No matter what kind of traveller you are, be it a history buff, active adventurer or insatiable foodie, Peru is full of special experiences. It goes without saying that most Peru visitors want to see the ancient Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, but we believe that it is the local, cultural experiences that make Peru so truly iconic.
To get a taste of the real Peru, we have picked some of our favourite local and iconic Peruvian experiences:
Visit Awana Kancha alpaca farm
Cute and furry alpacas are the iconic animal of Peru and other Andean countries. Any drive into the Peruvian Andes countryside will allow you to spot llamas or alpacas in their natural habitat, but a visit to this rural alpaca farm will give you an insight into how the delicate and coveted alpaca, llama and vicuna wool is made.
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Explore Lima’s ancient districts and iconic sites
Shrouded in history, Lima has many iconic sites within its bustling city streets. Immerse yourself in the splendour of Lima’s historic centre, exploring the large Plaza de Armas and admiring its impressive buildings. Various colonial churches are dotted around the capital, but to see the best-preserved architecture, visit the Monastery of San Francisco and discover its hidden catacombs.
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Learn the secrets of Peruvian cuisine at a Lima cooking school
Peru’s capital is famous for its food. Lima chefs have become famous worldwide for their pioneering Peruvian cuisine, and three of the city’s restaurants are ranked in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Whilst in Lima, meet local Peruvian chef, Ignacio Barrios, to visit a food market and learn about the key ingredients of Peruvian cooking. Afterwards, you can go to Ignacio’s cooking school to learn how to prepare some of the most popular Peruvian dishes.
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Explore the ruins of UNESCO Machu Picchu
A must-do on any Peruvian itinerary, there is simply nothing more iconic that Machu Picchu. One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, travel deep into Andean jungle, to visit the lost city of the Incas. Explore Machu Picchu’s ruins with a Local Specialist and visit all the highlights of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, including the Temple of the Sun, the House of the Priest and the Sacred Plaza.
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Visit the Uros Floating islands on Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca is one of the world’s highest altitude lakes. Believed to be the birthplace of the Incas, at 3,812 metres above sea level, Lake Titicaca is home to indigenous Peruvian communities, such as the Uros people. Visit the Uros Floating Islands and learn about the local villagers who live their lives aboard 60 plus islands, constructed naturally out of reeds.
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Fly over the Nazca lines
The enigmatic Nazca Lines are one of Peru’s iconic attractions. Take to the skies for a special aerial view of the gigantic geometrics designs that depict spiders, monkeys, birds and plants. Carved into the desert rocks and a huge scale, these ancient geoglyphs were only fully discovered in the 1930’s. Scientists believe that the majority of the lines were made by the Nazca people circa 1-700AD, but the reasoning behind the creation of the lines is still debated.
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Visit the Ballestas islands
For wildlife lovers, a trip to the Ballestas Islands offers the chance to see penguins, flamingos, seals, pelicans and dolphins, if you’re lucky. Known to some as a ‘mini Galapagos’, this short day trip off the coast of Paracas, provides endless nature-spotting opportunities and a view of the candelabra geoglyph etched into the side of the coast.
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Learn about Peruvian weaving in the Sacred Valley
The beautiful Sacred Valley is about 15km north of Cuzco and home to several colonial villages and fertile farmland. If you’re in the market for traditional Peruvian textiles, you’re sure to grab a bargain in the Sacred Valley. Visit the popular Pisac handicraft market and shop for local handmade textiles. Afterwards, gain a unique Cultural Insight into the centuries-old methods of Peruvian weaving from a Quechuan scholar.
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Lucky enough to have been to Peru already? Tell us about your favourite local experience below!