What to do in Peru
Last year British Airways launched a direct flight from Gatwick to Lima which operates three times a week; making Peru and Machu Picchu that much easier to reach. In an effort to make planning a trip to Peru slightly simpler, we've put together a guide to what to do in Peru.
1. Spend some time in Lima. With a reputation of being a grey and cloud-covered city, most people avoid Lima and connect straight down to Cusco or other parts of Peru. Although if you visit between the months of May and October you may well find Lima covered in a thick grey fog you’re missing out if you don’t make time to visit Lima’s colonial centre, its museums and its incredible restaurants. Staying in bohemian Barranco or bustling Miraflores gives you easy access to Lima’s best ceviche and Japanese-Peruvian nikkei restaurants.
2. Don’t rush straight to Machu Picchu. With so much to see and do in Peru most people will head straight to Machu Picchu on the train without spending time in the Sacred Valley or only stopping at the most famous sites of Pisac and Ollantaytmabo. There are so many more archaeological sites to see in the valleys between Cusco and Machu Picchu and they are much more impressive when they are not covered in crowds of people! If you’ve got time then it’s definitely worth doing one of the multi-day hikes which will show you more of the surrounding area and give you a greater appreciation of Machu Picchu when you get there. From the more culturally focussed Lares Trek, to the challenging Salkantay Trek and famous Inca Trail - there are options for every level of fitness. You can even spend every night sleeping at a luxury lodge if you don’t fancy camping!
3. Explore the Amazon. From Cusco it is only a 45 minute flight into the Amazon at Puerto Maldonado and from there only an hour’s boat ride to pristine rainforest within the Tambopata Reserve. Staying at a riverside lodge you can take part in walking safaris, climb over canopy walkways and take canoeing trips to visit palm clay licks, in one of the most biodiverse areas of Peru. Home to hundreds of different species of birds, you’ll also be on the look out for macaws, sloths, howler monkeys and anacondas to name just a few.
4. Visit the Floating Islands of Lake Titicaca. Home to the Uros tribes and closed Quechua communities; Lake Titicaca offers a great insight into the traditional way of life of Peru’s indigenous peoples. Spend a night on the floating islands with a local family or take a boat trip to the UNESCO-listed island of Taquile, which is famous for its century-old textile traditions. In May of this year Belmond is launching an overnight train from Cusco to the city of Puno, the entry point to Lake Titicaca. A journey which cuts across the vast open spaces of the altiplano, it’s a great way to see more of Peru and travel overland.
5. Hit the beach! It’s no secret that a trip to Peru involves quite a bit of moving about so the idea of having a few days to relax at the end of your holiday is an appealing option. The golden sands of Peru’s northern coastline around the resort of Máncora are a short flight from Lima where you’ll find plenty of small beachfront hotels, crystal clear waters and more ceviche!