By Carolin Pilligrath, on June 18, 2019

Peru: South America’s Not-So-Secret Hotspot

When I first heard about Peru, the only destination that came to mind was Machu Picchu. Sometime later, I explored this South American country for the first time. I instantly realised that there was more to Peru than the ancient Incan City. Even though Machu Picchu is beautiful, there are so many more sights to see and things to do in Peru.

Let’s dive into this Peruvian adventure. I am sure it is bound to surprise you and bump this destination up your bucket list!

Top Amazing Things to do in Peru

Explore the Bustling Metropolis of Lima

The Peru capital, Lima, is a sophisticated city with ancient history absolutely worth discovering. The historic centre of Lima is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its high concentration of historic monuments. Museum Larco is also a must when it comes to things to do in Peru, as it displays some of the country’s most treasured artefacts. I also loved visiting Café del Museo, where you can eat delicious Peruvian cuisine in a breathtaking garden. But Lima is more than just museums and art!

Historic centre of Lima, PeruPhoto credit: Breathing Travel

You can party it up in top-notch nightclubs, and haggling in markets is extremely common (some may even argue that it’s an art form). If you’re into fancy shops, Larcomar Shopping Center in Miraflores overlooks the ocean, revamping the shopping experience entirely.

Larcomar Shopping Center in Miraflores, LimaPhoto credit: Breathing Travel

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Watch the Sunrise at Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is one of the most famous Peru attractions for a reason and is definitely one of the places on Earth you have to visit once in your lifetime. Getting to Machu Picchu is also an experience in itself. Here are a few ways to get to the eighth wonder of the world:

  1. Hike the four-day Inca Trail experience. Thousands of tourists take the Inca Trail every year. Laid by the Incas, this ancient trail takes you from the Sacred Valley of Peru to Machu Picchu in 39 km. The path is nothing short of spectacular – with snowy mountain peaks, cloud forests, blooming orchids, and distant rivers.
  2. Opt for the overnight trail. This includes some adventurous Peru activities like zip-lining and mountain biking along the way.
  3. Take the train. You’ll arrive at the town at the bottom of Machu Picchu.

Selfie on the Inca TrailPhoto credit: Breathing Travel

Once you reach your final destination, sleep overnight in Aguas Calientes, a town by the bottom of the Inca ruins. And when the sun rises in the morning, the glowing ancient city is sure to captivate you.

Selfie at Machu PicchuPhoto credit: Breathing Travel

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Scale one of the World’s Highest Cities, Cusco

Cusco is usually used as a base from which to head to Macchu Picchu. However, Cusco is a hidden gem which many don’t take the time to discover to its fullest.

Cusco, PeruPhoto credit: Breathing Travel

Brimming with many great things to do in Peru, it was the former centre of the Inca Empire, located in the Peruvian Andes. You cannot miss a visit to the Plaza de Armas, a place where you get to enjoy some of the best restaurants, bars, and coffee shops in the country.

San Pedro Market is a spectacle by itself. Here, you get to dive into an abundant supply of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, and so much more. I recommend cuy, an emblematic Peruvian food which consists of roasted guinea pig. Not for everyone, that’s for sure!

Feeling queasy at the 3,400 altitude meter where Cusco is located? The locals will advise you to chew coca leaves or the drink coca leaf tea. The leaves are the raw material for cocaine and will help ease your headache.

Mate de coca in Cusco, Peru

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Stay at the Beautiful JW Marriott in Lima

Exterior of JW Marriott in Lima

Room at JW Marriott in Lima

If you really want to fall in love with the city of Lima, I recommend staying at JW Marriott and book a room with ocean views. There are plenty of great Peru hotels to pick from, but JW Marriott doesn’t slack off when it comes to luxury.

Enjoy the modern and spacious rooms at the hotel or spoil yourself at a spa day or the outdoor swimming pool. When it comes to the service, all there is to say is: you will be treated like royalty.

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Visit Colca Canyon, the Deepest Canyon in the World

Even if you aren’t the biggest hiking junkie, you cannot miss the beauty offered by the Colca Canyon. This famous canyon is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon! This is one of the places in Peru you should mark for a visit!

Colca Canyon, Peru

If you look close enough, you may catch a glimpse of the Andean Condor, an enormous bird known for its wide wingspan of 3.2 meters.

You can easily book a day trip to visit the Colca Canyon from Arequipa. From here you will make your way 4,900 meters above sea level and then make a descent down the amazing Colca Valley!

An Andean Condor at Cola Canyon, PeruPhoto credit: Breathing Travel

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Eat Peru’s national dish ceviche at La Mar

This South American gem offers a one-of-a-kind adventure when it comes to visiting places, but you mustn’t neglect the mouth-watering food experiences! Sampling the culinary offerings is one of the best things to do in Peru.

La Mar in Lima is one of the best when it comes to Peruvian food. Famous for its pisco-led cocktails and seafood dishes, La Mar’s good leaves tasty memories which are hard to forget. They make Peru’s national food, ceviche, the best here, as it is prepared by some of the most famous chefs in all of Peru.

Cevice in PeruPhoto credit: Breathing Travel

Visit the Sacred Valley

What made the Sacred Valley so, well, sacred? In Incan times, Peru defined it as a place of creating the connection between Earth and the Milky Way, hence the arcs above the valley.

Some of the finest Inca ruins in the country can be found in the valley. The Sacred Valley is also home to many vibrant marketplaces. On Sundays, the one in the village of Pisac has lots of artisan stalls selling food, clay work, jewels, and hand-dyed clothing.

Llamas at Sacred Valley, PeruPhoto credit: Breathing Travel

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Try Lomo Saltado (Stir Fried Beef)

This local dish is as popular as ceviche and you can find it across the whole of Peru. It is actually a fusion of a Chinese stir-fry with classic Peruvian ingredients. The soy-marinated beef is broiled with tomatoes, onions, Aji chillies and a generous mix of spices until the beef becomes so tender that it melts in your mouth.

The vegetables turn into a delicious gravy which is then served together with rice and French fries. Just explaining how this “comida Peruviana” is cooked has my mouth watering!

Lomo saltado, a stir-fried beef and veggie dishLomo saltado, a stir-fried beef and veggie dish (Photo credit: @renatoreyes19 | Instagram

Stay at Belmond Hotel Monasterio

Outdoor area at Belmond Hotel Monasterio

Room at Belmond Hotel Monasterio

Room at Belmond Hotel Monasterio

Belmond Hotel is heaven for anyone who loves vintage things. It was a former monastery built in 1592. This is why you’ll find luxurious colonial-style accommodation. The walls covered in religious art complements the hotel’s unique atmosphere. The hotel also offers leisure activities such as horse riding, hiking and organised trips to Macchu Picchu.

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Peru lives up to its hype as an up-and-coming tourist hotspot in South America. It’s a place that speaks to each person differently, be it the adventurous or the ones who seek the most peaceful spots on Earth. Go on, my fellow traveller, there is so many fun things to do in Peru just waiting for you.


Plan Your Trip to Peru


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