Bucket List Destination: 12 Things To See And Do In Peru

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Written by: Mike Holland
Article Published: May 15, 2017
Last Update: August 18, 2022

With so many awe-inspiring things to see and do in Peru, this is an easy list to make. Peru is so wonderfully diverse and with its rich history and culture is an epic bucket list destination that has to be seen to be believed.

1. Sacred Valley

Situated in the Andean highlands, the Sacred Valley forms the heart of the ancient Incan empire. With beautiful Colonial Spanish towns and miles of farmland, this is where you’ll find the famous Inca Trail. There are numerous trails to choose, from the tough to the sedate, but all will astound with direct access to the famed Incan ruins as part of Machu Picchu tours. You’ll also find ruins at the town of Pisac and be sure to include a visit the attractive town of Cuzco.

Sacred Valley peru

2. Machu Picchu

You simply cannot visit Peru without seeing the ‘lost city of the Incas’. The views are spectacular as you look high over the Andes at 2,430m. The UNESCO World Heritage Site overlooks the Urubamba River and serves as the most gratifying end to the efforts of following the Inca Trail. Be sure to check out the best Machu Picchu tour packages with airfare for a once in a lifetime experience.

Machu Picchu Peru

3. Inca Trail

The end point of the trail has already been mentioned, but the Inca Trail itself is so much more than Machu Picchu tours. The surrounding scenery can only be described as sublime unspoilt natural beauty. As you discover ruins along the trail, it only serves to heighten the anticipation for when Macchu Picchu is revealed in all its glory. Be sure to research the best guided tours to Machu Picchu and take in as much of the Sacred Valley as you can en route.

Inca Trail

4. Galapagos Islands

While not strictly in Peru, it’s close enough for you to include in your itinerary and you’ll regret it if you don’t. For a truly unforgettable and inspirational experience, you’ll see some creatures here that appear nowhere else on Earth. Be sure to include a visit to Tortuga Bay on your Galapagos Machu Picchu tours, for white-sanded paradise where you’ll witness iguanas, sharks and, if you’re lucky, flamingos. Watch the Sea Turtles laying their eggs at the Playa Mansa where taking a dip is ideal thanks to the warm, shallow waters. Visit the Galapagos museum dedicated to the unique ecology of the region.

Galapagos Islands

5. The Amazon

Throw yourself into the ultimate jungle experience as only the Amazon can offer. Home to the planet’s largest rainforest, this huge region that spans eight nations has over 4000 miles of rivers and over 1 billion acres of dense vegetation. This is the beating heart and lungs of the Earth that everyone should have the chance to see on their Peru trip. See if you can spot just some of those who call it home from jaguars and macaws to poison dart frogs and spider monkeys.

The Amazon

6. Rainbow Mountain

Nowhere else can you see such a fantastic phenomenon as you can at the Ausangate Mountain in the Andes. It is a sacred place of worship for locals and you will delight with its sandy rainbow of colors caused by minerals, weathering and the unique volcanic makeup of the Andes. The Rainbow Mountain is tough to reach but totally worth it for the vibrant views on offer - a must for your tours in Machu Picchu.

Rainbow Mountain

7. Lake Titicaca

According to Andean belief, Lake Titicaca is the birthplace of the sun, and with its clear, blue waters and wide open skies, it’s easy to see why. As the biggest freshwater lake in South America, it is steeped in the ancient history of the region with crumbling ruins and mysterious underwater temple that pre-dates the Incas. Set against the towering backdrop of the Andes, there is much to explore on the shores of Lake Titicaca.

Lake Titicaca

8. Colca Canyon

Peru tour companies offer trips to Colca Canyon, famed for being the deepest in the world. Watch out for the beautiful giant Andean condor that live here and see traditional, terraced Peruvian villages nestled in the lush valley. Experience the warm baths, great water rafting and take a trek for stunning landscapes and of course the canyon, which is two times deeper than the Grand Canyon.

Colca Canyon

9. Nazca Lines

In southern Peru, you’ll find the mysterious and fascinating Nazca Lines which feature more than 10,000 lines of geoglyphs depicting animals and plants. Nobody knows why or how but they are thought to have held great spiritual significance. Incredibly there are 900 of these huge geoglyphs including straight lines, circles and spirals, with the longest line being a staggering nine miles long. A truly awesome sight and well worth including in Machu Picchu travel packages!

Nazca Lines

10. Chachapoyas

High up in a forest of clouds, this town, also known as Chachas, was founded in the days of the Spanish conquest. It's now a bustling market town surrounded by farmland and a great base for exploring the ancient ruins of the Chachapoya people. The area is rich in archaeological sites, and one of the best surviving is the fortress at Kuelap. Be sure to include a visit to the Gocta Waterfalls to enjoy the sheer beauty.


11. Laguna 69

What could be so impressive about a small lake on the outskirts of Huaraz? Well, quite simply, it is breathtaking. Sparkling turquoise waters sheltered between snow-capped rugged peaks and gentle waterfalls from high up in the Andes. It’s a hard trek, but if you’re up to the challenge, you will be richly rewarded with nature’s incredible tableau.

Laguna 69

12. Paracas

Here you will find a heady mix of sea-meets-desert and the Paracas Peninsula with its undulating sand dunes. The port town of Paracas has millions of birds nesting on its cliff tops, so you’ll want to include this stop if you’re an avid bird-watcher. You’ll also find Peru’s only marine reservation at the Paracas National Reserve. There are many tours on offer, and it’s a great chance to see one of the richest and rarest ecosystems on Earth.