Backpacking Peru can be one of your life’s adventures. This is why it is important that you take the time and research the best places to visit, the best activities to do, the best meals to eat. In this article, you will find the top 10 places everyone should see in Peru, along with all the great new experiences to try, and local foods to taste.
Peru is located in Western South America. Lima, the Capital city, is right near the Pacific Ocean. Most Peruvians speak Spanish, but they also have other co-official languages. When you visit Peru and want to pay with cash, make sure to exchange your money to the local currency called sol, which has the code PEN.
After you cover the basics, it is time to get serious about your backpacker plan to experience the most you can. Here are the things you can put on your list while travelling to Peru.
When You Visit Peru, You Need To See Machu Picchu
Even if the name now is recognized by almost anyone, the Inca citadel was unknown to the world until the early 20th century. It is also called, “The Lost City of the Incas” and represents one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, as well as one of The New Seven Wonders of the World.
Machu Picchu is located in the South-East area of the country, 80km from the city of Cusco. Of course, you can take the train to get there, but you can also hike your way through Incan roads that lead to the 15th-century citadel. Also, you should make a note that entrance in the citadel is limited to 2.500 people per day, so plan accordingly. Other than this, the site awaits with wonderful landscapes, rich history lessons, and encounters with cute animals like Llamas.
Peru Travel With One Stop In Lima
When you find yourself looking for some urban landscapes backpacking Peru, the first place you will need to check off the list is Lima. Its history dates from the 16th century and its center is also included as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
Besides, Lima offers a wide range of architectural styles that include Spanish Baroque, Spanish Neoclassical, Spanish Colonial, Neoclassical, and Art Nouveau. Examples of buildings in these styles are the Monastery of San Francisco, the Cathedral, and the Torre Tagle Palace. You can also visit one of its many museums.
Also, if you are in the mood of mixing the urban feeling with a little nature, don’t forget to go for a walk through the Park of the Reserve. Here you will find the Magical Circuit of Water, which is the largest fountain complex in worldwide.
After a long day of sightseeing, you should end it with a local Peruvian dish that you can only have as a backpacker in Lima, Peru. Interestingly, one of the most popular ones is called ceviche. On a ceviche plate, you will get fresh marinated fish in citrus juice with chilli, onions, roasted corn, sweet potatoes, and toast.
Backpacking Peru In The Amazon
In Spanish: Amazonía del Perú
Nothing beats the unique experience of canoeing through the Amazon rainforest and its wildlife. The Peruvian Amazon covers around 60% of Peru and people all over the world travel to see it up-close. The Amazon in Peru has two regions – the lowland jungle, between 80 and 1.000 meters above sea level, and the highland one, between 1.000 and 3.800 meters. One of the easiest ways to get there is by plane from Cusco.
On June 24th, Peruvians celebrate St. John’s day by indulging in a traditional recipe called Juane. You can always make at home, but rest assured nothing compares with the experience of enjoying it with the locals on an Amazon river. The dish is compiled of rice, meat, boiled eggs, black olives, and various spices.
One Backpacker In Peru, One Lake Titicaca
In Spanish: Lago Titicaca
Lake Titicaca is known as the largest navigable lake in the world and is located between the borders of Peru and Bolivia.
Make some new friends and board on a short sail to one of the lake’s man-made small islands right in the middle of it. One of these islands is called Uros, from the people who built it. Another one is Amantani, where around 4.000 people live on 15 square kilometers of land.
Wherever you choose to sail, each and every one of the islands on Lake Titicaca will free your spirit and boost your energy levels.
Traveling To Peru And Seeing The Gocta Waterfall
In Spanish: Catarata del Gocta
The Gocta Waterfall is a wonderful place to be if you’re backpacking Peru. Not only will you feel invigorated from all the fresh water pouring, and pouring, and pouring, but the place has some peace to it too. The famous waterfall is located in the North of the country. However, its history, on the other hand, was not that familiar with the world until the beginning of the 21st century. The same as it was with many breathtaking places to see while backpacking Peru.
The legend says that this was by design. The locals believed that a beautiful blonde mermaid would put a curse on them if they were to reveal Gocta’s location to others.
Life Is Better At The Máncora Beach
Stay up all night and catch the sunrise. Go for a quiet walk at sunset. Enjoy your meal. Have a drink. And just breathe. You’re at the beach. Speaking of drinks, you should know that everyone is crazy about Pisco Sour in Peru. Pisco is a simple, yet complicated drink, best served chilled – on ice, while relaxing. In a short glass, you will get a mix of Pisco (fermented wine), egg whites, lemon juice, bitter, and ice.
Máncora is not only a beach, but also a town, where about 10k people live. Even if the number is not that high, Máncora has over 30 different resorts of hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs. If you are looking for fun during the night and some sun during that day, mark it on your map. Máncora is right in the North of Peru, almost near the border with Ecuador.
Unplug And Go To The Countryside, Vicos Awaits.
A village with 1.000 inhabitants, you can definitely go back to the basics. Peruvians living here still take care of animals on their own, grow their food and spend life at the farm.
Don’t be shy, join them in their everyday work and way of life. Especially if you come from a big city, this change of pace will benefit you a lot. After a long day of working the field, you can enjoy a coca tea under the shades and your own thoughts.
Huacachina – Desert, Oasis, Laguna, Village, Resort.
If you can believe it, this place is all in one. Surrounded by sand dunes, this small-green laguna found its way into the world. Peru has always something to offer. Even in the most predictable places, there is something unique. Like another destination in this article, Huacachina tells the story of a mermaid living in the laguna who takes one man every year. Or maybe it is just a legend.
The village built around it depends 100% on tourism and is maybe one of the smallest you will ever see. Most visitors who come here travel from great distances to see the place which is featured on a sol bill. As a backpacker, you should know that Huacachina is somewhere South from Lima and you can easily get there by car or bus.
Q’eswachaka, The Rope Bridge To Cross
The name literally means ”rope bridge”, which the spot is famous for. Backpacking Peru is not only a physical experience of adventures and off the grid places to see, or new interesting foods and drinks to taste. It is also a journey of the mind and soul.
Put your courage and patience to the test. When you cross this bridge, the moment you get on the other end, you can honestly say there’s one less experience you haven’t lived. Also, every year, in June, residents work on the bridge to keep it safe as long as possible. Even if there is another one, a modern one, close to it. Tradition is important in Peru, so no matter where you will be, try to respect that.
To get to Q’eswachaka you will need to go a little South from Cusco. The rope bridge crosses over Apurimac, a river that was traveled only two times to its full length of 850km.
Over The Rainbow Mountain – Vinicunca
In Spanish: Montaña de Siete Colores
If adventure is what you want, adventure is what you will get. The Rainbow Mountain in Peruvian Andes is difficult to get to even for the more experienced hikers and guides. But, as the map shows you, head to South traveling Peru and you will find your way. The Rainbow Mountain will call.
There is no road to get to the desired destination. However, there is a trek, which you can walk in about two hours. When you pass the first obstacle, here comes the next. Vinicunca has an altitude of 5.200 meters above the sea level, which means air is rare. When you finally make your way up, you won’t believe your eyes. It might seem unreal, surreal, or even something pulled out from a cartoon. Here lies the beauty of it. Something so real and, at the same time, so magical.
This is what backpacking Peru is all about. From Lima to Cusco, from the South to the North and back, from the beach to the highest mountains, and through rivers and lakes, waterfalls, and oceans, you won’t believe your eyes.
But it’s all true. Peru is a magical, magical place.