Holy moly there is so much more to Peru then Machu Picchu!
Lima – After flying into Peru’s capital city you will notice a distinct difference in the weather to the other South American countries. Being so close to the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean, it is always a bit cooler here. Stay in Milaflores and explore the parks surrounded by tree-lined streets then visit the adobe pyramid, Huaca Pucllana. More of a thrill seeker? Then give paragliding off the sloping cliff faces a try. (2 night stay).
Paracas – A small town with a quaint beachfront. Early morning boat tours run from here to see the uninhabited Ballestas Islands, home to sea lions, pelicans and Humboldt penguins. (1 night stay).
Nazca via Pisco – As they say, sometimes it’s about the journey and not the destination. In this case, it’s both. Travelling from Paracas to Nazca, you must stop off at a distillery and try Pisco, a brandy made locally in Peru (and also Chile). Drinking it straight will knock your socks off, but have it as a Pisco Sour for a delicious tipple. Once fuelled on Pisco, continue on to Ica and get your adrenaline rush from sandboarding. The sand-buggy ride over the dunes is so much fun and sandboarding is amazing! Nazca itself has some very interesting history. A short guided tour around Parcas Cemetery will provide you will the detailed history of the Nazca lines before you head to the airfield to do a fly over. The Nazca lines, whatever their origin, are very impressive. (2 night stay).
Arequipa – At 2,335 meters above sea level, you are sure to experience some altitude sickness on your journey to and on arriving at Arequipa. There are a few local remedies which you can try; chewing ash, leafy tea but I find that altitude sickness tablets really do the trick. The city itself is architecturally beautiful and you could lose hours exploring the intricate layout of the markets in the main square. Try a taste of guinea pig, the local delicacy, if you dare. (2 night stay).
Colca Canyon – The drive from Arequipa to Colca is fantastically scenic and you’ll start to see llamas and alpacas everywhere you look. When you arrive at Colca, try to do a bit of hiking to get your lungs used to the altitude. Watching the condors gliding through the Colca Canyon as dawn breaks is breath taking. There are plenty of great hiking trails in this area and hot pools is rest your weary feet in. (3 night stay).
Puno – Take a stroll around this city and soak up the fascination of Lake Titicaca before taking a boat across the lake to Taquile Island for a home-stay and enjoy dressing up to join in with the locals and their Peruvian dance. Well worth the experience. (1 night Puno, 1 night home-stay, 1 night Puno).
Cusco – May favourite city in Peru. The cobbled streets and ruins give the city a European feel whilst the local crafts on offer keep its Peruvian charm. Of course, Cusco is the gateway city to the start of the Machu Picchu trail but it is worth stopping here to enjoy what the city itself and surrounding area offers. (2 night stay).
Machu Piccu, 4 day trek – Make sure that you book onto a tour to complete this well in advance of arriving in Peru. If you are able, do the full 4 day trek rather than a shorter trek or taking the train to the Inca site. It really is an experience not to be missed. Head back to Cusco for an overnight stay to clean off after your trek.
Tambopata – Fly from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado for a stay in the Amazon Jungle! Enjoy treks and tours of this area of the rainforest by local guides. You are surrounded in wildlife all day and all night. I awoke many nights from the sound of monkeys trying to get their hands on some leftover treats! Which traveller doesn’t want to spend time in the Amazon Jungle?! (3/4night stay).
You can fly from here directly to Lima and off to your next adventure destination.