Peru – A Land of Diversity - Plan Your Vacation Now!
PERU – Land of Diversity
• Peru is one of the most diverse countries
in the world. A country made up of
beaches, flatlands, mountains and
jungles, the area of Peru is approximately
twice the size of the province of Alberta
(Canada) but has the population of all of
• There are 23 provinces within Peru, with
the most popular travel areas being Lima,
Nazca, Arequipa, Puno, Cusco and Manu.
• Peru has two languages: Spanish, and the
local mountain language of Quechua.
• The culture and history of Peru is diverse.
Each region has its own history and
uniqueness. Each city is different and
offers different activities and sites to visit.
• Peru only has two seasons: rainy and dry.
Rainy season affects the interior regions
including the jungle. This season runs
from November to March. During this
season it is hot summer weather along the
coastal regions and December and
January are considered summer holidays
• Dry season is the most popular time to
travel. High season in the tourist regions is
from June to September. Shoulder
seasons (and the best time to travel) are
April, May and the first two weeks of June,
as well as the last two weeks of
September and all of October.
• Travel during January and February is not
highly recommended for the Cusco,
Sacred Valley or Machu Picchu regions as
it can flood.
• Lima is the capital city of Peru and the first
city that visitors fly into. Lima has a
population of approximately 8 million
people and has a lot of international
• Many tourists choose not to spend time in
Lima, but there are many interesting sites
and activities available there.
• Lima has a wide variety of great museums
and interesting areas. The government
palace, Plaza de Armas, main Cathedral,
the catacombs of San Francisco, and the
areas of Miraflores and Baranco are well
worth a visit.
• There are several archeological sites in
the Lima area as well, including the site of
Pachacamac, just a short trip south of the
city and one of the most interesting sites in
• From Lima, travelers can choose to go
north, south or inland. Many people with
short travel times choose to fly from Lima
to Cusco, which is the most popular
• You can also fly from Lima to Arequipa,
the Lake Titicaca area, Trujillo, Chiclayo or
Cajamarca. Iquitos is only accessible by
flight. You can travel by bus to all areas,
including Paracas, Ica and Nazca.
• Cusco is the most popular tourist
destination. This is the jumping off point to
go to Machu Picchu, Manu National Park,
and the Sacred Valley.
• Cusco is a city of approximately 350,000
people. There is very little industry here
other than tourism. Cusco has almost
doubled its size in the past 10 years.
• Cusco was considered the centre of the
Incan Empire and has significant
archeological sites within the city as well
as in the surrounding areas.
• Cusco is located at an altitude of 3,330
masl. For this reason travelers need to
allow themselves time to acclimatize.
• We recommend a slow first day in Cusco
to acclimatize, with no large meals, no
alcohol, no caffeine, and of course, lots of
• The wide variety of museums and sites in
the city and area can keep tourists busy
for many days.
• Incan streets and the main Plaza de
Armas with its impressive Cathedral give
Cusco an old world ambience that is hard
to resist. Most hotels and sites are within
walking distance of the main Plaza.
• The most popular sites to visit in the city
are the Cathedral, the Sun Temple of
Qoricancha, and the Inca Museum, as well
as the large local market of San Pedro.
• Most tourists spend one or two days in the
city, but you can easily occupy three or
four days just wandering the streets and
experiencing the fabulous culture and
• Cusco is full of great restaurants and
shops as well. Handmade alpaca items,
weavings and other handicrafts show off
the culture and talent of the area. The
variety of restaurants showcase some of
the fantastic Peruvian cuisine which is
becoming famous worldwide.
• Above the city of Cusco, just a 10 minute
drive or half hour climb, is the large
archeological site of Sacsayhuaman. This
site affords great views of the city and is
usually included in any tour of the city.
• There are four archeological sites above
the city: Tambo Machay, Puka Pukara,
Q’enko, and Sacsayhuaman, which is the
• You can visit the sites by walking,
horseback riding tour, or by transport in
between the sites.
• From Cusco, it is usual for travelers to
continue on to the Sacred Valley of the
Incas. The small town of Pisaq is located
at one end of the Valley, and
Ollantaytambo at the other.
• The Sacred Valley offers plenty of
interesting sites, such as the archeological
sites of Pisaq, Ollantaytambo, Moray,
Chincheros, Pumamarca, the salt mines of
Maras, the weaving village of Huilloc, and
many other sites and interesting villages.
• The Sacred Valley has plenty of
agriculture, as it is located at an altitude
• Most travelers only spend one day in the
Valley, but if you would like a more
relaxed travel, plan to spend two or three
days enjoying the area.
• Pisaq is located just 45 minutes outside of
Cusco and is easily reached by tourist or
• There is a lovely, large artisan market
located in the Plaza which is very popular.
The largest market days here are
Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays,
although there are vendors all week long.
• Above the town itself is a large
archeological complex. Most Sacred
Valley tours include a visit to this town and
• Ollantaytambo is another popular site in
the Sacred Valley. This is a beautiful town
built on Incan foundations. A visit to the
archeological site is usually included in a
Sacred Valley tour.
• The town itself offers hiking opportunities,
interesting cultural aspects, and beautiful
views of the surrounding mountains.
• This is also a jumping off point for Machu
Picchu. There are a variety of train
departures from here to Aguas Calientes,
just one hour and 15 minutes away.
• On the rim of the Sacred Valley, you find
the unique archeological site of Moray, as
well as the colonial town of Maras, and the
still functioning salt mines (salineras).
• These two sites can be included in part of
a Sacred Valley tour, or can be done in a
half day tour from Cusco.
• Around Cusco are many other sites to
enjoy. Most are along the route to Puno,
but several require private vehicles or
special tours to visit.
• The 17th century church in Andahuaylillas
is considered the Sistene Chapel of the
Americas. This is located just south of
Cusco on the route to Puno.
• The Incan site of Tipon is also located
south of Cusco, and is a more off the
beaten track location which has fewer
• The impressive pre-Inca site of Raqchi is
located approximately 2 hours outside of
Cusco along the route to Puno.
• Travellers who choose to take a tourist
bus from Cusco to Puno (or reverse) can
enjoy guided visits to the church in
Andahuaylillas, the site of Raqchi, and the
museum in Pukara, as well as a stop at
the highest point in the route, and a buffet
• Of course, the highlight of most travellers
vacation to Peru is the time they spend in
the famous site of Machu Picchu.
• Trains depart from either Poroy (20
minutes outside of Cusco), Urubamba or
Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes. There
are three types of train services available.
• You can also hike the traditional Inca Trail,
or choose another trekking route to arrive
at this incredible site.
• A standard group tour of Machu Picchu
includes a two hour guided visit of the site.
A private tour would include a guided visit
for a minimum of four hours, to a full day
• There are only 2500 entrances available
for Machu Picchu daily. Entrances must
be bought before arriving to Aguas
• The small mountain, Wayna Picchu, is
also available to climb at two morning
times per day. Entrances are limited to
• For travellers who choose to visit Machu
Picchu for one day, and take the train to
and from Cusco, this can be a very long
day. You arrive late in the morning and
can be surrounded by many other people
while visiting the site.
• If you have the time, we recommend
travelling to Aguas Calientes the night
previous to your visit, and take the first
bus (about 5 am) in order to avoid crowds
and, if you like, climb to the Sun Gate to
see the sunrise over Machu Picchu.
• Most travellers find that one day is enough
in Machu Picchu, but if you choose to
spend more than one day here, you can
enjoy the off the beaten track places within
the site as well, including the Inca Bridge,
the small mountain of Wayna Picchu, and
the climb to the Sun Gate.
• The area around the town of Aguas
Calientes is also worth a walk, with
interesting flora and fauna and local life.
There are also hot springs to relax in!
• The Traditional Inca Trail is one of the
most famous treks in the world. This 4 day
trek starts from just outside the town of
Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, and
travels through the mountains with the
destination of Machu Picchu.
• Although this is a very popular trek, this is
not for everyone, as it travels through very
high altitudes (4100 masl) and is not
recommended for those with breathing or
heart problems, or those with knee
problems (lots of stairs!)
• The Inca Trail trek can depart on any day
of the week, and most groups have up to
• The first three days are trekking with site
visits along the way, with the fourth
arriving very early to the actual site of
Machu Picchu, and you have a two hour
tour upon arrival.
• If you have the time, we recommend you
stay the night in Aguas Calientes and visit
Machu Picchu a second time after your
• Inca Trail entrances are limited to 500 per
day, and can be sold out 6 months in
advance during high season. The trail is
closed for the month of February.
• Inca Trail services usually include two
person tents, sleeping mats, meals, guide,
general porters, dining tent, eating
utensils, etc. Sleeping bags and personal
porters are not included.
• Please note that not all companies offer
the same level of service. Agencies do
need to be licensed to operate this trek.
• The Salkantay Trek is also four days and
is considered the back route to Machu
Picchu. There are no limited entrances on
this trek and many people who can not get
entrances for the Inca Trail choose to do
this trek instead.
• This trek takes you through the mountains
and down to the valley leading to Aguas
Calientes, where you will either walk the
train tracks or take the local train. With this
trek you spend the night in Aguas
Calientes before visiting Machu Picchu on
the fifth day.
• The Salkantay Trek is also a high altitude
trek. Services normally include all camping
gear, meals, pack horses, cooks, guides,
horse drivers. Sleeping bags are not
• Different companies offer different levels
of service. Please be careful when
choosing your trekking services.
• This trek does not have any archeological
sites along the route, but has amazingly
beautiful views of mountains and glaciers,
leading down to cloud forest.
• There are many other trekking
opportunities in the Cusco area, from two
days to sixteen days. Please ask us about
our culture treks, or other archeological
• These treks include: Choquequirao,
Choquequirao to Machu Picchu, Lares,
Ausangate, and Vilcabamba.
• Of course, Cusco is not the only area in
Peru to have trekking opportunities, so
please ask about all of our trekking
services throughout Peru.
• The country of Peru abounds with
adventure opportunities. If you like
mountain biking, white water rafting, day
hiking, climbing, horseback riding, sand
boarding, dune buggies, zip lining,
swimming, surfing or 4 x 4 tours, you have
found the perfect country to enjoy these!
• Bird watching and animal watching in the
jungle areas is also very popular.
• One of the things to be enjoyed in Peru is
the diverse culture and local peoples. The
mountain areas offer different aspects to
life than the cities, and can be enjoyed
with day tours from Cusco or the other
• If you have the time, we recommend
taking an off the beaten track day tour to
visit the smaller communities and areas to
get a view of the real life and people of the
• Every area and town is unique. Each use
their own colors, weaving techniques,
agricultural methods and even different
• Outside of the cities, locals still dress in
traditional clothing, use traditional weaving
techniques, and live in traditional ways.
Many travellers never get to see the true
living conditions of the local people.
• There is still much poverty in many areas,
and each year people die of exposure and
malnutrition, as well as easily treated
• Festivals and celebrations are a huge part
of life in Peru. Each festival is unique and
they are largely made up of interpretive
dances from each area, and music.
• There are several large celebrations
throughout the year, and many are based
on Catholic celebrations, with the local
beliefs mixed in.
• The largest festival during the year is the
Incan celebration of Inti Raymi, which is
celebrated on June 24th. This is the only
true Incan ceremony still reproduced
• Inti Raymi is a full day celebration, starting
in the Sun Temple of Qoricancha, and
ending in the site of Sacsayhuaman.
• You can view part of the celebration for
free along the route or in the main Plaza
de Armas, but get there early to get a
• If you want to see the final part of the
celebration, it is possible to pay for a seat
in Sacsayhuaman where you can have a
great view of the end of the ceremony. It is
very interesting to see the full day.
• During most months (and sometimes each
week!) you can witness little celebrations in the
streets of Cusco.
• Each Sunday in the Plaza de Armas in most
cities, there is a raising of the flags ceremony.
This changes each week as you can see
different businesses and schools performing or
marching, as well as the police and military.
• In Cusco and in Arequipa you can enjoy
breakfast from one of the many balconies and
watch the flags ceremony. In Lima, you can
enjoy the changing of the guards ceremony
outside of the government palace every Sunday
• In Peru there are two areas in which to
visit the jungle. The most popular and
easiest to access is Manu National Park.
• Manu National Park is the largest national
park in Peru and is a World Heritage Site.
It covers a total area of 18,811 km².
• More than 15,000 species of plants are
found in Manú, and up to 250 varieties of
trees have been found in a single hectare.
The reserve is a destination for
birdwatchers from all over the world, as it
is home to over 1000 species of birds.
• The Manú Biosphere Reserve has a very rich wildlife. If
you are lucky you can view some of these on your
• Mammals : 222 species
• Reptiles : 99 species
• Amphibians : 140 species
• Birds : 1000 species
• Fish : 210 species
• Butterflies : 1307 species
• Ants : 300 species
• Dragonflies : 136 species
• Beetles : 650 species
• Manu tours can be taken from Cusco,
from three days to a week or more. You
can go by bus and boat, or fly in and out.
We recommend a minimum of four days in
order to really enjoy the trip.
• The other area to visit the jungle from is
Iquitos, located in the north of Peru.
Please note that this is a fly in and out city
only, and is not noted for being particularly
safe for foreigners. Also, services are not
as developed as in the Manu region.
• Puno is a small city located on the banks
of the largest navigable lake in the world:
Lake Titicaca. Most travellers visit Puno in
order to visit the islands of the lake, or on
the way to or from Bolivia.
• Puno can be reached by bus or air from
Lima, Cusco, Arequipa or the Colca
Canyon (bus only).
• Puno is a higher altitude than Cusco, at
3860 masl. We do not recommend flying
from Lima to Puno (Juliaca airport)
• Most travellers who choose to visit Puno
go for the Islands tours. These tours can
be one day or two days. The one day tour
takes you to the floating reed islands of
Uros, and to the island of Taquile. If you
have a bit more time and want to see the
life on the islands, try the two day tour,
which takes you to the island of Amantani
where you spend the night in a home stay
and have the opportunity to hike to the
pre-Incan ruins on the island.
• If you have time in the Puno area, you can
enjoy a great view at the top of 700 steps
(or take a taxi to the top) at the statue of
• Also, you can enjoy a tour to the site of
Sillustani, which is a site of funeral towers
located close to the city of Juliaca.
• Please note that all flights to Puno fly in
and out of Juliaca, which is located
approximately 45 minutes away from
• Arequipa is considered the “White City” of Peru.
This city has approximately one million people
and is not a tourist based city, like Cusco.
• Arequipa is a colonial city, and the history and
sites here differ greatly from other regions and
• The Colca Canyon is located outside of
Arequipa and can be visited by a one, two or
three day tour. The Colca Canyon is more than
twice the depth of the Grand Canyon and is an
excellent place to view condors flying. There are
also excellent trekking and whitewater rafting
• Arequipa is located in close proximity to
various volcanoes, and a visit to “Volcano
Alley” is possible to or from the Colca
Canyon. You can view two major
volcanoes from the city itself.
• Arequipa has interesting architecture and
colonial history, including the main
Cathedral, Santa Catalina Convent, the
Casa de Moral, and many other sites.
• Arequipa also houses the mummy of
Juanita, a young Incan sacrifice found on
one of the volcanoes nearby.
• Arequipa is a lovely city that is worth a
couple of days to visit. If you have the
time, allow one to two days for a city tour
and two days for the Colca Canyon.
• Many travellers choose to come to
Arequipa to help acclimatize on the way to
Puno or Cusco, as Arequipa is
approximately half the altitude.
• This is a great city in which to learn about
a different part of the history of the
The Coast – Ica, Pisco, Paracas,
• Peru is an incredibly diverse country, and
there are many places to visit and
experience not just the Incan history, but
the pre-Incan civilizations as well. The
new northern route has opened up new
sites and areas for travellers to visit.
• As well the southern coast offers a variety
of sites and different cultural experiences.
• If you want to experience surfing,
beaches, sand boarding or dune
buggying, the coastal areas are where you
need to be.
• From Lima you can fly or take the bus to
the northern part of Peru, including the
cities of Trujillo, Cajamarca, Chiclayo,
Leymebamba and Chachapoyas.
• We highly recommend taking an
organized tour to these areas, as local
buses are unreliable, and many people in
these areas do not speak English. Also,
this is a developing area, which means
that services are not always the standard
of other areas of the country.
• The sites located in the northern areas of
Peru, inland or along the coast, offer a
different history than those in the Cusco
area, because the archeological remains
here are all from pre-Incan cultures.
• As well as archeological sites in these
areas, there are impressive canyons,
waterfalls, and breathtaking views, great
surfing, nice beaches, flora and fauna,
and lots of opportunities to learn about
• To visit the coastal areas of Trujillo and
Chicalyo, you may want to allow three or fours
days, or up to a week if you want to include
some surfing days.
• To complete the northern route, which includes
the cities and sites around Cajamarca,
Leymebamba, Chachapoyas, Chiclayo and
Trujillo, please allow 7 to 10 days, or up to two
weeks if you want to include surfing or beach
• These areas are a great option for those wishing
to return to Peru after already visiting the Cusco
• The southern coast offers even yet a
different scope of sites and activities.
• From Lima, you can take a tour or bus to
visit the National Reserve in Paracas,
where you can view the sea and bird life;
travel down to Ica to taste some wine or
Pisco at a local vineyard, go sandboarding
or take a ride in a dune buggy, or visit the
great Ica museum; and continue down to
the famous town of Nazca to have a birds
eye view of the Nazca Lines.
• In the Nazca area, there are also little
museums to visit, or take a half day tour
out to the Chauchilla Cemetary.
• The Nazca Lines can be viewed by a short
flight, or if you choose you can see a few
of the lines from various viewpoints.
• We recommend two days travel if you
want to visit Paracas, Ica and Nazca, and
return to Lima.
• While we have tried to give you a good
idea of what is available to see and do in
Peru, it is impossible to include everything!
• We are happy to provide detailed
descriptions of any sites or areas to
anyone interested and we are happy to
help you plan the perfect vacation for you.
• We provide high quality custom and small
group services for all group sizes
throughout Peru and other parts of South
• We hope you have enjoyed the pictures and
• Please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time
• Or check out our website at
• We are always reviewing and upgrading our
information and tours, and we welcome any
comments or suggestions. Please be patient as
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