Peru: A land of Enchanting Contrasts & Culinary Marvels

Peru is a country that captivates with its striking contrasts and rich cultural diversity, offering an array of remarkable experiences for travellers. From the awe-inspiring peaks of the Andean mountains to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu and the breathtaking beauty of the Amazon rainforest the potential for adventure is boundless.

Apart from trekking the Inca Train, exploring the beautiful jungles of the Amazon, sipping pisco sours in a colonial town, heading to Lake Titicaca, or swimming in their stunning beaches, travelers can also taste Peru’s varied cuisine, entertainment and art, shop at the markets and dance in local fiestas all while delving into their vibrant Andean culture, one of the most exciting in the Americas.

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A visual guide showcasing Peru’s Must-See Marvels:

  • Lima – Bustling capital with vibrant food scene
  • Cusco – Origin of the Inca Empire
  • Machu Picchu – Iconic and breathtaking wonder
  • Rainbow Mountain – Mesmerizing, vibrant colours
  • Sacred Valley – Stunning landscapes, Andean villages, Inca ruins
  • Iquitos – Exotic wildlife in Amazon rainforest
  • Colca Canyon – Breathtaking Andean Canyon landscape

Lima offers food lovers a chance to experience the flavours of Peru in a city of contrasts that blends modern and colonial architecture with culinary marvels. Lima has earned a reputation as a place for food enthusiasts with its delightful array of dishes, from the renowned ceviche to the flavourful Lomo Saltado. Immerse yourself in the historic centre and explore the fascinating Larco Museum, which boasts an impressive collection of pre-Columbian art.

For a luxurious escape, the Miraflores Park Hotel boasts a collection of beautifully appointed rooms and suites, each thoughtfully designed to provide guests with the utmost comfort and style. From the opulent furnishings to the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, every detail reflects the hotel’s commitment to luxury. Located a short walk from the bustling city centre, guests can easily access shops, restaurants, cultural attractions and the beach.

Recently, Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 were announced in Rio de Janeiro, where Peru placed nine (09) restaurants in the prestigious culinary list. Maido, Mitsuharu “Micha" Tsumura’s Nikkei Cuisine, claimed top spot. The list also includes KjolleMayta, MéritoOssoMilLa MarRafael and Cosme. Whereas, while Central, as “the best restaurant in the world", was not eligible to participate in this category, it did step directly into the hall of fame as the Best of the Best. Lima is a paradise for foodies, and we are happy to take you!

Once the illustrious capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco has now earned the distinction of being a UNESCO World Heritage site. This captivating city beckons with its enchanting narrow streets, colonial-era architecture, and relics of ancient Incan glory. Ascend to the majestic fortress of Sacsayhuaman, where colossal stone walls, some weighing as much as 300 tonnes, stand as a testament to the incredible Incan craftsmanship. Explore the Qorikancha temple, a remarkable archaeological treasure, and wander through the bustling San Pedro Market, a vibrant hub beloved by locals.

Belmond Hotel Monasterio, nestled in the heart of Cusco, Peru, is a sanctuary of luxury and history. Set within a beautifully restored 16th-century monastery, The Monasterio is a five-star gem that offers an enchanting blend of colonial charm and modern comfort. 

Belmond Palacio Nazarenas is a luxury haven where ancient charm meets modern indulgence—housed in a meticulously restored 17th-century palace and former convent, offering sumptuous suites, each with its oxygen-enriched air supply for added comfort at high altitudes. Guests can unwind in the tranquil courtyard, revel in gourmet dining, and indulge in exclusive spa treatments using indigenous ingredients.

Cusco beckons culinary enthusiasts with an exceptional gastronomic adventure and treats their taste buds to the irresistible flavours of the region, including the renowned ceviche, as you journey through this ancient city.

Departing from Cusco, you have two splendid options for your journey to Machu Picchu. One is the PeruRail’s VistaDome train, featuring panoramic views of the breathtaking Peruvian Andes, complete with comfortable seating and a glass-domed ceiling. Alternatively, you can indulge in the utmost luxury aboard the Belmond Hiram Bingham.

Machu Picchu, listed among the New Seven Wonders of the World, is an essential destination for those craving adventure. It carries profound importance in Inca history, serving as a hub for religious reverence, celestial observations, and political influence. Enhance your journey by boarding the prestigious Belmond Hiram Bingham luxury train, where guests enjoy an enchanting experience with delightful afternoon tea, gourmet dining, and live musical performances.

Whether you choose a picturesque train journey or an exhilarating hike to its summit, the trip to Machu Picchu is an adventure of pure excitement. Immerse yourself in luxury at the Sanctuary Lodge, A Belmond Hotel, the sole lodging within the citadel. As a guest, you’ll be among the first to explore the ancient ruins, savour delightful culinary creations, and experience rejuvenating spa treatments. Machu Picchu mesmerizes adventure seekers and history enthusiasts, leaving an indelible impression with its awe-inspiring beauty and enigmatic charm.

While in Machu Picchu and its surrounding areas, be sure to take the opportunity to savour the popular Peruvian dishes like Anticuchos—marinated meat skewers, often made from beef heart and served alongside potatoes and a zesty aji sauce. Another culinary delight awaits in the form of Aji de Gallina, a creamy chicken dish bathed in a rich yellow chilli pepper sauce accompanied by rice and tender boiled potatoes, a real showcase of Peru’s culinary heritage.

Set out on an extraordinary expedition to the captivating Rainbow Mountain, a remarkable natural marvel in the Andes. This geological masterpiece is celebrated for its stunning array of vivid colours, leaving all who visit in absolute wonder. The adventure commences in Cusco, leading you on a thrilling hike to the mountain’s summit. Though the high altitude may pose challenges, the ultimate reward is unparalleled, with awe-inspiring panoramic views of the mountain landscape.

Prepare for an invigorating trek to the mountain’s summit, where breathtaking vistas await. As you ascend the challenging terrain, be mindful of the potential effects of high altitude; altitude sickness is common among travellers. Rest assured, the view at the summit makes every step worthwhile, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature’s magnificence.

Following your triumphant trek to Rainbow Mountain, treat your palate to some of the region’s delightful dishes, from tempting dishes such as quinoa soup and succulent alpaca steak to the refreshing taste of chicha morada. This journey allows you to experience the profound Andean culinary heritage that harmonises with the natural wonders of the local culture to round out your experience.

Explore the verdant region that extends alongside the Urubamba River, once the epicentre of the Inca Empire. Immerse yourself in its profound history as you visit archaeological sites and the vibrant culture of traditional Andean villages. Be sure to include visits to the terraced salt pans of Maras and the captivating circular agricultural terraces of Moray.

Relax in the serene ambience of Chalais & Royal Sol y Luna, where picturesque mountain vistas and meticulously landscaped gardens combine to form a tranquil oasis. Revel in the spacious and inviting accommodations, savour delectable Peruvian cuisine at the in-house restaurant, indulge in rejuvenating spa therapies and partake in outdoor adventures such as hiking and horseback riding. Sol y Luna provides the perfect fusion of serenity and exhilarating activities amidst a stunning backdrop.

Enhance your journey by staying at Skylodge, a unique lodge featuring aerospace aluminium capsules suspended from a mountaintop. Take in the mesmerizing vistas of the Sacred Valley under the Milky Way’s enchanting glow as you unwind in the lodge’s inviting wooden hot tubs. This exceptional lodging assures an unforgettable experience, blending adventure and serenity amidst the awe-inspiring natural beauty.

Immerse yourself in the captivating city of Iquitos, nestled in the northern reaches of Peru amidst the expansive and breathtaking Amazon rainforest. This mesmerizing locale is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and adventure-seekers, showcasing an astonishing diversity of plant and animal life.

Embark on an immersive journey into the awe-inspiring scenery and rich biodiversity of the Amazon, courtesy of Aqua Expeditions cruises. Equiped with two exceptional cruise vessels, the Aria Amazon and the Aqua Nera, which offer elegantly appointed cabins, exquisite cuisine, and expert-guided excursions. Make Aqua Expeditions your trusted companion for an unforgettable Amazonian odyssey where you’ll create memories to cherish for a lifetime.

Colca Canyon, a natural wonder nestled in southern Peru, is a mesmerising destination that leaves visitors in awe. Known as one of the world’s deepest canyons, it boasts dramatic landscapes and jaw-dropping vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see. Its rugged cliffs, verdant terraces, and the mighty Colca River, which carves through the canyon, offer a striking contrast of colours and textures, creating a truly enchanting sight.

Beyond the awe-inspiring beauty of the Colca Canyon is one of the world’s largest flying birds, the majestic Andean condor. Watching these magnificent creatures soar gracefully above the canyon is an extraordinary experience that will captivate nature enthusiasts and bird lovers. The canyon hosts several traditional villages where local communities preserve their rich cultural heritage, offering visitors a glimpse into their way of life, traditional artisanal crafts and vibrant festivals. Whether hiking along the canyon’s trails, spotting condors in flight, or immersing oneself in the local culture, Colca Canyon is an adventure that promises unforgettable memories at every turn.

For those looking to immerse themselves in the natural beauty, historical and cultural richness Peru has to offer, there is ample opportunity to enjoy a variety of activities year-round.

For those planning to hike while in Peru, trails are more accessible during the dry season. The Inca Trail is closed for maintenance every year in February and the Peruvian government has implemented a limit on the number of daily visitors to Machu Picchu.  Ensure you book your tickets well in advance, especially if travelling in peak season.

  • Inti Raymi (June 24th): A great time to experience Peruvian culture in Cusco during the Festival of the Sun.
  • Fiestas Patrias (July 28th – 29th): Celebrate Peru’s Independence Day with festivities across the country.
  • Altitude Sickness: High-altitude areas like Cusco can cause altitude sickness. Acclimatize gradually and stay hydrated.
  • Local Customs and Etiquette: Respect local traditions and practices. For instance, always ask permission before photographing people.
  • Weather Variability: Peru’s climate varies drastically between regions. Pack accordingly for both warm and cold weather.
  • Safety: Stay vigilant in crowded places to avoid pickpockets. Use licensed taxis and avoid remote areas after dark.
  • Travel Insurance: Ensure you have travel insurance that covers altitude sickness, theft, and other travel mishaps.
  • Hidden Costs: Entrance fees to certain sites and tips for guides can add up. Plan your budget to include these costs.

For official up-to-date travel advice, visas, assistance to Peruvian nationals, and information on cultural events contact the Peru Consulate in Sydney or Victoria.

Peru opens its arms to every type of traveller. Whether you’re a culinary enthusiast yearning for epicurean adventures, an intrepid explorer pursuing thrilling escapades, or a culture lover eager to steep yourself in ancient traditions, Peru assures an unparalleled travel experience. Talk to one of our expert consultants to discuss planning your journey and experience the wonders of Peru first-hand.

Image Credits: Larco Herrera Museum, Lima Museum Larco, Traguluz Restaurant, Belmond Miraflores Park Hotel, Pexels, Belmond Palacio Nazarenas Hotel, Monasterio Peru, Belmond Hiram Bingham luxury train, Unsplash & Aqua Expeditions


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Peru Highlights

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Peru Highlights is a condensed yet comprehensive exploration designed for those with limited time but a deep desire to savour t...

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