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Best experiences:

Machu Picchu

Aguas Calientes, Cusco Region, Peru

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Bucket List Experience
A view of Machu Picchu ruins from a viewpoint

The Incas’ magnificent 15th-century mountaintop citadel sprawls across ten hectares of Peruvian cloud forest. Wayna Picchu, the cone-shaped mountain, rises imperiously behind.

Adult price: £28

Best for ages 8+

Hike the Inca Trail

Cusco, Cusco Region, Peru

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Bucket List Experience
Beautiful green mountains

A once-in-a-lifetime, 4- to 5-day hike through the Andes, retracing ancient trails, combines mountain vistas, cloud forest and subtropical jungle. The finale is incredible – the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu, rising from the misty mountains.

Adult price: ££377

Min age 18

Best for ages 18+

Duration: 4-5 days

Cruise the River Amazon

Iquitos, Loreto Region, Peru

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Bucket List Experience
Cruise the River Amazon

A voyage deep into the Amazon rainforest brings dazzling wildlife encounters as well as visits to local communities and opportunities for trekking, fishing and kayaking.

Adult price: £Varies

Best for ages 13+

Duration: 4 days +

Hike the Santa Cruz Circuit

Huaraz, Ancash Region, Peru

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Bucket List Experience
A traveller looks at the Cordillera Blanca landscape

The gold standard of short (50km) Andean hikes, passing through the highest range of mountains in Peru. One of the most beautiful walks in South America.

Adult price: £500+

Min age 20

Best for ages 18+

Duration: 6-8 hours

Lima’s best food & drink

Lima, Lima Region, Peru

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Bucket List Experience
Close up of a ceviche dish

Lima is one of the best places to eat out in the world – with an astonishing restaurant scene and the finest chefs in South America.

Adult price: £35

Best for ages 18+

Hike the Huayhuash Circuit

Huaraz, Ancash Region, Peru

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Bucket List Experience
Hike the Huayhuash Circuit

For spectacular mountain views – of glaciers, jagged peaks and valleys filled with lakes, there is no trek to beat the legendary Huayhuash Circuit.

Adult price: £1000

Min age 18

Best for ages 18+

Duration: 12 days

A day in Cusco

Cusco, Cusco Region, Peru

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Bucket List Experience
Aerial view of the Cusco town in Peru

The heart of the old Inca empire has a wealth of Inca ruins, Spanish treasures and historic architecture to explore.

Best for ages 18+

Duration: 1 day

Colca Canyon

Arequipa Region, Peru

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Bucket List Experience
Mountains in Colca Canyon

One of the world’s deepest canyons – twice the depth of the Grand Canyon – with soaring Condors and ancient pre-Columbian terraces still farmed today.

Best for ages 13+

Hiram Bingham Train

Cusco, Cusco Region, Peru

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Bucket List Experience
A train winding through green mountains

One of the world’s most spectacular train rides, the journey between Cusco and Machu Picchu via the Sacred Valley combines dramatic landscapes and absolute luxury.

Adult price: £550

Best for ages 18+

Duration: 3 hours

A day in Lima

Lima Region, Peru

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Bucket List Experience
Pale yellow painted cathedral in Lima, viewed from below

Peru’s capital, while not the most appealing of cities, does offer stately colonial architecture, fascinating museums of Peru’s empirical; history and world-class dining.

Best for ages 18+

Duration: 1 day

Nazca Lines

Nazca, Ica Region, Peru

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Bucket List Experience
The Nazca line in the shape of a spider, seen from above

One of ancient Peru’s most enigmatic relics: a series of monumental glyphs etched into a vast desert plain.

Adult price: £65

Best for ages 13+

Sacred Valley

Cusco Region, Peru

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Bucket List Experience
Farming terraces and mountains

Dotted with clifftop ruins, cut by a rushing river and coursed by numerous trails, the spectacular Sacred Valley of the Incas near Cusco is Peru’s top light adventure destination.

Best for ages 13+

Lake Titicaca

Puno Region, Peru

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Bucket List Experience
Small islands in Lake Titicaca

One of the world’s highest lakes, steeped in Andean lore, and famous for its ancient floating island villages, birdlife and spectacular sunrises and sunsets.

Adult price: £3

Best for ages 5+

Andean Explorer

Arequipa Region, Peru

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Bucket List Experience
Andean Explorer

South America’s first luxury sleeping-car train offers a two-night tour between Cusco and Arequipa, taking in the floating reed islands of Lake Titicaca, cave art thousands of years old, and the World Heritage Site of Arequipa.

Adult price: £3000

Best for ages 13+

Duration: 2 nights

Qorikancha

Cusco, Cusco Region, Peru

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Bucket List Experience
Exterior of Qorikancha in golden hour

The Inca empire’s most elaborate sun temple, covered in gold and silver, is now a colonial church housing stunning Inca stonework.

Adult price: £2

Best for ages 18+

Sacsayhuaman

Cusco, Cusco Region, Peru

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Bucket List Experience
View of the Sacsayhuamán ruins, with mountains in the background

A vast, fortified Inca sun temple that perches over Cusco, housing boulders and masonry astonishingly jigsaw-pieced together, without cement or metal tools.

Adult price: £24

Best for ages 18+

Ollantaytambo

Cusco Region, Peru

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Bucket List Experience
Inca Fortress with Terraces and Temple Hill in Ollantaytambo

After Machu Picchu, this huge fortress cut into the side of a mountain is the most spectacular – and most poignant – of all Inca ruins.

Best for ages 13+

Inca ruins at Pisac (and Pisac market)

Pisac, Cusco Region, Peru

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Bucket List Experience
Farming terraces in the sacred valley in Pisac

Mountain-top ruins with intact Inca stonework, dramatic views across the Sacred Valley and a great market, best reached on a spectacular day hike.

Adult price: £40

Best for ages 18+

Incan ruins, buildings and terraces on a cloudy truncated hill top

A spectacular – and relatively tourist-free – mountain walk on an Inca road cutting through wild forest, over high passes to the lost Inca city of Choquequirao.

Adult price: £700

Min age 18

Best for ages 18+

Duration: 4-5 days

Paracas National Reserve

Paracas, Ica Region, Peru

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Bucket List Experience
Dramatic golden cliffs and shoreline

A 335,000-hectare reserve of wild desert dropping to blood-red cliffs, superb surf beaches, islands and bays crammed with wildlife.

Best for ages 13+

Huacachina Oasis [sandboarding]

Huacachina, Ica Region, Peru

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Bucket List Experience
The desert oasis of Huacachina

Like a set from the Arabian Nights, this oasis village sits in rippling sand dunes that offer some of the continent’s best sandboarding.

Best for ages 18+

Santa Catalina Monastery

Arequipa, Arequipa Region, Peru

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Bucket List Experience
A fruit tree stands inside the red painted walls of the monastery

This perfectly-preserved, art-filled convent, scented with orange blossom and hidden behind high walls, is one of South America’s great colonial treasures.

Adult price: £8

Best for ages 5+

Lima Art Museum

Lima, Lima Region, Peru

Exterior of the museum building

Peru’s national art collection, with over 7,000 pieces dating from pre-Columbian times to the present day, showcased in a stately palace.

Adult price: £2

Best for ages 13+

Larco Museum

Lima, Lima Region, Peru

The exterior of the museum, with red-leaved plants and a Peruvian flag

The city’s most prestigious and encyclopedic art museum, with a vast permanent collection spanning three millennia of Peruvian art.

Adult price: £7

Best for ages 18+

Tambopata National Reserve

Madre de Dios, Peru

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Bucket List Experience
A close-up view of a Harpy eagle

An easily-visited, huge Amazonian reserve, preserving one the greatest levels of biodiversity on Earth and with myriad jungle lodges.

Best for ages 13+

Cusco Cathedral

Cusco, Cusco Region, Peru

Cusco Cathedral exterior on a clear day

Located on top of an old Inca palace, this towering 16th-century baroque cathedral took a century to build and is stuffed with countless treasures, including key works from the Cuzco School of art.

Adult price: £5

Festival of the Sun

Cusco, Cusco Region, Peru

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Bucket List Experience
Performers wearing traditional dress play instruments together on stage

Colourful parades and ancient Inca ceremonies are re-enacted at this world-famous winter solstice festival.

Best for ages 8+

Duration: 5 hours

When: 24th June

Frequency: annually

Chan Chan

Trujillo, La Libertad, Peru

Antique blue painted building with white fixtures in Trujillo

Once the capital of the ancient Chimu civilization, Chan Chan (built AD 850) is the largest adobe city in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Spanning over 20 square kilometres, it features intricate walls, plazas, temples, and dwellings made entirely of adobe bricks, showcasing the remarkable craftsmanship of the Chimu people.

Best for ages 18+

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Surquillo Market

Lima, Lima Region, Peru

Customers buying vegetables at the market

Mercado No1 de Surquillo, Lima’s food market, is packed with exotic fruit, vegetables and medicinal plants. It’s also a good spot to sample street food – simple ceviche and Butifarra pulled-pork sandwiches.

Best for ages 13+

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Lima Cathedral

Lima, Lima Region, Peru

The exterior of the Roman Catholic style cathedral

A temple to Spanish power, this huge, imposing cathedral houses the remains of Pizarro, Conqueror of the Incas.

Adult price: £6

Best for ages 18+

Gold Museum

Lima, Lima Region, Peru

A golden sculpture of a face, with gemstones

One of the world’s largest collections of pre-Colombian Peruvian gold, more than 7,000 artefacts, includes items from Inca, Sican and Moche culture. The museum also houses an extensive collection of weapons from around the world, dating back to the 13th century. Open daily.

Adult price: £6

Best for ages 13+

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Saint Francis Monastery

Lima, Lima Region, Peru

The pastel yellow exterior of the monastery, with birds gathering in front

A UNESCO World Heritage listed Spanish-colonial monastery, dating back to 1674, with striking baroque architecture and bone-filled catacombs. The convent’s library possesses over 25,000 antique texts, including the first-ever Spanish dictionary and a Holy Bible edition from 1572.

Adult price: £3

Best for ages 18+

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Chinchero village

Cusco, Cusco Region, Peru

Town square and market with small church viewed from across the valley.

This little village in the Sacred Valley near Cusco is a centre for traditional indigenous weaving in Peru. It has a lively market and ancient Inca agricultural terraces.

Best for ages 13+

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Caral

Lima, Lima Region, Peru

The ancient site seen from afar, with mountains in the background

The remains of the oldest city in the Americas, dating back 5,000 years, with pyramids and plazas carved out of the desert. It’s well worth the drive to this little-visited spot, 180km north of Lima.

Adult price: £2

Best for ages 18+

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Ballestas Islands

Paracas, Ica Region, Peru

An old pier covered in birds, with a flock of birds flying above

This archipelago of rocky islands off Paracas is a haven for rare sea birds, Humboldt penguins, sealions and fur seals. Daily boat tours operate from hotels in the Paracas Reserve.

Adult price: £2

Best for ages 5+

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Huaca Pucllana

Lima, Lima Region, Peru

A large adobe and clay pyramid made of individual bricks

Lima’s only pre-Colombian ruin of note is a giant adobe pyramid built in seven sections and sitting in suburban Miraflores. It served as an important ceremonial and administrative centre from 200AD to 700AD. Outside the colonial centre but unmissable.

Adult price: £3

Best for ages 18+

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Hike from Cusco to Huchuy

Cusco, Cusco Region, Peru

A small village on a mountain covered in yellow grasses, with mountains in the background

This, the shortest and easiest of alternative Inca trails, takes three days from Cusco and offers wonderful mountain views, little-visited Inca sites and a final day at Machu Picchu itself.

Adult price: £4

Best for ages 18+

Duration: 3 days

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Maras Salt Pans

Cusco, Cusco Region, Peru

Salt terraces in the Andes mountain range

Looking like bone-white Balinese rice terraces and surrounded by dramatic mountain scenery, these ancient salt pans, cut in Inca times, are still in use today. Accessed from the town of Maras in the Sacred Valley, 40kms from Cusco.

Adult price: £1

Best for ages 18+

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Rainbow Mountain

Cusco, Cusco Region, Peru

Hikers reaching the viewpoint at the summit of the mountain

A mountain of striking, colourfully-striated rock bands, caused by layers of varying mineral deposits. It’s a 2-hour drive from Cusco, followed by 5km (3 mile) walk.

Best for ages 18+

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Kuelap

Chachapoyas, Amazonas, Peru

Ruins of a settlement with paths throughout

This vast ruined city in the rainforest overlooking the lush Utcubamba Valley in Peru’s northeast dwarfs Machu Picchu. It was built by the Chacapoyas in the 6th Century AD. Tours depart from El Tingo.

Best for ages 18+

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