In the Andes, people still live in the traditional way and have done so for thousands of years. The picturesque villages that dot the mountain sides decorate all the Andean region with their native agricultural crops, llama and alpaca farming, as well as the traditional dress of their community. This is where you find the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Salkantay, Ausangate and the impressive Cusco region. The Cordillera Blanca is to the North of the Peruvian Andes and home to Peru’s highest mountain Huascaran at 6768 metres elevation (see the Cordillera Blanca section); Arequipa and Colca Canyon, with their canyons and volcanos and the highest navigable lake in the world, Lake Titicaca are also found in the Andean region at a whopping 3800 metres elevation! (See the Southern Peru section). The North of Peru also has its Andean region with impressive sites such as Kuelap, Cajamarca and Chachapoyas. All these fascinating areas of Peru are connected by the magnificent Andes, your only dilemma is to make sure you have time to see all the regions!
The city of Cusco and the “belly button of the world” according to The Incas, was the capital of the Inca empire. The narrow stone cobbled streets and Inca foundations of historical buildings, as well as their Spanish colonial counterparts built on top of them, form a fascinating insight into a mixture of cultures and civilisations. Today, the tourist Mecca of Cusco is a hot spot for excellent cuisine, a Pisco sour or two and a jolly good night out, in between those excursions to ruins and trekking trips. This perfect launching spot for a multitude of activities and destinations has everything; however, be careful if you visit, you may never leave!
Machu Picchu is probably THE number one on the list when you visit Peru. There is a reason why thousands flock to this wonder of the world, every year. The history of the impressive Inca architects and their domination of the continent as well as the geographical location, combine to make this ancient city a truly magnificent place to visit. Whether you hike there on the Inca trail or take the train, Machu Picchu is one of the must-do activities in Peru, if not, in all of South America. After all it is a modern wonder of the world and quite rightly so!
The Sacred Valley was so-called by The Inca’s and was the main food source of the Inca empire due to its unnaturally fertile lands. This impressive Valley has many historical sites and cultural activities as well as adventure activities in its towns and villages. Ollantaytambo is stunning, Pisac is beautiful and the market is traditional as well as touristic; Moray will leave you mind-boggling about its purpose; and in the higher regions, the native communities of Chinchero, Chawatiri and Huilloc with their traditional dress and weaving techniques, offer fascinating insight into how the Andean people have lived for many thousands of years.