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Home » Travel Articles

Seven sights to see in Peru – off the beaten track

Submitted by on 07/06/2013 – 6:12 pmNo Comment
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Lake Titicaca - Peru

photo from Flickr by: fiat.luxury

Peru is one of South America’s most picturesque areas and a haven for tourists and travellers – from ancient Inca ruins to the flora and fauna of the Amazon jungle; from desert scenery to snow-capped mountain landscapes; from world famous treks following ancient pathways to more modern adrenalin activities such as white-water rafting or mountain biking in the Sacred Valley – and of course the never-ending warmth and colourful culture and dress of the local people. Aside from the classic destinations like Machu Picchu and the Inca Trial, there are many a range of other highlights which you must see during your stay:

1)    Lake Titicaca

It is good to escape the somewhat seedy atmosphere of the nearby town of Puno and get out on the water to discover the unique floating islands on the world’s highest navigable lake.  It is a rather odd feeling ‘squelching’ around with little more than a few reeds between you and the water, and incredible to think that people actually live on these moving islands but the colour of the local’s native costumes and the dazzling smiles of the children make for a memorable visit.

2)    Sacred Valley

The Urubamba Valley is not just all about Machu Picchu.  Within it lies countless other magnificent Incan ruins and the incredible city of Cuzco – a place where one can easily spend a week enjoying the sights, browsing the markets and enjoying the merging of cultures as native Quechuans come in from the surrounding countryside to sell their wares, amidst the modern Peruvian shops and backpacker hostels.  The best way to enjoy the many sights of the Sacred Valley is on one of the adrenalin adventures on offer here – white-water raft beneath towering cliffs and picturesque terraces, some still displaying remains of ancient Inca buildings or try mountain-biking on a ‘gravity-assisted, heart in your mouth’ ride.  What better way to enjoy Peru?!

Colours of Peru

photo from Flickr by: chany14

3)    Huacachina sand dunes

Huacachina is the only oasis in South America and is surrounded by massive waves of sand that stretch all the way to the Pacific. Take a tour in the afternoon around 3:00pm or 4:00pm, the sun will still illuminate the landscape, but it won’t be too hot to handle. I had an amazing time sandboarding, which is pretty much Peruvian style snowboarding – you can stand up, sit or lay down; it was amazing to see fellow travellers faces as they descended down steep dunes scared for their lives! Legend has it that the oasis was created by a mystical mermaid princess, it’s absolutely beautiful.

4)    Amazon macaw clay lick

Take an unforgettable river journey up the Upper Tambopata river, where you will see some of the most beautiful wildlife, including parrots and Macaws of all shades and colours. Delve deep into the Peruvian amazon, where the jungle joins the Andes to find some beautiful landscapes rich in biodiversity and colour. Here you can visit the famous macaw clay lick where hundreds of macaws gather to eat clay each day. These beautiful, multi-coloured birds illuminate the jungle from afar and are a really special sight.

5)    Gocta Falls –

Gocta falls is the largest waterfall in Peru, at 771m, and one of the largest in the world. Stay in Cocachimba for a night, there are some wonderful birds and wildlife here. The hike to the fall is well worth it, your guide will walk you through a number of crop fields and teach you some ancient Peruvian agricultural processes – I watched sugar cane being processed, powered by a huge, muscular ox. As you hike through areas of jungle, draped with vines and orchids, you will catch glimpses of the fall through the trees. Suddenly it appears like a beautiful pearl necklace draping the mountainside. Take a swim in the pool below the fall; people will soon disappear in the thick cloud of water vapour.

Arequipa

photo from Flickr by: ThiagoJ

6)    Arequipa

Not as high on people’s lists as it should be.  The ‘White City’ lies beneath the stunning backdrop of snow-capped volcanoes and high altiplano. Its historical centre is a World Heritage Site and a peaceful contrast to Cuzco’s bustling streets.  The mesmerising blue and white walls of the Santa Catalina Monastery add to the appearance of a shimmering mirage surrounded by arid desert and the snowy peak of the Misti Volcano, which towers behind the city. Compared to the somewhat less appealing atmosphere of Lima, Arequipa is a breath of fresh air and a useful stopping off point before travelling up to the …..

7)     ….Colca Canyon

Well the last sight on the list could have been the Nazca Lines or the Ballestas Islands, but to witness the sun rise over this breathtaking gorge, reportedly the deepest in the world, and then gasp as the massive wingspan of a condor passes overhead, soaring gracefully on the thermals, beats any scenic or wildlife wonders found on the Peruvian coast.  With no jungle on show and not an Inca ruin in sight, the Colca Canyon is one of Peru’s most surprising attractions.  Which is precisely the reason it makes it into this Top Seven!

 

 

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Blanche has written 758 articles. +Aaron Bradford is the leader, mentor and chief geek of HappyTimeblog. He put together the crack team of writers known by codename “The Firm“. He's a permanent traveller and a lifestyle hacker. Wanna know more? Check out my Bucket List or my About page... I'm here to show you how to live a Life Less Ordinary

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