Welcome to Peru
From the lush Amazon rain forest to the high-altitude Andes Mountains, Peru packs a topography as diverse as its offerings, weaving colonial architecture, Inca ruins, multi-day hikes, Amazonian wildlife, and culinary diversity into a South American adventure. The iconic Machu Picchu, which must be booked via tour, tops most Peru travel itineraries, as do the surrounding archaeological sites in the Sacred Valley of the Incas and the colonial town of Cusco. A tour guide can unlock the mysteries of the Inca Empire as you trek the trail to the lost city of Choquequirao, summit the Andes on the Inca Trail, bike from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, and take in the views of Lake Titicaca in Puno. To make sense of the enigmatic Nazca Lines, take to the skies via helicopter or scenic flight. Meanwhile, in the south of Peru, don't miss the view from a volcano in Arequipa. A sightseeing tour of the Peruvian capital of Lima will take you to its colonial center for catacombs, pre-Colombian artwork, lively nightlife, and relics of Inca history, while nearby Miraflores is a popular novice surf spot. In Cusco, opt for a food tour to sample lomo saltado (stir-fried beef), Peruvian corn on the cob, and even cuy (guinea pig); or delve into traditional drinks such as pisco sour cocktails and coca tea. Explorer-types should head to the rainforest—near Iquitos there's a vast mass of wetlands full of wildlife and plant diversity, while the Tarpaca River Walk is ideal if you're after a stroll.