Peru is as multifarious as its most intricate and delicate weavings. Festivals celebrate ancient rites, the urban vanguard continues innovation and nature bestows splendid diversity.
All About History
Visitors travel en masse to the glorious Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, yet this famous archeological site is just a small glimpse in the 5000-year history of Peruvian settlement. Discover the dusty remnants of Chan Chan, the largest pre-Columbian ruins in all the Americas. Soar over the baffling geoglyphs etched into the dry earth at Nazca. Or venture into the rugged wilderness surrounding the ancient fortress of Kuélap. The many museums of Lima show in full detail the amazing sophistication, skill and passion of these lost civilizations. You can still visit remote communities and see how the old ways live on. Immerse yourself in culture, nature and tradition, and you'll leave Peru a little closer to the past.
Pleasure & the Palate
One eternal question haunts all Peruvians: what to eat? Ceviche with flakes of fiery chili and corn, slow-simmered pork stews, velvety-rich Amazonian chocolate – in the capital of Latin American cooking, the choices dazzle and will be endless. Due to the great geographic and cultural diversity ingredients range from highland tubers to tropical jungle fruits to a complex neo-cuisine with Spanish, indigenous, African and Asian influences. The truth is, fusion existed here long before tourists started visiting this amazing country. Explore the many food markets. Sample grilled anticuchos (beef skewers) on a street corner and splurge a little on exquisite novoandina (Peruvian nouvelle cuisine).
From downtown Lima to right in the middle of nowhere, this vast country is a Mecca for the active adventure traveler. Giant sand dunes, chiseled peaks and Pacific surf breaks lining the coastline of Lima and its rush-hour traffic, and of course all the usual suspects – rafting, paragliding, zip-lining and hiking/biking trails – are present. Find scarlet macaws in the Amazon jungle or catch the sunset over ancient Incan ruins. Discover this huge place in small bites and don't rush it. Delays will inevitably happen. Festivals can swallow you up for days. And you'll realize: in Peru the adventure usually lies in getting there.
Life is a Carnival
Welcome to a unique place of mythical beliefs where ancient pageants worship to the tune of booming brass bands. Peru's deep cultural heritage is never more real and visceral than when you are fully immersed in the dizzying madness of a festival. Deities of old are brought back to life as Christian saints, pilgrims climb mountains in the middle of night and icons are marched through crowded market squares as once were the mummies of Inca rulers. History is extremely potent here and very alive.