Overview for Peru
More than just history, Peru boasts outstanding and varied scenery including majestic Andean peaks, the Amazon Basin and ancient arid regions along its coastline. Peru is blessed with a rich and ancient past, making it one of South America’s most popular travel destinations. Peru is also a gastronomic delight with a unique cuisine that is considered one of the most diverse in the world.
Best time to Visit
The weather in Peru varies greatly depending on the region, and temperature is mostly influenced by elevation; the higher you climb, the cooler it becomes. The peak tourist season is from June to August, which coincides with the cooler dry season in the Andean Highlands.
Within Peru, domestic airlines are convenient for longer journeys. Booking your flights as part of a LAN/QANTAS airpass is a cost effective option. Tourist class trains and busses are available for travel between cities. Adventure World specialises in itineraries with your own private car and driver. Providing a personalised and flexible experience, your English speaking guide will escort you in each town when you visit the sights and attractions and share their insight on local life, custom and culture.
The ‘Lost City of the Incas’ was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911 and is Peru's greatest attraction. The city is on a green saddle between two mountains in the southern Peruvian Andes.
The journey by rail from Cuzco is scenic all the way up the four switchback zig zags. Travellers can walk around the ancient community of Machu Picchu through narrow passages into residences, climb stairways to the heights past temples of magnificent stonework and admire the monuments to sun worship, all with a 360 degree panorama of some of the world’s most magnificent mountain scenery. Another way of reaching Machu Picchu is to trek the Inca Trail.
The Inca Trail
One of the most famous treks in the world - the 43 km trail can be done in 3 days but it is recommended to take 4 to 5 days to enjoy the scenery and explore the ruins along the way. Departures are normally from Cuzco or surrounds. The trek can be quite strenuous in parts and one needs to be reasonably fit.
Accommodation is in tents with camp meals. Organised tours include porters and a guide to point out the many interesting sights and ruins along the way. For those who prefer the finer things in life, we have a Luxury Inca Trail package, which includes a gourmet chef, masseuses and alcoholic beverages.
Trail Permits: In an effort to preserve and protect the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, the Peruvian governing bodies have taken drastic measures to limit the amount of people hiking the Trail. No more than 500 people (including support staff) per day are allowed on the Inca Trail. Any attempts at modifications result in a loss of the permit and any money paid. We strongly recommend booking early, at least 4-6 months in advance to avoid disappointment.
This bustling city, at 3326m above sea level, is the archaeological capital of the Americas and the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city. Massive Inca-built stone walls line most of Cuzco’s central streets and form the foundations of colonial and modern buildings. The indigenous cultures with their traditions and dress are the highlights of the Cuzco area. The Urubamba Valley (the Sacred Valley) is about 15 kms north of Cuzco and is a picturesque valley featuring Incan ruins, Indian markets and villages, and offering outdoor activities such as river rafting. The colourful markets of Pisac are the starting point for a visit to the Sacred Valley. Visit the must see sights of Cuzco on our Essentials Tour.
Sitting 2,535m above sea level, Peru's second largest city is surrounded by spectacular mountains, the most famous being El Misti (5822m) which rises behind Arequipa’s cathedral. Many buildings date back to colonial times, and are built from a very pearly white, very soft and attractive volcanic stone, ‘sillar’, which is why this city is nicknamed ‘the white city’. Arequipa is surrounded by active volcanoes, thermal springs, high-altitude deserts and some of the world’s deepest canyons; the most famous is the Canon del Colca.
Colca Canyon is regarded by many to be the deepest canyon in the world. If you are lucky you can view the huge Condor birds flying at almost an arms length away. The people living in this area are known for their traditional clothing, especially the women’s embroidered hats, waistcoats and skirts. Visit the Canyon and Arequipa on this 6 day Arequipa and Colca Canyon tour.
Nazca is located along the Panamericana Highway and has become famous for its huge geometric designs drawn in the desert and visible only from the air. Some of the designs represent animals, such as a 180m long lizard, a 90m high monkey with an extravagantly curled tail and a condor with a 130m wingspan.
The question still remains, who constructed the lines and why? Best way to see the Lines is to take a flight by small aircraft from Ica, Nazca or Lima. Both Ica and Nazca have good accommodation options. An excellent combination is to visit the Nazca lines and Ballestas Islands.
The capital of Peru is situated on the cliffs above the Pacific Ocean. Lima is an historical Spanish Colonial city, referred to as the City of the Kings. It is a bustling vibrant place with a mix of traditional and modern day cultures. With more than 10,000 years of history there are fascinating archaeological sites and museums to explore. We recommended at least two days to explore The Essentials of this city.
Half of Peru lies in the Amazon Basin and is home to approximately 1700 bird species. You can fish for piranha, look for caiman, iguana, monkey, anaconda, pink and grey dolphin. Amazon travel can include visits to native villages, jungle walks, river cruises, seeing the huge Victoria Regia water lilies, and early morning bird watching from small boats. A popular option is to stay at Amazon Jungle lodges that offer guided day tours of the area.