Peru

A Guide to Exploring the Wonders of Peru

guide-to-peru

Miami? Cancun? Cusco!

For spring break of my final year in college, my friends and I packed up and headed off for a two-week escapade in South America, starting off in Bolivia and winding up in Peru. Workable on a busy schedule, this is an active and nonstop trip! What we found in Peru was a gorgeous country with wonderful landscapes, culture, and food.

Read on for my guide on things to do in Peru!

things to do in peru

Discover Cusco

Aesthetically European, Cusco is extremely tourist friendly with buzzing nightlife and great gastronomy. This will generally be your starting point and gateway to Machu Picchu. I recommend at least a day or two of wandering around this historic city.

Hike Machu Picchu

A wonder of the world that really lives up to its name! I can’t even begin to fathom how they built this place on the mountaintops. With foggy mornings and bright afternoons, Machu Picchu is quite literally a place among the clouds.

things to do in peru

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Exploring Peru

Climb around the various areas, hire a local tour guide to learn about the history of the ruins, and undoubtedly run into the herds of llamas grazing in the area. Beware any obvious snacks, as they’re known to steal food!

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The easiest route is to take a train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes. There are plenty of operators and you’ll run into a number of tourists doing the same journey. At Aguas Calientes, if you’re crunched for time, visit Machu Picchu by bus (instead of doing the full trek), and save your energy instead for a hike up Huayna Picchu…

Hike Huayna Picchu

As one of the most demanding climbs, this path will take you up over a nearby mountain to a spectacular viewpoint of Machu Picchu itself! With narrow paths and steep staircases, Huayna has been the site of a few deaths. Remember to wear appropriate footwear, and if you have time, visit the Great Cavern where the Moon Temple is located.

On your way out, stamp your passport to mark your visit to Machu Picchu!
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Sail Lake Titicaca and visit the Uros floating islands

At the highest lake in the world, stop by the floating islands of Uros which are inhabited by the Uru people. Each island takes over a year to build, and is constructed entirely out of reeds! Learn their customs and take a ride in their totora boats.

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Drink an authentic Peruvian drink

If unique beverages are your thing, you’ll get your fix in Peru! Try any of the following:

  • Pisco sour (lemon juice, ice, egg whites, Angostura bitters)
  • Mate de coca (non alcoholic, but used for medicinal properties such as relieving altitude sickness)
  • Chica (Peruvian drink made from yucca root or maize)

After my pisco sour, I opted for a mojito to celebrate my 50th country. Cheers!

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Try local cuisine

If you dare! Alpaca, llama, ceviche, chicken hearts, and of course, guinea pig are all local delicacies.

Eat, surf, and drink in Lima

Finish off your trip in Lima. This South American capital is oddly reminiscent of southern California with coastal cliffs and scenic sunset views. Lima’s a surfer’s paradise and a beautiful beach city, with an abundance of great restaurants and nightlife in the Miraflores district. The perfect way to end your adventure!

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Let me know some of your favorite things to do in Peru, and read on for how to visit Bolivia’s stunning salt flats!

35 Comments

  • Reply Rebecca Swenor August 23, 2016 at 2:01 am

    Peru sounds like an interesting place to visit indeed. I find it very interesting about the island made only for reeds and the views in mountains are just gorgeous. It does for sure look like a hard hike but the view are truly gorgeous at the top.

    • Reply piernirandara August 24, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      It truly is! I hope you get to visit one day 🙂

  • Reply Jacqui S August 23, 2016 at 5:18 am

    I’ve never been to Peru, but, these pictures make me want to hop on the plane today! I love learning new things about different cultures. I agree. It’s amazing to see something so beautiful built into the mountains. Seeing what they were able to do without the technology we have available now? Mind boggling!

    Jacqui
    flightsoffancymom.com

    • Reply piernirandara August 24, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed the post 🙂

  • Reply Jenn @ EngineerMommy August 23, 2016 at 6:02 am

    Peru looks like such a beautiful place. I’d love to take the family here for a vacation. THat mojito looks so refreshingly delicious.

  • Reply Felicita Moncada August 23, 2016 at 6:40 am

    Peru is definitely on my bucket list! Machu Piccu looks incredible! I can’t believe the llamas are right there so close. Not sure I’m brave enough to try their delicacies! I’ll stick to pollo saltado.

    • Reply piernirandara August 24, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      They’re literally arms-length away! The llamas are also super curious and will come up to you searching for food.

  • Reply dana vento (@danavento) August 23, 2016 at 6:55 am

    So I love trying local cuisine and I especially love that you pointed out hiring a local tour guide, because they know so much. I tend to go off the cuff, look up on sites like Trip Advisor etc to see who is the best of the best for the local area. Great tips. Thanks.

  • Reply Jennifer August 23, 2016 at 7:46 am

    What an amazing experience. I doubt I will ever see it in-person, so i really appreciate your beautiful photos.

  • Reply Pam Wattenbarger August 23, 2016 at 7:53 am

    My daughter and my son in law have been wanting to visit Peru. I think going there would be a really cool experience.

  • Reply kristi@ishouldbemoppingthefloor August 23, 2016 at 9:31 am

    Wow…what an incredibly beautiful part of the world. Your photos of Machu Picchu are absolutely breathtaking. And the llamas would be a fun addition to it all…stealing snacks and all! Ha! And congrats on 50 countries! That’s awesome.

  • Reply jmanandmillerbug August 23, 2016 at 11:12 am

    What an awesome trip! I would love to go explore in Peru! We travel quite a bit but I actually have never been to South America.

  • Reply Dee August 23, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Peru is one of the places that I would like to get to one day. I am down for trying something new so yes I want to try the Peruvian drink call ” Chica” lol. I figure I say the word all the time, might as well drink it.

  • Reply Rocio Roque (ROCYc h e e k s) August 23, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    wow those photos are amazing. Peru seems so beautiful. Its definitely one of the places id like to go one day. Great post, thanks for sharing .

  • Reply lisa August 23, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    I would love to visit Peru. The pictures are amazing and I would love to be a part of the culture for a little while!

  • Reply Brandy August 23, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    What a fantastic guide to tour Peru or explore it rather, lovely photos! I love this location it really appears to be amazing!

  • Reply Sharon Wong August 23, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    Peru is such a gorgeous place. I would love to go there one day! It’s been on my list of places to go for sometime now. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Reply Gwendolyn Mulholland August 23, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    These pictures are fantastic and they truly help to show the amazing trip that you had in Peru. It is simply gorgeous and you have captured that beauty. I, however, could not be tempted to try some of the exotic local cuisine. I am not a very adventurous eater.

  • Reply CourtneyLynne August 23, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    Omg Peru looks like one beautiful place to visit!!!! Hopefully my travels take me there one day!

  • Reply Jeanine August 24, 2016 at 7:36 am

    Peru looks really amazing! I would love to visit there myself some day, hope to travel lots when my kids are older so this would be a great place to have on my list!

  • Reply laveenasengar August 24, 2016 at 9:43 am

    This post gave me goosebumps. I cannot wait for a trip there. Amazing pictures.
    laveenasengar.wordpress.com

  • Reply mimicutelips August 24, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    Beautiful pictures of everything. The drink selections don’t sound good. I do love a mojito though. The story of the llamas is hilarious.

  • Reply Francisca Ramos August 24, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    Everything looks so peaceful. I love the culture and the view is amazing. I would love to take a trip there.

  • Reply Krystal August 25, 2016 at 4:43 am

    This is on my bucket list for sure. I follow someone on Snapchat who is a travel blogger, and he just went here. I had no idea there was so many things to do! He took a train and a cable car, and I got to see an up close and personal view of this area. Stunning!

  • Reply Kate | My Mommy Brain August 25, 2016 at 7:56 am

    Oh my! What beautiful photos. I’ve wanted to visit Peru for some time now. I have two friends who were born there and have sold me on a trip. I would love to hike in the mountains but I think I’m too chicken to hike up Huayna Picchu!

  • Reply Kendall August 25, 2016 at 7:59 am

    Peru is absolutely STUNNING! I would love to visit – it looks like there’s so much to do and see! I’ve never been anywhere near, so I need to get there!

  • Reply Anosa August 25, 2016 at 8:15 am

    Wow it looks absolutely stunning, what a gorgeous place to visit. I am looking to go on holiday soon and am always changing my mind as to where to go! Need to look into going here, looks perfect

  • Reply Ashleigh @Dash of Evans August 25, 2016 at 8:20 am

    These photos are absolutely beautiful!! I was totally thinking it had Southern Cali vibes too! I don’t know if I’d be brave enough to try alpaca.

  • Reply Chrishelle Ebner August 25, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    I cannot get past the views. They are simply unreal. This would definitely be a great place to relax and find your center. The food and drinks look amazing too.

  • Reply Lisa Jones acouponaddict August 26, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    Truly A Amazing Place To Visit Would Love To See One Day, It’s Beautiful!!

  • Reply Garf August 29, 2016 at 11:14 am

    Amazing views. So peaceful. The kind of place that I would like to visit.

  • Reply Bryony Clapperton (travelsandmore) September 2, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Wow! Great posts, I’ve actually featured each of these places on my blog. I loved Peru, such a captivating country. Machu Picchu is amazing and your pictures really capture how mystical it is!

    Check out my Peru tags over on my blog 🙂

    • Reply Pier Nirandara September 2, 2016 at 6:48 pm

      Thank you so much for reading! I am 100% gonna check out your blog – can’t wait to read it! ✨?

  • Reply travel4lifeblog September 9, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Thanks for sharing! Your blog is going to be useful for us! We are going to take a year off in January 2017 and plan to spend at least 6 months in South America 🙂 Keep up the great work Pier! Your blog is great!

    • Reply Pier Nirandara September 9, 2016 at 7:01 pm

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment! I’m glad to hear it’s helpful – have such a wonderful trip and let me know how it goes! ?

    Let us know your thoughts!

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