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Things to do in Peru

Things to do in  Peru

Welcome to Peru

From the lush Amazon rain forest to the high-altitude Andes Mountains, Peru packs a topography as diverse as its offerings, weaving colonial architecture, Inca ruins, multi-day hikes, Amazonian wildlife, and culinary diversity into a South American adventure. The iconic Machu Picchu, which must be booked via tour, tops most Peru travel itineraries, as do the surrounding archaeological sites in the Sacred Valley of the Incas and the colonial town of Cusco. A tour guide can unlock the mysteries of the Inca Empire as you trek the trail to the lost city of Choquequirao, summit the Andes on the Inca Trail, bike from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, and take in the views of Lake Titicaca in Puno. To make sense of the enigmatic Nazca Lines, take to the skies via helicopter or scenic flight. Meanwhile, in the south of Peru, don't miss the view from a volcano in Arequipa. A sightseeing tour of the Peruvian capital of Lima will take you to its colonial center for catacombs, pre-Colombian artwork, lively nightlife, and relics of Inca history, while nearby Miraflores is a popular novice surf spot. In Cusco, opt for a food tour to sample lomo saltado (stir-fried beef), Peruvian corn on the cob, and even cuy (guinea pig); or delve into traditional drinks such as pisco sour cocktails and coca tea. Explorer-types should head to the rainforest—near Iquitos there's a vast mass of wetlands full of wildlife and plant diversity, while the Tarpaca River Walk is ideal if you're after a stroll.

Top 15 things to do in Peru

#1
Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

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The lost city of Machu Picchu is the most famous archaeological site in Peru and, arguably, all of South America. The UNESCO World Heritage–listed collection of temples, terraced hills, and plazas was once the mountaintop citadel of the ancient Inca empire. It may now be world famous, but Machu Picchu still hasn't revealed the mysteries behind its construction, function, and eventual demise.More
#2
Amazon River

Amazon River

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The mighty Amazon River and its enormous, thickly forested basin are the heart of South America and the guardian of 20 percent of the Earth’s fresh water. Visitors from around the globe come to Iquitos to cruise the river’s storied waters and catch a glimpse of diverse fauna both above and below the surface.More
#3
Nazca Lines

Nazca Lines

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The enigmatic Nazca Lines (or Nasca Lines) are second only to Machu Picchu as the most famous archaeological site in Peru. The mysterious geoglyphs at the UNESCO World Heritage Site range from geometric shapes and swirls to a hummingbird and monkey. Theories on their purpose include astronomical markers, irrigation canals, and alien messages—an enigma that has spurred intrigue since their 1927 discovery. The spectacular etchings likely date from 500 BC and 500 AD.More
#4
Miraflores

Miraflores

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The swanky beachfront suburb of Miraflores is one of Lima’s most sought-after zip codes. Here you’ll find the city’s best restaurants, shops, and hotels, plus waterfront mansions and high-rise towers. Lovely parks and beaches decorate the area, as well as the ancient ruins of Huaca Pucllana—a pre-Inca temple.More
#5
Ballestas Islands (Islas Ballestas)

Ballestas Islands (Islas Ballestas)

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A cluster of tiny islands off the Peruvian coast, the Ballestas Islands (Islas Ballestas) are often touted as the “Peruvian Galapagos,” famed for their spectacular variety of birdlife and rugged coastline of soaring cliffs, rocky beaches, and remote sea caves.More
#6
San Isidro

San Isidro

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San Isidro visitors may overlook its cultural attractions, opting instead for its beaches and shopping districts. But, the enclave’s tree-lined residential streets are home to stately mansions being converted to luxury hotels, high-end boutiques, art museums, embassies representing 40 countries, and the city’s best restaurants.More
#7
Lima Plaza Mayor

Lima Plaza Mayor

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Plaza Mayor, formerly Plaza de Armas, is the heart and birthplace of Lima. The crown jewel of the city, this UNESCO World Heritage–listed square is flanked by many important buildings, such as the Government Palace (Palacio de Gobierno), Cathedral of Lima, City Hall (Palacio Municipal de Lima), and the Archbishop’s Palace (Palacio Arzobispal).More
#8
Barranco

Barranco

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Barranco is an atmospheric, seaside neighborhood in Lima known for its street art and hip, bohemian culture. The area was once a summer playground for fashionable Limeños and is full of old colonial buildings. Small cafes and artist-run boutiques buzz during the day, while bars and dance define the area at night.More
#9
Colca Canyon (Canon del Colca)

Colca Canyon (Canon del Colca)

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Plunging 13,650 feet (4,160 meters) down, Peru’s Colca Canyon is officially one of the world’s deepest canyons—with a breadth of activities to match. Visitors opt to visit this off-the-beaten-track attraction for its opportunities for adventure in a stunning natural environment, its large population of Andean condors, and its pre-Inca historical sites.More
#10
Historic Centre of Lima (Centro Historico de Lima)

Historic Centre of Lima (Centro Historico de Lima)

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Thanks to its designation as a UNESCO World heritage Site, the historical center of Lima is immaculately preserved. Encompassing the area between Plaza de Armas and Plaza San Martin, the core includes the majority of the city’s outstanding colonial attractions and palm-fringed green spaces, all within easy walking distance.More
#11
Inca Trail

Inca Trail

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South America's most famous trek is an unforgettable way to reach the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu. Along the way, the four-day trek takes hikers past three Andean mountain passes, Inca ruins, and views of the snow-capped Andes, culminating in a stellar sunrise over Machu Picchu—a UNESCO World Heritage site—from the Sun Gate.More
#12
Aguas Calientes

Aguas Calientes

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If you're visiting Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there’s a good chance you'll pass through the small pueblo of Aguas Calientes en route. This gateway town to Peru’s famous Incan ruins sits nestled in a valley of cloud forest, where a series of natural hot springs gives the town its name.More
#13
Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

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Lake Titicaca, glistening atop the Andes Mountains, is a tourist attraction, spiritual oasis, and cultural hub all in one. It is also South America’s highest (at 12,507 feet/3,812 meters) and largest (at an astounding 3,230 square miles/8,366 square kilometers) lake, as well as the highest navigable lake in the world.More
#14
Huaca Pucllana

Huaca Pucllana

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Lima is dotted with sacred ruins and ceremonial sites known as huacas. Located in the coastal Miraflores neighborhood, the Huaca Pucllana complex, with its towering stepped adobe pyramid, is one of the city’s largest and most important ancient monuments. Built around 500 A.D, it was once an administrative and ceremonial center of the indigenous Lima Culture civilization.More
#15
Sacsayhuaman (Saqsaywaman)

Sacsayhuaman (Saqsaywaman)

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The largest and arguably most impressive of the four archaeological ruins on the outskirts of Cusco, Sacsayhuaman (Saqsaywaman) was built by the Incas from massive stones weighing as much as 300 tons. A critical military site in the battle with the Spanish for the Inca empire in 1536, the ruins offer impressive views over the city below.More

Trip ideas

What to Pack for Machu Picchu

What to Pack for Machu Picchu

How to Spend 2 Days in Cusco

How to Spend 2 Days in Cusco

How to Spend 3 Days in Lima

How to Spend 3 Days in Lima

Top activities in Peru

Machu Picchu Day Trip from Cusco
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Machu Picchu Day Trip from Cusco

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$339.00
2-Day Tour: Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu by Train
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Amazing Nazca Lines, Huacachina Oasis & Dune buggy in the desert (full day trip)
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Rainbow Mountain with ATV's

Rainbow Mountain with ATV's

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ATV Tour to Moray, Maras and Salt Flat in the Sacred Valley from Cusco
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Humantay Lake Tour from Cusco
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Humantay Lake Tour from Cusco

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$42.00
Rainbow Mountain in Quad Bike

Rainbow Mountain in Quad Bike

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$95.00
Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Peru

star-5
True Local Experience
Kathleen_F, Jul 2022
The Fisherman and Ceviche Culture of Lima Tour
This half-day tour was a great way to see and experience local culture.
star-5
Great quality
Mishu_G, Jul 2022
Full Day Paracas Ica and Huacachina from Lima All Included
I took multiple tours in Peru to visit different places with different tour companies.
star-5
A must take tour!
Nancia_L, Jun 2022
Paracas, Ica and Huacachina with Buggies and Sandboard (Small Groups)
This was a great tour, the tour guide was great, the activities were excellent, and the different restaurants we visited, the food was delicious.
star-5
Really a good way to see Lima.
Mary_A, May 2022
LIMA - Panoramic Walking Tour
He spoke perfect English and was super knowledgeable about all aspects of Lima and Peru’s history and presented it clearly.
star-5
Sea Lions and Penguins!!
vs5fzg78r6, May 2022
Visit the Sea Lions in Palomino Islands, in Lima Peru
Also guaranteed to see penguins and many awesome national birds of Peru.
star-5
Amazing Cooking Class
antonioluisp, May 2022
Market Tour & Traditional Peruvian Cooking Class in Cusco
This cooking class was tons of fun and one of our favorite activities in Peru.
star-5
Highly recommend Chef Jesus!
Hank_V, May 2022
Peruvian Cooking Class and Local Market in Cusco
He spoke very good english and was super knowledgable about the peruvian cuisine and the history of it.
star-5
Provided heaps of context, more than just a a taxi
Bryan_W, Apr 2022
Temple of Pachacamac Half-Day Tour from Lima
Super friendly and perfect english.
star-5
Good experience
Lily_S, Apr 2022
Miraflores, Barranco & San Isidro Tour (Small Group)
I am from Peru but my husband and Daugther are Americans so it was nice to have the tour in English and even I learned some stuff from my city, the guide Susan and the chofer were very patient and flexible.
star-5
Great tour south of Lima
Michael_A, Aug 2022
Full Day Paracas Ica and Huacachina from Lima All Included
This was a fantastic trip where you get to see the desert, eat great food, taste great piscos, see the most amazing islands off the coast of Peru with tons of birds and seals and rock arches.
star-5
Incredible Experience
rpascal5, Aug 2022
Dinner, Dance show & Peruvian Paso horse including Pick up & drop off!
Definitely recommended this excursion since it was one of our favorite activities in Peru!
star-5
Great Guide
Andrea_M, Aug 2022
Private Guided ''Pachacamac'' Tour in Peru
I like to see it, hear some facts and move on.
star-4
Memorable tour
isalove04, Jul 2022
8-Day Peru from Lima: Cusco, Puno, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca
We would recommend booking a different hotel, particularly if travelling during Peruvian winter months.
star-5
MUST DO ONCE AT LEAST IN YOUR LIFE
PABLO_C, Jul 2022
Machu Picchu Day Trip from Cusco
PLEASE before you go, triple check what you need and DO NOT forget those items, like sunscreen and mosquito repellent (even in winter), dress with layers a hat, etc.
star-5
Unforgettable experience in the Amazon rainforest.
ReannaMae_F, Jul 2022
3 days 2 nights - Tambopata Jungle
The service was amazing and filled with lots of activities and many things to see.
star-5
city tour of Lima
Maria_U, Jun 2022
Half-Day Cultural Tour of Lima, Peru
Andy was a terrific guide, we learned a great deal, and his English is excellent.
star-5
Great Short Tour
Elney_L, Jun 2022
Lima City Walking Tour with Pick-up & Drop Off Small Group
Nice and friendly staff the guide knows the history and will answer any questions you ask of what you’re seeing , good driver, perfect to see the highlights of Lima center in 3 hours.
star-5
BEST Tour we took in Peru
Emilie_V, Jun 2022
The Ultimate Sacred Valley tour: 12 hours of Inca history, lifestyle, landscapes
You get to see an ancient practice start to finish how they harvest salt, all owned and ran by a local town.
star-5
BOOM BABY!
Andrew_R, Jun 2022
Machu Picchu Day Trip from Cusco
The transfer is a bit hectic and can be confusing but just go with the flow and you'll be fine, everything falls into place.
star-5
A must-have tour in Arequipa
Shuai_L, May 2022
Salinas lake (National Reserve) PRIVATE TOUR
Julio is a fantastic guide that speaks perfect English (which is extremely helpful for us as non-Spanish speakers) and is extremely knowledgeable about the culture, political and economic landscape, flora and fauna of Peru (and of course football!
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All about Peru

Currency
Peruvian Sol (PEN)
Time Zone
PET (UTC -5)
Country Code
+51
Language(s)
Spanish
Frequently Asked Questions
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