From its dense jungle and coastal desert to the glacial peaks of the Andes, the land of the Incas is an empire of different worlds to explore.
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Hidden treasures, ancient cultures and rich colonial tradition make Peru offer so much more than just its famous (and yes, amazing) pilgrimage to the mysterious ruins of Machu Picchu. Here, five more locations for your must-do itinerary.
Once the Incan empire’s foremost city, cosmopolitan Cuzco is now the archaeological capital of the Americas. Ornate cathedrals sit alongside Incan temples against a backdrop of forested hills and snow-covered mountain peaks. It is the gateway to big-ticket sights such as the Temple of the Sun, Sacsayhuaman, The Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu.
2. Nazca Lines
This curious series of gargantuan animal figures and geometric shapes, some up to 200 metres in length, are etched into the Nazca Desert plains across a five-hundred-square-metre radius. By far the best way to view the ancient geoglyphs is by air but, if you’d prefer to stay on the ground, there is a viewing point at Mirador.
3. Colca Canyon
Slicing through the High Andes, the spectacular Colca Canyon is reputedly twice as deep as the Grand Canyon and is still inhabited, its pre-Colombian terraced fields still supporting many agricultural communities. Travellers come to experience endless trekking routes, breathtaking vistas and the opportunity to spot the rare Andean Condor.
The huge, lush swathe of the Amazon covers more than half of Peru, and is possibly the most biodiverse region on Earth. Amazonas offers travellers the stuff of adventure novels with phenomenal wildlife-spotting, treks into untamed jungle, gigantic waterfalls, indigenous tribes and ancient archaeological ruins.
5. Lake Titicaca
The world’s highest navigable lake is a patchwork of islands both natural and manmade. Its floating islands, constructed from reeds, are inhabited by one of the oldest-known tribes in the Americas practising centuries-old traditions. Taquile Island offers a unique glimpse into everyday life, particularly weaving and knitting; its men can often be seen walking across the island, knitting as they go.
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