From unforgettable hikes to exploring the Amazon Rainforest, here are five Peruvian attractions you need to consider in addition to world-renowned Machu Picchu.
If you’re heading to Peru, you won’t want to miss one of the new Wonders of the World–Machu Picchu. You’re sure to be amazed by the remnants of the ancient Incan citadel and ponder at how advanced civilization was for the 15th century. Yet, if you are at a loss as far as what to do with the rest of your Peruvian adventure, here are five unique experiences that will uncover the vibrant cultural richness of Peru.
1. TREK TO RAINBOW MOUNTAIN
Machu Picchu is not the only majestic place hiding in the Peruvian Andes Mountains near Cusco. Here you can also witness a rare natural feat, mountains that appear to be drenched in watercolors. This geological site is 100km from Cusco and takes days of hiking to reach. The difficult journey makes the magical view all the more worthwhile. The turquoise, lavender, marigold, and lime stripes dance during the golden hour as the sun begins to descend beyond the Ausangate Mountain. Heaven indeed is a place on earth.
2. SEEK OUT THE STREET ART OF LIMA
Street art offers a rare glimpse into the true dynamics of a city. Artists tend to portray messages about their political beliefs, pride and pain in their work. In 2015 the Mayor of Lima, Castañeda Lossio, painted over 60 murals in bright yellow paint, his political party color. In rebellion, protest and honor of the destroyed art, Lima’s creative community launched the project #BorraronUnoPintaramosMil. The hashtag translates to: you erased one, we will paint a thousand. Search the hashtag on social media in advance to scope out the locations of the new murals.
Regardless of the mayor’s attempts to eliminate the art, Lima still has many artistic displays in the form of building-size murals, small stencils and graffiti. You can take an organised street art tour or find your own way to the Barranco district to pursue the streets in search of art. Write down the names of the artists from your favourite pieces so you can look them up later and find out the inspiration behind their work.
3. EXPLORE THE AMAZON RAINFOREST
Did you know you can get up close and personal with the Amazon jungle in Peru? In fact, only Brazil homes more of the Amazon Rainforest than Peru. The Amazon makes up 60% of the country with entry points in Iquitos and Puerto Maldonado. During your adventure, you can expect to see many exotic animals, including clay-eating macaws. If you are lucky maybe you’ll even encounter a Shaman who can show you traditional medicines that are made from botanical ingredients and used to cure a variety of ailments.
4. TOUR A POTATO PARK
If weird and unusual is what you seek then head to the Asociacion de Comunidades del Parque del Papa in Cusco, Peru. The community-based cooperative is run by indigenous farmers who are working to preserve local ancestral agricultural knowledge, enhance biodiversity and celebrate their unique bio-cultural potato heritage. There are 1,500 types of potatoes grown in Peru! This unique experience can be booked through Visit.org, the world’s largest marketplace for immersive and impactful travel activities hosted by do-good organisations with 100% of tour revenue invested back into the community. During the tour, you will interact with the indigenous Pisac people and learn about the cultivation process of the native potatoes.
5. VISIT THE REED ISLANDS
Exploring the floating reed islands on Lake Titicaca is a fascinating experience that is not to be missed. As you explore the ancient village that belonged to the Uros tribe you will uncover a unique perspective into the lives of Peru’s indigenous people. This site pre-dates the Incan civilization!
If you have the time also make a visit to an indigenous village, Maras Salt Mines, Nazca Lines, a women’s weaving cooperative, and take a cooking class. As you can see, there is so much more to the Empire of Hidden Treasures beyond Machu Picchu. Yet the new World Wonder is definitely worth a visit and lives up to all the hype, despite how touristic it may seem. It is rumoured that Machu Picchu may close in the near future, so there is no time like the present to visit Peru!