The Inca Trail is by far the most famous trek in South America and is rated by many to be in the top 5 treks in the world. In just 26 miles (43km) it manages to combine beautiful mountain scenery, lush cloud-forest, subtropical jungle and, of course, a stunning mix of Inca paving stones, ruins and tunnels. The final destination of the trail just cannot be beaten: Machu Picchu, the mysterious "Lost City of the Incas".
Vinicunca, also called Montaña de Siete Colores (Mountain of Seven Colors), is located in the Andes in the Cusco region of Peru. In order to get to the trailhead, it’s a three-hour drive from Cusco. To get to the lookout at 5,200m is about 10Km. The views are spectacular but do be cautious of altitude sickness.
Cusco, a city in the Peruvian Andes, was once capital of the Inca Empire, and is now known for its archaeological remains and Spanish colonial architecture. Plaza de Armas is the central square in the old city, with arcades, carved wooden balconies and Incan wall ruins. The baroque Santo Domingo Convent was built on top of the Incan Temple of the Sun (Qoricancha), and has archaeological remains of Inca stonework. The Sacred Valley is a region in Peru's Andean highlands. Along with the nearby town of Cusco and the ancient city of Machu Picchu, it formed the heart of the Inca Empire. Stretching roughly 60 kilometers, it’s an area of fertile farmland and Spanish colonial villages like Pisac and Ollantaytambo. Pisac is known for its Sunday handicraft market and hilltop Incan citadel.
Discover the Spirit of the Andes as you journey aboard this luxury train from Puno to Cusco. Let yourself be enchanted by some of South America’s most beautiful scenery as you travel along one of the highest train routes in the world. The Spirit of the Andes journey departs every Wednesday at midday.
Taquile is an island on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca 45 km offshore from the city of Puno. About 2,200 people live on the island, which is 5.5 by 1.6 kilometres in size, with an area of 5.72 km². The highest point of the island is 4,050 metres above sea level and the main village is at 3,950 metres. The community of “Knitting Men”, people of Taquile Island are living the lifestyle they’ve preserved for centuries. When a man wants to marry a woman, he needs to prove his worth by drinking water out of his knitted hat. If the hat is knitted so tightly that the water doesn’t drip, he has successfully proved his abilities.
Lake Titicaca, straddling the border between Peru and Bolivia in the Andes Mountains, is one of South America's largest lakes and the world’s highest navigable body of water. Said to be the birthplace of the Incas, it’s home to numerous ruins. Its waters are famously still and brightly reflective. Around it is Titicaca National Reserve, sheltering rare aquatic wildlife such as giant frogs. The Uros islands are a group of 70 man-made totora reed islands floating on Peru's Lake Titicaca. Its inhabitants, the Uros tribe, pre-date Incan civilization and continue to hunt and fish the plentiful land and waters they occupy. Amantani is an island on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca and is the highest island in the world at 4,115m on Pachatata. According to a 1988 census, it had a population of 3,663 Quechua speakers divided among about 800 families. The island is circular and about 9.28 km² in size.
Arequipa is the colonial-era capital of Peru’s Arequipa Region. Framed by 3 volcanoes, it's filled with baroque buildings constructed from sillar, a white volcanic stone. Its historic center is anchored by the Plaza de Armas, a stately main square flanked on its north by the 17th-century neoclassical Basilica Cathedral, which houses a museum displaying religious objects and artwork.
Colca Canyon, a river canyon in southern Peru famed as one of the world's deepest, is a well-known trekking destination. It's a habitat for the giant Andean condor, on view from overlooks like Cruz del Condor. The canyon landscape comprises a green valley and remote traditional villages with terraced agriculture that predates the Incas.
The Nazca Lines in southern Peru are a group of pre-Columbian geoglyphs etched into desert sands. Covering an area of nearly 1,000 sq. kilometers, there are about 300 different figures, including animals and plants. Composed of over 10,000 lines, some of which measure 30 meters wide and stretch more than 9 kilometers, the figures are most visible from the air.
The Ballestas Islands are a group of small islands near the town of Paracas within the Paracas District of the Pisco Province in the Ica Region, on the south coast of Peru. The Ballestas Islands is an important wildlife reserve, with over 160 species of marine birds, including Humboldt penguins, cormorants, boobies and pelicans. There is also animal life, including vast numbers of sea lions. Condors can sometimes be seen flying overhead, especially in February and March, as they feed on the carcasses of dead sea lions. Dolphins and even whales can also be seen at times.