Peru is one of the most popular destinations in the world for South Africans, and this is hardly surprising given the exciting attractions such as Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley and the city of Cusco. At the same time, LAM Airlines offer some excellent airfare options from Johannesburg which also makes this particularly convenient and often, affordable too.
However, while everyone knows about the places mentioned above, there are just as many attractions which offer further insight into this mystical land. From the Amazonian Jungle and the infamous Nazca Lines to Pisco Sours and Miraflores in the city of Lima; these attractions are not only fascinating but also incredibly unique.
With this in mind, here are just a few of these attractions and reasons to extend your long awaited trip to Peru:
6 Reasons to Extend Your Trip to Peru
Feeling Immersed in the Amazon
Iquitos is largely unknown to travelers when they arrive in Peru, but this small town in the Amazon is often a highlight for those who make an effort. In fact, although this is the starting point for many cruises and treks, the town is a colorful encounter with a bustling market and several historical landmarks in the ancient town.
Furthermore, it is here in Iquitos where you can sample some delicious Amazonian food, from tacacho y cecina to patarashca de paiche – the plantain and fish based dishes. Interestingly, Iquitos is the largest city in the world which is unreachable by road. Finally, you can also visit the town of Belen in this region where the famous stilt village offers a captivating insight into such an unusual lifestyle.
Getting Lost on the Pan American Highway
When it comes to the most exciting road trips in the world, the Pan American Highway is right up there with the best of them. Starting in North America and ending in Buenos Aires in Argentina, the entire journey covers more than 45,000km and travels through both Central and South America.
When it reaches Peru, this famous highway also passes through Lima before venturing into some of the most remote and magical landscapes on the continent. With towering peaks, enchanting deserts, charming towns and colorful people in between; the Pan American Highway is not merely an inroad to Peru, but more of an insight to everything it has to offer.
Uncovering Miraflores and Tasting Lima
Lima is a very historical city and a fast-moving introduction to Peru. However, this is also one of the most alluring fine-dining cities in the world with ample 5-star restaurants and exotic dishes to sample. With the Andes, Amazon and surrounding areas offering a remarkable variety of ingredients, these dishes are infused with freshness and feature many aspects of neighboring subcultures.
At the same time, there is much more to the capital than meets the eye. After all, Lima is thriving with culture and an art scene which is evidenced by the number of museums throughout the city. Whether you spend time sampling cerviche, seafood, and sublime cuisine or strolling through the infamous and colorful Miraflores neighborhood; Lima is the perfect introduction to Peru and a great base from which to start an overland adventure.
Witnessing the Nazca Lines
When you consider the bizarre nature of the Nazca Lines, we can understand why many people believe these to be the remnants of alien activity. However, the Nazca people created these stunning geoglyphs which are said to be used for astrology and spiritual reasons. At the same time, no amount of understanding is needed to appreciate this incredible sight and if you can afford the extra cost, taking a scenic flight above this landscape is certainly worth the effort.
Sipping on Pisco Sour
Simply put, few alcoholic beverages offer the same intrigue as the Peruvian Pisco Sour which is arguably one of the most famous drinks in South America. Distilled from fermented juice or local wine, the pisco sour is a type of brandy which is often the main component in punch or cocktails.
As you might expect, the locals are proud of their notorious tipple, and this is certainly an experience you will not want to miss on a trip to Peru. Interestingly, the pisco sour was first invented back in 1912, and you will now find many variations of the brandy in every town, as well as the Museu del Pisco – a fascinating museum in Cusco which is dedicated to the famous drink.
Marveling at Condors in Colca Canyon
Locals refer to Colca Canyon as the home of the condor, and while the sight of these beautiful birds is nothing short of awe-inspiring, the vista below is just as impressive. Travelling for more than 100km, the canyon is also over 3,000 meters in depth and surrounded by tiny villages with modestly sized farms. You can venture into caves in the region and check out ancient rock paintings but either way, the region is a visual masterpiece in every sense.
True, this iconic landscape looks quite spectacular in photographs, but it must be said that nothing compares to setting foot on the very rim of this immense canyon.
Taking More Time to Explore Peru
Indeed, these are just a few of the incredible attractions in Peru which are often overshadowed by the likes of Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. While the latter of these most certainly live up to expectations, it must also be realized that there is much more to this beautiful country than the most famous landmarks.
In fact, when you travel half way around the world to visit an exotic destination, it can also seem like a shame to miss out on any of the more alternative experiences. After all, when is the next time you set foot in Peru and is it not more likely you will opt to visit elsewhere instead?
Moral of the story: you will never regret the time it takes to explore Peru truly, and with just a little bit more time added to your travel itinerary, you can rest assured that this will never be the case.