Beyond Lima, Cusco & Machu Picchu: Where to Go to Discover Peru

Beyond Lima, Cusco & Machu Picchu_ Where to Go to Discover Peru

Let’s say you’re planning a two-week vacation to Peru. Of course, you’ll plan to visit Machu Picchu and likely Cusco and Lima as well, but beyond these big-name attractions what are some other must-visit places to include on a personalized itinerary that allows you to fully discover Peru?

To authentically discover Peru means exploring the nation’s diverse collection of landscapes— jungle, highlands and coast— and cultural offerings. From sky-high lakes to some of the deepest canyons in the world, Peru is a wonderland of unforgettable experiences for every kind of traveler. And from the beginning of your trip, we recommend that you take the time to really appreciate and savor each place.  Read on to consider our suggested 2-week itinerary to Peru.

Week One: Slow Down to Discover Peru

• First Half: Northern Beaches

Northern beaches

Depending on your travel needs and experience, a two-week trip to Peru may sound like an insufficient amount of time, especially when considering all there is to see — but there’s no need to rush. You will most likely fly in and out of Lima,  and we recommend spending a day or two in this enticing capital, particularly if you’re a foodie. But if you’re seeking to see a section of Peru that most tourists skip, consider the northern beaches.

Northern hotspots like Mancora and Punta Sal draw national tourists for their picturesque beaches and year-round sun. Mancora, located in the region of Piura, has much more nightlife than Punta Sal, so choose the latter if seeking a more tranquil beach experience. While soaking in some Vitamin D keep in mind that this area of the Pacific is teeming with fish, so be sure to try some of the freshest ceviche available in all of Peru.

• Second Half: Ica’s Huacachina and the Nazca Lines

Huacachina Ica and Nazca

Having spent a few days relaxing in the sun, it’s time to turn up the adrenaline. A few hours south of Lima lies the fascinating desert oasis, Huacachina. The small lagoon is surrounded by immense sand dunes, ideal for sandboarding and dune buggy rides. The town is extremely small, so after a day or two, you will likely be ready to move on.

On your way further south to the enigmatic Nazca Lines, consider stopping by any of the superb vineyards that dot the Ica region to do some wine and Pisco tasting.

Large, animalistic desert formations known as the Nazca Lines were discovered in 1927, yet continue to be a mystery, even for the experts who have studied them. Monkeys, spiders, and birds are just some of the natural forms that were etched in the desert plains some 2,000 years ago. Soar above these puzzling geoglyphs in a small airplane for a one-of-a-kind view.


Week Two: Choose Between Southern Peru and The Amazon Rainforest

• Option 1: Lake Titicaca, Colca Canyon, And Arequipa

Colca canyon Arequipa

It’s essential to keep in mind that Peru is a vast country, and it can take quite a bit of time to journey from one area to another. After your first week of explorations, it will be time to head back to the Lima airport for a connecting flight to southern Peru. Stand-out sites in the south include Lake Titicaca (the world’s highest navigable lake), Colca Canyon (the second-deepest canyon in the world) and the nearby picturesque city of Arequipa.

For an incredibly luxurious and scenic experience, opt for a luxury train ride that departs from Cusco and passes through incredible landscapes over the course of 10 to 11 hours (though you’ll likely be so engaged by the natural beauty of Peru that you’ll hardly notice the time). Having arrived in Puno, you’ll have two days to discover the ruins of Lake Titicaca and the native communities that live on the floating islands. This ancient lake is believed by many to be the birthplace of the Incan Empire.

If you have some extra time, you can travel by ground to the colonial city of Arequipa, passing through one of the world’s largest gorges, the Colca and Cotahuasi Canyons.

You can continue from the canyon to the “White City” of Arequipa. Plan to spend at least a day in Arequipa, touring its impressive architectural attractions built of white volcanic stone (hence its nickname). Its colonial-era architecture gives the city a noticeably European feel, contrasting refreshingly with the distinctly South American vibe of cities like Cusco and Lima. After a city tour, refuel at one of the recommended traditional picanterias (typical lunchtime restaurants).

• Option 2: Venture to The Amazon Rainforest

venture the Amazon Rainforest

Alternatively, you can devote your second week to the legendary Amazon Rainforest. You’ll need to set aside at least three days and two nights for Amazon private tours, but we recommend opting to spend five days in the rainforest to really make the most of it. The longer you spend, the further into the jungle your tour will take you and the greater your opportunities to spot Amazonian wildlife.

Peru offers three ideal Amazon destinations: Iquitos (capital of the Peruvian Amazon) where you can take a Luxury Amazon cruise along the mighty Amazon River; Manu Biosphere Reserve (the world’s most diverse national reserve), and Tambopata National Reserve (a paradise for off-the-beaten-path explorations and the closest to the city of Cusco).

The world’s largest tropical rainforest, the Amazon is a massive natural area that is renowned for its biodiversity— which you can appreciate while visiting any of the aforementioned Amazonian destinations. The rainforest covers a whopping 60% of Peru and bestows the Andean nation with a striking array of flora and fauna endemic to the Amazon, such as the Pink River dolphin, jaguar, as well as two- and three-toed sloths.

Personalized Trips to Peru

Whatever you have in mind, we are sure there is a great option for you to include in your private Peru holiday.  Reach out to one of our sales team members at Kuoda Travel so they can help you discover Peru in the way that best suits your tastes and travel needs. Contact us today to learn more about these itineraries and other exciting potential destinations for your trip to Peru:

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