Peru, the ancient home of Inca Empire has been a long time on our bucket list. This country located on the Pacific coast of South America is most famous for the Machu Picchu. But there is so much more to see in this great country. Peru is incredibly colourful not only because of the beautiful weavings, but it is unique by its cultural and biodiversity. You find here high mountains, vast deserts, remote jungle areas with tropical rainforest, great beaches and fauna in coastal regions.

The inhabitants are the descendants of many ethnic groups of indigenous people, Europeans, Africans and Asians. The indigenous people, who have lived in Peru before the Spanish conquered the country in the 16th century, forms about the half of all inhabitants. In Peru you can marvel at ancient sites, trek in the amazing mountains, explore the coastal fauna, get lost in the jungle or enjoy the awesome Peruvian cuisine. The possibilites here are almost infinite.

Do you want to know the prices in Peru? Check out our Peru budget guide


Map Places from the photo journey on the map


Lima
Lima
The capital of Peru, Lima is a huge city with over 10 millions of people. It is a combination of a modern city, poor slums and historical colonial architecture in the centre. There is quite lot to see in Lima. It is also a great spot to try the Peruvian cuisine from the different parts of the country.
Parque del Amor - Lima<
Parque del Amor - Lima
The city is overlooking the Pacific ocean. Go for the Miraflores walk and ejoy the view from the cliff at Parque del Amor.
Huaca Pucllana - Lima
Huaca Pucllana - Lima
Explore the ruins Huaca Pucllana, an ancient pyramid from mudbricks that was used as an administrative and ceremonial center. It is located in the Miraflores area.
Convento de San Francisco - Lima
Convento de San Francisco - Lima
Visit Convento de San Francisco, the Saint Francis Monastery in the historic centre, listed in UNESCO World Heritage List.
Cusco
Cusco
Get to Cusco, a historic capital of the Inca Empire and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The city is a great tourist attraction with many sights.
Altitude sickness
Altitude sickness
has an elevation of 3,400 metres, so you can get the altitude sickness or "soroche". At high elevations there is less airpressure and we need to breathe more to get enough oxygen. This can cause several symptoms to our body. Most common is breathlessness, headache, nausea or dizziness. In some cases the sickness can be serious.
Most of us need just some time to acclimate. It helps to drink enough water, relax and take your time to get used to the elevation, drink no alcohol, drink coca tea from coca leaves that should prevent the sickness. When nothing helps, try soroche pills. They are basicaly just full of caffeine, but it helped me a lot.
Tambomachay - Cusco
Tambomachay - Cusco
There is a nice day trip to see the Inca ruins Tambomachay. We recommend to get there by local transport and walk back to Cusco.
Tambomachay - Cusco
Tambomachay - Cusco
On the way back, you walk through small villages in the mountains around Cusco.
Tambomachay - Cusco
Tambomachay - Cusco
There are great places to stop for a cheap lunch. French fries and rice - so typical for Peru.
Cristo Blanco - Cusco
Cristo Blanco - Cusco
While walking back to Cusco, you can visit the eight metre white statue of Jesus Christ Cristo Blanco. It is not that big like in Rio, but it is worth seeing. Cristo Blanco was a gift from Palestinians who came to Cusco after World War II.
View from Cristo Blanco - Cusco
View from Cristo Blanco - Cusco
There is a great view on Cusco from there.
 Sacsayhuaman - Cusco
Sacsayhuaman - Cusco
The biggest attraction in Cusco is Sacsayhuaman or Saksaywaman, at an altitude of 3700 m. The fortified complex listed in UNESCO was built around 1000 years ago. The Inca Empire expanded Sacsayhuaman using the huge stones. The complex was taken apart and almost destroyed by Spanish who used the stones to built all kinds of colonial buildings in Cusco.
Moray observatory - Cusco
Moray observatory - Cusco
Another trip you can take from Cusco is to visit Moray observatory, located about 50 km from Cusco. It is an incredible beautiful place in the mountains. All the Inca sights has one thing common. They are built on amazing and somehow magical places. Moray was probably used by Inca as agricultural observatory. Due to the elevation, sun and wind, the temperature between the top and the bottom can be almost 15 degrees.
Salinas - Cusco
Salinas - Cusco
The same day you can visit also Salinas - salt ponds where they harvest salt by evaporating from natural salty water stream. It has been used since the Inca Empire. The local people working there can tell you details about their work if you understand Spanish.
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is the main attractions in Peru for many people. We were quite sceptictal before visiting. The place is really touristic, you need to buy the hell expensive ticket a long time in advance and there are many restrictions. We were quite scared this will destroy our experience from such an awesome place. It has been our dream for a long time to go there, so we had our doubts. Well, everyhthing is ready to get you there. Expensive and luxurius trains that will bring you to the base village Aguas Calientes, buses that will take you from there to the top. It is quite hard to avoid this. We decided to get there at least by foot from Aguas Calientes.
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
The walk from Aguas Calientes is quite exciting morning hike, it takes about an hour to get there, depending on your fitness. The hike is not that difficult, but it is quite steep and you are gonna sweat like crazy in the humid air. Great thing about Machu Picchu is that it is located at elevation 2,430 m, so you are not gonna be sick from the altitude. You need to wake up really early, because they open the gate about 5 am. That doesn't mean you will hike alone, but there is still a chance you can see a beautiful morning at Machu Picchu at 6 am with almost no tourists, morning dew and birds singing.
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Despite all the tourist craziness, you can still enjoy this magical place in peace. The Incas chose a really special place for building the Machu Picchu, that's for sure. Explore all the corners before the crowds arrive by bus.
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
The Lost City of the Incas as they call Machu Picchu was built by Incas in the 15th century and never found by Spanish during the colonist times. It was discovered by mistake by archaeologist Hiram Bingham in 1911. Today there are thousands people visiting and few friendly llamas.
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
This masterpiece of architecture is just incredible...
Hike to Machu Picchu mountain
Hike to Machu Picchu mountain
The are two mountains you can hike to if you want to see the view. Again, you must buy a ticket and there are restrictions. The more popular Huayna Picchu mountain or higher and longer hike to Machu Picchu mountain at elevation 3082 m (the banner picture on the top is from there).
Hike to Machu Picchu mountain
Hike to Machu Picchu mountain
Hiking there is an awesome experience with great views and surrounded by amazing flowers.
Pisac ruins
Pisac ruins
In Pisac you can visit other incredible Inca ruins. There are not that many tourists and the landscape is really spectacular.
Pisac market
Pisac market
Don't miss the famous Pisac market. Great spot for a lunch and buying souvenirs.
Puno
Puno
Go to Puno to get on a boat to Lake Titicaca that lies on the border between Peru and Bolivia.
Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in South America and the highest navigable lake in the world at an elevation of 3,812 m.
The Uros Floating Islands - Lake Titicaca
The Uros Floating Islands - Lake Titicaca
The biggest attractions are the Uros Floating Islands. Unfortunately it is quite touristic, but still very interesting "museum".
The Uros Floating Islands - Lake Titicaca
The Uros Floating Islands - Lake Titicaca
These people don't live this way anymore, so they just present their culture to you and try to sell you souvenirs. Nothing wrong on that, of course, but if you expect the real life, you can be dissapointed.
Amantani island - Lake Titicaca
Amantani island - Lake Titicaca
Visit other islands on the lake. On Amantani there are 4,000 inhabitants. If you come organized, you will be picked by local people and you will stay and eat at their home.
Amantani island - Lake Titicaca
Amantani island - Lake Titicaca
This was our lunch that we ate at one of the local people's houses. It is simple and you realize that people here are really poor. But there was an awesome view on the lake, better than from any luxurius restaurant in the world.
Arequipa
Arequipa
Arequipa is the second largest city in Peru. During the Colonial times it became very important centre for Spanish. You can see this on every step. Arequipa is very different from other cities.
Museo Santuarios Andinos - Arequipa
Museo Santuarios Andinos - Arequipa
There many good museums in Arequipa. We really liked Museo Santuarios Andinos, where you can see 500 year old mummy Juanita, the Ice Maiden. Juanita is the best preserved Inca mummy. She was only 12 year old Inca girl who was chosen as an offering to the gods on a mountain near Arequipa in the 15th century. Scary for us, common for Incas. A great museum!
Santa Catalina Monasterio - Arequipa
Santa Catalina Monasterio - Arequipa
When you are in Arequipa, visit Santa Catalina Monasterio, The Monastery of Saint Catherine, built in the 16th century for nuns of the Dominican Order.
El Chachani
El Chachani
Arequipa is surrounded by volcanos reaching the elevation of 6,000 m. These are one of the few places on Earth where you can get to those heights without climbing with mountaneering gear. That doesn't mean it is easy! We tried to counquer El Chachani, the highest one, 6,057m.
Trek to El Chachani
Trek to El Chachani
So we get to 4,900m by a car. Not a good idea when you don't have time to acclimate, but we didn't have that much time, so we took the risk. From the car we hiked with the backpacks for few hours to the base camp at 5,100m. Although we are used to hike, at this altitude it is extremely demanding. I think I was already exhausted from this little hike. In the base camp we mostly relaxed as we felt sick. We started to ascend at 1am. Due to the altitude sickness it was one of the hardest hike in our life.
Trek to El Chachani
Trek to El Chachani
We were four and only two us made it to the top, exhausted, but proud.

Map Places from the photo journey on the map


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