Peru is a country that has SO much to offer. If you’re planning to travel to Peru this year, these are the top 10 things you can’t miss in Peru! This list is just the beginning of what you can do while in Peru; I only had a few weeks there so my time was limited, so the more time you have, the more you can see what this beautiful country has to offer!
1. Flight of the Condor in the Colca Canyon
From the city of Arequipa, you can take a one day, two day, or multi-day trip into Peru’s Colca Canyon to escape the city and explore the more mountainous regions of Peru. One of the highlights in the Colca Canyon is stopping at a lookout point that faces into a huge valley – and this valley is a really popular spot for condors to fly! I saw so many and is definitely one of the top things to do in Peru!
Read more: Colca Canyon Photo Diary
2. Dune buggy in Huacachina
A dune buggy adventure is something you CANNOT miss while in Peru! Huacachina itself is a stunning little oasis town located in the middle of Peru’s desert, and going on a dune buggy tour is a super fun way to see the desert and explore the sand dunes!
3. Sand boarding in Huacachina
If you do end up taking a dune buggy into Peru’s desert, then you have to go sandboarding in the middle of the desert. This was so high on my list and something I knew I couldn’t miss while in Peru. Even if you aren’t good at boarding, you can just sit on the board and go down the hill like a sled!
4. Journey to Machu Picchu
If you’re going to travel to Peru, chances are you’re planning on visiting Machu Picchu! There are multiple ways to get to Machu Picchu, and most (if not all) require more than one day to get there. So leave a few days for this along your route, because it is something you cannot miss in Peru!
Read more: 6 Ways to get to Machu Picchu | Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu – The Best Way to Get There
5. Alpacas and Llamas!
One of my favorite parts about Peru is the endless amount of alpacas and llamas everywhere. You can find llamas at Machu Picchu, alpacas on the way to the Colca Canyon, and you can even visit Mundo Alpaca in the city of Arequipa – which translates to Alpaca World. At Mundo Alpaca you can learn all about how they make alpaca fabric and visit their alpacas, for free!
6. Peru’s Galapagos
In the beach town of Paracas, you can take a boat tour that drives you out to “Peru’s Galapagos”, otherwise known as Ballestas Island. It is here you can see sea lions, penguins, pelicans and sometimes even dolphins and humpback whales! Peru’s Galapagos is something you cannot miss while in Peru!
7. Hike Rainbow Mountain
Rainbow mountain is a really popular hike while in Peru: a lot of visitors want to see the colorful hill they see in pictures! I’ve heard the hill isn’t as vibrant as it is portrayed in photos, however, I heard it is still beautiful!
If you have issues with altitude sickness be prepared for Rainbow Mountain because the elevation is 5,200 m above sea level. To give perspective the city of Cusco is 3,399 m above sea level and people still get altitude sickness while visiting Cusco!
*I haven’t hiked Rainbow Mountain (ran out of time), but my two friends have and they HIGHLY RECOMMEND!
8. Explore Lima
Lima is the city that most travelers are going to fly into when they arrive in Peru, so it only makes sense to take a day or two and see what Lima has to offer! Peru is SO diverse, and this capital city is so cool! Lima has a great street art scene in the neighborhood of Barranco that can’t be missed.
Tip: Sign up for a free walking tour and you’ll be sure to see all the highlights of Lima. Another reason I love free walking tours is because you can ask your guide for great food recommendations, or meet other travelers while on the tour!
9. Spend time in Cusco (something you definitely can’t miss)
Cusco was my FAVORITE city that I visited while in Peru. It is so unique and I loved the architecture. I would highly recommend taking a free walking tour while here to see the main points of interest, but also take time to explore on your own and take in the city! You cannot miss Cusco while in Peru.
Cusco is also the city you’ll probably be leaving from if you’re visiting Machu Picchu!
10. The White City – Arequipa, Peru
Arequipa is known as “The White City” because a lot of the architecture in the city is white! Arequipa is a beautiful place to visit- the city square is lively with restaurants and balconies lining the perimeter, making for a great view whatever the time of day. From different places around the city, you can even see the volcano that overlooks the city, which is such a unique and stunning view! Arequipa is also the gateway to the Colca Canyon, and tours can be booked within the city center or through most hostels!
Looking for more? Also check out Peru’s Amazon jungle and the town of Iquitos, the Maras Salt Mines, and the Moray ruins!
Hopefully, these suggestions help you plan your trip, or inspire you to travel Peru!
More Peru Inspiration:
Hey! I’m Kat. Based in Alberta, Canada I love to travel to the Rockies and explore new places around the world. Follow along on my adventures and find inspiration and tips for your own travels.