April 24, 2014

The Nazca Lines, Juanita the Ice Maiden and Other Cool Things to See in Peru

Touring Peru is a life’s dream for many travelers, and no small feat for those who actually manage to make it happen. Rugged terrain and transport logistics, along with long international flights to even arrive in the nation of the Peru can make following this particular travel dream seem daunting. For those that are willing to do what it takes to make the experience happen, pure magic awaits. Here are some of the must-see attractions and destinations when vacationing in Peru.

Arequipa, home to Juanita the Ice Maiden, experiences a nearly eternal “springtime” climate.

Mummy Juanita, otherwise known as the Inca Ice Maiden was found near Arequipa and now calls the town’s Museo Santuarios Andinos her permanent home. A major world discovery and arguably one of the best preserved mummies ever found, Juanita the Ice Maiden is one of the main exhibit draws for the area. That being said, Arequipa has other cultural treasures to offer, not the least of which is its well-preserved colonial architecture and ice-capped volcano views.

Lima is home to the Pachacamac ruins, the Peruvian National Museum and the Lima cathedral.

With a major airport, bustling nightlife and international bus access from surrounding countries, Lima sees its fair share of Peruvian tourism. Not only is it a popular jumping off point for pilgrims headed to Machu Picchu, the city also boasts the impressive Pachacamac ruins, the Lima cathedral and the steamy erotic pottery collection at the Larco Museum.  Other highlights include the church and monastery of San Francisco and the Palacio de Gobierno, once home to Pizarro himself.

The Nazca Lines are a major world mystery and one of the highlights of any national tour of Peru.

Located south of Lima in the Nazca Desert, is a collection of giant drawings it’s nearly impossible to see unless you’re riding above them in a plane. Images include both a giant spider and a monkey, among others. The Nazca Lines are quite old, yet well preserved due to the dry windless weather conditions in the Nazca Desert.

The Sacred Valley is home to Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Sacsayhuaman and a large nature preserve.

While most famous for its access to Machu Picchu, Peru’s Sacred Valley is home to a number of other archaeological treasures and attractions. The indigenous Pisac Market, the Sacsayhuaman ruins near Cusco and the ruins at Ollantaytambo are among those attractions.  Travelers experiencing Peru for the first time should make certain they schedule enough time to experience this part of the country thoroughly.

Trujillo, Peru experiences less tourist traffic, but has much to offer.

Close to the beach with a lively vibe and a stone’s through from a number of interesting daytrips, Trujillo, Peru is worth a few days of your time should the tour itinerary permit it. One of the most impressive area attractions is the ruined city of Chan Chan, which once served as the capital city to the Chimu Empire.

Lake Titicaca is home to the Yavari, the floating islands of Uros and a stone’s throw from Sillustani.

One of the most impressive lakes in the world, and certainly a crowning jewel in the South American tourist crown, Lake Titicaca is a picturesque place to unwind, and perhaps venture across the border into Bolivia.

Ayacucho is about mid-way between Lima and Cusco, and contains a number of picturesque churches.

This town has a charming, Colonial vibe and fun stopover for those who enjoy elaborate historic churches and mansions. If you’re looking for a place to take a short break on your quest to Machu Picchu, this might be just the ticket. An overnight and a walking tour will likely wrap up the Ayacucho tourist circuit, but it’s scenic enough and right on your way to the Sacred Valley from Lima.

Other things to see in Peru include cultural close-ups with the country’s jungle tribes such as the Ashaninkas, and some of the national parks such as the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve and the Tambopata Reserve.

Photo Credits: The Peru images used in this article were photographed by the folks here at Trek Hound. If you would like to use them or others for your online publication, please access them through the creative commons program we have set up on our sister site, Pictures of Travel Places.

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