Peru’s greatest hits, Machu Picchu and beyond
Peru’s capital and largest city, Lima is the heart of the country’s fashion, art, nightlife, and restaurant scenes and has some impressive historic architecture. You’ll eat well here: groundbreaking chefs are elevating regional cuisine into works of art.
In this southeastern region you can dune buggy across coastal desert, go pisco- and wine-tasting at vineyards, and spot sea lions and Humboldt penguins at an offshore nature reserve. Don’t miss the Nazca Lines, geoglyphs covering 170-square-miles, carved into the ground by an ancient civilization.
Arequipa and Colca Canyon
Also in the south, the beautiful “White City” of Arequipa, with its white volcanic-stone buildings, is worth a visit for its Spanish colonial architecture and surrounding volcanoes and green terraced hills. From here it’s an easy trip to Colca Canyon—twice as deep as the Grand Canyon—to see giant condors circling a 11,000-foot crevasse.
Cusco and Machu Picchu
Andean mountains descend into green valleys, extending Amazon rainforest’s edge. This is the setting for Machu Picchu, the 15th-century Incan capital that draws tourists from around the globe to trek for four days on foot at dizzying altitudes to reach it. The cobblestoned city of Cusco, nearby, is filled with historic sites.
The North Coast
Well off the Gringo Trail, the North Coast is home to the oldest city in the Americas (Caral), the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas (Chan Chan), and impressive 2,000-year-old Moche-civilization temples and tombs.