Peru in South America is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World – Machu Picchu. Even though it’s usually the main attraction, there are many other stunning places to see in this beautiful country. Let’s enumerate 10 you should be sure not to miss if you ever have the fortune of visiting this majestic country. I really wouldn’t put too much weight on the order that we list these because each has its own unique value in historic importance to the Incas or plays a role in the contribution of the modern Peruvian people.
Outside of the small town of Maras, lies an Inca site that looks like a bowl of rings. The huge terraces are symmetrically carved into this earthen bowl for a very important purpose. The Incas were phenomenal engineers with practical know-how and it’s evident here as they constructed this laboratory. These terraces served the purpose of acclimating and climatizing species of crops from foreign lands to the environment and altitudes of Peru. The difference between the top and bottom of the bowl is about 27 degrees Fahrenheit.
Overlooking the vibrant city of Cusco is this ancient walled complex. The complex was built into the shape of a puma with Sacsayhuaman as its head. The site is known as one of man’s greatest building feats. These carved out stones dwarf a human being and no mortar was used to hold them together. The foundation can still be seen and visited today.
8. Salinas de Maras
The Salt Mines of Maras are about 3,000 shallow pools that make up an intricate network of pans that are filled from a highly salty spring from the mountain. Some believe the pans were developed in pre-Inca times. Some families still harvest salt from these mines to this very day. You are welcome to walk, mountain bike, or drive down to the mines and touch your finger into the spring and taste the natural saltiness for yourself.
Not quite as spectacular as Machu Picchu, Choquequirao is its sister city. It’s larger in area and one of the favorite destinations of hikers that like a 3 or 4-day trek as an alternative to the Inca trail. Tours to this nice site are found leaving Cusco daily. Book one and check it out.
This small town is one of the best for seeing Inca town planning as well as the Inca temple and fortress it lays at the foot of. With its small hills, narrow streets, and kind people, the town is laid out the same as it was in Inca times. Lying at the edge of the Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo is a popular tourist destination. This cozy ancient little town is magnificent.
5. Nazca Lines
Created between 200 B.C. and 700 A.D., the Nazca lines are shaped in the figures of humans, spiders, monkeys, llamas, fish, and lizards. The figures weren’t really noticed in modern times until 1920 when Peruvian airlines started to fly from Lima to Arequipa. The figures are located between the towns of Nazca and Palpa along the northern Pacific coast.
4. Colca Canyon
Located in the south part of Peru, Colca Canyon stands at 13,650 ft above sea level. U.S. travelers that think the Grand Canyon is deep may have second thoughts once they see Colca Canyon.
3. Inca Trail
The Inca Trail is one of the most famous hikes in the world. The trek whines its way through the Andes, the jungle, and Inca ruins. Hikers should be prepared for high altitudes and the possible sickness it can cause. Check with your doctor for medication that can possibly help. This ancient trail runs from the Andes to the town of Aguas Caliente at the base of Machu Picchu.
2. Plaza de Armas
Located at the center of Cuzco, this plaza is simply beautiful. Lined with shops and restaurants, it’s the perfect place for lunch or a nice Pisco Sour and people watch. It’s fascinating because the plaza dates back to the Inca Empire. Today, a couple of churches with beautiful Spanish architecture also sit in the square.
1. Machu Picchu
One of the most impressive sites in the World and stands as one of the Seven Wonders, Machu Picchu is the undisputable number 1 attraction in Peru. This ancient site is simply breathtaking as the clouds magically float through this city giving you a surreal thought of what it was like during the Inca Empire. Be sure to get your passport stamped here to prove you once visited this beautiful majestic place inhabited by royal Inka.