Many destinations and experiences such as Peru’s coast and mountains can only be explained by seeing them in the flesh.
The Incas forged an incredible civilization that learned how to tame the geography of Peru. This ancient society lived in harmony with the rivers, the sun, the rain, the ocean, the jungle, the Peruvian mountains and the cold dryness of the Andes, consequently adapting to the weather, their surroundings and surviving thanks to Mother Earth’s gifts.
Part of this ancient society still lives today in each town and can be seen through the customs of the people. A trip to Peru takes you back in time and allows you to rediscover the exciting lives of the Incas, Chancas, Chachapoyas, Mochicas, and Wari, as well as their great works of art, their feasts, the roots of their social strength and the energy of their people.
In the north is the city of Caral, the oldest civilization of America, and to the south is the Archaeological Complex of Pachacamac. Lima’s history predates the colonial presence in the country. The establishment of the viceroyalty transformed the city into the main political and administrative center of South America. During this period, significant churches, monasteries, mansions and balconies were built. he arrival of modernity didn’t transform the historic center, which is recognized as a World Heritage Site.
Museums with great works of art, archaeological sites, beaches, the boardwalk, valleys, natural reserves, the nightlife, the thrill of adventure sports, and the exquisite cuisine gives Peru’s capital an authentic personality and makes tourism in Lima a unique experience in the country.
Location: On the west central coast of Peru, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
Extension: Metropolitan Lima: 2,817 km2.
Ica boasts characteristic dunes and a vast desert etched with enigmatic figures, the Nasca Lines, transformed into fertile fields by ancient cultures: The Paracas and the Nasca. Land of valleys, sun, beaches and a Natural Reserve inhabited by a lush variety of flora and fauna, it is also a mysterious land of villages, home of fine wine and “pisco”, Afro-Peruvian music, and an oasis like the Huacachina, a patch of life in the heart of a blanket of sand.
Ica: more than one reason to enjoy it.
Location: Central coast of Peru.
Size: 21,305 km2 (8,226 sq.miles).
Peru’s ashlar (white stone) city with snow-capped mountains, volcanoes (e.g. Misti), deep canyons (e.g. Cotahuasi and Colca), renowned gastronomy, small coves and beaches.
Location: Nestling between the coast and the southern highlands of Peru, Arequipa is the land of with great destinations with heights on snow-capped peaks such as Ampato (6,288 m), volcanoes like Chachani (6,075 m) and El Misti (5,825 m).
Seductive, striking and natural, Cusco’s history lives in its streets, squares, valleys and towns.Stunning destinations and examples of fine engineering by Inca stonemasons can be seen in Choquequirao, Saysayhuamán, Kenko, Tambomachay, Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu, the Inca jewel built with the wisdom of the ancient Peruvians in an ecological environment. Captivating landscapes such as the Sacred Valley, where the mountains are clothed by terraces.
Pictures villages where the past forms part of the present. Cusco really is the birthplace of the world.
Location: Andes mountain range in the south of Peru
Extension: 72,104 km2.
The City of Eternal Spring is perfect for customers who archeology Great ceremonial monuments like the Huaca del Sol y la Luna (mud pyramid), Chan Chan and El Brujo (The Wizard) may be supplemented with a visit to the coast or a quick adventure aboard the famous “caballitos de totora” (reed watercrafts).Trujillo is de meeting point of Peru’s northern pre-Inca cultures and the starting point of the famous Moche Route. A new world where Mochica traditions have been alive for thousands of years. This is sure to be a unique and special incentive trip for your employees including direct contact with the ancient civilizations of the region. Moche descendants are people of great wisdom. They are always willing to share their knowledge. Northern people provide visitors a full immersion in their local culture through music, art, dances, religion and food.
Infrastructure: National Capital of the Marinera (typical Peruvian dance) and Birthplace of the Peruvian Horse, Trujillo is an easily accessible city. It is just 5 hours by land or 45 minutes flying from Lima.
Nazca lines and geoglyphs
These ancient geoglyphs in the Nazca desert are made up of interesting figures of different designs on the surface of the land. The shapes take the form of animals, plants or geometric patterns and are etched into a 290 square-mile area (31 miles long by 9 miles wide). These impressive figures are between 165 and 985 feet long. The mystery of these geoglyphs lies in the complexity of the process used to create them on the ground; they are very stylized and each is drawn with a single unbroken line. UNESCO designated them a World Heritage Site in 1994.
The Nazca lines and geoglyphs are located in the Ica region, in the Palpa and Nazca valleys, 280 miles south of Lima and near the Pacific Ocean. They lie at the edge of the western Andes at 2000 feet above sea level. To reach them by road, you can take tourist buses from the cities of Lima, Arequipa and Cusco. There are no scheduled commercial flights to Ica.
The first clues to the existence of the Nazca lines and geoglyphs date back to the year 1547, when Spanish historian and chronicler Cieza de León mentioned that he saw “signs in some parts of the Nazca desert.” This claim was forgotten with the passage of time until, much later, they were rediscovered by the first Peruvian commercial airline pilots.
The first researcher to study them was Julio César Tello, a Peruvian archaeologist, who in 1929 described these enigmas as “sacred highways.” That same year, Paul Kosok, from the United States, interpreted them as “the largest astronomy book in the world.” Years later, Toribio Mejía Xesspe theorized that the lines were part of a vanished religion. However, it was German archaeologist María Reiche Neumann who conducted in-depth studies that interpreted the Nazca lines and geoglyphs as a gigantic solar and lunar calendar for ancient Peruvian astronomers. They used the lines to predict the best time to harvest crops and the arrival of the rainy season.
Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary
Machu Picchu is an Incan city surrounded by temples, terraces and water channels, built on a mountaintop. It was built with huge blocks of stone joined to each other without any mortar. Today it has been designated cultural heritage of humanity in recognition of its political, religious and administrative importance during the age of the Incas.
1. General Information
Machu Picchu means Old Mountain, taking its name from the location of the Incan citadel.
According to historians, the architectural complex was built in the 15th century, approximately, by the Inca Pachacutec.
Its exact location is in the Machu Picchu district, province of Urubamba, 70 miles northeast of the city of Cusco.
Machu Picchu was linked to the entire Inca Empire via the Qhapaq Ñan, the famous roads of the Incas.
Temperature range from a low of 43º F to a high of 70º F.
The citadel is divided into two areas: the agricultural area consisting of the terraces, and the urban section, which served administrative purposes.
The average altitude of the citadel is 8047 feet above sea level.
The mountains of Wayna Picchu and Machu Picchu are perfect for taking panoramic photos of the entire architectural complex.
Choquequirao Archaeological Park
Located 3,050 masl (10,007 fasl) at the summit of a leafy green mountain on the border of the districts of Cuzco and Apurímac, the Choquequirao Archaeological Park is sure to impress with the majesty of its Inca architecture with terraces, plazas, chambers, imposing walls with niches, and other structures.
Construction of Choquequirao is attributed to the Inca Pachacútec’s heirs, Tupac Yupanqui or Huayna Cápac, between the 15th and 16th centuries. The site appears to have been intended for pubic and ceremonial purposes, with the cult of the sun god, the earth, and water, among others. It may also have been a controlled entry point to the realm of Vilcabamba.
Thanks to its abundant flora and fauna, Choquequirao is considered a Regional Conservation Area by the National System of State-Protected Areas (NSSPA), encompassing 103,814.39 hectares (256,530 acres).
Colca Valley offers a variety of horse riding trails that connect villages with the fertile terracing systems and mountains. The trek to the volcanoes (ruta de los volcanes) is the preferred choice by trekking enthusiasts: Hualca Hualca (6,025 masl), Sabancaya (5,976 masl) and Ampato (6,288 masl). Another recommended trek is through the towns of Cabanaconde and Tapay, a trip that takes between two and three days.
Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world, with a surface area of 3305 square miles. There are multiple options for visiting the lake, since the Peruvian side of the lake touches the provinces of Puno, San Román, Azángaro, Huancané, Moho, El Collao, Chucuito and Yunguyo, all located in the Puno region.
The lake boasts wild flora and fauna and is at the center of many cultural traditions of the people who live in the region. The lake’s vast biological diversity includes emblematic species such as the symbol of the conservation movement, the endemic Titicaca grebe (Rollandía microptera), and the kelli (Telmatobius culeus), or giant Titicaca water frog.
The communities that live on the islands of this far reaching lake offer several experience-based tourism activities, providing an excellent opportunity for immersion in the local culture.
The entire length of the Peruvian part of Lake Titicaca was recognized by the Ramsar Convention on January 20th 1997, and it is considered a wetland of international importance, especially as a habitat for water birds.
Of the almost 8559 km2 (3305 square miles) of the lake, over half of it is in Peruvian territory. The lake itself has been divided into three areas: the Large or Chucuito Lake (with a maximum depth of 283 meters (928 feet)), the Smaller or Wiñaymarca Lake and the Puno bay. The lake has five main tributary rivers: Ramis, Huancané, Coata, Ilave and Suches. The lake’s only discharge occurs through the Desaguadero River (which represents only 9% of the total), while the rest is lost through evaporation. Water temperatures vary between 9 °C (48° F) and 14 °C (57° F).
Sacred Valley (Valle Sagrado)
Formed by the towns of Pisaq, Yucay, Urubamba and Ollantaytambo, among the most visited, the Sacred Valley is one of the most attractive hikes near Cuzco, with tall mountains enclosing a green mantle of farm lands, picturesque towns and a magnificent river. The valley, which is thought to have been the center of agricultural production for the Inca Empire, is where the best Peruvian corn is grown. There are also innumerable Inca archaeological sites, and traditions that have survived the encounter with Western culture. Beautiful towns transformed by the arrival of the Spanish still keep their architectural and artistic heritage and traditional lifestyle: Písac and its handicraft fair; cosmopolitan Urubamba; the imposing fort of Ollantaytambo and Moray, with its dazzling circular roads. The Sacred Valley of the Incas is located between Písac and Ollantaytambo, parallel to the Vilcanota or Urubamba River. The valley is located one hour away from Cuzco.
Paracas National Reserve
The Paracas National Park (RNP) is one of two Protected Natural Areas (ANP) that preserves samples representing Peru’s coastal marine ecosystems. The Park contains land, a large part of the Paracas desert, islands and the sea.
Besides protecting great biological diversity, the Park also contains various archaeological sites from the Paracas pre-Inca culture, which existed in large part of what is now the reserve.
The RNP is located 250 km (155 miles) from Lima, and is easily accessible via the Panamericana Sur highway, between the Salas and Paracas districts, belonging to both Paracas and Ica provinces respectively, in Ica department. The Park stretches over 335,000 hectares (827,803 acres), 35% of which comprises dry land and islands, and 65% of which is sea.
Tourists can camp in the Park by previous arrangement with the Site Managers. Pisco City and the Chaco, where tourists can spend the night and participate in other activities including a visit to the Ballestas Islands, are just a few kilometers from the Park.
There are impressive rock formations, such as the Cathedral, which, while it was badly affected by the earthquake of August 2007, still offers a unique geological landscape. The natural beauty of the RNP is complemented by a good range of restaurants, and beaches, such as La Mina, Mendieta and Lagunillas, where visitors can camp and fish. El Chaco beach, at the entrance to the reserve, has both simple hostels and luxury 5-star hotels.
The Park is also ideal for bird watchers, as well as for those who enjoy walks and adventures in natural settings. The reserve contains an Interpretation Center which provides information on biodiversity, ecosystems and protecting endangered species in the zone.
Tambopata National Reserve
The reserve stretches over 247,690 hectares (612,055 acres) and is located in Madre de Dios department, Tambopata province. Without a doubt, the reserve is one of the best places to discover the Amazon, offering one of the highest levels of biological diversity in the world (632 species of birds, 169 mammals and 1,200 butterflies). Additionally, the reserve is surrounded by the Bahuaja Sonene National Park on the south side, making it an important conservation area in Peru.
Sandoval Lake is the most visited attraction in the Park due to its closeness to Puerto Maldonado (only half an hour by boat). On the lake, which is home to macaws and a numerous river otter families, there are lodges for accommodation. There is also an observation tower for a panoramic view of the vast landscape. Another attraction is the rock formations found on the river banks. Hundreds of birds (macaws, falcons and parrots) gather on the rocks offering a spectacular sight of color and sound, particularly between 5:30 am and 9:00 am. Mammals such as wild pigs, peccary and tapirs can generally be seen at night on mountain or inland rock formations. One of these is the Colorado rock formation, the biggest in the entire Peruvian Amazon.
Tambopata is the home of the Ese Eja, an ethnic group that has lived in the area since ancient times and knows every inch of the reserve. The Ese Eja are currently organized in three communities: Palma Real, Sonene and Infierno. The latter community works together with private companies to offer diverse activities and tourism services including lodging and guided tours, among others. The project has been considered a global success, thanks to the cooperation between the community and a private company to offer a beneficial eco-tourism product.