Top Peru Destinations
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TOP PERU DESTINATIONSBy T'ika Ecological: Peru Travel Specialist
LIMA - THE CITY OF KINGSLocated on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, in the middle of Perus western coastline, more than 8.5 million inhabitants make Lima their home. Founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535, as the City of Kings, Lima developed into the capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru as well as the most important city in South America during the Spanish rule. The Historic Centre of Lima, or Cercado de Lima, is one of the most important tourist destinations in Peru. In 1988, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization named Limas Historic Centre and World Heritage Site. Various examples of Spanish colonial architecture can be seen within the approximate eight square mile area: the Cathedral, Convents of Santo Domingo and San Francisco, and the Palace of Torre Tagle, among others.
As the cultural center of Peru, Lima features museums such as the National Museum of Archeology, Anthropology and History of Peru, the Rafael Larco Herrera Archaeological Museum, the Gold Museum, and the Lima Art Museum. Additionally, located just outside Lima, the Pachacamac archaeological site features the most important pre-Inca buildings and temples along the Peruvian coast; dating back to the third century AD. The climate in Lima is dry and warm, with average temperatures ranging from lows of 66F (19C) to highs of 84F (29C).
AREQUIPA - THE WHITE CITY Arequipa is the capital and largest city of the province of Arequipa. Founded on August 15, 1840, by Pedro Anzures de Campo Redondo under the designation of Beautiful Villa of Our Lady of the Asuncin, it was later ordered to be called City of Arequipa by King Charles V of Spain. Nicknamed The White City (la cuidad blanca), the city is almost entirely built out of sillar, a type of white volcanic stone. As a magnificent example of colonial architecture, the historic center of Arequipa was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2000. Notable architectural landmarks and museums include the Plaza de Armas, the Monasterio de Santa Catalina, Museo Santuarios Andinos, La Catedral, and Iglesia de La Compaa. Other notable districts in the area include Sabanda, Tiabaya, and Tingo, which are known for the beautiful countryside and irresistible cuisine; the perfect complement to a visit to the White City! The climate of Arequipa is predominantly dry and warm, with average temperatures ranging from lows of 50F (10C) to highs of 77F (25C).
COLCA CANYON Located approximately 100 miles (160km) northeast of Arequipa, in the province of Caylloma, Colca is one of the most-visited tourist destinations in Peru, where visitors can interact with the local population and enjoy the traditions and customs with natives from the area. The Colca Valley offers a diverse assortment of tourist attractions. The Colca Canyon is the deepest canyon in the world, exceeding the depth of the Grand Canyon in the United States.
At the viewpoint of the Cruz del Condor, visitors can appreciate the majestic flight of the world's largest flying bird, the Andean Condor. In the surrounding districts, visitors can explore the architecture of a colonial church in the Yanque district, wonder at the landscape in Madrigal, and enjoy the adventures, dances, mysticism, legends and, most importantly, the hospitality of the inhabitants.
The Nazca Lines are located in the Pampas de Jumana, in the Nazca Desert, two hours from Ica. Since 1994 the Committee of UNESCO has designated the lines and geoglyphs of Nazca and Pampas de Jumana as World Heritage Site. The lines were drawn by the Nazca culture and are composed by several hundreds of figures ranging from simple designs, such as lines to complex zoomorphic and geometric figures appearing drawn on the surface. These gigantic figures drawn in the sand by ancient Peruvian people can be viewed from the surrounding foothills, but can only be fully appreciated from the sky. Their perfect proportion and huge size highlight the harmony and balance, especially in the case of the geometric animal figures.
SACRED VALLEYThe Sacred Valley of the Incas or the Urubamba Valley is a valley in the Andes of Peru, close to the Inca capital of Cusco and the ancient city of Machu Picchu. It is located in the present-day Peruvian region of Cusco. In colonial documents it is referred to as the "Valley of Yucay." According to recent researches it encompasses the heartland of the Inca Empire.
PUNO & LAKE TITICACAThe city of Puno is located in southeastern Peru, on the shores of Lake Titicaca, with a landscape rich in true natural treasures. Puno was founded in 1666 by the Spanish, and its Aymara indigenous origin is still alive and rich today, where the Aymara people still retain their ancestral heritage. Besides being the highest navigable lake in the world, Lake Titicaca is very important in Andean mythology. According to legend, from its waters emerged Manco Capac and Mama Occlo, the founders of the Inca Empire. At such high elevation, the climate of Puno is frigid and mostly dry with average temperatures ranging from below 32F (0C) to highs of 59F (15C).
Puno has several beautiful and hospitable places for tourists to enjoy. These authentic locales are majestic testimonies of prehispanic cultures which hold some of the most colorful festivals; like the popular religious feast of Candelaria. From Puno it is possible to sail through the blue waters of Lake Titicaca for a visit to the islands of Amantani and Taquile, as well as the wonderful forty-two, self-fashioned Floating Islands of the Uros.
While in the area, visitors must take in the beautiful Lake Sandoval, Monkey Island, the native community "Infierno", the fantastic scenes from Puerto Capitania, and of course, the cheerful and friendly people of Puerto Maldonado. Since 2010, Puerto Maldonado has been accessible by the paved Interoceanic Highway, running from Cusco to the Brazilian border. Traveling along the Interoceanic Highway gives visitors access to several attractions along its route, where Puerto Maldonado is the ultimate destination point on the travel route. Puerto Maldonado boasts a warm, tropical climate; humid and rainy from November to April Its average temperature is 77F (25C).
Located in the Amazon Basin, Puerto Maldonado is surrounded by some of the most pristine primary rain forest in the world. Within the city, one of Puerto Maldonados major attractions is the Mirador of Biodiversity. Here, visitors may ascend to take in an amazing panoramic view of the jungle and rivers intermixing with urban progress from this 100ft obelisk. Outside of the city, the famous "Collpas de Guacamayos" in the Tambopata Natural Reserve, where macaw parrots line steep riverside cliffs to ingest minerals and nutrients in the exposed clay.
Trujillo, City of Eternal Spring, is located in a desert coastal region on the northwestern coast of Peru. It is the capital of La Libertad region, the birthplace of Peru's judiciary, and was twice designated as the capital of the country. The cultural heritage sites of this city include La Iglesia de la Compaia, built in the seventeenth century, as well as Trujillo Cathedral, built between 1647 and 1666. In addition, the ruins of the pre-Incan city of Chan Chan, located in the west side of Trujillo, were the ceremonial centers of The Sun and The Moon Temples Huaca del Sol y Huaca de la Luna, and were designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986.
Iquitos is located in the Amazon Basin in the northeastern rainforest of Peru. It is the capital city of the Perus largest region, Loreto; encompassing nearly 30% of Perus territory trufillo. The city lies on the banks of a secondary arm of the Amazon River and has adequate infrastructure to accommodate tourists from all levels. The mystical tourism has increased in Iquitos in recent years. Ayahuasca, a drink made from a jungle vine, is known as a major cultural reference point, with a medicinal, mystical and research purpose. The government of Peru declared Cultural Patrimony of the Nation the traditional knowledge and uses of Ayahuasca practiced by indigenous communities in the Amazon jungle. There are some reputable healers who can provide a safe context for such mystical experiences.
CUSCO - INCA CAPITALCusco is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cusco Region as well as the Cuzco Province. In 2013, the city had a population of 435,114. Located on the eastern end of the Knot of Cuzco, its elevation is around 11,200 ft.
Cusco was the site of the historic capital of the Inca Empire and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983 by UNESCO. It is a major tourist destination and receives almost 2 million visitors a year. It is designated as the Historical Capital of Peru by the Constitution of Peru.
MACHU PICCHUMachu Picchu (Quechua machu old, old person, pikchu peak or mountain) is a 15th-century Inca site located 7,970 ft above sea level. It is located in the Cusco Region, Urubamba Province, Machupicchu District in Peru. It is situated on a mountain ridge above the Sacred Valley which is 50 mi northwest of Cusco and through which the Urubamba River flows. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (143