Backpacking through Peru Itinerary

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I backpacked through Peru and found it one of the most beautiful country in South America. Here are the top things to do backpacking Peru:

 

1. Ollantaytambo, Peru

Ollantaytambo, Peru

Ollantaytambo, Peru

There’s an ages old structure deep in southern Peru that stands as one of the most incredible lost cities that’s been rediscovered by man, but it isn’t Machu Picchu. It’s the ruins of Ollantaytambo, a stunning archaeological site found in the Urubamba Valley.
Ollantaytambo, like it’s sister-site Machu Picchu, is a stunning site full of temples, residences, multiple-ton stones that defy explanation, as well as vistas that simply leave you breathless. However there’s another element to Ollantaytambo that truly separates it from Machu Picchu.
While Machu Picchu was built on a bill top in the middle of the Andes, Ollantaytambo actually adorns a hillside in the Urubamba Valley, with massive steps culminating an awe-inspiring temples and series of monuments that overlook southern Peru. While Machu Picchu deserves its place among one of the new wonders of the world, it’s often Ollantaytambo that gets overlooked despite its undeniable power, beauty, and unfathomable skill it must have taken to build the city.
As more is found out about Ollantaytambo, its place in history becomes duly preserved. It’s believed that the sprawling city was once the capital of the region for the Inca who where in resistance against the encroaching Spanish conquistadors.

By Justin & Tracy, acouplefortheroad.com

 

2. Lima, not just a gateway to Peru

Centro Historico, Lima, Peru

Centro Historico, Lima, Peru

Lima is often visited for a couple of days, before visitor’s head for places like Ica, Iquitos or Cusco. That’s understandable as all of these places are absolutely amazing, but don’t miss out on the things that the capital of Peru has to offer! So first of all, Lima is a huge city with more than 9,3 million inhabitants. The city is divided into 43 districts, safe to say you won’t get to know them all. So where to start? The most popular districts that are definitely worth knowing are Miraflores, Barranco and Centro Historico. Miraflores has everything from great clubs, some beautiful parks, Inca ruins, to beach, great surf and shopping, right in the center of the city. Also check out the famous Peruvian cuisine in one of the many restaurants or at the central market. Barranco is the district next to Miraflores, also with access to beaches and surf and bars with live music. It’s the bohemian district of Lima, and is and has been home to a lot of artists. Not hard to understand why they choose Barranco as their base, with all its colorful old buildings. Centro historico is a short bus ride from Miraflores. Here you}ll get a chance to learn more about Peruvian history in some of the museums and churches. The whole historic center of Lima was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1988. Start at the central square, Plaza de Armas and take in the spanish colonial arcitectuere.

By Julie, whynotju.com

 

3. Pisac – terraces and ruins

Pisac, Sacred Valley, Peru

Pisac, Sacred Valley, Peru

The town of Pisac in Peru’s Sacred Valley is famous for its Inca ruins and terraces, a spectacular archaeological site, second only to Machu Picchu itself. The best way to reach Pisac is by car, either on a tour or in a colectivo (shared minibus or van), as it’s just a 45 minute drive from Cusco. Pisac used to be an important trading post during the Inca period, and the Sunday market is still going strong with textiles and artisan products from the surrounding areas. It’s a great place to buy souvenirs. But the real reason to visit is the imposing agricultural terraces that line the hillsides, overlooking the town far below. At the top lies a citadel with residential buildings, ceremonial baths and several altars, as well as impressive views of the Urubamba Valley and surrounding countryside. The entrance to the ruins is just a few metres from the parking area, and then it’s a short but steady climb up through the terraces, so sturdy footwear is advised. The terraces were used by the Incas for cultivation of crops, similar to other sites you will see across Peru. If you want a longer hike you can take the trail down the hillside back to Pisac village. It’s steep but the scenery is superb and you’ll come across several other parts of the settlement that most visitors don’t get to see. Entrance to Pisac ruins is by the Cusco Tourist Ticket Circuit III, which also allows access to Ollantaytambo, Chinchero and Moray, which are also worth visiting.

By Heather Cole, conversanttraveller.com

 

4. Choquequirao Trek

Taylor Record, Traveloutlandish.com

Taylor Record, Traveloutlandish.com

The Incan ruins of Choquequirao may very well be the next Machu Picchu. The archeological complex is just as old and an impressive 18km as Machu Picchu, but while Machu Picchu gets 5,000 daily visitors, Choquequirao only sees 20.

Wondering what the deal is? Besides the fact that Choquequirao lacks the bucket list status, at the moment, the only way to reach the ruins is on a particularly arduous trek. Over the course of 4-9 days, The Choquequirao Trek will take you deep into the Apurimac Canyon and straight up the other side. The trail is loaded with switchbacks and you’ll get relatively limited tree cover and intense sun. At some points of the year, it rains and rains. But if you can tough it out, your reward is experiencing one of the world’s hidden places and exploring Incan ruins in relative silence. It looks like Machu Picchu might have when it was newly discovered! The Peruvian government has plans to build a teleferico by 2020 as part of a tourism initiative, but if you have the energy, you really ought to go before then. It’s this very mix of grandeur and anonymity that makes Choquequirao so special, and knowing you made the trek to Choquequirao makes it all the more worth it.

By Taylor, traveloutlandish.com

 

5. Swimming with the Sea Lions in Callao Peru

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Swimming with the Sea Lions in Callao Peru

A little-known gem of an experience in Callao, Peru is the Palomino Islands Swimming with Sea Lions tour. The 2.5-hour tour to the Guanera Islands is a truly once in a lifetime event. Home to a variety of animals including Humboldt Penguins and Guano Birds, this little piece of paradise has often been described as a mini Galapagos Islands of Lima.
The adventure begins with a beautiful boat ride out to the island, seeing the large yachts, passing local fishermen and sail boats. Our guide was very knowledgeable, explaining to us on the way there how the events of the day would unfold. To be honest, it was somewhat hard to focus on his information without being distracted by the breathtaking surroundings.
Once you arrive at the correct spot on the far side of the island, the guides help you start the amazing experience. Perhaps the most incredible moment was realizing the sheer number of sea lions that are on the island. According to the guide, one estimate puts the number of sea lions that inhabit this area at over 8,000!
Once in the water, the sea lions begin to grow accustomed to the presence of the group and slowly more and more approach. We were informed that the ability to enjoy such an up close and personal encounter with these creatures is largely due to the lack of predators. Despite being able to swim with the sea lions for 15-20 minutes, it seems to pass in the blink of an eye. I am sure several hours could have passed and still would not have been enough!

By Kaila, nylonpink.tv

6. Searching for pink dolphins on the Amazon

Olympus Digital Camera

Amazon Cruise

Exploring the Peruvian jungle by boat is an adventure not to be missed. We flew from Lima to Iquitos in the north east of Peru. The flight stopped once en route and we got off, thinking we were at our destination. Nope! Some airline staff had to escort us back to the airplane. How embarrassing! Lucky they realized our mistake before the plane took off and left us stranded. My husband likened the experience to catching a bus.

We finally made it to Iquitos and took a boat ride along the Amazon to look for pink dolphins. Before planning our Peruvian adventure, I had no idea such creatures existed. I thought pink dolphins were up there with unicorns! But no, they are real alright and not uncommon in these waters.

Olympus Digital Camera

Amazon Cruise Adventure

It was so hot and humid in Iquitos, even though it was late winter. There were mosquitoes everywhere so if you plan to visit, wear long, breathable clothes and bring lots of mosquito repellent and sunscreen. There are plenty of tour operators with offices in the middle of the city or you can book from your hotel. We chose a one-day tour because our time was too limited to go on a 2-3 night journey, which would have been amazing.

On our Amazon tour we went on a short jungle hike to meet local tribes people, visited an animal sanctuary and just enjoyed the boat ride along the river. It was kind of surreal riding in a boat along the Amazon in a fluorescent green plastic chair while looking for the mystical dolphins. Sure enough, it didn’t take long to see a small pod breaking through the water. They were a mottled mix of greys and pinks, looking more like freakishly giant slugs than the pink dolphins I had imagined.

By Sandra, headingforthehills.com


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