Monumental Peru Destinations to Put on Your Bucket List

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Lake Titicaca Floating Islands Cultural Hike Tour

Peru is a beautiful country, and one that everyone should visit at some point. It has a great variety of things to see, ranging from historical ruins to lush jungles and from bustling cities to local villages practicing traditional crafts. You will have a unique trip when you go to Peru.

If you are pressed for time or budget, or if you just want to make sure you are creating the best trip possible, you should visit these monumental destinations to ensure you are creating the trip of a lifetime:

Rainbow Mountain

Rainbow Mountain gets its name from the beautiful, multi-colored stripes that appear because of the layers of minerals that are solidified in the rock. The mountain has vibrant layers of gold, lavender, turquoise, rose, and more. The mountain was revealed after snow melted away, so it has only been relatively recently known.

Besides marveling at the beauty of Rainbow Mountain, you can hike the mountain, check out wild llamas and horses in the area, and visit local communities on the mountain that are living indigenous lives. Be prepared for a strenuous hike if you want to scale the mountain! It is more than half the altitude of Mount Everest.

Sign up for a guided tour in Peru to get the most out of your visit to Rainbow Mountain. You’ll see all the best parts of the mountain and learn about the local history. 

The Sacred Valley

The Sacred Valley is a region in Peru that was once the hub of the Incan Empire. Here you’ll find multiple sites with architectural ruins, including Ollantaytambo and Pisac. The Sacred Valley also hosts multiple towns and villages where you can learn about colonial life, weaving, and other traditional crafts. You can spend days exploring the area, and you’ll continue to discover new and exciting things. 

The Sacred Valley spans an area of about 60 kilometers, so there is much to discover here. It lies between Machu Picchu and Cusco, so you can easily include it in a trip to these two sites, as well. Make sure you plan to be in the Sacred Valley on a Sunday, when there is an amazing handicraft market. 

Maras Salt Pans

The Maras Salt Pans may have a pretty uninspiring purpose, but they are amazing to look at, and they offer an insight into the way people lived in the past. The salt pans are the result of a tectonic shift that pushed lands that were once part of the seabed high into the sky, creating the Andes mountain range. The pans sit 3,000 meters above sea level, and they collect salt water brought in by the Qoripujio spring. The water evaporates, and local people come in to collect the salt left behind. 

You’ll be amazed at the geometric design of the salt pans, and you’ll learn a lot about the Chanapata culture that first worked the pans. There are roughly 5,000 pans in terraces along the valley, and an intricate network of channels feeds the water into them. You can watch the workers scoop out the famed pink salt, which is sold around the world and even graces the tables of gourmet chefs. 

Moray Archaeological Park

Just south of the Sacred Valley, you’ll find the Moray Archaeological Park, which consists of circular, clay terraces leading down to a point. These man-made creations are gorgeous, but they are not as popular for tourists, so you’ll be able to enjoy the site without the crowds you would find in Machu Picchu. 

The Incas used the Moray park for agricultural experimentation. It’s here that the Incas tried out different temperatures, soil types, and more to grow wheat, quinoa, other grains, and flowers. The site also has an irrigation system using canals. You’ll learn a lot here about Incan life, and you’ll be amazed at the beauty created with such a simple structure. 

The Nazca Lines

The Nazca Lines are formed in the dry desert in Southern Peru where there is less than a half inch of rainfall each year. Besides geometric designs like trapezoids, rectangles, and swirls, you also see designs like monkeys, hummingbirds, and spiders. These distinct white lines are unmistakable against the red landscape.

What’s so fascinating about the Nazca Lines is that no one knows why they are there or who created them. There are more than 300 geometric figures and 70 animal and plant designs. There are also more than 800 straight lines, some of which span 30 miles. Some of the plant and animal figures are as big as 1200 feet, which is the height of the Empire State Building. 

Lake Titicaca Floating Islands

Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in South America, and it is at 12,500 feet above sea level. In fact, it is the highest lake that is still navigable to large ships and other vessels. Within the lake are large, man-made islands. These islands are made of reeds thatched together, and they float on the surface of the water. There are 41 of these islands, and they house indigenous tribes. Many villages continue on these islands, and you can visit them to learn about their way of life, or you can even schedule a homestay with a local family.

Peru has many beautiful locations that you should try to see on your visit if you can. If you are limited by time or budget, you can make your trip an unforgettable one by visiting these landmark sites. You’ll enjoy an incomparable vacation, and you’ll come away with some amazing photographs and some great stories!

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