The Incas and Machu Picchu
One of the most important Peruvian cultures were the Inca, who lived in Peru around 600 years ago. The Incas built the most magnificent community, Machu Picchu. This famous ancient city is located in the Andes mountains and it’s name means “Old Mountain” in Quecha.
The Incas thrived for centuries before being conquered by the Spanish, and in 1911, Machu Picchu was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham, who was an American explorer. It was built around AD1450 by Inca Pachacutec, and is located at an altitude of 2,430 meters above sea level (making it a fun but challenging World Wonder to reach!). The city was inhabited for just over one hundred years, and- to this day- no one knows for sure why the Incas abandoned such a remarkable city.
Today, Machu Picchu’s spectacular ruins are a popular highlight for tourists – a must see if you’re visiting Peru! Did you know that there are many ways to get to this breath-taking site? Most people assume that the only way to Machu Picchu is via the Classic Inca Trail – but think again – if you fancy something a bit more challenging why not take the Salkantay route which is lower on crowds and high up in the snowy mountains. Or if you’re not a hiking fan, you can always opt for the nice and easy route by train to Machu Picchu.
The cultural capital of Cusco
Cusco is definitely one to visit if history is your thing! As the oldest living city in the Americas, Cusco has been inhabited continuously for over 3,000 years; once the historic capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th, to 16th century until the Spanish conquest. Now, this colonial-style town is home to art and colourful architecture, especially in the Plaza de Armas. Travellers often use Cusco as a ‘Machu Picchu stop over,’ then realise there’s more to see! So be sure to Explore the Cobbled Streets of Cusco on your holiday!
The mysterious Nazca Lines
Veiled in mystery, the Nazca lines were first noticed from the air in 1927. You can see the distinct white lines that evolve from a tan rusty red between Nazca and Palpa. They’re made up of a collection of geometric designs; from straight lines to swirls and zig-zags; comprising of more than 300 figures and 70 animal and plant shapes. Some say the lines represent a giant astronomical calendar, and others argue that they are the work of aliens. Want to see for yourself? With our bite-sized trip, you’ll travel from Lima to the Coastal Road to Nazca. Here, you can puzzle over the mystery, and you’ll be itching to find out the answers – what was their purpose? How were they formed? Were aliens really involved?
A taste of colonial Lima
The capital city of Lima tends to be the first stop on any Peru holiday, and what a place to start! Established in the Ri’mac valley, this colonial city soon became a focal point of the Spanish empire. The Andean silver that passed through Lima to Spain funded the majority of the colonial mansions and baroque churches, which still stand in the city today. Have a wander through the Markets and Plazas of Lima to get a real feel for the city.
The Historic Centre has been the seat of the Colonial and Republican governments since the Spanish foundation of the city in 1535, and is also an important indigenous centre. Until the 1940s, it also housed Peru’s richest and most influential families. Tip: As you stroll through the city, pay attention to the changing style of architecture and the beautiful interior balconies.
|Duration:||23 days / 22 nights (flexible)|
|Itinerary:||Lima - Arequipa - Chivay - Colca Canyon - Arequipa - Cusco - Winay Wayna - Machu Picchu - Ollantaytambo - Urubamba - Cusco - Puno - Lake Titicaca - Puno - Copacabana - Isla del Sol - La Paz - Uyuni - Salt Flats - Uyuni - La Paz|
The Inca Trail might be the most famous trek in Peru but there are other great options to choose from! Read our guide to find out which Peru trek suits you...
10 min readRead More - Machu Picchu: the complete guide to choosing your Peru trek