Huanchaco is a popular vacation beach town in the city of Trujillo, Peru. Huanchaco is known for its surf breaks, its caballitos de totora and its ceviche, and is near the ancient ruins of Chan Chan. Huanchaco was approved as a World Surfing Reserve by the organization Save The Waves Coalition in 2012 This historic town is part of the tourist circuit called the "Moche Route" or "Ruta Moche". Today despite modern developments, it still retains its old charm.
The Ballestas Islands are one of Peru’s least known highlights, although their proximity to the capital (Lima) means that an overwhelming majority of visitors to the country will end up visiting them nevertheless. One of those rare treats which reveal themselves only upon arrival, the Ballestas are a collection of rocky islets, just a few km off the western coast of Peru. The islands are revered for hosting the ideal habitat for various species of birds and an eclectic mix of larger wildlife like seals, sea lions and Humboldt penguins. Come here on a sunny day and you’ll catch glimpses of lazy sea lions making siesta, Peruvian Pelicans diving for lunch and countless birds stretching to dry their wings. Add a dolphin or two to accompany you on your boat trip, and groups of Humboldt penguins waddling about, and you’ve got yourself a pretty unforgettable and treasured find with plenty of things to do.
The Monastery of Saint Catherine (Spanish: Santa Catalina) is a monastery of nuns of the Dominican Second Order, located in Arequipa, Peru. The Convent of Santa Catalina de Siena was built in 1579 and is located in the historical center of Arequipa, Peru. It served as a cloister for Dominican nuns from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, and still houses a small religious community today. The complex, which stretches over 20,000 square meters, is built from volcanic sillar stone and is organized into cloisters, living quarters, a plaza, a gallery, and a chapel. Environmental pollution has accelerated the deterioration of the structure as well as of the paintings and sculptures in the complex. Because sillar is a porous stone, air pollution and the presence of salts have caused cracks in the roof, a depletion of the mortar between joints in the walls, and the displacement of stones. Santa Catalina sits in a volcanic area that has a large amount of seismic activity. Although the monastery was restored after devastating earthquakes in 1958 and 1960, an earthquake in 2001 has left several areas severely damaged, including areas with valuable sculptures and paintings dating from the eighteenth century.
The Nazca Lines are a series of large ancient geoglyphs in the Nazca Desert, in southern Peru. The largest figures are up to 370 m (1,200 ft) long. They were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The high, arid plateau stretches more than 80 km (50 mi) between the towns of Nazca and Palpa on the Pampas de Jumana, approximately 400 km (250 mi) south of Lima. Although some local geoglyphs resemble Paracas motifs, scholars believe the Nazca Lines were created by the Nazca culture between 500 BC and 500 AD. The figures vary in complexity. Hundreds are simple lines and geometric shapes; more than 70 are zoomorphic designs of animals, such as birds, fish, llamas, jaguars, and monkeys, or human figures. Other designs include phytomorphic shapes, such as trees and flowers. The designs are shallow lines made in the ground by removing naturally occurring reddish pebbles and uncovering the whitish/grayish ground beneath. Scholars differ in interpreting the purpose of the designs but, in general, they ascribe religious significance to them.
Huascarán National Park (Spanish: Parque Nacional Huascarán) is a Peruvian national park that comprises most of the mountain range known as the Cordillera Blanca which is part of the central Andes, in the region of Ancash. The park covers an area of 340.000 ha (ca. 3.400 km2) and is managed by the Peruvian Network of Protected Natural Areas: SERNANP (Servicio Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas). It was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1985 by UNESCO, is also a well-known mountaineering spot and harbors a unique biodiversity with plant species such as the Queen of the Andes, trees of the genera Polylepis and Buddleja, and animals such as spectacled bears, condors, vicunas and tarucas.
Chan Chan, the largest city of the pre-Columbian era in South America, is now an archaeological site in La Libertad Region 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) west of Trujillo, Peru. Chan Chan is located in the mouth of the Moche Valley and was the capital of the historical empire of the Chimor from 900 to 1470, when they were defeated and incorporated into the Inca Empire. Chimor, a conquest state, developed from the Chimú culture which established itself along the Peruvian coast around 1400 AD. In the Chimú tongue, Quingnam, Chan Chan means "Sun Sun;" it was named for its sunny climate which is cooled year round by a southerly breeze.
Chachapoyas town is in the north-western corner of Peru, about 400km inland from Chiclayo and 300km from the El Chorro/La Chonta border with Ecuador. It is a wonderful base for exploring the archaeological sites of the region, and for hikes to nearby waterfalls and canyons. It sits at an elevation of just over 2,200m and, during rainy season, is almost completely cut off from the rest of the country. The capital of the Amazonas region, Chachapoyas enjoys a premier location, cradled by the very arid Western Andes and very luscious Eastern Andes. This unique location offers an eclectic topography of verdant rainforests and arid high-altitude peaks and plateaus. Discovered merely 30 years ago, the sarcophagi of Karaja give an invaluable insight into the funerary practices of the Chachapoyas culture. They measure 2.5m in height, and are situated in a hard-to-reach ravine, well away (for the most part) from the ravenous hands of looters and collectors. Insanely remote and tricky to get to, these mountain-side coffins are an absolute splendour. If not a little eerie.
Maras is a town located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where an ancient custom is still practiced, the use of pre-Inca salt ponds. These amazing constructions continue to provide the country (and beyond) with its pink salt which has been recommended by experts as a healthy option to flavor meals due to its curative properties. Aside from its nutritional value, the salt ponds of Maras are often visited for their spectacular scenery.
Písac or Pisac (possibly from Quechua for Nothoprocta, also spelled p'isaqa) is a Peruvian village in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It is situated on the Vilcanota River. Pisac is most known for its Incan ruins and large market every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, an event which attracts heavy tourist traffic from nearby Cuzco.
Colca Canyon is a canyon of the Colca River in southern Peru, located about 160 kilometers (99 mi) northwest of Arequipa. It is Peru's third most-visited tourist destination with about 120,000 visitors annually. With a depth of 3,270 meters (10,730 ft), it is one of the deepest in the world. The Colca Valley is a colorful Andean valley with pre-Inca roots, and towns founded in Spanish colonial times, still inhabited by people of the Collagua and the Cabana cultures. The local people maintain their ancestral traditions and continue to cultivate the pre-Inca stepped terraces.
Lake Titicaca is a large, deep lake in the Andes on the border of Bolivia and Peru. By volume of water and by surface area, it is the largest lake in South America. Lake Maracaibo has a larger surface area, but it is a tidal bay, not a lake. It is often called the "highest navigable lake" in the world, with a surface elevation of 3,812 metres (12,507 ft). Although this refers to navigation by large boats, it is generally considered to mean commercial craft. For many years the largest vessel afloat on the lake was the 2,200-ton, 79-metre (259 ft) SS Ollanta. Today the largest vessel is most likely the similarly sized, but broader, train barge/float Manco Capac, operated by PeruRail (berthed, as of 17 June 2013, at 15°50′11″S 70°00′53″W, across the pier from the Ollanta). Numerous smaller bodies of water around the world are at higher elevations.
Cusco, often spelled Cuzco, is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cusco Region as well as the Cusco Province. In 2013, the city had a population of 435,114. Located on the eastern end of the Knot of Cuzco, its elevation is around 3,400 m (11,200 ft). The site was the historic capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th until the 16th-century Spanish conquest. In 1983 Cusco was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It has become a major tourist destination, hosting nearly 2 million visitors a year. The Constitution of Peru designates it as the Historical Capital of Peru.
Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca citadel situated on a mountain ridge 2,430 meters (7,970 ft) above sea level. It is located in the Cusco Region, Urubamba Province, Machupicchu District in Peru, above the Sacred Valley, which is 80 kilometers (50 mi) northwest of Cuzco and through which the Urubamba River flows. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was constructed as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). Often mistakenly referred to as the "Lost City of the Incas" (a title more accurately applied to Vilcabamba), it is the most familiar icon of Inca civilization. The Incas built the estate around 1450 but abandoned it a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest. Although known locally, it was not known to the Spanish during the colonial period and remained unknown to the outside world until American historian Hiram Bingham brought it to international attention in 1911.
One of the most magnificent geologic features in the world is the Ausangate Mountain of the Peruvian Andes. The mountain is striped with colors ranging from turquoise to lavender to maroon and gold. However, this "painted mountain" is notoriously difficult to find and get to, requiring several days of hiking to reach its peak deep within the Andes by way of Cusco. The painted Ausangate mountain is also considered to be holy and believed to be the deity of Cusco by local Peruvians. It is a site of daily worship and offerings by local citizens. Welcome To The Incredible Rainbow Mountains Of Peru