Returning to Peru or travelling here for the first time? Whether you have a trip planned or simply love reading about Peru’s rich history, read about six sites you may not have discovered in your travels to our beautiful country, and feed your wanderlust. Sites like Machu Picchu and Cusco are often the first port of call on any Peruvian trip, but these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Peru’s plentiful offering. From breathtaking canyons to archaeological mysteries, our bountiful land offers travellers countless reasons to visit.
The Lost City of the Incas
After becoming the final stronghold of the defiant Incas, the city of Vilcabamba was abandoned and long forgotten. The location remained unknown for hundreds of years which has resulted in the city gaining legendary status to historians and explorers.
Finally rediscovered by three Cusco residents, after 300 years of its surroundings flourishing, it was finally rediscovered by three Cusco residents – Manuel Ugarte, Manuel López Torres, and Juan Cancio Saavedra – in 1892.
Discover the city by travelling along the Inca Trail, following the same ancient route that the Incas would have taken. This beautiful trail takes travellers past local villages, up and down vast mountains and luscious green valleys. It is highly recommended that you do this with a local guide as the path can be rough and even dangerous.
Scientific Research Stations – Ancient and Modern
It is believed by many that scientific research has taken place in Peru for centuries, with some historians speculating that locations like the Inca ruins of circular terraces in Moray were used as an agricultural laboratory and research station. While visiting Inkaterra you can learn about research projects taking place in Peru today, such as the Inkaterra Asociación’s study of the Andean Spectacled bear at the Andean Bear Conservation Center at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel.
Vinicunca Mountain is often referred to as the Rainbow Mountain because of the naturally occurring stripes on the mountain. Some of those who live in the local communities believe that the mountain is holy and a deity of Cusco, which is the closest major city to the mountain. Due to this, there are thousands of pilgrims that hike to Vinicunca for the Star Snow festival ahead of the Corpus Christi feast in May.
There are several treks to Vinicunca, the most popular version will take you along trails surrounding Ausangate, allowing you to see a variety of wildlife, stunning lakes, and hot springs. During a stay at Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, you can visit Vinicunca Mountain under request and at an extra cost, and explore with a guide for a mínimum of 2 days/ 1 night.
The Nazca Lines are a series of razor-straight lines and enigmatic figures scored into the Pampa Plain from Machu Picchu all the way to Mulder and Scully. These mysterious ancient etchings date back 2,000 years to a time before the Incas and Conquistadors. The stunning designs depict life forms such as animals, birds, plants and insects, geometric shapes and straight or wavy lines reaching up to 40 miles long, and observable from above only. Many historians believe that the Nazca lines were created between 450 and 600 AD by an unknown pre-Inca civilization but they cannot find a reason for their creation. The best way to see these unique art pieces is from the sky, with flight tours being available to give you the perfect view.
The Little Galapagos (Ballestas Islands)
On the southern coast of Peru you can discover the picturesque Ballestas Islands. The small islands are teeming with wildlife, home to thousands of birds and sea lions. They also hide vast caves, making them only visible from the water itself, and a 200-metre-long ‘Candelabro’ geoglyph carved into Pisco Bay that is dated back to 200 BC.
The City Above the Ocean – Lima
While exploring Peru, travelling to Lima should not be missed. Our historic capital city has a wide variety of activities and places to visit. Whether you’re looking for the perfect place to surf, to relax on the beautiful coastline or are hunting for Peruvian art pieces, there is something for everyone looking to lap up our laid-back city living. Discover the bohemian and artistic district of Barranco, pre-Columbian ceremonial temples, the huacas, pre-dating Machu Picchu, and many museums recalling the native Peruvian culture. A huge variety of the most exciting Peruvian gastronomy can be experienced in Lima; try guinea pig and international favourites like ceviche, pisco sours and lomo saltado from an array of authentic restaurants.
Discover more about Peru by speaking with our Inkaterra Explorer Guides at each of our unique hotel locations. Go to www.inkaterra.com to start your Inkaterra adventure, and learn more about what happens all over the country.