Exotic jungles, coastal deserts, the majestic Andean mountains and the glories of Machu Picchu all await you in Peru, as well as many things that you may not have imagined. Peru is a paradise for adventure seekers; so grab your ‘Indiana Jones’ hat and prepare to become the ultimate explorer:
Travel the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Situated in the heart of the Peruvian Andes, is the spectacular archaeological site of Machu Picchu, one of the “Seven Wonders of the World”. Only Quechua farmers knew the whereabouts of the “Lost City of the Incas”, until American historian, Hiram Bingham discovered it in 1911. The site had been consumed by vegetation until Bingham and his team cleared the growth.
Located close to the the Urubamba River, the citadel was once completely autonomous, and surrounded by farm terraces, sufficient to nourish the population and watered by natural springs. The ruins are palaces, spas, temples, warehouses and about 150 houses, all in a remarkable state of preservation. Famously accessed by the spectacular Inca Trail, Machu Picchu will surely satisfy the adventurer in you.
See the unexplainable Nazca Lines
Many theories exist about the famous Nazca Lines and some are more credible than others. What was their purpose? How were they formed? Was it the work of Aliens? The truth is that nobody knows for sure, since they’re virtually impossible to identify from ground level, their existence was largely unknown until the advent of flight. The lines, known as geo-glyphs, are a major tourist attraction and must be viewed from the air. See images of birds, lamas, Jaguars and Monkeys and try to explain their origin. You will find it amazing, especially when you realise that they were created more than 2,500 years ago.
Meet the ancient people who live on the highest lake in the world…
Lake Titicaca, situated in the Cusco region of Peru is the largest lake in South America and thought to be the highest lake in the world, is home to the Uros people, who have lived on floating islands of living reeds ever since they were forced to do so be the Incas, who expanded into their land. These islands were made mobile as a defence mechanism and the inhabitants still exist by fishing and selling reed handicrafts.
Imagine what it would have been like to be the first outsider to establish contact with the inhabitants of these floating villages. You can to arrange to stay a night on the lake with a host family and they will collect you in their boats, which are shaped like canoes with animal figureheads. You will need some Spanish to get by.
See Condor circling above the Colca Canyon
Colca Canyon is famous for being one of the deepest canyons in the world and the sight of giant condors slipping effortlessly into the valley below is spectacular. Condors have always been part of Andean mythology. Considered to be a symbol of power and health, The Andean Condor was associated with the sun deity, with illumination, power and spirituality and is believed to be the ruler of the upper world. It is said that to dream of a condor means you have, or are about to have great insight into a situation
Explore the longest river in the world
The city of Iquitos is an ideal place to begin your exploration of Peruvian Amazon and the best way to discover the river and its environs is by boat. The smaller your boat, the better will be your chances of spotting giant river otters, caymens and river dolphins.
Most people think of Brazil when they think of the Amazon and indeed Brazil’s rainforest is much bigger. The roots of the Amazon however, are found in the jungle (La Selva) regions of Peru, where the river Maranon merges with the Ucayali. The Peruvian Selva extend from the eastern foothills of the Andes and are the best, untouched rain forests anywhere in the world.
There are many opportunities to take part in conservation projects, surveying monkeys, snakes, birds and butterflies and helping to build sustainable livelihoods, enabling families to live prosperous and healthy lives, without destroying their rainforest homes.
Venture into the desert and visit the Huacachia Oasis
In the middle of one of the driest climates in the world is the mystical town of Huacaahia, where residents live around a lake that is said to have healing powers. In the 1940’s, wealthy Peruvians would travel to bathe in its waters.
The Huacachia Oasis appears out of the desert, near Pisco, like a mirage and is best seen at night. Climb one of the high sand dunes, make your self comfortable and see Huacahina in all its glory. Huacahina is on most adventurer’s bucket list’s. You can stay in the nearby village of Ica and spend a couple of days sand-boarding down the dunes or driving through the desert in a dune buggy, with a local. The 96 residents of this unbelievable settlement thrive on running small businesses on their greatest resource, the desert sand.
Seek treasure ‘valued more than gold’
The Paracas National Reserve and Ballestas Islands are over a thousand square miles of costal areas and tropical desert that should not be missed. You will see pink flamingos at the waters edge, forming part of “the largest concentration of birds on earth”. Visit the Julio C. Tello museum, named after the archeologist who studied ancient Paracas culture, it houses artefacts and information about this unique region.
Take a boat trip around the Islas Ballestas and you will see penguins and sea lions, dolphins maybe and even whales. You will behold the awesome Paracas Candelabla, a huge geo-glyph dating back to the time of the Paracas culture (200 BCE) and you will see people collecting ‘guano’, a high quality fertiliser ‘valued more than gold’ at different times. When the first guano collectors arrived here, the birds had accumulated guano reserves as deep as 70m!
Don’t leave the area without sampling a ‘Pisco Sour’. The region’s signature cocktail is made with local brandy, lime or lemon juice, sugarcane syrup, egg white and bitters.