Peru is at the top of a lot of people’s bucket lists and it’s no surprise: from lush jungles and outdoor markets brimming with colour – not to mention the legendary Incan ruins at Machu Picchu, it’s a country that ticks a lot of boxes.
And even though it’s “exotic”, there’s little jet lag for Canadians, thanks to the small time difference between Peru and Canada (e.g. one hour behind Toronto, two hours ahead of Vancouver). Just remember that the seasons are reversed: our winter is their summer and vice versa.
Here are our top six things to check out if you’re dreaming of a holiday to Peru:
l) Machu Picchu – of course! An unforgettable mountain-top citadel of the Incans, built in the 1400s, Machu Picchu can be reached by foot on the Inca Trail or by train and bus. Look for packages that include an overnight so that you can experience the sunrise over the complex. You won’t regret it.
Perfect for active travellers, the Inca Trail is a classic trek where it’s easy to stay motivated because your goal and the ending point is Machu Picchu. A variety of tour options are available from as short as two days of hiking, though four days is recommended to complete the entire 43 kms. Important to know that a permit is required to hike the trail and permits are limited in number. Also good to know: the trail is closed in February.
2) Nazca Lines: These mysterious and ancient drawings dating back some 2,500 years feature images of fish, birds and more.
3) The Colca Canyon: In southern Peru, this breathtaking sight is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.
4) Cusco: This city of half a million people was the historic capital of the Incan Empire and today draws photographers and history buffs alike with its Spanish colonial architecture and picturesque squares. It is the gateway to the Sacred Valley and Inca Trail.
5) A quieter and lesser known option to the Inca Trail, the Lares Trek features mountain vistas, beautiful lakes and remote settlements. And guess what? It’ll still take you to Machu Picchu. Definitely more of a “cultural” experience.
6) Or if you are looking for a true challenge, there’s the Salkantay Trail in the same region, off the beaten path and at higher altitude.
Ready to go?