When in South America, don’t miss out on a visit to Peru. It’s still a developing country with a lot of basic infrastructure and transportation options, but it’s also got incredible landscapes through the country, friendly people, an interesting culture, great cuisine to try, and history everywhere. The country has mountain ranges, coastline and jungles too, so any visit there can be divided up into these three entirely different areas.
It’s a good idea to plan to stay in Peru for more than a week because many of the places take time to get to using basic transportation options across roads that get a little bumpy and are driven much slower than a highway. Taking time to enjoy everything that Peru has to offer is a better approach than rushing through like a backpacker on a mission.
Here are a few things to do in Peru during your visit.
A trek up to visit Machu Picchu is a must-see activity when planning any trip to Peru. It sits on a ridge that’s close to 8,000 feet above sea level, so as well as being a beautiful location, it will take your breath away too. There’s plenty of elevation to deal with in Peru, with a special tea sold outside airports that helps people adjust to the sudden change in elevation.
The Inca Trail is three trails that crisscross over each other. They have different distances for each trail and they are rated for difficulty. Most people walk on the Inca Trail to reach Machu Picchu. Fortunately, there are delightful views in all directions along many parts of these trails to keep you entertained while getting in your exercise for the day. There’s a daily limit of 200 people on the trail, so you have to book and get your permit early to avoid disappointment.
Lake Titicaca is the biggest lake found in South America. It also holds the record as the lake with the highest elevation that is traversable. The lake is over 3,800 meters above sea level, so be careful not to go out too far if you’re able to swim in the water there, as you won’t have as much stamina as you think you will. Near the lake is a built-up village full of local people who have lived there for decades.
There are islands nearby with boat trips out to them. The Uros Indians live there in communities that can be visited by arrangement. Their homes are constructed entirely from river reeds. Their boats and craft work are also created using reeds as their base construction material.
Lake Titicaca is accessed via a train from Cusco over to Puno. The train passes through basic Peru villages and through the countryside, so travelers get to a more rural side of the country with a visit to the lake. Learn more about a visit to Peru and other South American countries at Tourist 2 Traveler.
Elsewhere, don’t miss out on seeing Cusco. It’s a city that’s a UNESCO protected location because of its many preserved buildings that date back centuries. It’s also a natural place to visit because it links up to the Sacred Valley, which leads hikers eventually up to Machu Picchu. We’d also recommend getting fit before visiting Peru because you need to do a fair amount of walking and trekking at elevation to get the most out of a visit there.