Every day my social media feed is flooded with advertisements and videos featuring the mystical Incan city. Machu Picchu has put Peru on the map and the number of people around the world wishing to trek to this Sacred Valley gem has skyrocketed. It was even voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Without question, Machu Picchu cannot be missed when exploring the Land of the Incas.
But there is so much more to discover in Peru outside of Machu Picchu and it would be a shame not to explore the vast landscapes of this enthralling country.
Here are five of the many sights to see in Peru other than its most famous archaeological site!
Technically, this mighty South American lake can be visited in Peru or Bolivia but this thrilling adventure is a must when exploring Peru. On a sunny day, jaw-dropping views of the Andes Mountains greet you and sailing to the floating islands on the lake will take your breath away.
Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting the Uros Islands or Taquile Island. This is one of the best opportunities to witness the local customs, sample authentic Peruvian dishes, and purchase homemade goods.
The striking beauty of this red river flowing through the valley provides one of the most unique natural wonders in Peru. The rocky terrain and greenery beyond the riverbed appear as if two worlds have intertwined into one.
You may be wondering how this river just outside of Cusco got its striking reddish tint? It is the result of unique minerals being swept into the river by our next astonishing Peruvian destination.
Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain
The culprit of the red river is heavy rainfall sweeping the minerals off the picturesque Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain. A hiker’s paradise, this trek soothes the eye with a diverse range of colors. It’s as if Mother Nature made the mountain range her personal canvas for a dazzling painting for the world to enjoy.
The colorful mountain is at an extremely high altitude (nearly 5,000m) and those who are not used to hiking at high altitudes should acclimate elsewhere for a couple days.
A serene location perfect for those seeking relaxation or adventure, Huacachina is a pristine oasis amidst stunning sand dunes. Take a boat onto the lagoon and feel at ease surrounded by palm trees. Whether you wish to float on the green waters of the lagoon at high noon or sunset, you can enjoy stunning views of the rolling sand dunes that rise above the village.
Thrill seekers make the expedition to Huacachina to ride the sand dunes. The desert outside of Ica is one of the most popular spots around the world for sandboarding and dune buggying. When you reach the top of one the mesmerizing sand dunes, you know you will be in for the adventure of a lifetime.
The Grand Canyon of South America! Colca Canyon is heaven for the most adventurous hikers. Admire the photogenic peaks of the Andes Mountains as you traverse through the versatile terrain.
Before your descent into the valley, marvel at the farming terraces used thousands of years ago to grow crops beneath the towering mountains. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife as you will likely come across many alpacas and you may even spot the majestic Andean condor.
For those visiting Colca Canyon, make sure to have plenty of cash handy as there is an entrance fee of 70 Soles.