For hundreds of years, the Incas built lost cities atop mountainous ranges, lined them in solid gold and filled them with colour and treasure.
A people who worshipped art and architecture as much as their many gods, the Incas left behind a tapestry of traditions, awe-inspiring archeological sites and a unique culture that’s still alive today.
So much more than its world-renowned landmarks, Peru is a place that will enrich your soul. Take a culturally immersive journey around this spiritual land and feel the rhythm of its heartbeat with every step.
It may be ringed by dramatic volcanoes, but Arequipa’s hottest offerings are actually its culture, architecture and gastronomy. Though only a fraction of the size of Lima, it’s a small, perfectly formed city that you’ll never want to leave.
For a true taste of authentic Pervuian cuisine, you can’t go past a classic Picanteria. Arequipa is teeming with these locals’ canteens, where you can eat like a local in places that use ancestral stone and wood fired techniques passed down over centuries.
A monastery of Dominican Nuns, this beautiful convent is unmissable. Founded by a rich widow in the 16th century, it’s an imposing building that is almost citadel-like, comprising 20,000 square feet and situated right in the middle of town.
Posted right in the historic centre of Arequipa, the main plaza acts as a beautiful chronicle to a bygone time. The square’s famous portals, cathedral, church and fountain sculpture all act as important markers of Peru’s past.
One of the deepest canyons in the world, Colca Canyon is a sweeping, stunning natural wonder easily accessible from Arequipa. A must for hikers and sightseers alike, it’s a physical marvel well worth the trip.
Jump in a van and let a guide take you on a tour around the vast brilliance of the Canyon, with plenty of stops along the way for photos and Condor-spotting to make your friends at home jealous.
The self-described ‘gateway’ to Colca Canyon, Chivay is an incredible remote town with architecture that pre-dates the Incas!
A magical viewpoint where you’ll be able to see the magnificent Condors, giant birds that are native to the area and officially the largest in the world. You’ll also take in pristine views of Mismi mountain, the most distant source of water to the Amazon River.
The natural hot springs in the Colca Canyon region are thought by locals to have medicinal healing properties. Whether you choose to hike or relax in the canyon, you’ll be enveloped by ancient beauty.
Perched on the border between Peru and Bolivia, the world’s highest navigable lake is breathtakingly magical. This sacred spot in the Andes requires some literal acclimatising, but it’s certainly worth it.
Some 80 islands built on aquatic plants, the Uros floating islands are populated by one of the oldest communities on the continent. Bespoke tours allow a glimpse into this fascinating, pre-Inca culture.
Set in the middle of Lake Titicaca, Taquile Island is a wondrous journey back in time. The people who inhabit the island maintain a traditional lifestyle, and the men knit intricate, handcrafted textiles for a living.
There’s nothing quite like dancing to salsa and reggaeton music at an altitude of over 3,000 metres. Created by the Incas and developed by the Spanish, Cusco has a truly unique energy – especially after dark.
For history or architecture buffs, you can’t go past Cusco. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it’s a tantalising blend of Incan and European culture. Get your fix at Koricancha Temple, the incredible Fortress of Sacsayhuaman, San Cristobal Church and the Cathedral at The Plaza de Armas. And don’t miss Kenko, an archaeological site where the Sun, Moon and Stars were once celebrated.
Immerse yourself in Cusco’s artistic hub. The San Blas neighbourhood is home to the best craftsmen, from potters to goldsmiths, stone carvers and more. Saturday is the best day to be in the area as it blossoms into street fairs of art and music.
Peru is split up into three major regions: the Coast, the Andes and the Amazon. Each region deserves at least a week to truly experience it.
You can do Peru all on your own, but a guide really enriches the experience by teaching you about the history of the sites you’re seeing.
Peru has extreme temperatures, so it’s important to pack layers. For warmth, you can’t go past the beautiful, handmade, wool ponchos sold by locals.