Lima, Cusco, and Machu Picchu at a Glance
Peru beckons travelers from around the world to discover its vibrant city life and relics from centuries past. In Peru's capital city of Lima, you can take a stroll along the shimmering water of the Pacific and explore the colonial architecture that surrounds the Plaza de Armas. You can also make your way to the birthplace of the Inca Empire in present-day Cusco, immerse yourself in the fervor of local markets, and step inside the Qorikancha Sun Temple. Visit the internationally acclaimed ruins of Machu Picchu and settle in for a soothing dip in the base town's thermal waters. Along the way, you can explore each city's lesser-known neighborhoods and experience the country’s magic in a unique way.
Peru's national capital of Lima offers the very best of metropolitan life with hints of ancient innovation. Along the way, visitors can sample exquisite seafood and enjoy spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.
- Miraflores: Miraflores is regarded as the most prestigious neighborhood in all of Peru. The neighborhood is flanked by white skyscrapers and lush parkways. Here, visitors can enjoy 360-degree views along the shore and sample delicious cuisine, including Peru's beloved ceviche.
- Plaza de Armas: This is the epicenter of Lima's pre and post-colonial history. Visitors can admire the elaborate Spanish facades of the San Francisco Basilica and Government Municipal Palace in addition to sitting beneath the shady palm trees in the main square. Nearby, Huaca Pucllana pyramid lies, which was built by the ancient Limans in the region.
- The Barranco District: This is a trendy neighborhood that has been decorated with colorful street art and bold facades. Tourists can cross the famous Puente de los Suspiros bridge and step inside quirky bars and restaurants that were originally built as colonial mansions to serve the Spanish elite.
Cusco is well-regarded as the birthplace of the ancient Inca Empire. Here, Spanish aesthetics fuse with the impressive artifacts of indigenous cultures. In Cusco, local cultures shine brightly, from the local markets and elaborate stonework to Andean music and gastronomic excellence.
- Plaza de Armas/Avenida del Sol: This is Cusco's main square. The Plaza de Armas is flanked by the city's ornate cathedral and local shops. Just beyond downtown, you can visit the Qorikancha Sun Temple, which is among the proudest of Inca constructions in the region.
- San Blas: San Blas is a beautiful colonial neighborhood that is revered for its white stucco facades and cobblestoned streets. Stone fountains mark the center of plazas, narrow alleys lead the way to art galleries, markets burst with vibrant textiles, and breathtaking miradors offer scenic views of the city.
- Saqsayhuaman and Tambomachay: Saqsayhuaman and Tambomachay are prime examples of Inca ingenuity. Tourists can venture beyond the confines of Cusco to explore these historic gems. Saqsayhuaman is known as the city's stoic fortress that was built with expert stone engineering. At Tambomachay, visitors can walk among the ancient baths of the Inca nobility.
Machu Picchu boasts the internationally acclaimed UNESCO ruins. Millions of tourists flock to the region every year to experience the history and breathtaking landscapes. During a visit, travelers can also explore Huayna Picchu’s peak and the thermal baths of Aguas Calientes.
- Huayna Picchu: Huayna Picchu is the iconic mountain peak to the rear of Machu Picchu. Huayna Picchu, the backdrop of photos of Machu Picchu, is not only iconic but offers an adventurous climb. At the summit, you can enjoy panoramic views of the Andes Mountains and UNESCO ruins.
- UNESCO World Heritage Site: The UNESCO World Heritage Site is the ruins of the ancient Inca citadel. The internationally acclaimed ruins of Machu Picchu provide a unique glimpse into the daily lives and ceremonial practices of the Inca Empire. Upon your arrival, you can visit key features, such as the Sacred Rock, Temple of Three Windows, Principal Palace, and Temple of the Moon.
- Aguas Calientes: Aguas Calientes is a sleepy mountain town at the base of Machu Picchu's ruins. Here, visitors can board shuttle buses to the ruins and train rides back to Cusco through the Sacred Valley. Additionally, as the name suggests, this town is famous for natural thermal springs that are perfect for unwinding after a day at the ruins.