Peru is located in South America and is home to many fascinating archaeological sites.
Peru is nestled on the arid Pacific coastline, but also features a section of the Amazon rainforest. This makes for a destination of beautifully scenic contrasts. Among the best and well-known attractions in Peru are the famous Inca ruins, the Sacred Valley of the Incas and the historic buildings in the country’s capital, Lima. Read up on four major attractions below.
1. Inca Ruins of Sacsayhuaman
This magnificent Inca fortress overlooks the historic city of Cusco. Among the ramparts of the fortress are three enormous parallel walls, which zigzag for around 400 m and were designed to force attackers to reveal their flanks. The largest of the huge blocks is 8.5 m in height and weighs almost 360 tonnes.
The rocks were carried to the site from around 20 miles away, prior to them being fitted together perfectly. This feat was achieved without any of the building advantages and techniques of the modern day. As noted by Atlas Obscura, the blocks are so well-fitted, it is not possible to fit a sheet of paper between them.
Sacsayhuaman is within easy walking distance of the Plaza de Armas in Cusco, via the road running on the right-hand side of the Cathedral, turning left into Choqechaka Road and right on the Atoc’sekuchi staircase.
2. Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is probably the most well-known site in all of Peru. The Incan citadel is located above the Urubamba River valley, high up in the Andes Mountains. The city was constructed in the 15th century and, similar to Sacsayhuaman, the construction of the buildings was highly sophisticated. Huge blocks of stone were fused perfectly together without the use of mortar. The historic Machu Picchu offers panoramic views across the surrounding countryside.
Unlike Sacsayhuaman, Machu Picchu is not as easy to reach. There are various ways to access the site via the Inca Trail, taking around four to five days to complete. The quickest and easiest way to access this fascinating site is to start the hike at KM 104 on the Machu Picchu train line. This allows a visit to the historic ruins in one day.
3. Colca Canyon and the Andean Condor
While in the area, take a hike in Colca Canyon. Scientists determined that this massive canyon is twice as deep at the Grand Canyon, being around 10,000 ft from the rim to the very bottom. The canyon offers spectacular scenery within its rocky walls, as well as beautiful, untouched valleys, dormant volcanoes and pre-Columbian agricultural terraces.
The canyon is home to the magnificent Andean condor, a bird that is becoming rare elsewhere in the world, but is regularly spotted here. If you have the time and the energy, you can access Colca overland from the city of Cusco. However, it is much easier to take the 45-minute flight to nearby Arequipa, which is a worthwhile visit in itself.
4. Brief visit to Lima, Peru
Having visited the famous Inca ruins and other natural sites in Peru, it is worthwhile spending time in Lima. Peru’s capital sprawls along the Pacific coastline and combines pre-Columbian temples, modern high-rise condos and 18th-century architecture.
Visit the museums to gaze at beautiful pottery from the past or view the latest art at the smart art galleries in the city. Spend time trying out the unique cuisine of Peru in the city’s many restaurants before heading to the lively nightclubs of Lima.
Some of the best sites to visit from Lima include Huaca Pucllana, a sacred site consisting of pre-Inca ruins, including a pyramid of adobe and clay. The archaeological site dates back more than 1,500 years. Then head to Huaca Huallamarca in the San Isidro area to visit more pre-Inca ruins.
Enjoy spectacular pre-Columbian art at Larco Museum in the city. Exhibits include pieces made from the finest silver and gold of ancient Peru.
Enjoy your visit to fascinating Peru, taking in all the sites and sounds of this cultural and fascinating country.