Most travelers know Peru for the magical inca ruins Machu Pichu. But also the snowy Andes mountains, the funny llamas and the spectacular nature of the Amazon rainforest make this country a travel destination where you want to be! Many travelers reach Machu Picchu by first traveling by train to the lower village of Aguas Calientes (hot water baths), 110 km from Cusco. The more adventurous travelers reach Machu Picchu via the Inca Trail. This is a popular and centuries old route built by the Incas to walk to the hidden city of Machu Picchu. The Inca Trail starts 88 km from the city of Cusco. Another city that you should definitely visit when you are in Peru is Iquitos, a large city in the middle of the rainforest on the Amazon River. It is the only large city in the world without land access roads, you can only get here by water and by air. But don’t forget to visit the colorful Uros people who literally live on the impressive Titikaka Lake!
Which places do you want to travel to in Peru:
1. Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is one of the most famous ruins in the world and this hidden Inca city cannot be missed during a trip to Peru. Funny to know is that ‘Machu Picchu’ literally means ‘Old Mountain’. For the local population, the mountains (Apus) are more important than some old stone structures. When Hiram Bingham asked his young guide for a name for the site, he thought Bingham meant the mountain. Due to the communication problem between Hiram Bingham and his young ‘guide’, this famous archaeological site only got its new name at the time of (re) discovery. Read all about Machu Picchu
2. Inca Trail
The Inca people were very well organized and had built an ingenious system of pathways to supply the various parts of their great empire (including Ecuador, Peru, and parts of Bolivia and Chile) and to convey messages. Inca, or ‘Inka’ in the locally spoken Andean language Quechua, literally means ‘King’. These Inca Trails were not actually built by the Incas, but by the Quechua population on behalf of the Inca rulers. The most famous and one of the best preserved Inca Trails is the train that starts at km 88 (from Cusco) and ends 42 km further at the Sun Gate of Machu Picchu. The ‘Classic Inca Trail follows this path for 4 days and the difficulty of the trek is not directly related to the distance to be covered, but mainly to the ascent and descent at height (max. 4200 m) and over uneven rough stone steps. To be able to walk this Inca Trail during the high season (June to August), you sometimes have to book six months in advance, because only 500 people (including guides and porters) are allowed on the train per day. Arrange in advance? Book the Inca Trail at Bookatrekking.com! Good alternatives to the ‘Classic Inca Trail’ include:
– The Salkantay Trek (4 to 5 days) – The Inca Jungle Trail (4 days) – The Lares Trek (4 days)
3. Nazca lines
These are ancient figure drawings in the sand. They are particularly visible from above, but it is also special to visit these Nazca lines from below. Read all about the Nazca lines
4. Lively Lima
Lima is the capital of Peru, located on the coast and with almost 10 million inhabitants, this is a huge and busy city. Its main tourist attractions are: the internationally acclaimed culinary cuisine, with of course ceviche (raw fish), but also many other dishes that you must try. A visit to the historic center, with the impressive Plaza de Armas, the San Francisco monastery and Parque del Agua, should not be forgotten when you are in Lima. A vibrant nightlife can be found in the districts of Barrenco, Miraflores and the historic center. Active people can surf and paraglide in Lima.
5. Lake Titicaca
Beautifully situated, surrounded by mountains, at an altitude of 3820 meters and with a size of one third of the Netherlands, this is the highest navigable lake in the world. Lake Titicaca is on the border between Peru and Bolivia and both countries claim most of it is within their borders. It is certain that most visitors on the Peruvian side of the border visit Lake Titicaca from the city of Puno. From this large city tours are organized to the following islands on Lake Titicaca: (1) Uros: Floating reed islands made by the Uros population (2) Amantani: Rustic island without traffic (3) Taquile: Known for its knitting men . Read more about Lake Titicaca
Cusco was once the main capital of the Inca Empire and is now one of the most famous tourist highlights in South America. It is an impressive city where different cultures and architectures from the Incas and the Spanish come together. Highlights in and around Cusco include: the impressive cathedral; the temple of the sun; Plaza de Armas; the archaeological site of Sacsayhuaman and the nearby ‘Sacred Valley’. So you understand that you can quickly hang around in Cusco for several days. Of course, nice restaurants and bars are not lacking here either. For example, order Cuy (don’t be alarmed: Cavia) or a Pisco Sour cocktail! Read more about Cusco
General information that is useful when you travel in Peru:
When you travel to Peru it is advisable to take a vaccination against DTP and Hepatitis A. A vaccination against Yellow fever is also recommended. Are you staying in Peru for more than three months? Then also take a vaccination against Hepatitis B, Rabies and Typhoid fever. Always consult your doctor for personal advice.
Best time to travel Peru
The best time to travel to Peru is from May to October. Please note that it can be more crowded in the months of June to August than in the months of May, September or October. The average temperature in Lima is between 20 and 25 degrees, in Cuzco the temperature is lower. There it is usually between 5 and 17 degrees. The chances of precipitation are highest in Puerto Maldonado.
Paying in Peru
You can pay in Peru with the currency Peruvian Nueva Sol (PEN). American dollars are also accepted in several places. In the cities in Peru you can simply pay with a Dutch debit card, but it is also advisable to bring a credit card just to be sure.
With a Dutch passport you do not need a visa for Peru, on arrival you will receive a passport stamp and you can stay in the country for 30 days. It is also possible to get a stamp for 183 days.