The Lonely Planet has recently announced its list of the “Top 5 Things to see and do in Peru”.
Here is their list (in no particular order), along with our comments on their choices:
1. Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu inevitably had to feature on this list of the top things to see and do in Peru… how could Lonely Planet not include it?! If you’ve never been to Peru before, or are a “list-ticker” and want to tick this ruin off your world-wide list, then absolutely this is a must-visit site.
By far the best way to visit the site is after the 4-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu – the arrival at the sun gate after 4 days of hiking makes the site even more impressive, and you arrive early before the bus-loads of tourists.
For alternative ruins of equal splendour, try the trek to Choquequirao, or if you are feeling even more adventurous then visit the ruin of Kuelap near Chachapoyas in the north of Peru.
2. Colonial Arequipa
Colonial Arequipa is a worthy edition to this list – the old plaza with its beautiful arched walls, and the Santa Catalina Monestary is a tranquil “city within a city”, with pastel-coloured walls through majestic little gardens and plazas. A must.
Of the three main regions to visit the Amazon in Peru, Manu, Tambopata and Iquitos, for wildlife lovers this is by far the best. Iquitos has the real “Amazon river”, hundreds of metres wide, and it is true that Tambopata has better accommodation and is more geared for tourists… but that makes a visit to Manu all the more special. The jungle is prime, untouched, and the wildlife and bird-watching opportunities are amongst the best on the planet. A worthy addition to any holiday to Peru.
4. Floating Uros Islands of Lake Titicaca
The Uros Islands make for great photography – the harsh polarising light creates beautiful shades of turquoise and blue within the waters of Lake Titicaca which constracts with the bright dress of the Uros people. This is certainly one of the “post card” photo opportunities on any trip to Peru. However the area can be a little touristy and a trip to nearby Isla Taquile can be equally rewarding and more representative of traditional life on Lake Titicaca.
5. Cordillera Blanca
For lovers of trekking, mountaineering, mountain sports, down-hill mountain biking and just about anything else you can think to do on a mountain: this region of Ancash in Peru is one of the best locations int he entire world for this kind of thing. Near the city of Huaraz, which is fast-becoming the Andean capital of Adventure sports, the Cordillera Blanca offers incredible views over glacial mountain peaks, deep valleys, gorgeous blue lakes, and some of the finest walks on the planet.
It has to be said that due to the altitude this region of Peru is not for the faint-hearted and there are few “beginner” treks to be found… but if you are looking for adventure this is the place to be.