Peru in 10 highlights
If you seek any places to add to your bucket list, I got 10 for you. From glacier lagoons to desert towns, jungle treks and Inca ruins, Peru has so much to offer that you can just hop from one highlight to the other. To make sure you do not miss any of them I will share Peru in 10 highlights!
1. LAGUNA 69
Wauw, not only is the lagoon stunning but the whole hike up there is just amazing. You can find Laguna 69 close to Huaraz in Huascaran National Park. It is possible to do a one-day trek to the lagoon but keep in mind that it is very high (4600m / 15000ft) so make sure you get used to the altitude a couple of days before doing the hike!
2. MACHU PICCHU
I am not sure if I even need to explain anything about this highlight. Machu Picchu, one of the Wonders of the World and only discovered about 150 years ago, is a must visit. If you get the chance (and have the money) do the Inca Trail, otherwise (if you like hiking) do the Salkantay trek, or (if you are seeking more than just hiking) do the Jungle Trek and mountain bike, raft, zip line and hike to the ancient ruins.
3. COLCA CANYON
This massive canyon (twice as deep as the Grand Canyon) is only a couple of hours away from Arequipa in the South of Peru. You can visit Colca Canyon in one day or trek around the canyon in two or three days. I would recommend doing the two-day trek. You get to stay in the canyon and doing the hike in three days is a bit too long whilst one day is too short (you just get kicked out of a bus to take a picture and return again).
4. RAINBOW MOUNTAIN
I wanted to see Rainbow Valley in Argentina but heard it was not as good as Rainbow Mountain in Peru and holy shit, this mountain range looks surreal. Even though the hike up there is not easy (very high as well), it is a highlight you just cannot miss. One tip: check the weather conditions before doing the hike as it frequently snows there which kind of ruins the rainbow of Rainbow Mountain.
Huacachina is a really cool oasis in the middle of the Peruvian desert. The town is kind of a tourist trap but just try not to think of that and enjoy the awesome tourist activities you can do there. Go racing through the desert with a sand buggy, try sand boarding and just walk up the dunes for sunset. If you go, stay at Banana Adventure Hostel.
6. PARACAS NATIONAL RESERVE
Red beaches, yellow cliffs and even penguins and flamingos. Paracas National Reserve lies only a couple of minutes out of the beach town of Paracas and is definitely one of the highlights of the Peruvian coast. Visit the reserve by car/taxi or explore it yourself and rent a quad. So much fun!
7. SALT MINES
If you are getting a little bit tired of all the Inca-related activities and hikes, you should visit these salt mines close to Cusco. At the side of a mountain each family has a little pool in which water is evaporated to leave the salt. It is amazing to see this process and the view is stunning. In case you are not tired of the Incas, the salt mines are in the Sacred Valley so there are plenty of other ruins to see in combination with this visit.
Loki Mancora (the hostel) was my favourite place in Peru. I just could not leave and ended up staying there for 2 weeks. The hostel is like a resort and has everything you need. An amazing swimming pool, the beach and a stunning view from the lighthouse (which is only a 5 minutes walk away). You can surf at the beach, have lunch at Green Eggs and Ham or just never leave the hostel. Best place ever to start or end your Peru trip!
9. FOOD IN LIMA
Lima is known for its amazing food. I have met travellers that have only been to Lima to eat. To be honest, it is the city’s highlight as there is not much else to do there apart from freezing in the ocean (the water is very cold). Go to Miraflores, the liveliest area of the city, and just hop from one restaurant to the next one. It is all very cheap and very yummy 🙂
Huanchaco is by far the most chilled place in Peru. After all the partying, hiking, socializing and eating you should sometimes give yourself a little rest and stay somewhere that feels like home. My recommendation: go here for at least two or three days, bring a book and stay at Casa Amelia and you are ready for your next adventure.