HomePeru Vacations & Tours 2021-2022Peru Travel Guide

Top 8 Must-See Places in Peru

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Manu National Park in the Peruvian Amazon

Manu National Park in the Peruvian Amazon

Peru’s top 8 must-see destinations are a great way to experience your customized Peru vacation.

Peru is a shining example of diversity, with wondrous scenery that stretches from the Pacific coast to the Andes Mountains, the Sechura Desert to the Amazon Rainforest. Search for signs of mysterious civilizations or bask in the remarkable sounds of the Amazon. Whether learning about the culture or uncovering the beauty of nature, you can experience adventure at your pace.

With immersive ecosystems that connect you to Incan cities and cultural villages, you can find traditional markets, essential flavors, tropical jungles, and dynamic wildlife.

1. Machu Picchu

Temple of the Sun at Machu Picchu

Temple of the Sun at Machu Picchu

Perched high on a ridge above the Urubamba River looms the captivating and forgotten Incan city of Machu Picchu. Its dramatic location in the Andes creates a majestic ambiance in a remote setting, reached only by a long trail or steep incline. Whether traversing the jungle-covered mountains or looking down from the neighboring peak of Huayna Picchu, the experience of witnessing the unique setting and preserved ruins of Machu Picchu is unforgettable.

Highlights: Huayna Picchu | Temple of the Sun | Intihuatana | Sun Gate | Principal Temple

Recommended length of stay: 1-2 days

Best time to visit: April | May | August | September | October

2. Cusco

Plaza de Armas in Cusco, Peru

Plaza de Armas in Cusco, Peru

Cusco embodies the undisputed archeological center of the Americas, with a combination of colonial beauty and Incan masterpieces, artifacts, and legends that reflect the belief the city once acted as the navel of the world. With ornate cathedrals set over grand Inca temples, dramatic fortresses looming on the hillside, traditional Andean clothing brightening the cobbled lanes, and a welcoming ambiance across the varied neighborhoods, Cusco feels ancient and modern, quaint and chic.

Highlights: Plaza de Armas | Cathedral | Sacsayhuaman | Coricancha | Pre-Columbian Art Museum

Recommended length of stay: 2-3 days

Best time to visit: April | May | August | September | October

3. Lima

Miraflores district in Lima, Peru

Miraflores district in Lima, Peru

Lima is a city of juxtaposition, where the dry desert air meets the crashing waves of the Pacific, and modern high-rise buildings overlook pre-Columbian temples. With layers of ancient civilization and contemporary sophistication, Spanish colonial architecture from the 18th century, and modern culinary creations along the chic streets of the Miraflores district, Lima can unveil a sense of distinctive history and endless aesthetic delights.

Highlights: Plaza de Armas | Convento de San Francisco | Cathedral | Miraflores | Santo Domingo

Recommended length of stay: 1-2 days

Best time to visit: December | January | February | March | April

4. Sacred Valley

Circular terraces in Moray, Peru

Circular terraces in Moray, Peru

The Sacred Valley hides in the shadows of the formidable Andean peaks. Carved by the winding banks of the Urubamba River, the valley can lead you to panoramic views of gliding condors, cobbled lanes of preserved colonial towns, or former Incan citadels nestled into the steep cliffs. The Andean market in Pisac shines a bright light on traditional culture, as the terraces in Moray reveal historic agricultural advancements. Villages, ruins, traditions, handcrafts, and views make the Sacred Valley a destination unto itself when visiting Peru.

Highlights: Moray | Pumahuanca | Ollantaytambo ruins | Pisac Terraces | Maras

Recommended length of stay: 2-3 days

Best time to visit: April | May | August | September | October

5. The Amazon

Macaws feeding at clay licks along the river in Manu National Park, Peru

Manu National Park, Peru

The famous and infamous reputation of the Amazon often precedes your arrival, but the rainforest canopy will leave you in awe as you immerse yourself in the jungle. As one of the best-protected areas of the biodiverse forest, you can glide down the river in search of piranha or wind beneath the trees to find parrots and monkeys as you uncover a dense wonderland of wildlife and ecology.

Highlights: Kuelap ruins | Tarapoto waterfall | Oxapampa | Parque Nacional Manu | Puerto Maldonado

Recommended length of stay: 3-4 nights

Best time to visit: May | June | July | August | September

6. Puno

Floating islands in Uros, Peru

Uros Islands, Peru

Puno has a charm of its own as it climbs into the hills and watches over the largest high-altitude lake in the world. Floating islands drift along the waters of Lake Titicaca and traditional Andean towns hide along the distant islands bordering the Peruvian-Bolivian border. You can visit impressive funerary towers soaring above the Andean steppe or meet the welcoming locals along the shores or in the island villages, where they practice traditional handcrafts.

Highlights: Uros Islands | Amantani Island | Taquile Island | Sillustani | Catedral de Puno

Recommended length of stay: 1-2 nights

Best time to visit: January | May | June

7. Nazca

Nazca Lines in Peru

Nazca Lines in Peru

The desert town of Nazca rises out of the arid landscape and features the mysterious Nazca Lines, drawings etched into the landscape. With the different art pieces reflecting various animals and dating back to 600 CE, the destination can feel mysterious and majestic. From the air you may be able to see upwards of 70 different shapes, including a condor with a wingspan stretching over 426 feet wide. You can also find pyramids, mummies, and the ancient canals of the Cantalloc Aqueducts.

Highlights: Nazca Lines | Cantalloc Aqueduct | Cahuachi Pyramid | Museo Antonini

Recommended length of stay: 1-2 nights

Best time to visit: December | January | February | March

8. Paracas

Coast of Paracas, Peru

Coast of Paracas, Peru

An escape from Lima, a view over the wild Pacific, and access to the wonders of the Ballestas Islands, Paracas is a captivating and overlooked destination in Peru. Exotic beaches with quiet waves create a relaxing ambiance. Culture and history take center stage in historic haciendas. The national reserve features the beauty of Humboldt penguins and Andean condors. From the desert sun to the cycling excursions, you can find adventure and relaxation, wildlife and charm around Paracas.

Highlights: Ballestas Islands | Paracas National Reserve | Paracas Town | Sand Dunes | Tambo Colorado

Recommended length of stay: 1-2 days

Best time to visit: December | January | February | March | April

How many days is enough to see Peru?

Cobblestone street with markets in Ollantaytambo, Peur

Ollantaytambo, Peru

Ten to 14 days is the perfect amount of time to experience the highlights of Peru on your personalized tour. Approximately two weeks can immerse you in a trip designed to meet your preferences and needs. With natural splendor and diverse cultures found across the country, you can explore the highlights, such as Machu Picchu and Cusco, while also having time to discover lesser-visited areas, such as Puno, to see Lake Titicaca, or Nazca, to view the Nazca Lines. Two weeks will also offer you plenty of time to have an authentic and luxurious experience in the Amazon Rainforest.

Read to Plan Your Trip?

Cathedral of Puno

Cathedral of Puno

Peru is a wonder of the ancient world, a marvel of contemporary culture, and an enchanting glimpse into the diversity of nature, with a lifetime of experiences in the must-see destinations you can enjoy during your trip. You can become immersed in Andean culture, Pacific beauty, and Amazon wilderness. Find more inspiration for your trip on our Peru Vacations & Tours page. You can also speak with a Peru travel specialist by filling out a Trip Request or by calling our Traveler Care team at 1-888-265-9707.

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