Peru is one of the great centres of ancient civilization. It is full of rich flavours, great experiences, and the magic representation of past and the present.
In Peru's second-most populous city stunning colonial buildings are surrounded by towering volcanoes, hot springs and snow-capped peaks of the western Andes. Arequipa is nicknamed the 'White City', because many of the buildings in the area are built of sillar, a white rock quarried from the many volcanoes around the city, including Misti, Chachani and PichuPichu.
Founded in 1540, the city is full of mansions and museums. The top attraction, Santa Catalina Monastery, is like its own city within a city, with fountains and cobblestone streets. Arequipa is the perfect base for visiting Colca Canyon.
How to get there:
Take a look at the flight deals to Peru:
- Flights from London to Lima for £410 >>
- Flights from multiple UK cities to Lima from £353 >>
- Flights from many US cities to Lima from $233 >>
- Flights from Sydney to Lima for AU$1078 >>
- Flights from Montreal to Lima for C$503 >>
- Flights from New York City to Lima for $337 >>
Where to stay:
In Lima, we encourage you to stay at Froguesthouse for just €40 per person in a double room with private bathroom and breakfast included. This top rated bed & breakfast features free WiFi access and its own private movie theatre which shows videos every night. Rooms here are all equipped with a wardrobe, a safety deposit box, a sofa, bed linen and towels. At Froguesthouse guests will find a fully-equipped kitchen with a microwave and an oven, a 24-hour front desk, a garden and a terrace.
If you’re going to visit Machu Picchu, we recommend you to book 4* Pisonay Pueblo in Urubamba for just €33 per person in a double room with private bathroom. This well-reviewed accommodation is situated in the Valley of the Incas. It features small villas located around an elegant courtyard. The rooms have private balconies with scenic mountain views. Suites have a private hydromassage tub and separate lounge area. Free Wi-Fi is provided throughout the hotel. The Pisonay Hotel features an a la carte restaurant with live evening shows.
What to do:
The extremely varied landscapes in Peru give travellers the opportunity to visit wet, dense jungle, rugged mountains and one of the driest deserts on earth. The Andes run the full length of the country, rising to almost 7,000 m (23,000 ft.), and separate the arid coastal strip from the lush Amazon rainforest. Cordillera Blanca is a mountain adventurer’s dream, offering hiking, climbing and mountain biking. Located in northern Peru, it has 16 peaks more than 6,000 m (19,000 ft.).
Miraflores beach in Lima is popular with surfers and paragliders. Máncora, located on the northern coast, is a small town featuring Peru’s best sandy beach. Relax in the La Calera natural hot springs, located at Chivay, the biggest town in the Colca Canyon. Other hot springs are dotted throughout the valley and canyon. For outdoors enthusiasts, four-by-four adventure tours have expanded into several parts of the Sechura Desert. Just south of Ica, the sand dunes of Huacachina are the largest in the world. Visitors can sand-board on the dunes up to 213 m (700 ft.) tall. In this tiny oasis town you can also take dune buggy rides.
For those interested in history, a visit to Inca ruins is a must. The Inca Trail is one of the most famous hikes in the world, running 42 km (26 miles) through the Andes Mountains to connect the small town of Aguas Caliente and Machu Picchu. A hike to Choquequirao can also be made with a trekking tour of three to four days and has become an increasingly popular alternative to the Inca Trail. The Manu National Park in the Amazon Basin is one of the best places in South America to see a stunning variety of tropical wildlife. The best time to visit is during the dry season, between June and November. If you like adrenaline, you can fish for piranha in the Amazon. Take a boat trip on Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world (3,820 meters above sea level). Visit the artificial floating islands of the Uros, made of dried totora reeds.