The top seven things to do in Peru reflect natural and cultural splendors you can experience during your customizable trip.
The Amazon wilderness is vibrant with color, artisan markets are a microcosm of Andean communities, and the sea breeze adds to the contemporary ambiance of Lima’s coastal streets. From the secluded shoreline to the renowned ruins of Machu Picchu, Peru has something for every kind of traveler.
Whether a family in search of adventure, a couple eager for a romantic escape, or a senior trip of a lifetime, the best things to do in Peru highlight the possibilities for creating your perfect vacation.
The well-preserved Inca ruins in Peru tell only part of the story of the greater empire. At its peak, it spread over 770,000 square miles, reaching north to the border of what is now Colombia and south beyond the modern border of Chile.
The architecture caps the high plateaus of the Andes Mountains, rises above the dense foliage, and overlooks the crumbling edges of the earth below.
With a remarkable collection of sites looming above the Urubamba River in the Sacred Valley, the heritage of the Inca lives on in the incredible ruins.
Best Places to View Inca Ruins: Machu Picchu • Cusco, Moray • Pisac • Ollantaytambo • Qorikancha • Saqsaywaman
The culture of Peru is layered, with a heritage spanning millennia before the first stone was set at Machu Picchu. From mysterious formations to the allure of legends, the cultural landmarks across Peru share the greater story of the nation’s collective history.
From adobe pyramids to pictures carved into the desert landscape, murals decorating the walls of a 16th-century cathedral to floating islands made from local reeds, the landmarks that span Peru demonstrate a unique perspective of pre- and post-Columbian timelines shaped by the land, sea, and history.
Best Places to View Cultural Landmarks: Nazca • Machu Picchu • Saqsaywaman • Santa Catalina Monastery • Chan Chan • Basilica of San Francisco de Lima • Lake Titicaca
Peru shines with natural beauty, with little more alluring than the multi-colored sands and crystal-clear waters of the Pacific coastline. Stretches of deserted white sands and golden coast are perfect for relaxing in luxury or surfing some of the greatest waves in the world.
The best beaches in Peru possess a quiet and consistent ambiance steeped in year-round temperate weather that turns the coastline into the perfect escape any time of year. Whether connected to the urban sprawl of a large city or hidden from view like a desert oasis, the beaches of Peru are often overlooked, but are endlessly inviting.
Best Beaches to Visit: Barlovento • Paracas • Cerro Azul • Tuquillo • El Silencio • Miraflores
The natural wonders of Peru often stand in the shadow of Machu Picchu, but the exceptional wildlife is reason enough to visit the country’s diverse ecosystems that range from the high-altitude Andes to the Amazon Rainforest.
The landscape can feel untamed, brimming with protected nature that supports hundreds of larger fauna, including Andean condors and pumas, Humboldt penguins and river dolphins, alpacas and piranhas.
Whether on a trek through the jungle or a cruise on the Amazon River, you can enjoy searching for the wildlife that has called the region home for millennia.
Best Places to View Wildlife: Paracas • Ballestas Islands • Colca Canyon • Tambopata National Reserve • Parque Nacional del Manu
Peru brims with diverse ecosystems where the wildlife thrives, including pristine regions that support birdlife. Nature is a spectacle to behold when visiting Peru and when birding, you can find incredible views of famous species like the Andean condor or the popular cock-of-the-rock.
In the tropical lowlands, you can search for the likes of macaw and Pavonine Quetzal. Floodplains, mountain peaks, river islands, and sand forests all add to the natural landscape that has shaped the country’s diverse bird population, resulting in a marvelous place to view a variety with little effort and incredible rewards.
Best Places for Birding: Manu National Park • Pacaya Samiria National Reserve • Ballestra Islands • Cutervo National Park • Huascaran National Park
Peru is vibrant with color, from its natural beauty to the way local artisans capture images of their surroundings in their creations. Art in Peru can take the form of a painting, a blanket, and much more, as artisans share their heritage through wooden carvings, pottery, or images that connect contemporary culture to the past.
Whether visiting an artisan market or an art gallery, the works speak for themselves, requiring visitors to take their time to see the quality, intention, and intricacy of each piece, as well as how each artwork speaks to greater Peru.
Best Places for Artisan Crafts: Lima • Cusco • Pisac • Chinchero • Huilloc
An exploration of Peru can take you into the mountains or below the surface of the sea in search of glowing coral reefs and diving penguins. Visiting a national park in Peru gives you views of stunning wildlife in new and exciting ways not limited to land.
Cruise to distant islands where endemic wildlife thrives away from the prying eyes of communities or take to mountainous trails for vistas that share Peru’s elevated majesty. The national parks in Peru reveal the inherent beauty of flowers and grasses, trees and riverbeds, islands and ocean to create an everlasting connection.
Best National Parks to Visit: Huascaran National Park • Cerros de Amotape National Park • Cutervo National Park • Tingo Maria National Park • Cordillera Azul National Park
Your perfect Peru trip could feature the ruins of Machu Picchu, the wonders of the wildlife around the Ballestas islands, remote communities on Lake Titicaca, or the marvels of the Amazon as you explore the 8 Best Places to Visit in Peru.
No matter the kinds of experiences you prefer, you can embrace romance or adventure, discovery or relaxation during the Best Time to Visit Peru. Explore the endless possibilities with sample itineraries in our Peru Vacations & Tours or look for more information about traveling to Peru in our Peru Travel Guide.