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Peru, the mysterious capital of the Incan Empire, is one of the largest and most visited countries in South America. From stunning world heritage sites to awe-inspiring views across the Andes and the Amazon rainforest, this destination is one for all of the adventure seekers out there looking to explore. But with so much to see and do – what should you prioritise on your holiday to Peru? Here are our top 5 things to do in Peru.

1. Machu Picchu

You can’t go to Peru and not visit Machu Picchu. Yes, the selfies with llamas at the top of this historic Incan citadel are now incredibly cliched but when you arrive at this UNESCO World Heritage site you realise that there is a reason that this stunning place is number one on all tourist bucket lists. Built in the 15th Century, Machu Picchu was lost for centuries beneath the rainforest until it was re-discovered in the early 1900s. Now restored, it is an incredible monument to a fascinating period of South American history. For many visitors, Machu Picchu is the prize that awaits them at the end of hiking the famous Inca Trail. However, for the slightly less adventurous, you can get a bus to the monument from the nearby town of Aguas Calientes.

Make sure you are up early for the first buses as they will get you to the top in time for sunrise. Trust me – it is worth the early start.

2. Explore Cusco

Lima may be the capital of Peru, but my favourite Peruvian city has to be Cusco, the historical capital of Peru. The beautiful Plaza de Armas in the city centre is a great place to start if you want to explore this wonderfully vibrant and buzzing City which is full of beautiful museums and wonderful street food. Cusco is also a great base for the rest of your Peruvian adventures as it is relatively close to both Machu Picchu and the Ausangate Trek.

3. Soak up the atmosphere on the Uros Islands

The beautiful Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca will almost certainly be one of the most unique experiences of your trip to Peru. These floating islands made from reeds are situated on the world’s highest navigable lake and instantly recognisable from guide books. It is well worth the visit so organise a tour from nearby Puno and visit the floating islands, find out how they are made and take a trip on a boat made entirely out of reeds. If you have time, it is also worth exploring the permanent island of Taquile for more stunning views across the lake.

4. Take the Andean Explorer from Puno to Cusco

If after all this exploring you need a taste of luxury, why not treat yourself to a trip on the Andean Explorer from Puno to Cusco. The trip takes most of the day but you are served lunch and afternoon tea aboard this incredibly luxurious train. Sit out in the rear glass cabin for stunning views of the Andes as you snake your way through the mountains to Cusco. While on board why not enjoy the cocktail making class too – we learned to make a Pisco Sour which is definitely now a favourite back in the UK.

5. Trek the awesome Ausangate Trail

If you’re feeling up to it and want even more adventure, why not organise a hike of the Ausangate Trail. This incredible 70km circular walk offers some of the most incredible views that we have ever found. From camping at the bottom of glaciers to the stunning rainbow mountains – this is possibly the most Instagrammable hike you will ever go on. You can arrange for a guide and/or sherpas from Cusco and routes can take between 4 and 7 days.

If you haven’t been to Peru yet – well what’s stopping you? This beautiful and friendly country should be at the very top of your bucket list. Have you been to Peru? What have we missed from our top 5 things to do? Let us know in the comments below.  

Image credit to: @exploorperu  |  @heatherdineen  |  @coxandkings_uk

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Alex is a solicitor at an international law firm based in London. He has always loved travelling and loves to eat like a local. His favourite destination is Peru where he spent a month travelling in 2009 with World Challenge.

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