Ballestas Islands, near Paracas

Best Places to visit in Peru that aren’t Machu Picchu

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Home to some of the most spectacular topography in the world, Peru adventure holidays promise to inspire even the most seasoned travellers.

This is a beguiling land where ancient sites, colonial culture and modern traditions rub shoulders in an unimaginable fashion. Although Machu Picchu is one of the country’s most iconic treasures, there is so much more to discover here.

Let us introduce you to the best places to visit that aren’t Machu Picchu in Peru…

Cuzco

Standing at a dizzying elevation of 11,200 feet in the Peruvian Andes, Cuzco is dubbed as the “Gateway to Machu Picchu”. This captivating city is a melting pot of history, culture and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are so many feasts for the eyes on our Cuzco trips, so we’ve handpicked some of our favourite, standout sites to explore.

Mercado Central de San Pedro

While the Mercado Central de San Pedro lets you experience the hustle and bustle of the cultural market with its traditional street vendors, the sound of haggling and the aromas of food that invade your senses, we’d recommend visiting the Koricancha Sun Temple and Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman as it will give you unique insight into Cuzco’s rich history and widen your knowledge of the city.

Find more incredible destinations on our Peruvian Discovery trip.

The Ballestas Islands

Accessible by boat off the coast of southern Peru, The Ballestas Islands are a natural haven for wildlife and boast one of the largest concentrations of seabirds in Peru. As well as playing host to birds such as the distinctive blue-footed boobies, pelicans and Humboldt penguins, you can spot humpback whales, South American sea lions and marine otters in and around the islands.


Humboldt penguin colony

Nazca Lines 

Shrouded in mystery, the Nazca Lines are a fascinating collection of geometric patterns and outlines of animals that are etched into the rock and sand. The best way to witness the archaeological phenomena that are the Nazca Lines in all their glory is to take a flight over the desert of southern Peru.

The geoglyphs cover almost 1,000 square kilometres and comprise approximately 300 unique shapes – an astonishing sight that has never truly been explained.


Nazca Lines

Lake Titicaca 

High up on a plateau in the Peruvian Andes, Lake Titicaca is the tallest navigable lake in the world. The water is alive with aquatic plants and fauna, including ducks, geese, flamingos, giant frogs and fish.

Known as “The Birthplace of the Incas”, Lake Titicaca is home to indigenous communities, Incan myths and ancient ruins. Its vivid blue waters are strangely still and emit a real sense of calm. There’s something quite magical about this place that makes you want to return. 

Lake Titicaca, Cerro El Calvario 

The Colca Canyon

Blessed with some of the planet’s most epic scenery, Colca Canyon lays claim to being the second deepest canyon in the world and is almost twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.

Condors soar high above the canyon walls as they cut through the Andes for more than 100 kilometres, while below, lush fruit trees fringe the gushing river. This really is an awesome sight that is bound to leave you speechless.

 The Colca Canyon

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