|There are three major attractions in Peru: Lima, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca.
Lima is the capital and largest city of Peru and has an interesting mix of architecture from colonial times right up to modern, as well as a number of archaeological sites within and nearby to the city centre.
Like other large cities, Lima has its share of museums, some good and some not so good! Several tell their versions of local history, including the Museo Larco Herrera, which is said to have an excellent overview of Peruvian pre-Columbian history through the past 3000 years. Another option is the National Museum of Archaeology and History, whilst the Museo de Arte showcases Peruvian art through the years.
English-speaking tours are available of Lima. These extensive tours last 4 hours and include private transport, visits to the most popular places and includes entrance fees in the tour price. This is a particularly good way to see the city if you’re here for just a day or two as it gives you the best highlights.
In Southern Peru is the large Lake Titicaca, 60% of which is in Peru and the rest is in neighbouring Bolivia. This mountain lake sits 3,812 metres (12,507ft) above sea level and by volume it is the largest lake in South America.
To visit Lake Titicaca you would be best heading for the attractive tourist town of Puno which is on the shores of the lake. To get a good taste for the lake you can take boat cruises, including a full day’s excursion. You can also take boats to some of the islands; Isla Amantani is a 4 hour ride from Puno and you can stay the night, or go to the slightly more touristy island of Isla Taquile.
No trip to Peru would be complete without visiting the world-famous Machu Picchu, one of the most spectacular ruined cities in the world. Unsurprisingly, this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, though surprisingly it was only discovered by the outside world in 1911. The gateway town to Machu Picchu is Cusco, and from here you have several options for reaching the site. The most popular journey is by train which departs in the morning, gives you a few hours to explore the ruins and then returns you to Cusco. Buses are also available from the closer town of Aguas Calientes.
Another popular but more tiring route is to hike the Inca Trail either on a 2 day or 4 day hike. Hiking is strictly controlled and you must be fit, and willing to sleep in tents.
You can explore the city on your own or, for a more detailed look at its history and the Inca culture, a guided tour would be a better bet. Amongst the highlights are the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Three Windows, the Main Temple and the Condor. Also, after a short walk you can reach the Sun Gate for excellent views of the site.