The best Luxury Hotels in Paracas. Nestled in the northern part of the driest desert in the world, in Paracas you will find ancient pre-Inca cultures, as well as a wildlife reserve of great importance. Due to its proximity to Lima, Paracas has always been the traditional weekend destination for the inhabitants of the capital who know where to find sun, rest, water sports and nature. Lately, Paracas has become an interesting additional stop for travelers who are going to visit Machu Picchu and the culture of the Incas.
Enjoy your vacations in a distinctive, luxurious resort surrounded by history in the Bay of Paracas. The privileged location of the hotels in front of the Paracas National Reserve, a place of conservation of natural beaches and a great variety of wildlife.
Very close to the hotels you can enjoy the Red Beach, the only beach in the world with red sand, the Ballestas Islands, the Nazca Lines, in Peru, exciting experiences that will allow you to be in contact with nature and countless activities for raise the adrenaline or find the point of relaxation.
These hotels offer first class facilities, some with a private dock and an exquisite gastronomic offer. Its luxury spas offer therapeutic and relaxation services to make your stay in Paracas an unforgettable experience. If you visit Peru for business, these hotels have versatile meeting rooms and technology, catering and planning services are at your disposal.
In fact, the Paracas desert constitutes the northern part of the Atacama desert, the driest in the world. Its beautiful dunes offer a driving challenge and an unforgettable landscape at sunset.

Paracas National Reserve, located in the Department of Ica, constitutes an extensive coastal area of ​​bays, sandy beaches, rocky coasts, shallow marine waters and islands. The Paracas National Reserve was established in 1975. The site covers an area of ​​335,000 hectares of coastal desert, a few islands, and surrounding marine habitats. Inhabiting this protected region are representative samples of Peru’s coastal-marine ecosystems and the highest concentration of seabirds anywhere in the world.

The site is rich in biodiversity: it is home to more than 1,500 species of animals and plants. Among these are 20 species of cetaceans such as the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), 168 fish, 10 reptiles, 36 mammals and 216 bird species. The site is the habitat of more than 200,000 individuals of migratory birds, mostly Franklin’s gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan) and skimmer (Rynchops niger).

The reserve has breathtaking views of the point at which the desert meets the ocean. The Ballestas Islands can be found within the oceans of this reserve. Nicknamed “Peru’s Galapagos”, the rocky islands have gained popularity due to their diverse wildlife and stunning views. Founded in 1975, it is the oldest marine reserve in Peru.

The Nazca lines are ancient geoglyphs located in the Peruvian department of Ica, which were traced by the pre-Columbian Nazca culture developed in that area between the 1st and 7th centuries AD. c.
The desert plains also known as pampas, located in the cities of Nazca and Palpa, have been recognized worldwide for their great concentration of figures and lines on desert surfaces; these manifestations have received the technical name of geoglyphs (figures built on plains or slopes).
It is about 300 geoglyphs, which represent plants and animals, as well as various geometric shapes such as spirals, zig-zag, trapezoids and triangles. As for its size, it is usually varied. However, many of the lines are so large that they cannot be fully seen from the ground.
Although the Nazca geoglyphs are one of the most important pre-Hispanic representations, they are not the only traces recorded on the Andean coast. In fact, only on the Peruvian coasts have been found up to 40 places with geoglyphs; this indicates that the use of these manifestations was a very common and highly diffused practice among ancient Andean cultures.
The drawings have been preserved in good condition due to the extreme aridity of the area. However, some paths were lost due to the passage of passers-by and tourists. In addition, the lines have also lost some of their beauty thanks to the oxidation process of the desert surface.
Currently, the Nazca lines are considered Cultural Heritage of Humanity, thus proclaimed by UNESCO, and are protected by Peruvian legislation, which is responsible for restricting the entry of people in order to prevent deterioration or alteration of the forms.

Best activities in Tambopata rainforets. Close to the city of Puerto Maldonado, in the southern part of the Peruvian jungle, is the Tambopata National Reserve, one of the most important natural areas in the entire country and with one of the greatest biodiversities on the entire planet. Walking through Tambopata is, without a doubt, a gift from nature.

The Tambopata National Reserve is divided into 6 zones: the wild zone, the direct use zone, the tourist and recreational use zone, the recovery zone, the special use zone and the strict protection zone. In the latter, access is only allowed for scientific research.

These six areas are the habitat of an infinity of fauna and flora. Just knowing the data will leave you speechless: up to 632 species of birds, 1,200 butterflies, 103 amphibians, 180 fish, 169 mammals and 103 reptiles have been found.
In addition, its large lakes, such as Sandoval, Sachavacayoc and Valencia, attract attention. But to truly be fascinated by the fauna of this national reserve, visit the clay licks, where hundreds of macaws, parakeets and parrots gather.

Discover the Tambopata Amazon Wildlife, in the department of Madre de Dios, is located one of the greatest natural treasures of Peru: the Tambopata National Reserve. With an extensive area of great biological richness, its purpose is to protect the multiple species of flora and fauna, as well as to provide resources to the native communities that inhabit it and to safeguard the beauty of the tropical sub-humid forest.

The Tambopata National Reserve was founded in 2000 and has a huge size of 274,690 hectares, in addition to being home to incredible biodiversity. The reserve has more than 550 identified bird species (eg macaws, hoatzins), around 200 mammals (eg 200 different amphibians and reptiles (eg tree frogs, rainbow boa), thousands of insects, and more than 10,000 plants and trees identified.

Visiting this reserve will always be a special experience not only for being a tourist place, but also for its immense value in generating environmental awareness and for being an opportunity for the visitor to connect with nature and all its benefits. In Tambopata you can navigate on rivers and lakes, observe reptiles in the light of the moon, discover the Collpas frequented by birds and climb to the top of the trees to observe all the spectacle that this ecological wonder offers.

Tambopata is divided into six zones, of which two are for tourist and recreational use, located along the Malinowsky and Tambopata rivers. There you will be able to contemplate charming attractions like collpas -in Quechua ‘salty land’- or clay benches located on the banks of rivers, where macaws and various species of parrots feed on mineral salts. This richness of nutrients makes them a key site within the ecosystem.

The Amazon Rainforest is the world’s largest tropical rainforests. It extends over 9 different countries in South America and is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. There is a vast amount of wildlife, lush forests, and adventure to be had. A visit to the Amazon Rainforest should be on everyone’s bucketlist. Enjoy your vacation in one of the Tambopata Luxury Hotels.

The lodges in the Amazon jungle of Tambopata have the best location, and have the best hotel facilities, with quality services for your comfort. The fewer people around, the more likely you are to see wildlife. The lodges have everything you could need in the jungle. You’ll have 24/7 naturalist guides to take you on the ride of a lifetime through the rainforest, all meals and clean water included, and much more. I couldn’t have picked a better place to stay in the Amazon Rainforest. The staff goes out of their way to make sure every part of your experience is top notch and that you feel right at home. The tour guides are very knowledgeable and friendly. You will explore the jungle with the guides only in small groups, either on the boat, walking through the jungle or hanging out at the lodge.

Birds of Manu Jungle , with new species being discovered every year. The megafauna predators often get the most attention, but Manu Amazon Rainforest birds are worthy of the trip alone. These aren’t your everyday sights for birdwatchers, no. The Amazon is a bucket list location for keen birdwatchers to see some of the world’s most unique creatures in their natural habitat, some of which are completely unique to their location.

One of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth occurs in the Amazon on a daily basis, when thousands of macaws gather at clay licks along parts of the Amazon river. Whether you are a keen birdwatcher or not, the Amazon’s thriving selection of beautiful feathered friends is sure to brighten anyone’s Amazon vacation.

There are more than 1,300 species of bird in the Amazon Rainforest. This astonishing amount accounts for one-third of all bird species in the entire world! Around 30 of the birds are endemic to the region, with the many Amazon birds being migratory, either spending the winter or passing through the rainforest at certain times of the year.

Amazon Rainforest wildlife in Peru, a great tourist destination for its inexhaustible options for archaeological ruins with an incredible history behind them. It is also a great destination where you can appreciate the different wildlife it houses due to its great geographical diversity. Thanks to the fact that a large part  of the Amazon belongs to the Peruvian territory, it is considered one of the countries with one of the largest biodiversity. But if it weren’t for its Amazon region, Peru would still have a large number of specimens to appreciate.

The largest rainforest in the world, the Manu National Park has a incredible biodiversity unlike anywhere else. full of exciting places to explore, its unique ecosystems combine to offer an unforgettable trip, and the strong desire to visit the wildlife in Peru again and again. The Amazon Rainforest is by far the most biodiverse area on the planet.

Amazon Rainforest animals set the fashion curve for South America. Some blend in with their surroundings, while others show off a wildly eclectic palate of bright colors, spots, and patterns. Folks from around the world travel to the Amazon with their long lens cameras and binoculars to see these unique critters.

AMAZON RAINFOREST MAMMALS

In the Amazon Region of Peru, some 170 species of mammals have been recorded, most of which live in Manu National Park. Some of the most incredible animals of the Amazon are felines, monkeys, and river critters.

INSECTS OF  MANU NATIONAL PARK

Stretching from southern Peru along the foothills of the eastern Andes, the Manu National Park is home of the best species-rich areas in the world. The area includes in its greatest extension a flat geography, with short, hilly and rugged regions; crossed by different watercourses, which favor the conditions for a greater diversification of its biodiversity.
The entomological community constitutes the largest component of biodiversity, with more than half (56.3%) of the number of animal species. The researchers point out that 40,000 different insect specimens live in one hectare of the Manu National Park jungle, most of them Coleoptera; which are constituted as good bioindicators of the state of conservation of ecosystems.

These organisms fulfill various ecological roles, provide important ecological services in the ecosystem, such as decomposers (allow the recycling of nutrients and waste material), consumers (they feed on matter of plant origin, favor the development of plants by pollinating crops, although they also can become pests of cultivated and wild plants), predators (they feed on other arthropods and harmful or beneficial organisms, influencing their habitat) and parasites (they control the population of other pest and non-pest arthropods, within tolerable limits both for the economy of man and the ecosystem).

AMPHIBIANS OF MANU NATIONAL PARK

A study recently published in the scientific journal “Biota Neotropica” reveals that the Manu National Park is the protected natural area with the greatest diversity of amphibians and reptiles on the planet. Rudolf von May, one of the authors of the investigation, specifies that the Manu National Park and its buffer zone found 155 species of amphibians (frogs, toads, salamanders and caecilians) and 132 species of reptiles (snakes, lizards, turtles and alligators).

Amazon tribes in manu national park,  are divided into three large groups: established native communities, indigenous people in initial contact, and indigenous people in isolation. Each group has different characteristics, which is why a differentiated treatment is required for each of them.

Understanding the differences between these groups, in addition to the internal differentiation within each group, is a necessary first step to understand the reality in which these indigenous peoples live. Each of these groups has different characteristics and has its own peculiarities, so that in order to better understand the reality in which they live, it is necessary to familiarize ourselves with their particular situation and assume a different perspective in each of the cases.

The Manu National Park and its adjacent area, in the Manu Biosphere Reserve, are characterized by their great cultural diversity. The high Andean part is inhabited by Quechua peasant communities; the Amazonian part by the Matsigenka, Yine Harakmbut, Yora (Nahua), Nanty (Kugapakori) and the “Mashco Piro” indigenous peoples, who, like some Matsigenka settlements and others, still remain in voluntary isolation or in initial contact with the larger society.

In the Andean zone, the Manu National Park adjoins the Quechua Peasant Communities of Mendozayoc, Pucará, Solan, Televan, Sahuay, Jesús María, Lali, Patanmarca, Lucuybamba, Huaccanca, Pilco Grande, Pasto Grande and Jajahuana. The Manu National Park is related to the Andean communities through agreements on the use of pastures, reduction of the conflict with the Andean bear and the prevention of forest fires.

Flora of Manu Jungle,  the largest tropical jungle in the world, containing some of the most biodiverse plants species in the world. Located in South America, more than 80,000 species of plants grow in the Amazon jungle. 20% of the world’s natural forest terrain is the Amazon Jungle itself. Scientists regularly discover new and important plant species, many of them hold medicinal properties.

The Amazon rainforest is the largest of all rainforests, covering some 2,336,344 m2; 40  percent of the South American continent. It extends from 5°N to 15°S, mostly in Brazil but also into surrounding areas of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela and accounts for about  60 percent of Earth’s remaining tropical rainforest. The land surface is one of plains and low tablelands up to about 1,300 ft asl.

In addition to the great Amazon River, the forest is drained by a multitude of large tributaries, including three other of the world’s 10 largest rivers. A dense network of thousands of smaller streams, lakes, and abandoned meanders carry water through the forest and create an intricate mosaic of habitats and environmental conditions.

 

The Manu Jungle  is truly like no other place on Earth, the ultimate heaven for wildlife and nature lovers. This remarkable realm has a host of activities for adventurous explorers from which to spot and appreciate its incredible array of flora and fauna, whether staying in a jungle lodge or venturing deep into some of the Amazon’s largest protected reserves.

On your Amazon vacation, you’ll experience some of the most exciting adventures imaginable on Amazon Rainforest activities accompanied by a bilingual naturalist guide, to ensure your safety and enjoyment.

A jungle walk through the Amazon rainforest is a wonderful experience where you’ll not only see the Amazon’s unique wildlife but also learn about the various medicinal plants that have been used for decades. On the ground look out for anaconda snakes, tarantulas, poison dart frogs, rubber trees, and pineapple flowers. If you look up, you might be lucky enough to see a three-toed sloth hanging from a tree, or a group of squirrel monkeys jumping through the rainforest canopy.  Even though the Amazon jungle has more than 1/3 of all animal species recorded in the world, including 1/5 of all birds on earth, it’s still difficult to predict exactly what animals you’ll see. Be sure to stay alert with your best binoculars close by.

Explore the best Tours in Arequipa,  one of the most important cities of Peru. The so-called White City gathers the most exciting activities to do in this south American gem. Besides being home to the 2nd Deepest Canyon in the World, this region comprehends volcanos, sanctuaries, museums, history, and traditions. Learn everything you need to know about this beautiful city and make the most of your experience!

The city of Arequipa is the second largest city in Peru and the fact that a great number of its buildings were built using a white volcanic rock called “sillar” is the reason for its unique alias. Arequipa is also very popular for its extraordinary climate with blue sky and moderate temperatures.

Arequipa’s main attraction is, without a doubt, the magnificent historic center, which owes its beauty and meaning to more than its impeccable white facades. The architectural style of most of the structures, built in volcanic rock, shows a harmonious combination of indigenous and European elements and techniques, resulting in a spectacular display of exquisitely decorated mansions, courtyards, cloisters and churches.

The white city of Arequipa is sumptuously photogenic, and has enough attractions and insights into day-to-day life in Peru to keep every traveller occupied for a stay of at least two or three nights. Although already a popular and integral part of many Peru itineraries, we think it’s also a more attractive, less touristy.

There are a variety of different tours on offer that claim to offer the best experience in Arequipa, and which one you choose will depend very much on fitness levels, time available and budget. Not every single day trip from Arequipa involves hiking for multiple days, high altitude, or hits of adrenalin.

The town of Paucarpata and the small village of Sabandia (both less than 10 km from Arequipa) are becoming increasingly popular day trips and provide the opportunity for the curious traveller to experience a different side to the region, as well as provide stunning views of Misti Volcano.

Explore the best Museums in Arequipa. The city of Arequipa has a wide variety of notable museums, which have historical and cultural remains from the pre-Inca to the Republican times. They reflect the great regional wealth and its tradition”. Arequipa has a great cultural wealth, which you can visit in the company of your family or friends.

One of the most popular places for travelers is the Andean Sanctuaries Museum where the Lady of Ampato is exhibited or the Municipal Museum that presents a sample of Arequipa’s history. Museums house a wide variety of incredible and unique pieces.

There is also the Santa Teresa Monastery and Museum of Viceregal Art, the Santa Teresa Monastery of Viceregal Art. It has 12 exhibition rooms, most of the rooms are themed. Themes such as the order of Carmen, Christmas, colonial goldsmithing, the passion, the saints of the church, the Virgin Mary, and the Monastery of Carmen de Arequipa are shown. In others there is a room for the interpretation of Colonial Art and a room for Temporary Exhibitions. The museum has a souvenir shop and a candy store.

The MAC Museum of Contemporary Art in Arequipa

Is the first modern art center in Peru. It was founded with the purpose of promoting culture and especially disseminating modern art in the city of Arequipa. The place has an incredible infrastructure, which is located in front of the old railway station.

With nearly double the depth of the Grand Canyon, this Peruvian canyon is one of the deepest in the world, the Cotahuasi Canyon.

Measuring approximately 11,595 feet at its deepest point, Cotahuasi Canyon is one of the deepest canyons in the world—more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. It’s an impressive thing to imagine and even more spectacular to behold.

Cut by the Cotahuasi River, the canyon forms a fantastic landscape of traditional Andean farms and terraced fields, steep canyon walls and plunging gullies, and occasional pre-Inca and Inca ruins.

The immense chasm is located in southern Peru, about 123 miles northwest of Arequipa. Its deepest point runs near the village of Quechualla, a six or seven-hour trek down the canyon from the town of Cotahuasi. Near the latter town, the canyon runs closest to its nearest high point: the extinct volcanic massif of Nevado Solimana, which has a peak that stretches 19,990 feet above sea level.

As well as protecting the local flora and fauna, including the magnificent Andean condors, the reserve helps maintain a traditional way of life. The often centuries-old agricultural practices of the local farmers include the cultivation of crops such as kiwicha, quinoa, tarwi, chulpe maize, muña, and a variety of other beans (the kind of things that stores in more developed countries package and sell as “superfoods”).

The Hotels in Colca Canyon is one of the most impressive places in all of Peru. It has a depth of over 9842 ft (3000m), it is nearly twice as deep as the Grand Canyon and the second deepest Canyon in the world. Colca is a mystical valley located in the Arequipa Region on the southern coast of Peru. It’s approximately 1,100 kilometers south of Lima, and 161 kilometers away from the city of Arequipa. It’s about a 3.5 hour drive away by bus from downtown Arequipa. The Colca Valley has an imposing landscape and is one of the most important tourist attractions in Peru from where you can also see the flight of the condor. It’s a perfect place for those travelers who are looking for a mixture of adventure, mysticism, and nature.

Accommodations in Colca are close to Chivay, Yanque, and Cabanaconde. Enjoy a good night’s rest in the shadows of glacier-capped peaks and a tranquil day away from the crowds. Browse our preferred selection of Colca Canyon hotels, from the luxurious Las Casitas by Belmond, Colca Lodgeand  Aranwa Colca; to budget-friendly options such as Casa Andina Colca and La Casa de Mami Yacchi.

Consider customizing your travel itinerary with an overnight stay at Colca Lodge near Chivay, home to arguably the most incredible hot springs in all of Peru. Guests have exclusive access to the lodge’s private thermal pools overlooking the river and can top off their rejuvenating afternoon with a massage at the on-site Spa Eco Thermal.

Visitors are not only fascinated by the Colca Valley landscapes and culture, but also by its cuisine. Among its most representative dishes are the delicious “chicharrón de alpaca” [alpaca crackling], the “chupe” [stew generally made with chicken, red meat, lamb or beef tripe and other giblets, or with fish, shrimp, crayfish or shellfish such as loco, and vegetables, potatoes or cassava], and the “cuy frito o asado” [fried or roasted guinea pig]. Colca also offers a great variety of typical and exotic drinks prepared with natural products of its surroundings, such as “Colca Sour” and “El Challasca”, which according to the people of Colca, have medicinal effects.

Colca Canyon, or Cañón del Colca in Spanish, ranks high among the most stunning natural landscapes in Peru. The terrain and elevations vary dramatically, and chains of mountains guard Andean towns within the valley. Endless rows of hillside terraces and colcas, or storehouses, dot Colca Canyon and add to its picturesque scenery. Colcas gave the canyon its name, and they testify to the rise of highly organized civilizations that predated the Incas. The Colca Canyon is located 4 hours away from Arequipa City, the Colca Canyon – offers travellers the opportunity to get up close and personal to countryside life in Peru, spot soaring Andean condors, bathe in secret thermal baths, uncover jaw-dropping vistas, stay in an oasis, and hike along dusty roads for two or three days into the depths of one of the world’s deepest canyons.

Depending on your sources, Colca is either the deepest or third-deepest canyon on earth and certainly one of the most jaw-dropping. Not only is it twice as deep as the Grand Canyon (this is known with 100% certainty) but, if you ask us, we’d say it’s twice as magnificent, not least because it’s the best destination in all of Peru to spot the majestic Andean Condor, the largest flying bird on the planet.

The trip is doable in one day, however, we advise staying there for at least one night to be able to enjoy and explore better. There are plenty of accommodations in Chivay and Yanque, the popular villages nearby the Canyon. It is better to hire a tour that includes transportation from and to Arequipa instead of reaching the place on your own. It is also advisable to stay one night in Arequipa before going to the Colca Canyon trek in order to acclimatize to the altitude. If you decide to do a one-day tour, you would be leaving Arequipa at 03:30 approx and be back there at 17:30 hrs. This can be a good option for travelers with a tight schedule that does not want to miss this place. If you love to discover new types of animals and birds, this is the place for you! There, you can find over 100 kinds of birds, 300 types of plants, and more than 30 types of cactus. So if you are the type of traveler that enjoyscatching” a new bird or plant, you will enjoy this place. The villages that are located around the Canyon are known for being traditional and colorful. We bet that you will find interesting stories and many authentic souvenirs to buy. You can also take pictures with the llamas, alpacas, and if you are lucky, with a big bird related to the condors. But take into consideration that you will be able to know more in-depth this area if you stay there for at least one night.

The Santa Catalina Convent is renowned worldwide as a colonial architectural masterpiece. The monastery is home to many complex rooms, beautiful plazas, ornate fountains and winding cobblestone streets. As one of the most popular attractions in Arequipa, this is not one to be missed during your visit. This great work of colonial architecture was a cloistered convent which dates back to the 16th century, this massive structure covers more than 20,000 km2 that you can explore. While the monastery once housed approximately 450 people, (both nuns and servants) there are now only approximately 20 nuns living in the northern corner of the building.

Catherine of Siena is the saint to whom this convent is consecrated. Here, silence has found its voice in the bright colors of the convent’s walls and the cobblestone passageways that converge at a beautiful square. As a citadel for women devoted to prayer, charity and the making of delicious desserts to tempt the palate, Santa Catalina is more than a convent; it is a crucible of secrets that visitors only glimpse as they wander through its buildings; secrets that will remain within the convent’s walls forever.

The monastery has been open to the public since 1970. Before that, it was home to a community of nuns but the people from Arequipa knew very little about it since they were not allowed to go inside.

While we recommend exploring the monastery with the aid of one of the multilingual, knowledgeable guides, you can also explore the monastery alone. The monastery is open two evenings a week so that visitors can roam the grounds in candlelight as the nuns would have done years ago.

Best Hikes & treks to Machu Picchu. While there are tons of routes to Machu Picchu, the Inca Trail is the best one. But why is this one trek in Peru so special, that more than 500 permits sell out every day?

It’s because the Inca Trail hikes directly to Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate rather than concluding in a bus ride. You have to book them months in advance. You can only go with a guide from a licensed tour company.

Only you can decide whether the Inca Trail is worth through four days plenty of adventures. But there are plenty of treks to Machu Picchu for those who prefer solitude. For people who hike for views. Those who favor cultural interactions, Wildlife. There are hikes you can do outside of trekking season. There are even alternative routes to Machu Picchu if you can’t part with the idea.

Why do the hike everyone else is doing? There are glaciers to see. Canyons that plunge 3,000m deep. Mountains that climb above 6,600 m. If you’re willing to seek them out, you’re likely to experience that the best trek in Peru isn’t the Inca Trail at all.

We’ve already covered some of the best treks in South America, but I’d like to turn the spotlight onto Peru for a sec, because it’s undoubtedly one of the world’s best trekking destinations. From the Choquequirao Trek to the Ausangate Trek, there are some of the best treks in Peru that aren’t the Inca Trail.

Machu Picchu is located in the heart of the Peruvian Andes. The sacred Inca citadel built around 1450 and discovered in 1911, still hides enigmas and mysteries about its real purpose, which continue to be hidden to this day and which arouse the interest of both visitors and archaeologists from all over the world.

Due to its strategic location at the top of a high mountain, there are various theories about what it could mean for the Incas. Some argue that it was built as a great mausoleum for the Inca Pachacútec, while others claim that it was an important administrative and agricultural center whose cultivation areas served for the livelihood of its inhabitants. However, it is also considered that it was used as a necessary link between the Andes and the Peruvian Amazon or as a resting residence for the Inca governor.

The truth is that Machu Picchu is one of the greatest symbols behind what was the impressive architecture and engineering of the Inca Empire. Although its origin is still the subject of study, the value and significance it represented in its time, as well as its imposing design, have earned it to be considered one of the seven wonders of the modern world.

Places of Interest in Machu Picchu

During the tour of the sanctuary, one witnesses the most fascinating and incredible attractions. Each one with its own history and meaning, but all with great architectural beauty.

In total, there are around 196 tourist spots within the citadel among archaeological complexes, squares, temples, water fountains, monuments and residences; all intertwined with each other and with the natural environment.

When touring Machu Picchu, you can see two well-marked sectors divided by a wall of approximately 400 meters long: one oriented to agricultural purposes and the other more urban. The agricultural area is characterized by the presence of terraces or platforms that were used for the cultivation of various foods. Very close to this area, there are some small houses that could have been the dwelling of farmers.

On the other hand, in the urban area the Royal Residence is located, which was the finest, most extensive and best distributed house in the place; the Plaza Sagrada, the main ceremonial site of the city, the Intihuatana Pyramid, where the great solar clock is located; the Group of three gates, many buildings, which includes temples for ceremonial use.

The Inca Trail hike  to Machu Picchu is considered one of the best treks in the world due to its exquisite beauty and natural environment. This includes different ecological areas from high Andean hills to rainforests. Following this ancient Inca Trail Hike, passing through mysterious archaeological inca trail houses, inca trail temples, and royal inca trail  residences covered by vegetation environments, creating the impression of being discovered for the first time, to finally reach the lost city of the Incas: Machu Picchu. Our adventure is led by expert inca trail tour  guides who will ensure that your trip safe and enjoyable. We work only in small groups and with the best inca trail camping equipment, our inca trail  cooks are the best with a great experience preparing the best food for your enjoyment.

The eastern part of the tropical Andes of Peru, where Machu Picchu is located, is considered a privileged place, because it houses a high number of endemic species of birds (we understand by endemic; which cannot be found anywhere), Around 400 species of birds in the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu, of which 50% can be seen while on the Inca Trail and in Machu Picchu, 700 species of butterflies have also been recorded.

 

If you are going  to Machu Picchu, you may be surprised to stumble upon so many varieties of orchids of Machu Picchu. There are a great diversity of orchids species in Perú, some restricted to their natural regions. They are epiphytic or terrestrial. They grow between 100 and 4,600 meters above sea level. Many of orchids species of Perú are in danger of extinction due to illegal trade and deforestation of their habitat.

There are literally thousands of orchid species in Peru, many of which are located in the low cloud forest eco-regions around Machu Picchu. It is estimated that as many as 50% of Peru’s more than 3,000 orchid species remain unidentified by science.

The diversity of microclimates in Peru allows a great variety of orchids. They have been appreciated since pre-Columbian times by the native cultures of Peru.

ORCHIDS OF MACHU PICCHU  CHARACTERISTICS

The Orchidaceae family is one of the largest among the superior plants and its distribution is worldwide; the described species are estimated at 25,000, distributed in 750 genera.

Their growth habits are very varied and can be separated into two large groups: epiphytes and terrestrial (within this group are lithophytes), including even an underground species (Rhizanthella gardneri), which grows in Australia. In the tropics most of the orchids are epiphytes and very showy flowers, while those of temperate zones are terrestrial and of little attractive flowers.

The orchid flowers are generally hermaphrodite and bilaterally symmetrical. In the vast majority of the flowers are made up of three external elements called sepals, two lateral and one dorsal, and three internal elements called petals, the lower one modified on a lip or lip, larger and more intense in color than the remaining.

The lip is often trilobed with fleshy ridges or a basal spur, and often with a completely different color pattern than the other two petals.

Orchids are a well-distributed and extremely varied plant family, often with fragrant, colorful and bizarrely shaped blooms. The Orchid family is one of the largest families of flowering plants, containing around 600 genera, and comprising approximately 10% of all seed plants. All orchids are myco-heterotrophic, meaning they form a relationship with fungi in the soil in order to get their nutrients. Because of their vibrantly colorful, often strange and perfumed blooms, orchids seem to possess a certain mystique that has captured the imaginations of humans from time immemorial. In fact, dedicated orchid horticulturists and enthusiasts have been known to compete, fight over and even commit crimes in the service of their obsession.

Birds of Machu Picchu , The extraordinary ruins of Machu Picchu, at an elevation above 2400 m, were among the most amazing creations of the Inca Empire at its height: its giant walls, terraces and ramps seem to have been cut out of continuous rock escarpments. This remote site lies on the eastern slope of the Andes on the upper reaches of the Amazon basin in a region exhibiting a rich diversity of flora and fauna.

Birding in Machu Picchu is a unique and unforgettable experience. The cloud forest surrounding the stone city is full of beautiful and colorful bird species. The best birding near the ruins might be on the walk up to the “windows of the sun”, Inti Punku, for Inca Wren and Brush-finches. Besides the ruins, you should spend at least one morning birding the humid montane forest in the Aguas calientes area (5,578 feets).

Machu Picchu has the most beautiful and astonishing scenery, in addition, has such rich biodiversity, among the 352.590 hectares that protects the citadel of Machu Picchu and the surrounding mountains. Birding in Machu Picchu is certainly, a must to do for every birder worldwide. Its large number of endemic bird species, and the long walks, that offers its surroundings, allow you to observe the great variety of birds, having great opportunities for bird watching, whether you are a beginner or a professional bird watcher.

Within the Sanctuary, there are more than 400 species of birds, around 700 species of butterflies and more than 400 species of orchids, that is to say up to 10% of all the biodiversity of Peru!

The Huayna Picchu mountain is the imposing granite peak that dominates the sanctuary of Machu Picchu. It is considered an important “APU” or sacred summit of Machu Picchu; Huayna Picchu is a “quechua” word that means young peak or young mountain; It is located at 2,720 meters above sea level or 8,920 feet around which the Urubamba River bends. The Incas built a trail up the side of Huayna Picchu and built temples and terraces on top of it. From a distance, the mountain looks impossible to climb without the necessary tools, but even though it is a strenuous climb with some parts where you will really need hands and feet, the climb is quite possible for all visitors on average. For many people climbing Huaynapicchu is one of the highlights when visiting Machu Picchu.
The climb itself is interesting as you will see how the Inca architects carved some steps into the rocks and as you hike up the side of a mountain you will see Machu Picchu from different angles. Before reaching the top, you will also have to go through a tunnel carved into the rocks and the higher you go, the more structures you will recognize on top of the mountain. Some structures and terraces are built in impossible places that really speak to your imagination. Some structures are almost flush with the side of the mountain with a sheer drop of a couple of hundred meters on the other side. The views (on a clear day) of Machu Picchu as seen from Huayna Picchu are impressive and really give you an idea of ​​how impressive the site is.

 

There is something about pausing during your time in the Andes that allows you to embrace the wonder of being there. And there is no better place to pause than in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The superior amenities of these Sacred Valley luxury hotels – such as relaxing spa services, fine dining and stunning natural surroundings – make each property a true gem.

Thanks to its unique climate, the valley is lush with vegetation, multicolored flowers bloom all year and a shy sun keeps the temperature mild. It is also home to a host of Inca ruins such as Ollantaytambo, Moras, Moray and many more which are all well worth exploring. After a busy few days haggling at the markets in Cusco or hiking though the Andes, it is the perfect location to spend a night.

Peruvian Cuisine is one of the world’s most exciting culinary travel destinations, with an exquisite food scene. Celebrate the essence of Andean culture through the wealth of its legendary flavors and aromas. Become intrigued by the cultural and agricultural origins of food; purple potatoes, exotic amaranth, Incan quinoa. Explore the intrinsically agrarian Andean worldview through a native perspective a culinary journey to the heart of food.

PERU’S FOOD CULTURE – THE ESSENCE OF CULINARY ART

Want to know more about Peruvian Food Culture? Maybe you’ve heard that Peruvian Cuisine is the next biggest thing. Or you’ve seen the buzz about top Peruvian Chefs taking the world by storm. What about the incredible Superfoods native to Peru and the fusion cuisine that blends native and imported traditions? Were the culinary traditions of Peru always this strong? What is it that makes typical Peruvian food so special and why has it suddenly become a hot topic?

The world’s recognition of world class Peruvian cuisine has caused the explosive growth of a culinary tourism industry proving there is so much more to Peru that just Machu Picchu

PERUVIAN CUISINE & CULTURAL INFLUENCES

Peru is South America’s third-largest country and has three distinct regions within its borders. There are the Andean highlands, the coast, and the Amazon basin which is a rainforest on the eastern side of the Andean highlands. Each region offers different but influential indigenous culinary meats, fruits, and vegetables to their menus which provide diversity within Peruvian Cuisine.

Adventures in  sacred valley  Andean Great Treks is specialized in organizing the best adventure activities in the sacred valley. You can practice the different options of adventure sports such as rafting, mountain biking, horseback riding.

The landscape and geography of the Sacred Valley of the Incas is very conducive, to do these adventure activities, we recommend that you stay in one of the hotels in the Sacred Valley, and from there explore the different trails for short walks, such as the road that descends from the ruins of Chinchero to the Poc-Poc waterfalls, and culminates in the town of Urquillos.
Another highly recommended activity for adrenaline lovers is mountain climbing, which is practiced in the Publo de Pachar, you can also enjoy a Via ferrata circuit, with a zip line.

For the more adventurous there is paragliding, which is undoubtedly one of the most memorable experiences, since during an hour of flight you will be able to see the beautiful sacred valley surrounded by its imposing snow mountains, and the silhouette of the great Vilcanota river from the highest.

Sacred Valley Communities are home to the living culture of Cusco. If you want to be part of this living culture, the inhabitants of the valley are ready to share their work with you and allow you to experience their daily life for yourself.

The Sacred Valley of the Incas is the spectacular and historic valley where the runas (human beings) of the Tahuantinsuyo (Inca nation) lived, who built impressive works of agricultural engineering admired throughout the world. Located a short distance from Cusco, it is a spectacular valley located in the Andes mountain range in South America. The valley runs parallel to the meandering Urubamba River, also known as the Vilcanota River or Willkamayu River, and is just 15 km (9 miles) north of Cusco.

This beautiful valley between the towns of Písac and Ollantaytambo was greatly admired by Peruvian ancestors due to its special conditions: beneficial climate, fertile land, and the presence of the Willkamayu River (sacred river). The runas, with the incentive of the qualities granted by nature, built architectural works linked to agriculture, which was the main activity in ancient Peru. Here, the Incas found the perfect place to record their intrinsic knowledge of hydraulic engineering and their deep love for nature. It is for this reason that the aqueducts, the irrigation channels and the channels of the Willkamayu River, as well as the impressive platforms, the astronomical-scientific observation centers and the centers of spiritual activity, are still preserved. The sacred valley is a rich agricultural area that supplies the city of Cusco with its production of corn, fruits and vegetables.

The Salt mines of Maras are located 50 km northeast of the city of Cusco, at an altitude of 3,200 meters above sea level. Geographically, they are located in the lower part of the sub-basin and left bank of the Salineras stream, towards its mouth in the Vilcanota river, in the jurisdiction of the peasant communities of Maras and Pichingoto, between the ravines of the Qaqahuiñay, Cruz Mocco, Llully Mocco and Chupayoq.

It has three access routes: from the town of San Francisco de Maras, along the bridle path or runañan to the salt mines, the paved road from the town of San Francisco de Maras, and crossing the Inca bridge of Tarabamba through the community of Pichingoto.

The salt mines themselves are made up of a set of approximately 4,500 salt pools located in the form of stepped terraces on the middle slope of the Qaqawiñay hill with slopes of 20 degrees incline to the bottom of the ravine on the left bank of the Salineras stream, with dimensions that fluctuate around 5 linear meters, occupying a total area of ​​approximately 1.5 to 2 hectares.

The terraces are made up of irregular stone retaining walls settled with mud mortar, forming dikes that delimit the pools as small reservoirs of approximately 5m2. The saltwater conduction system from its catchment is carried out through a main irrigation channel, which branches into several small channels that feed the pools. The conduction and maintenance of the salt water canal is associated with a path that, due to its layout and characteristics, is presumed to be of pre-Hispanic origin. This technology is similar to that of irrigation in pre-Hispanic agricultural platforms characterized by the conduction and equitable distribution of water.

Visit the best Sacred Valley  Haciendas. In Cusco since the arrival of the Spaniards, many of the wealthiest families joined the beautiful landscape of the sacred valley, where they built the most beautiful haciendas, surrounded by mountains and cornfields.
The circuit of the haciendas of the sacred valley will take you to a glorious past, where you can learn about its history and enjoy an exquisite lunch watching the typical dance of Peru, La Marinera accompanied by the Paso Horse.

Sacred Valley Markets: The Pisac & Chinchero 

Explore the best Sacred Valley Markets. Peru’s beautiful Sacred Valley (El Valle Sagrado) lies between Cusco and Machu Picchu. All three travel gems add up to a perfect  for visitors to the Andean highlands. The Urubamba River runs through this narrow valley with incredibly picturesque scenery and lined by majestic mountains.

The fertile Sacred Valley was an essential region for the Inca Empire, providing the Inca with prime farming land, rare in the Andes. During their rule (1438 to 1533), the Inca built stone temples, palaces, fortresses, agricultural terraces and other structures throughout the valley.

Today, the Sacred Valley is filled with a patchwork of farmed fields, typical Andean villages, colorful indigenous markets, and magnificent Inca ruins. The pace of life is definitely slower here (in comparison to Cusco), except for Sundays when the market in Pisac attracts hordes of tourists.

A large proportion of the indigenous population (Andes Indians) who live here are descendants of the Incas, so they speak Quechua and have a vibrant cultural tradition.

Chinchero has a small market most days of the week, but Sunday is definitely the busiest and most interesting day to visit. This is when traditionally-dressed villagers from the surrounding communities come to market to buy and sell vegetables, animals and household goods. Since it’s geared more towards locals than tourists, this Sunday market attracts less visitors than Pisac.

Pisac has the Sacred Valley’s largest and most well-known handicraft and produce market as well as magnificent Inca ruins, located high up on a mountain near the town.

Exlore the best Inca Ruins of  Sacred Valley of the Incas.  The Sacred Valley of the Incas was a very special place for the ancient, ancient cultures. This is due to its very special climate, which is maintained throughout the year, with temperatures from 15 to 21 C°.
The Vilcanota River is the main source of water resources, which is used to irrigate the fields of corn, fruits and vegetables. In ancient times this river was considered the most sacred, which had a link to the Milky Way. This is how the ancient Peruvians identified some dark spots in the Cusco sky with different forms of animals and shepherds.
Following this astral map, the Incas decided to build their main temples and sanctuaries taking the form of these animals. The first world-famous site is the Pisac ruins that resemble a condor, then there is the Pachar site where there is a Sapo mountain, the Ollantaytambo fortress has the shape of a Lama with its calf.
This is how this valley, which to this day fulfills its function as a pantry and main granary of the city of Cusco.

The Sillustani chullpas are located 34 kilometers from the city of Puno, on the peninsula that enters the bright blue waters of the Umayo Lagoon at 4,000 meters above sea level. This amazing lagoon, which has a depth of approximately 14 meters, is connected by the Chaullamayo rivers to the southwest and Ccaccapunco to the north, and communicates through the Illpa River with Lake Titicaca.

Sillustani, etymologically comes from the words “sillus” (nail) and “llustani” (slide); then, the literal translation of Sillustani would be nail slide. Perhaps referring to the fact that the union of the external blocks of the chullpas does not even allow the passage of a nail.
Sillustani has about 90 inverted cone-shaped chullpas. According to history, before the corpses of the highest Kolla authorities were placed in the tombs, they were mummified in the fetal position. These authorities were the most representative of the Inca Empire.

Along with their bodies, their belongings were located, which was done to maintain, over time, respect for the same authorities and everything that had characterized them during their period of government. Some included gold and silver objects, food, or ceramic utensils.

The chullpas are located on top of a small hill. Among the most famous, we find the chullpa del Lagarto, named for the large stone blocks at the base. This is the most representative of the culture, since it is the most notorious, rising 12 meters high with stones that fit perfectly, in addition, it was built during the Inca era.

Main features of Sillustani:

Archaeological sites in Puno are Peru’s oldest civilizations. In Lake Titicaca the largest Pucara, Tapara and Tiahuanaco cultures arise, which give rise to the powerful Inca Empire.

The list of the best hotels in puno on your vacation to Lake Titica in Peru. These hotels have the best views. A la carte menu, exclusive tours, luxurious rooms.

Amantani Island is one of the best tourist options to get away from the bustling cities and the daily routine. The island is located about 4,000 meters above sea level within Lake Titicaca Peru and is one of its largest islands. You will find a natural and calm environment, with numerous and varied vegetation giving it an aura full of peace. One of the main characteristics of the place is that it has a great extension of Lake Titicaca, giving it some beautiful views of the place. Despite being a popular tourist destination, it has not undergone modifications or projects for tourism purposes, maintaining its original essence. Within some Lake Titicaca tours, you can enjoy a beautiful tour on the Island where you can visit some archaeological ruins of the place or learn about the culture of the indigenous peoples that inhabit it.

Along the Amantani Island, there are numerous archaeological ruins. Some of these ruins give evidence that the original cultures native to the place were part of the Tiahuanaco culture and later integrated into the majestic Inca Empire. Peruvian history played a leading role on the island since during the Viceroyalty it is very likely that the Spanish appropriated these lands, enslaving the communities that inhabited it. The aborigines from the islands were always deprived until relatively recently.

Today, within the Island there are approximately 8 indigenous communities, of which they rely on agricultural activities. There are also numerous tours and travel options in this incredible place, making it a perfect destination to enjoy some vacations in Peru.

Taquile Island is seemingly on top of the world. In the middle of the Peruvian half of Lake Titicaca, the shores of Taquile sit at 12,959 ft (3,950 m) above sea level, while its highest point reaches 13,287 ft (4,050 m).

Despite its (literally) breathtaking elevation, the island’s size is pretty modest at 2.21 square miles (5.72 km²). However, it is still the second largest Peruvian island on the lake after Amantaní island. The island is 28 miles (45 km) from the region’s largest city Puno on the lakeshore. It takes about 3 hours by boat to reach the island from Puno.

The island was once part of the vast Inca Empire until the Spanish conquered the territory during the 16th century. The Incas called it Intika, and the Quechua locals—descendants of the Incas— still called it that today. The name Taquile comes from the Spanish nobleman Pedro Gonzales de Taquila.

The Spanish imposed cultural restrictions on the inhabitants of the island. For example, they weren’t allowed to wear traditional Inca clothing but had to wear campesino, or peasant, styled clothing instead. However, because of the island’s remote location, especially at a time without motorized boats, many other local customs remained intact. Today’s islanders, numbering around 2,200, continue the generations-old tradition of subsistence farming and fishing.

Perhaps what Isla Taquile is most well known for today is its weaving tradition. Weaving is, of course, an integral part of local culture in many parts of Peru. It is a way for indigenous peoples to represent their history and society with geometric and natural shapes as well as colors. The weavers of Taquile Island, in particular, have an interesting tradition where both women and men take up the loom.

Tourism on Taquile took off in the 1970s and transformed their weaving traditions. With such international interest in their woven goods, locals adjusted their patterns and colors for an international market. For example, the traditional background color for Taquileños’ woven goods is red. However, many started to use purple as a principal background color to appease their new international buyers. Also, to keep up with increased demand, local weavers now buy factory spun yarn rather than hand spinning the wool themselves.

They still make all of their products using local traditional techniques, including a four-point grounded loom. In fact, Taquileños are among the few indigenous communities in Peru to forgo Western dress and keep their traditional garments.

The patterns and colors may have evolved over time, but the meaning is still present in their work. Even UNESCO has recognized their incredible local art by recognizing Taquile and Its Textile Art as a “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” in 2005.

Uros floating islands in Lake Titicaca, the largest high-altitude lake in the world. Its waters are home to Lake Titicaca’s mysterious and fantastic  Uros islands that contain a unique cultural wealth.

Of courses, this is because their predominantly indigenous communities still maintain the traditions of the Pre-Inca and Inca Empires. It is said that the Andean culture considered Lake Titicaca as the cradle of the Sun and the Inca Empire and The floating islands of the Uros on Lake Titicaca are proof of it. Besides, it houses different native cultures such as the Uros. One of the oldest cultures in the region that still decide to live in the same traditional way as their ancestors.

The Uros are believed to be direct descendants of the first inhabitants of Lake Titicaca. The community has lived on the floating islands for decades. According to history, the pre-Inca community of the Uros was forced to build their floating houses when the Inca Empire expanded their lands and expelled them. Consequently, the people of Uros didn’t want to fight, they just wanted to live in peace. So retreating to the Lake was a good way to defend themselves against the aggressive Collas and Incas. In this form, they have maintained their lifestyle for hundreds of years, and, to protect themselves from the invading groups, they built large mobile islands with the reed of Totora. In this way, if a threat arose, the Uros could move their islands to another safe part of the Lake.

Manu Amazon Tours, in the Manu Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and ancient tangle of trees and waterfalls in Peru. Giant otters swim in the lakes and spider monkeys swing through the canopy. Blue-headed macaws, brightly coloured parrots and parakeets chatter away in the trees; ornate hawk-eagles circle above.

Manu National Park consists of several very different habitats and ecological zones, which are undoubtedly major factors in contributing to the extraordinary diversity to be found here. Tropical rainforests are the greatest expressions of life on the planet and offer a wonderful array of species to look for, but they are also amongst the most challenging places to take photos successfully.

The immense variety of Manu National Park in terms of altitude, microclimate, soils and other ecological conditions results in a complex mosaic of habitats and niches. There is a broad spectrum of plant communities, ranging from the seemingly homogenous but highly diverse Andean grasslands to a range of mostly pristine forest types. Estimates of plant diversity range between 2,000 and 5,000, with some scientists even assuming considerably higher numbers. Records of fauna are similarly impressive with well over 1000 vertebrate species, including at least 200 species of mammals and more than 800 species of birds. Among the mammals are the Giant Otter, 13 different species of primates and eight felids, including Jaguar, Puma and the elusive and endangered Andean Mountain Cat. The wide range of estimates in various taxonomic groups of fauna and flora illustrates how little is known.

If you are planning on traveling  to Machu Picchu, you have to know that there are numerous ways to experience it. If you wonder about how to get to Machu Picchu, there are at least two main ways to get to know the citadel. One of the ways to experience Machu Picchu is on a private tour with just you and a guide.

This way you can ask all the questions you want and take the time you need to discover the stories and legends of Machu Picchu. The best time to visit Machu Picchu will depend on you, but the archaeological complex is available throughout the year. Getting to Machu Picchu for the travelers is simple, most people choose the train to Machu Picchu and arrive at the Aguas Calientes station. There are several train options depending on your budget, the Peru Rail company is one of the companies that offer trips. Among your most economical options is the Expedition train, a tourist train with large windows. You can also enjoy comfortable seats and several daily departures to and from Machu Picchu. Slightly more expensive is the Vistadome train, which features a glass roof, great leather seats, and great amenities. But if budget isn’t an issue, take the luxurious Belmond Hiram Bingham, where you’ll receive free gourmet meals and beverages to get you through the trip. The train also has an observation car where you will have unobstructed views on your trip to Machu Picchu, so if you want luxury, this is for you. You don’t have to worry about security in Peru since most tourist and downtown areas are out of danger.

If you are on the more adventurous side, why not take a hike to Machu Picchu. The popular 4-day Inca Trail hike may be just what you are looking for. This hike is a rewarding experience as you pass through cloud forests, climb high passes, return to rivers, see ancient ruins, camp in the Andes Mountains under the stars while enjoying hearty meals, all of which make the 4 days unique. memorable. Going is difficult but the reward is worth it, the last day you will walk to the Puerta del Sol where you will see Machu Picchu for the first time, the same day you will receive a 2-hour tour with your guide enjoying the legends of the spiritual Inca citadel. The Inca Trail is, without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Machu Picchu. Keep in mind that the Inca Trail is closed during February due to its maintenance.

Cusco offers you so many things to do and experience that we’d wish we could add a few more days to our itinerary to explore even more. The Sacred Valley of the Incas, for example, is one of the most sought after destinations within the region and comprises several archeological sites and activities that you should know about.

Undoubtedly, the so-called Urubamba Valley is everyone’s favorite attraction in Cusco (besides Machu Picchu of course) not only because of its historical monuments but the extensive cultural expression, where Andean mysticism and ancient traditions are still deeply rooted in its people.

Likewise, the natural setting here is as magical as you can imagine and changes from town to town, another reason to not overlook this outstanding region in the Andes. Likewise, it is the perfect getaway destination from Cusco, especially for those who wish to unwind their soul to the rhythm of the rumbling Urubamba river and the everlasting energy of these ancient lands.

Treks In Cusco. As you may know, the Andes was the birthplace to many ancient civilizations, where some of them influenced the development of the succeeding cultures, while the latest ones left a prevailing legacy in the heart of each region.

We know, Machu Picchu is basically the synonym of Peru but that doesn’t mean it is the only thing to see in this South American gem. Our country is widely diverse, not only in culture but in history and nature as well, which is why we’d love to show you some of the not-so-touristy attractions in Peru but yet as impressive as the Inca Citadel.

As you can see, Peru is so much more than Machu Picchu and we want you to know at least a part of it without missing the best things along your desired travel itinerary. Here you’ll find the best off-the-beaten-path attractions in Cusco!

For that reason, the Cusquenian mountainside holds beautiful beliefs and ancient traditions that have been carried out through generations until the current date. Besides, the natural wonders of this region are undeniably impressive, with several snow-capped mountains, greenish valleys and turquoise-water lagoons.

Therefore, the Andes offer the most complete travel experience in our country, comprising culture, history and adventure sports from edge to edge.

If you’re looking for the best adrenaline-packed adventure, here we have gathered some of the most impressive trails in Cusco, as well as some of the most strenuous but totally worthy treks in Cusco.

As you may know, the Andes of Peru are the most sought-after destination in the ancient country of the Incas, where towering snow-capped mountains, greenish valleys and turquoise-water lagoons tell the story never told of our lands.

Nonetheless, we’d like to mention that some of these treks will take you over 4,000 meters above sea level, which is why it is best to be properly acclimatized before committing to any of these activities.

Dare to travel off the beaten track and discover the real authenticity of Peru like a total expert!

If you love outdoor activities as much as we do, then you’ll surely be glad to know there is a magical place waiting for you right at the heart of the Vilcanota mountain range. The Vinicunca mountain, also known as the Rainbow Mountain of Peru is the most sought after day trek near the Imperial City of Cusco.

This colorful mount originated millions of years ago and even though it has been there all along, it wasn’t until 2014 that it was discovered by locals and put on the tourist market in the beginning of 2015.

The Rainbow Mountain was hidden in plain sight since it was another snow-capped peak of the Andean region. However, due to climate change the thick layers of ice and snow that once covered it, melted away unveiling its true colors to the world.

The imposing colored mountain sits on an elevation of 5,200 meters above sea level and it’s surrounded by the mighty Apu of the Andes, the Ausangate Mountain, as well as the Red Valley and an impressive natural scenery.

It is worth mentioning that even though the trail may seem partially flat and easy, the altitude is a factor that can’t be ignored. Therefore, if you’re planning to do this trek, make sure to be properly acclimatized before venturing out to this otherworldly location.

EXPLORE THE CUSCO INCA RUINS

The Cusco Inca Ruins  of Sacsayhuaman is the most significant ruin in Cusco, and is close enough to the historic center that you can walk there. Many tourists stop to see it on the way to Pisac. Sacsayhuaman is thought to have both military and religious significance. Cusco  Inca Ruins was designed in the shape of a puma, with Sacsayhuaman as the head. Three ramparts of zigzagging defense walls extend for almost 300 meters, forming the teeth of the puma.

The fascination of this ruin is not just its staggering size, but the size of the stones from which it was built, and the complexity of the stonework. Consider that what you see here is only about 20 percent of the original mass — until it was protected in the 1930s, blocks from Sacsayhuaman were being hauled away to use for construction in Cusco.

Most of the largest stones, which were more difficult to move, were left at the site, and form the basic structure. Some of these stones measure more than eight meters high and weigh 361 tons. Despite the massive size of these stones and their often irregular shapes, they are fitted together so perfectly that modern engineers wonder at how the Incas managed such a feat.

QENQO

A relatively small archaeological site compared to others nearby, Qenqo is particularly interesting and especially puzzling to historians, as its exact uses are unknown. The entire remaining complex was carved out of a single solid rock, including its underground chambers and unusual winding channels.

What these channels were intended to hold — water, blood from sacrifices, or chicha (beer) have been speculated — is unknown, but they zigzag down through the site.

Early accounts from the time of the Incas describe the entire stone site covered in a layer of gold. Two upright stones at the upper area appear to have formed an Intiwatana, similar to the “Hitching Post of the Sun” at Machu Picchu and used for astronomical observations.

Qenqo is about four kilometers from the center of Cusco.

The San Pedro Market is one of the most popular spots in Cusco not only for tourists but for locals as well since it actually is the central market of the Imperial City. For those looking for a glimpse at the traditional way of living in Cusco, this is the way to start! Besides, it is located a couple of blocks away from Plaza de Armas.

There are hundreds of stalls divided into several sections, where you can shop for fresh vegetables, warm clothing, souvenirs, food, flowers and much more. San Pedro is packed with a bit of everything with good and affordable prices, as well as top quality products.

The San Pedro Market was inaugurated in 1925 though the construction wasn’t fully finished until 25 years later. Gustave Eiffel, the same architect that designed the famous Eiffel tower, was the one in charge of the oldest structure within the local market.

No trip to the Imperial City is truly complete without first passing through the emblematic San Pedro Market in Cusco. This market is an authentic jewel and a reflection of the great culture and traditions that abound in the city. The San Pedro Market is a place where locals meet. The streets become noisy and crowded as they approach the San Pedro Market in Cusco. It is a place where you can find everything you can imagine. From unfamiliar smells to vibrant colors wherever you look. The characteristic noise of the place becomes noticeable as soon as you enter the place. As you wander through the busy corridors, your eyes cannot help but appreciate the different alpaca ponchos. And this is not to mention that you will have to dodge any of the various stalls that will seek to get your attention. Be sure to try some of the different natural juices. It is very likely that the different ladies who sell in the stalls try to call you in an affectionate way, but this is normal in Peru. Keep in mind that in the Andean country it is essential to know how to haggle. Especially inside the San Pedro Market in Cusco. So if you have the opportunity, be sure to ask if the products may be priced lower. Before exploring the different things to do around Cusco, make sure to enjoy a tour of this market.

EXPERIENCE THE GRANDEUR OF THE PLAZA DE ARMAS

Equally important is visiting Cusco’s most famous plaza located in the heart of the city. The Plaza de Armas boasts spectacular architecture and views of the surrounding mountains. Once the main center for both the Spanish conquistadors and Inca empire, the plaza is now the main hub for tourists where you can find shopping, restaurants and nightlife. Grab lunch at one of the many restaurants with balconies overlooking the plaza. After that, take a stroll through the iconic Cusco Cathedral where you can see a painting of the Last Supper with a guinea pig – the Andean interpretation for the main centerpiece of the meal. The plaza is a perfect place to people-watch and take in the surrounding history while enjoying your Cusco activities.

PET A FRIENDLY ALPACA

We’re kicking off this list with one of Peru’s most beloved animals: the alpaca. Known for its expensive wool, alpacas are treasured among Peruvians. These fluffy four-legged animals can be seen on the streets of Cusco dressed in colorful accessories and led by local ladies offering photos for a small price of 5-10 soles. Be sure to set your price before you get a photo to avoid any haggling.

TAKE A PICTURE WITH THE FAMOUS TWELVE-ANGLED STONE

Hidden in the narrow alleyways of the historical district is the Twelve-Angled stone. This architectural mystery has 12 perfectly-crafted angles that fit seamlessly into the Inca wall located in the alleyway of Hatunrumiyoc. The stone itself is relatively large and is part of the wall of the Palace of the Archbishop. You’ll be able to spot it by the large crowd usually surrounding the area. Be sure not to touch it as it is prohibited, but feel free to snap a selfie or take a family photo next to it.

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