From the hugely popular Incan ruins of Machu Picchu (a must for panoramic views), to the atmospheric landscapes surrounding Kuélap Fortress, Peru boasts a whole world of fascinating historic sights. Explore the pre-Colombian ruins of Chan Chan, head to the south coast to marvel at the mysterious Naczca lines or embark on Lima’s incredible museum trail. Last but certainly not least, be sure to spend a little time getting to know the locals in one of the country’s many traditional villages. Museums and ancient attractions aside, this is one of the best ways to get an authentic insight into the real Peru.
When you book a holiday to Peru, one of the best things to do is eat. From mouth-watering flavour combinations and fresh local ingredients, to a fusion of multicultural influences – think African, Asian and Spanish to start with – this country really does have it all. Visit a food market to try local street delicacies such as anticuchos (meat marinated in a spicy red pepper sauce and then cooked and served on a skewer), mazamorra morada (a dessert made from purple corn) and picarones (a type of doughnut made from squash or sweet potato and then deep fried). Of course there’s also ceviche, which is usually marinated in lemon or lime juice and lots of chillies.
Whatever time of year you choose to visit Peru, and wherever you go, you can almost guarantee that there’ll be some sort of festival or celebration happening while you’re there. The country’s richly diverse cultural heritage means that today, carnivals are often a very multicultural affair, and they’re all the more enjoyable because of it. Mythology and spirituality are hugely popular in Peru, and it’s not uncommon to see people out in force, paying their respects to ancient deities through the medium of lively song and dance.
The Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is one of the world’s most iconic sights, and when you visit, you’ll be hard-pressed not to see why. Until they were uncovered at the start of the 20th century, these magnificent ruins remained hidden as one of the country’s best kept secrets. Having been a fixture of Peruvian landscape for more than six centuries, these Incan ruins have stood the test of time, surviving the effects of both human invasion and natural disasters. If you decide to walk the well-trodden path of the Inca Trail, make sure you’re prepared (both mentally and physically), as the journey will take approximately four days, and don’t forget your camera. The views from the top are some of the best in the world.
Despite being a bit of an acquired taste, ceviche is one of Peru’s best-loved delicacies, and it's certainly something you should try if you’re visiting the country for the first time. Made from fresh white fish (usually sea bass, haddock or halibut), cured in lemon or lime juices and then seasoned with red and green chillies, garlic and coriander, traditional Peruvian ceviche is a taste sensation. Depending on where you go, you’ll find the dish served either on its own, or accompanied by tortilla chips, sour cream and a salsa of fresh tomatoes, coriander and corn. Across the country, there are some regional variations (for example with the additions of shrimp, onions and cucumber), and unsurprisingly, street food ceviche tends to differ greatly from the kind you might find in more high-end restaurants, but at either end of the price bracket, the flavours are always incredible.
When it comes to natural landscapes, there’s nowhere in Peru quite like Lake Titicaca. Home to one of the world’s most captivating indigenous groups, the reed islands that sit floating on the lake are a truly fascinating sight to behold. Made entirely from totora reeds, the islands were handcrafted by the Uros people to protect against opposing tribes, and they’ve been a part of the landscape now for centuries. Lake Titicaca and the floating islands sit almost 4,000 metres above sea level, and, according to a 2011 census, the area is occupied by more than 1,000 indigenous people. The reeds have been used to build everything from large family homes and out-buildings, to boats and children’s play areas, and although they do need a fair amount of upkeep, they are actually surprisingly robust.
By far the best time to visit Peru is during the dry season, which lasts from May to October. Throughout this time, temperatures are usually mild at around 18 degrees and there’s little or no rainfall.
If you’re travelling to Peru as a tourist, you don’t need a visa, but British Citizens are required to have a valid passport. For full details, visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/peru/entry-requirements.
In Peru, the currency used is the Peruvian Sol (PEN).
The main language spoken in Peru is Spanish.