An ancient land of sacred valleys, lost cities and archaeological ruins all strewn across acres of rugged mountains and steamy rainforest – Peru may well be the most complex place you’re ever likely to visit.
The story of the country’s mysterious past is pieced together though thousands of Inca ruins, intriguing museums and what is probably the world’s most revered wonder, Machu Picchu.
There are many different trails you can take to reach the astonishing ‘Lost City of The Incas’, which was only discovered in 1911 after an American explorer was led there by a local boy. You could do the world-famous Inca Trail, which includes gourmet meals, hot showers and luxury mountain lodges. Or, you could sign up to one of the cheaper, more modest treks like Lares or Salkantay, which involve an overnight stay in the nearby town of Aguas Calientes, before waking up at dawn to ascend the 300-metre-high mountain.
All tours can be arranged in the base city of Cusco, once the capital of the Inca Empire. Here you’ll find more ruins, crumbling beside grand cathedrals, and a cosmopolitan culture suited to travellers of all ages.
And that’s not the half of it. Elsewhere, you could be stepping onto the floating islands of Lake Titicaca, climbing volcanoes in Arequipa, bird-watching in Colca Canyon, trekking through the Amazon, or flying over the enigmatic Nazca Lines – huge pictograms of plants and animals etched into the southern region’s bone-dry desert.
There’s ample accommodation spread throughout Peru. The capital, Lima, is offers a wide range of hotels, hostels and apartments. This is also the case in Cusco and other coastal cities.