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There are few places that spark more travel daydreaming than Peru. The Western South American country that borders Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, AND the Pacific Ocean is one chock full of diverse people, environments, and experiences. It’s a place where you can hike to ancient ruins, venture around an architectural marvel of a city, and sandboard down sand dunes. There’s so much to do and each city has its own cultural traditions, cuisine, and history. And they’re a just last-minute flight deal away! Of course, what you experience in Peru depends on what you’re interested in and where you plan on staying, so here are half a dozen incredible experiences, wide-ranging and from all over the country, which will have something to interest everybody!

Hiking the Incan Trail to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is Peru’s largest tourist attraction. If you plan to trek on the Incan trail up to Machu Picchu, we suggest you pack your best hiking gear! This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most significant archaeological sites in the world, sitting 7,970 feet above sea level. The hike takes about 4-days on foot and difficulty ranges from moderate to challenging. Along the journey, you’ll be hiking the mountain edges at extreme heights. As you get closer to your destination the steps become steeper and narrower but there are, of course, rest stops along the way. So if you have a fear of heights this is NOT the adventure for you to take while in Peru. Each visitor leaves the site with a memorable experience. And, if you’re not up for the strenuous hike but still want to get to Machu Picchu, there are also bus tours available to get you up the winding mountains on wheels!

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Exploring the Miraflores District

Miraflores District, Peru

Located about just 6-miles from the central city of Lima, you’ll find the lavish Miraflores District. If you’re planning to stay in Lima, you’ll most definitely cross paths with this lovely district. The shopping, dining, and daytime activities are exquisite. If you’re an outdoorsy, yet adventurous traveler, go paragliding or jump into the Pacific for some surfing. But, if you’re more of a land-lover then spend some time at Huaca Pucllana — it’s where you’ll find the only remains of pre-Incan ruins in Miraflores. They even a Peruvian restaurant, so you can dine while admiring the ancient clay pyramid. After that, grab your wallet and go shopping at Larcomar, a large mall built into a cliff on the side of the ocean – it’s simply the best shopping experience in Miraflores!

Admiring the Architecture of Cusco

Cusco, Peru

Cusco sits high in the Peruvian Andes and was once home to the Incan Empire. If you’re heading up to Macchu Picchu, this is probably where you’ll go for a starting point. But, if you’re interested in visiting a beautiful city with lots to explore, then stay for a while! Just by simply walking around, you’ll admire the breathtaking architecture surrounded by mountains with roofs all covered in stucco. In fact, this city is well-known for its archaeological remains and for the Spanish colonial architecture. While you’re here you’ll surely come across the Plaza de Armas, it’s the main square with an incredible cathedral situated in the center along with bars, restaurants, and shops around the square. Other spots to venture to in this city are San Pedro Market, the Incan Museum, San Blas District…just to name a few!

Walking Along the Salt Ponds in Maras

Salt ponds in Maras, Peru

Picture standing amongst some of the best salt produced in the world, that’s where you’ll find the salt ponds in the town of Maras in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. There are close to 5,000 salt ponds and it’s nothing short of beautiful to see in person. To get to Maras and its salt ponds, consider joining a tour. You’ll get to see and learn a lot more about the area rather than venturing off on your own. Plus, all money spent on a tour or a fee to visit the salt ponds goes to the local community. The ponds are important to each family in Maras, as they’ve inherited the task to keep up their ancestors tradition of taking care of their pond by filling it with a little salt water from the Qoripujio (spring canal) by opening a spout to let the salt water in. Once the pond dries up, pink salt appears! You’ll see for yourself once you arrive.

Venturing to the City of Arequipa

Arequipa. Peru

Arequipa is the second largest city in Peru with so much for you to do! Surrounded by three massive volcanoes, the city is mostly built from a white volcanic stone…thus it’s nickname: “The White City”. If you’re not afraid of heights, take a trip to Colca Canyon! The canyon is the deepest in the world, however, it’s just 1-hour from the city center by bus. You’ll also get to see the local villages, hot springs, and traditional celebrations. Once you reach the Canyon, the feeling is supposed to be surreal — as you’ll be standing beside massive mountains high above the ground level. Other tourist attractions to check out in and around Arequipa are the Cathedral of Arequipa and Plaza de Armas, both ready for you to explore!

Experiencing the Desert Oasis of Huacachina

Huacachina, Peru

Located just 5-hours south of Lima, a bus tour can get you there,  Huacachina is a village built around a desert oasis. It’s the largest sand dune in South America. You can hop on a dune buggy or a sandboarding tour for some fun. Get to the top of the sand dunes for a picture perfect moment and watch the sunset for the most dreamlike views of Huachchina! And don’t worry about being stranded in the desert, downtown Ica is just 10 minutes away.

Have you visited Peru? Tell us about your awesome experiences in the comments below! 

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About The Author

Shannon Durso

If she’s not searching for the world's coolest destinations she has yet to explore, you can find her writing content at Fareportal or maybe even drooling over a foodies latest post. Shannon’s a Brooklyn native who enjoys good company, new adventures, and a great laugh!