Peru: a beginner’s guide
Top five attractions
- Machu Picchu, whether by train, trek or bus.
- Iquitos and the Upper Amazon river.
- The archaeological site of Chan Chan, including the ruins of the largest adobe city in the world.
- The high peaks of the Cordillera Blanca to see tropical glaciers and turquoise lakes on off-the-beaten-track hikes.
- The mysterious, geometrical Nazca Lines, thought to have been etched into the stony desert as far back as 900BC.
Cusco, because, despite being backpackers-ville, it has many impressive monasteries, churches and pre-Columbian buildings and is, as Che Guevara recorded in The Motorcycle Diaries, tangibly "the navel of the [Inca] world".
Souvenir to buy
A bottle of finest pisco, the national firewater.
Peru is famous for having its own cola drink, Inka Cola – often put forward as proof of an independent spirit and anti-Americanism. Unfortunately though, the firm that produces the bright yellow drink is unfortunately part-owned by Coca-Cola.
Hugh Thomson's ‘The White Rock’, which deftly combines a history of the last days of the Incas with a gripping story about the search for lost cities buried in uncharted corners of the Sacred Valley.
Chris Moss, Travel Journalist