction here began around 500 AD, over 1,000 years before Machu Picchu. While less visited than other ruins, Kuelap delivers an awe-inspiring glimpse into ancient ingenuity with unbelievable stonework all set amidst spectacular cloud forest scenery.


From incomparable Machu Picchu to culinary powerhouse Lima, Peru delivers incredible diversity. Intrepid travelers could spend months exploring enchanting landscapes, rich indigenous culture, and architectural marvels across Peru. To narrow your search, make sure to include Cusco, Arequipa Colca Canyon, Puerto Maldonado rainforest, and Lake Titicaca on your Peru itinerary along with Lima and Machu Picchu. You’ll discover why Peru ranks among the greatest destinations in South America.


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