Other Cities in Peru

Cusco

The city of Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incan Empire, was placed on the World Cultural Heritage List by UNESCO in 1983, and is without a doubt one of the most important destinations in Peru. There are Incan buildings waiting for you to discover them among its cobble-stoned streets, ones like the Koricancha and the palace of Inca Roca as well as Andean Baroque structures from the Colonial Period like the Cathedral and the Church of the Company of Christ. In addition, you can visit the picturesque neighborhood of San Blas where the best artisans in the department have set up their workshops. This magical city also has an exciting nightlife with cafes, restaurants, and bars for all tastes. Just ten minutes away from the city, there are the massive walls of the Sacsayhuamán fortress, and a few kilometers from there, you find the archeological sites of Qenko, Pukapukara, and Tambomachay, Incan buildings constructed completely with stone.

There are also the towns of Písac, Maras, Chinchero, and Ollantaytambo, which are spread throughout the Sacred Valley of the Incas, one hour from Cusco. From there, it is possible to catch the train to Machu Picchu. Another way of getting to the citadel is by following one of the Inca Trails, a spectacular network of pathways that snake their way among the snow covered mountains, rivers, and overwhelming countryside. This is one of the best trekking routes in the world, since scattered throughout it, you find remarkable archeological sites and areas rich in unique plant and animal species.

The enigmatic complex of Machu Picchu, the most important and beautiful legacy of the ancient Peruvian, is part of the Historic Sanctuary of the same name, which is also one of the few places in the Americas placed on both the World Cultural and Natural Heritage Lists by UNESCO. It is located high on top of a mountain and complements the exuberant nature that surrounds it, creating a one of a kind place in the world.

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Lima

Lima was founded in 1535 and in a short period of time became the most important city in the Americas. Today, there are more than eight million inhabitants, and the city shelters immigrants from all corners of the globe, which has transformed it into a mixed city par excellence. In the historic centre, placed by UNESCO on the World Cultural Heritage List, you can visit splendid samples of Colonial architecture like the Cathedral, the Convent of Santo Domingo, and the Convent of San Francisco as well as fantastically wood carven balconies. Lima is also an inexhaustible source of culture, demonstrated by the existence of numerous and varied museums like the National Museum of Archeology, Anthropology, and History and the Rafael Larco Herrera Archeological Museum, which guards priceless Incan and pre-Incan treasures. 

Situated in the heart of the city are great archeological monuments such as the Huallamarca Huaca or the Pucllana Huaca. And, on the outskirts of Lima facing the ocean is Pachacamac, the most important pre-Incan sanctuary on the coast, built in the third century A.D. Some of the other great attractions are the beaches where you can do all types of aquatic sports, enjoy the sun, or simply gaze at the mesmerizing beauty of the Pacific Ocean.

During this trip, you must also remember to sample one of the best cuisines in the world. The city offers a wide variety of restaurants and inviting locales where you will be able to taste delicious dishes, the result of the mixing of European, African, Asian, and Andean cuisines.

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Puno

Puno was the territory of the Tiahuanacos (800 A.D. – 1200 A.D.) who were the highest cultural expression of the Aymara people that established themselves in what is today Peru and Bolivia. The Incas took over these lands in the fifteenth century, and the Spanish, attracted by the mining industry developed there, left an important Colonial legacy throughout the entire area. 

Today, the city of Puno (3,287 masl), which lies on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, is the folklore capital of Peru and the site of the Feast of the Virgen de la Candelaria. In the outskirts, you can visit the spectacular Chullpas de Sillustani, a complex of impressive burial towers built by the Kollas, Juli, famous for its beautiful Colonial churches, Lampa with its vice royal church built between 1675 and 1685, Llachón, a community that still maintains its centuries old customs and cultural expressions, and Pucará, known for its pre-Inca pottery and for the “toritos de Pucará” that the artisans of today create from clay. 

The lake contains numerous islands whose inhabitants continue to live as their ancestors have in custom and tradition. The Uros an example of this; this people group lives on “floating islands” that they have artificially made entirely of totora reeds, and they navigate in their traditional boats also made out of totora reeds. Taquile, Suasi, and Amantaní are knows for their kindness of their residents, their ancestral skill in weaving, their pre-Columbian constructions, and lovely countryside. The Titicaca National Reserve (36,180 hectares) protects extensive stretches of totora reeds and various species of plants and animals.

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Lambayeque

The department of Lambayeque is located on the coastal plain and combines arid zones, rich valleys, and dry forests. Chiclayo, bordered by fertile valleys and very close to the ocean, is the capital of the department and the commercial nexus among the three Peruvian regions: coast, highland, and jungle.

This territory was the cradle of the Mochicas, who lived there between the first and fourth centuries A.D., which makes Lambayeque one of the most interesting archeological destinations in the country. It was in 1987 that the famous royal tombs of Sipán were discovered, the burial remains of an important Mochican ruler. Besides the Sipán archeological site, you can visit the modern Royal Tombs of Sipán Museum that contains the most extraordinary gold pieces found in the excavations. Likewise, it is worth a visit to the Brunning Museum, located in the province of Lambayeque, and to the Sicán Museum, located in the province of Ferreñafe. 

Túcume is another archeological site of unique beauty. There, you will see more than twenty adobe pyramids, all approximately forty meters high, that belong to the Lambayeque culture and which are nestled in an area full of wildlife and abundant vegetation. Another must see in Lambayeque is the Chaparrí Ecological Reserve, located in the district of Chongoyape. Here, the dry forests and the biodiversity they shelter are preserved. 

Lambayeque also boasts one of the best cuisines in the country: exquisite rice with duck competes with cebiche in a competition where the gourmands are always the winners. The lovely port and beach resort of Pimentel and the tradition town of Saña with its Colonial houses and churches in ruins round out the attractions of this fascinating department.

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