When you think of Peru, you probably immediately think of Machu Picchu, the amazing ‘Lost City of the Incas’ that sees tens of thousands of visitors every year. However, on my trip to this beautiful South American country, I discovered there was so much more to it than that – fascinating culture, natural beauty, and tasty food are just some of the reasons why it’s venturing well beyond the Incan city. Here are my 5 favorite things to see in Peru.
#1: The Floating Islands on Lake Titicaca
Peru is a nation that is made up of many different ethnic groups, each with their own distinct culture and traditions. One of these groups is the Uru people, about 2 000 Peruvians who live on intriguing manmade floating islands on Lake Titicaca. There are about 120 of these islands in total, which mix modern culture with ancient tradition: it is not unusual to see a satellite TV dish atop a beautiful traditional red house! Many of the islands welcome travelers to visit their islands, shop for some colorful handicrafts, and even stay overnight with a local family.
#2: The Nazca Lines
One of the world’s most fascinating mysteries is that of the Peruvian Nazca lines, a series of about 300 line drawings thought to have been created sometime between 400 BC and 500 AD. Intriguingly, they can only be viewed from great heights, and some even seem to depict modern inventions such as a space suit. No one knows exactly why they were etched into the ground – but coming up with your own theories is part of the fun.
#3: Visit the Amazon Jungle
The Amazon jungle is one of the richest places in the world in terms of biodiversity – with so many different species of reptiles, birds, and mammals. My personal favorite is the incredibly colorful Macaw parrots that are a photographer or an animal lover’s dream. There are also several indigenous peoples who inhabit the area, and while visiting you can expect to learn more about their cultures.
#4: Try Peruvian Food and Drink
Owing to Peru’s rich and diverse population and environment, it has developed many different types of cuisine – and they’re all equally delicious. You can’t leave Peru without sampling something exotic and delectable.
#5: Meet a llama at Machu Picchu
Although there’s plenty else to see and do, you simply can’t skip over visiting Machu Picchu. The city itself is a fascinating remnant of the Incan empire, however, it is the incredible surroundings of tall, imposing mountains and dreamy fog that really captured my imagination. The story of how the city was re-discovered is also fascinating. Plus, once you get to the top you’ll meet plenty of cute llamas – these lucky guys have the best lunch view in the world!