Peru is a massive country with such a huge variety of climates and activities. So it’s little wonder that working out what to do in Peru can be so daunting. I spent just under 2 months exploring this incredible country from top to bottom. And have put together my Peru hit list. The top 11 things to do in Peru before you leave. This really is the best of Peru, so you’ll be kicking yourself if you miss these!
1. Hike to machu picchu
Alright so you’re already sold on visiting Peru. And everyone knows you can’t travel Peru without visiting Machu Picchu. So I won’t dwell on it. All I will say is: Yes it’s definitely worth going. And that you should hurry up before they impose even more restrictions on visitation. Also, before you book your trip, make sure you read my guide on – The 9 Things I Wish I Knew Before Hiking Machu Picchu.
2. sandboarding in huacachina
I have to say sandboarding in Huacachina was one of the most
terrifying insanely fun experiences of my life. And is one of the best things to do in Peru. It was the kind of fun where you’re swearing your head off in fear. While still crying tears of laughter… So yes quite a bundle of emotions going on all at once. Make sure you spend a few days chilling out on Huacachina as well. As the Desert Nights Hostel pool with its own swim up bar is awesome. For more in-depth info on sandboarding you can check out my article – Everything You Need To Know Before Sandboarding in Peru.
3. hanging out in arequipa
Arequipa would have to be one of my favourite cities in the whole world and makes up the best of Peru. The main square is breathtaking. And actually made me smile every time I walked past. How lame is that? I’m thinking I might have been a bit high from all the extra oxygen, on account of it not being at ridiculously high altitude. Anyway… To add to the insane beauty, the food in Arequipa is absolutely delicious. And the coffee is even better. If you like to eat (who doesn’t?) Make sure you spend a couple of days here gorging on epic burgers, traditional fare and unique craft beer. I’ve also detailed a list of Arequipa’s best restaurants – here.
4. hiking the colca canyon
A DIY trip to the Colca Canyon in one of the more unique things to do in Peru. And while getting both down and up the canyon is an absolute killer on your body the reward at the end is well worth it. From stunning waterfalls, to hot springs and with its very own oasis right at the bottom, the Colca Canyon definitely needs to be on your list of what to do in Peru. Don’t just follow the crowd. Skip the tour and do it yourself for half the price. My instructions are – here.
5. partying in cusco
So I totally blame partying in Cusco for the terrible chest infection I contracted while hiking Machu Picchu. But I’ll forgive it because of the epic time we had partying there. You’ll probably cringe, but we stayed at notorious party hostel The Wild Rover. And had the time of our lives for the four days before we started our hike. Cusco’s party scene is as wild as its surroundings. And can be a little dodgy. So make sure you head out with a group from your hostel. The Wild Rover staff take everyone out once the bar closes, so stick with them and you’ll be fine. Have I convinced you to book a room? You can check prices here.
6. hiking in huaraz
Alright so there are a tonne more fun things to do in Peru rather than partying. And hiking in the little town of Huaraz is one of them. While the town is nothing special it’s home to two of the best hikes in South America. The stunning Laguna 69 and the Santa Cruz trek. While you will wake up with ice and snow surrounding your tent on Santa Cruz. And struggle up that last hill on Laguna 69 don’t give these guys a miss.
7. tasting cuy (guinea pig)
If you’re vegetarian look away… Fried cuy (or guinea pig) is a Peruvian delicacy and definitely something you need to try when traveling in Peru. It’s actually not as gross as it looks. And trust me, as it’s served whole on a stick, it looks pretty disgusting. It tastes like a mixture of pork and chicken to me. And has a lovely crispy skin. Just make sure you ask your hotel/hostel where they recommend to try it. As I met a few people with bad bellies after a night on the cuy.
8. climbing rainbow mountain
This stunning multi-coloured mountain is another of the hikes you can do out of Cusco. While it’s super high altitude the amazing views at the end (when you think you’re about to drop dead) are worth the pain. You’re going to Cusco to do Machu Picchu. So definitely add this to your Peru travel list.
9. exploring the santa catalina monastery
Ahhhh Arequipa again with its awesome architecture. The Santa Catalina Monastery is like its own city in the centre of town. Girls as young as 14 were sent here to become nuns back in the day. And the history and just the general look of the place is definitely worth a visit. Insider tip. Head there just before sunset and experience the monastery in the day and then again after dark. When all of the fires and candles are lit.
10. procure your own selection of funky peruvian jumpers
As soon as you arrive in Peru, you’ll notice just about every traveller is wearing a knitted jumper in a range of colours and styles. Don’t dare to be different. Head to the nearest market and buy yourself one, so you can look as cool as all the other gringos. But srsly, do. They’re really cheap (less than $8 USD) and you’ll look like an absolute legend when you wear it at home.
11. skull as many pisco sours as possible
In my time in Peru I fell in love with Pisco. While it’s not that nice as a shot (trust me I’ve tried a few times). Mixed with lime juice, egg white and sugar it’s makes for a pretty fantastic cocktail. Better yet, they are super cheap, served everywhere you go, and tough to mess up.
want more things to do in peru? check these out
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