Let’s face it, there is a lot of things to do in Peru and perhaps because of it, you should have a bucket list for Peru. It is pretty beneficial to have a bucket list for any country mainly just so you know your possibilities in the country in case your plant changes. Peru has a lot of different environments. You can find here everything from desert to mountains or rainforest. And in a country like that is a bucket list needed. Here are some of the mine ideas. I hope to cover everything from seeing local wildlife to interesting tracks in the mountains. Let me know if I miss something from your Peru bucket list!
Peru bucket list of cities
Lima is the capital of Peru. And yet a lot of travelers would rather go to Cuzco or some other places. Don’t get me wrong, I get that from all the cities Lima isn’t the most adventurous. But it has a really interesting historic center, you can see here the main political building like parliament. Or you can also visit the local headquarters of the archbishop. All of it is covered by history all over.
Besides that, Lima also has a pyramid in the middle of the city. Right here you can see a proper Inca pyramid. The museum there is nice and you will feel a little bit like Indiana Jones when going around.
Perhaps the even funnier thing about this whole thing is the fact, that the pyramid lies in the middle of the modern part of Lima called Miraflores. It is also one of the places that you should have on your bucket list for Peru. The neighborhood looks modern and is filled with really artistic murals.
This big city used to be the capital of the Inkas realm. Cuzco still keeps a lot of its culture, even though in the city center, you will find mostly colonial churches. If you go in, you will get to know that a lot of it, was built on the holy ground of Inkas. Spanish tore down their temples and build Christian ones on their ruins.
Bit more from the city center, you can see uncovered ruins found recently by historians. You don’t always have a time freely walk around thousands of years old findings. So try it.
Arequipa is one of the biggest cities in Peru and it is surrounded by three volcanoes. It lies in southern Peru and you can find there one of the most interesting monasteries in Peru. It was founded by women in the 17th century and it is one of the most colorful colonial places in Peru.
Except for the monastery, Arequipa has a magical city center that is part of UNESCO. You can find here church and impressive main square and anyway you go, you will still see the magnificent colonial center. You can even find here the Inca mummy or presidential house.
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If there is anything like the capital of hiking, Huaraz is that. It is one of the places in the northern part of Peru that people don’t visit that often. But it is a shame because there is a lot of beauty around that city.
The whole city might not be as colonial as other places but you can find numerous hikes and treks around Huaraz. Everything from snow-white mountains to glacier lakes. The hikes around here can take anything from a couple of hours to a couple of days. Very much depends on your hiking skills. Either way, it is a beautiful area filled with amazing nature. Perhaps one of the best things about it is the fact that there aren’t too many tourists.
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Ica is one of the off the beaten paths cities in Peru. But generally still really nice and worth to visit. So what can you do here? Well, first of all, you can see the local historical church. But most of the people would come here and visit local wineries.
That is something that Ica is very famous and you can find here one of the best wines in Peru. There are a couple of wineries that you can visit and they all offer the degustation of their product. All of them have a wide range so you can choose which wine would you like to taste. And you can even take some home.
Peru bucket list of nature wonders
Ballestas Islands are placed on the coast, and it is a rich ecosystem full of different kinds of birds. You can get there by buying a tour in town Paracas. Tour usually takes about 1-2 hours. You can usually choose whether your guide should speak Spanish or English.
It might sound boring, but in fact, it is an unbelievable thing to see. It will take about 15 minutes to get to the islands. As the horizon opens with islands, you will get to see an unbelievable amount of birds. Flying everywhere around you. Scientists counted and apparently, more than 6000 birds are living, even special kinds. You can even see here penguins, cormorants, and sea lions.
Here is important to choose the right company to go with. Especially if you want to know something more about these birds and the unique ecosystem they are living in. There are a lot of companies who would take you for a tour but not a lot of them are for English speakers.
This was perhaps my most favorite experience in Peru. Condor view is a place high in the Andes. The birds aren’t tamed or anything, just flying freely over your heads. This place is over Colca Canyon, so except birdwatching, you get to experience beautiful nature.
You can get to Colca Canyon with any company from Arequipa. Just have to count on the fact that to see Condors, who are active mostly in the morning, you have to wake up very early. Also another fact, that is good to know is that in these places have a very high altitude, so by the time you go on the tour, you should be used to it, otherwise, you won’t be able to enjoy it.
I have already mentioned this canyon previously when talking about Condors. However, this canyon is not just about condors, you will also see here a lot of other interesting things. For example, there is a big culture around this canyon. People are still wearing traditional dresses, there are a lot of colonial churches and local markets.
And sure, a lot of them are possibly set up for tourists, but hey, there are also good views on nature around, including volcanos, the highest mountains in this region. Usually, when you are on the tour here, you will also see wild llamas. Overall this is a really beautiful trip, some companies offer it with one day, some with two days, with long hike alongside the canyon – go ahead and try it, but then it is better if you are a more advanced hiker. Walking in this altitude with the local climate could be difficult.
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Rainbow mountains became more popular among tourists. And why not, it offers amazing views and nature is just amazing there. Full of colors, you have never thought mountains could have.
Since everything in Peru is done by tour companies, this is not an exception. Even though there are a lot of companies that are local and are cooperating with every hotel, it is good to think about your health. Rainbow mountains are in altitude of 4700m, so think about what kind of experience do you want from this trip to Peru. If you think it might be difficult for you, it is a good idea to choose someone with an oxygen bottle in a car.
Tours are usually starting in really early morning, as most people want to be there by sunrise. That is possibly also because it could be too hot in the midday. The hike here is also not for beginners. Even though locals would offer you a horse, at some point the mountain will get too steep so you need to walk by yourself anyway. Little heads up: if you don’t think that this is for you, there are plenty of other day trips from Cuzco.
The highest located lake in the world is something very unique to see. You can visit it from Puno. In Puno, you will get offers of several different tours. There are usually at least two reef villages on Lake Titicaca to visit, so you will hear a lot about people who are still living on the reef islands.
There is only one thing that you might want to count on. These tours are quite commercial. So yes, you will enjoy a beautiful lake and it’s nature, but also the fact that at some point, they will try to sell you overprices souvenirs.
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Like many other countries, Peru also has an amazon forest. It is widely accessive but it is not the most visited place in Peru. Either way, you can find here all the monkeys and enter the crisp wilderness. There are a couple of tours that would take you even on the boat, so you can sail around amazon.
While you do it, prepare your camera for all the monkeys and different colorful birds. You can see here a lot of wildlife and enjoy it in it’s purest form. One of the best things about it is the fact, that most of this tourism is cultural so you are helping the communities living in the Amazon rainforest. A lot of experts are saying that Peru is one of the best countries for visiting the Amazon forest because you can see here up to 40 thousand different kinds of plants and over 3000 fish species.
And after the forest, you should also see some desert. It is true, Peru has even desert. Perhaps not the biggest one in the world but what is more important than you can also see here a little village called Huacachina.
Huacachina should be on every bucket list for Peru. It is a little oasis in the middle of the Peruvian desert and it just looks magical. It looks exactly like you would picture an oasis.
You can hike here on dunes to see the village from above or you can get on a tour with a buggy and drive through the desert. I also tried snowboarding. And if you are a romantic soul, you should probably see the amazing sunset in the desert here.
Peru bucket list for history lovers
Last but not least, if you have seen Cuzco, it is worth to pay attention to the rest of the Inka valley. Local priests often went from Cuzco through this valley to Machu Pichu to perform some kind of festival. The valley is really large and full of what there was left from Inka culture.
So if you go on a tour through the valley – it can be a day trip or two-day tour, you will see most of what is left. I went on a day trip from Cuzco. As any other tour mentioned here, you will also wake up quite early. But it is an unforgettable experience that is possible just in Peru. Besides, if you have a jet lag, you most likely not sleeping anyway.
Usually on the tour through Inka valley, you will get to visit about 8 of the remains from Inka times. We had an amazing guide who had great English and knew a lot about it. But to be honest, here it might not matter too much, which company you will go with since people here are very used to English speakers.
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The famous Nazca lines are a must if you are coming to visit Peru. Their existence hasn’t been fully explained. There are only theories about why people draw them. One of the most popular explanations is a part of alien conspiracy theory. It doesn’t matter what do you want to believe in. Nazca is a very old town in the middle of Peru.
There is an archeological center where people will try to explain to you why would anyone draw lines visible from the air. They will also tell you more about Inca culture in the middle of Peru. Which challenges were locals facing and also tell you that on the place where is currently desert used to be a lot more vegetation than it is now. Super interesting. Make sure to add Nazca to your itinerary.
And more about Incas and their culture. Ollantaytambo is a part of Sacred valley, but the little village certainly deserves more attention than it has. Most of the people would stay here for one day and on the next day would head from here to Machu Picchu. And I would certainly recommend staying overnight here. But at the same time, have a look around.
The little village used to be very important to Incas. It lays on river Urubamba, which one of the sacred rivers in Peru. There were a lot of fields and the soil around was supposed to be very fertile. And perhaps because of that, you can find here one of the biggest ruins. Perhaps because of the close entrance of the river, you can also see here a rather rare river temple of Incas. Most of the places you would see a sun temple. So enjoy these ruins as well.
And finally, the true must when it comes to Peru. Machu Picchu is so famous that most of the people would come to Peru just to see this one site. Even though Peru has a lot more to offer, this is something you shouldn’t forget to visit.
It is one of the more expensive places to visit. Especially when you are coming here by train. But it is worth it. Current rules will tell you that you can stay in Machu Picchu only a couple of hours but either way it is worth it even for a couple of hours. Make sure you have a good guide so you can enjoy the trip and don’t stress too much. It is one of the world’s wonders after all and you should just enjoy your trip here.
There is a lot of different ways on how to get here. A lot of people would take the Inca trail, some would come here just from Cuzco, others would use some other ways. Generally, there is a lot of ways to get to Machu Picchu. But you need to buy your ticket even before you buy a flight ticket to Peru.
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