Nov 13, 2014
Although the astounding mountaintop ruins of Machu Picchu are one of Peru’s crown jewels, there are a hundred reasons to visit this fascinating and unique country. Peru has it all: from hiking the Inca Trail to discovering the forgotten temples entangled in the jungle vines of the Amazonian lowlands. Explore the stunning churches in the Plaza de Armas and the extraordinary landscape of the Sacred Valley. Along with the diverse landscapes and endless adventures, Peru offers superb, eclectic cuisine which in recent years has earned acknowledgement as one of the world’s finest. Peru is a treasure that is not to be missed. Here’s why:
• Culture: Whether it is through visiting a museum, wandering around a town or village, or hiking to one of the hidden Inca ruins, you are always surrounded by the strong presence of history and cultural influences. But the Inca ruins are not the only remains of ancient civilizations. In the north, there are ruins from ancient civilizations in the city of Chan Chan, while in the south you can find interesting evidence of ancient cultures at Lake Titicaca and at the intriguing and unexplained Nazca Lines.
• Natural Diversity: With 28 individual climates, Peru has a vastly diverse ecosystem and natural variety, all in one country. You can see snow and glaciers in the Andes, and not far away you can sandboard in the desert at the Huacachina Oasis. You can see penguins in the Ballestas Islands next to the dry and desert-like town of Paracas. Row peacefully in the Amazonian jungle rivers where birds, sloths, and monkeys entertain you as you glide past on the still waters. Hike up to a summit in the Andes, or you can descend the deepest canyons in the world – Cañón del Colca and Cañón del Cotahuasi.
• Cuisine: Peruvian cuisine has won worldwide recognition in recent years for its daring bold flavors. Peru not only holds a variety of ethnic groups, but the country is spread across 28 individual climate zones. This mixing of cultures and the influence of climatic variety differs from city to city, creating a varied cuisine across the country. Peru gives fusion cuisine a new meaning. Dishes like Ceviche (the national dish), Lomo Saltado, Empanadas, Tiradito, Butifarra, and Chicharrón are some of the must-try dishes in Peru. If you’re curious about trying an Andean delicacy, try guinea pig meat, known locally as “cuy”. It is juicy and tender but not for the faint hearted. In general, Peruvian meals tend to be spicy and hearty, but so delicious.
• Beaches: Peru is well known for its beautiful beaches, and it’s no secret that this is a destination surfers will not want to miss. Top surfing spots are the beaches of Herradura, Costa Verde, and Punta Rocas – all located within easy access of Lima, Peru’s Capital. The northern coast is graced with long, sandy stretches of golden sand and turquoise water. The funky town of Mancora offers epic surf (the world’s longest left hand break) and a relaxed beach atmosphere. This area is the perfect place to relax after an adventurous exploration of Peru’s iconic destinations.