Info for travelers to Machu Picchu

If you are planning to visit Machu Picchu this year, you need to know about changes to the system that grants access to Machu Picchu city.

Countless people across the world are planning to visit Peru this summer. Some of them have already made reservations for their trips, while some are still deciding when to go. If you are one of those people who have yet to secure their plans, then the following information is of utmost importance for helping you plan your visit.

Background.

The number of people visiting Machu Picchu has grown exponentially. According to the administrative body in charge, in July 2016 more than five thousand people visited the area per day, a near uncontrollable level. In 2016, a record 1.4 million people plus visited Machu Picchu. These increases have resulted in long unwieldy lines of thousands of people trying to catch one of the shuttle buses to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes. The average wait time for a bus can reach 2-3 hours, especially in the early morning hours when most people want to get to the site to experience the sunrise. In 2017, the park administration of Machu Picchu together with the Peruvian government approved and implemented “The new Regulations of Sustainable Use and Touristic Visits for the Conservation of the Inca City of Machu Picchu.

The purpose of this new set of rules, implemented in accordance with the Master Plan of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, is to ensure a better flow of people to the site.

Entrance to the main attractions in Machu Picchu city now have two allocated entrance times. This means that visitors will only be permitted to enter Machu Picchu at the time they have been allotted and must exit the city by the time assigned.

The new Regulations of Sustainable Use and Touristic Visits for the Conservation of the Inca City of Machu Picchu establishes that from July 1, 2017, the following changes will take place:

1. Entrance to Machu Picchu will be divided into two entrance and departure times:
The 1st entrance/departure times from 05:30 AM until 12:00 noon.
The 2nd entrance/departure times from 12:00 noon until 17:30 PM

2. Entrance times for alternate routes:
Huayna Picchu Mountain
The 1st entrance from 07:00 AM until 08:00 AM
The 2nd entrance from 10:00 AM until 11:00 AM
Only 250 people per time can climb this mountain. The average time to go up and down this mountain is about 3 hours – and 4 hours if one wishes to visit the Great Cavern. People should exit the Huayna Picchu by 13:00 PM.

3. Machu Picchu Mountain
The 1st entrance from 07:00 AM until 08:00 AM
The 2nd entrance from 09:00 AM until 10:00 AM
Only 400 people per time can climb this mountain. The average time to go up and down this mountain is about 4 hours. People should exit the Machu Picchu mountain by 15:00 PM.

How will this affect tourists?

It is not known yet with certainty how these changes will affect visitors. Based on our experience we can foresee the following effects:

1. The best part of these changes is that there will be fewer tourists in Machu Picchu at any given time – at least, not as many as in the past. This will make the experience more pleasant and will allow people to enjoy the beautiful views without the huge crowds.

2. The actual time spent at the archaeological site will be reduced to only 5 hours per entrance time. It seems that the people with permits to climb Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu mountains will stay longer in the city (this has yet to be confirmed).

3. These changes will alter the train schedules. People need to check with their tour operators which entrance time they have been alloted to enter Machu Picchu, to assist them to plan their trips and arrange hotels.

Our Recommendations:

Based on these changes, the best way to go to Machu Picchu is the Short Inca trail, Because, on the one hand, this is ancient road is a beautiful way to get to the Sungate and Machu Picchu. On the other hand, people hiking the short Inca Trail will be able to visit Machu Picchu twice. At the end of day one of their hike, and when they return to Machu Picchu the following day.

When it comes to crowds, the afternoon shift will be less busy than the morning one – particularly during the “low season” months. People will have to choose between attempting to see the sunrise at Machu Picchu or be in the presence of fewer individuals at the site.

Top 10 Guest Photos 2015

Photo competitions. They’re not necessarily a good thing for an organisation like us to run, because there can only ever be one winner, and we leave hundreds of other people disappointed. But we can’t help ourselves, can we? That’s because it’s just too damn hard to take bad photos on our trips and we’re naturally compelled to share them with everyone. And what’s life without friendly competition amongst family and peers?!

But rather than showcase just the one winner, here’s the top 10, in no particular order, all taken by you guys on our trips in 2015. What a year it was!

We’ll tell you who the winner is also – don’t worry.

1. Aoraki Mt Cook & Lake Pukaki, ‘Rimu’ – Allen Cameron

Aoraki Mt Cook

This is a scene our guides never tire of seeing, no matter how many times they visit the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. There’s always the butterflies that flutter in your stomach as this landscape greets you. As you get closer, the waters of Lake Pukaki become more radiant and the slopes of Aoraki Mount Cook and the surrounding hills become more dramatic. After passing Lake Pukaki you’ll delve deeper into the National Park and get the chance to hike onto Mueller Ridge, where you’ll experience the most mind blowing mountain views in New Zealand.

2. Hiking Siberia Valley, ‘Tui’ – Bob Secor

Hiking Siberia Valley

You step out of the aircraft that has just dropped you into arguably New Zealand’s most isolated and dramatic wilderness area, and there’s just one way out from there; on foot. The plane takes off again and you realise it’s just you, your fellow hikers and the native birds accompanying you through this area of untouched beauty. Not a bad way to spend a couple of days. Well… technically you’ll get to take a jet boat ride down the Wilkin River as well, so it’s not just hiking!

3. Sand Boarding Te Pouahi Reserve, ‘Kauri’ – Bonnie Mullin

Sand Boarding

Sometimes it’s important to just be a kid again. And what better way than taking an old body board (not intended for anything other than use on the water, but hey – it’s fun!) and sliding down a huge sand dune and getting completely covered in sand? It can’t all be too civilised can it?

4. Swimming with a Turtle, ‘Tortuga’ – Charlotte Sherman

Swimming with a Turtle

If you don’t swim or at least see a turtle when you join us on our ‘Tortuga’ trip in the Galapagos Islands, then there will certainly be something wrong with the space/time continuum and we’ll have to look into getting into another business. Here’s the reason why we called the trip the ‘Tortuga’ – they’re everywhere and you never get sick of seeing them, especially in crystal clear water!

5. House on the Svelte, Patagonia, ‘Condor’ – Dennis Wilson

House on the Svelte

Patagonia has many faces, yes there’s the enormous granite peaks and glaciers of Torres Del Paine and Glaciares National Park, fiords and picture perfect lakes. There’s also the windswept plains dotted with grazing cattle and traditional “Gaucho” farm houses (now with solar power!). You find yourself wondering if you’ve stepped into a time machine.

6. Immaculate Forest Walk, Nelson Lakes National Park, ‘Rimu’ – Donal Rafferty

Immaculate Forest Walk

Can you see the hobbit in the trees in this shot? Well, there is no hobbit but you’ll be forgiven for expecting some sort of ancient creature to walk across the trail as you’re hiking in Nelson Lakes National Park. So no hobbits here, but you’ll probably be greeted by a South Island Robin – one of our most inquisitive native birds. They often peck at the ground you’ve walked on as they know your hiking boots may have opened up some soil for worms!

7. Machu Picchu Selfie, ‘Jaguar’ – Jen Risser

Machu Picchu Selfie

Check out how happy Jen Risser is, after hiking for 3 days on the Inca Trail to get to Machu Picchu. We arrive at Machu Picchu super early in the morning before the sun comes up and get ahead of the numerous people who visit the site every day, but when the sun does come out, it shines directly down on the site all day – it’s an incredibly refreshing place to be. The other thing we’ve noticed about this photo is that it’s a reminder of how much of a big job it’d be to mow those lawns, just look at em!

8. Milford Sound Kayaking, ‘Rimu’ – Jim Lane

Milford Sound Kayaking

Believe it or not, photos like this are EXTREMELY rare. Not because it has captured a truly perfect moment in time for Jim and his son Ben Lane, in the world’s most spectacular fiord, but because it’s captured a person in a double sea kayak who isn’t engaged in an argument with their fellow paddler… For that reason, this photo is our winner! Who needs flat horizons anyway…

9. Blue Duck in Repose, ‘Manuka’ – Joyce Barbour

Blue Duck in Repose

Our native Whio (Blue Duck) are known here in New Zealand as the “whitewater duck”, as when they’re spotted, they are often seen riding the rapids in our streams and rivers. They are also extremely rare. Contrary to how it appears in this photo, they do actually have heads, and two legs.

10. Hiking Amongst Giants, ‘AST’ – Marjorie Pilli

Hiking Amongst Giants

Almost there! In this shot, you’re only about 30 minutes from arriving at the Annapurna Sanctuary – a spectacular alpine amphitheatre that has to be seen to be believed. That’s our guide DK in the picture, pointing out the surrounding peaks but clearly not holding the attention of the other guy in the photo. It’s OK – we’re working on his presentation skills… :-)

Travelling solo

I’ve always been an outdoors kind of guy. It’ll never change. I know in my bones that I’ll be hiking, biking and kayaking until I can no longer move. I’ll wear that as a badge of honour. The way I’ve gone about it over the years has certainly changed though.  When I was 20, I lived on the smell of an oily rag, drove a dirt box car, shared a room in a 4 bedroom house with 8 others, and made the most of my free time hiking, surfing, kayaking or biking. My tent was my second home.

phil on canoe
Phil, back in the ‘travelling solo’ days… Somewhere in the Amazon

After making my way to Peru for the first time in the 1990’s, I decided it was time to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Back in those days, it was OK to do it solo, so I took my tent, packed my backpack with food for 4 days and embarked on the journey. Along the way I saw a few people, mostly in groups, having an absolute blast. For me, it was actually an envious, lonely experience. I was flying solo, not solo in a group, but truly solo.

So, there’s solo, and there’s solo.

Confused? Fair enough. I’ll get to the point soon.

Here’s a breakdown of the different aspects of that very first time on the Inca trail for me:

Scenery: Holy moly – my mind was blown. Still is every time I do it.

Accommodation: I still have that tent. It leaked. But at the time I thought it was comfortable. It wasn’t, but I’m sentimental.

Memories sharing the hike with others: Zero. Zilch. Nada. Didn’t happen.

Doesn’t sound glamorous at all, does it? The irony was that I wasn’t the only person visiting Peru as a single. As I sat at my tent, cooking my instant noodles and tinned spam, I spied single travelers, of all ages, laughing, sharing and cohabiting this wilderness space for the evening, and no doubt relishing in the idea that their shared experience, as singles, will be as fulfilling as seeing Machu Picchu in the flesh. I was able to test this theory only a couple of years later, as a guide in Peru. The whole Peru experience, and the Inca Trail, was no longer laced with loneliness and envy. Here I was, heart pounding as I reached the saddle of Dead Woman’s Pass, and jumping for joy on the inside knowing that I was going to high-five fellow hikers (a 61 year old guy from Seattle who beat me up the trail and two people from Los Angeles just behind me) and share a cup of coca tea later in the day.

I think there’s sometimes a fear from single travelers that they’ll be the odd one out, but you don’t get more “odd one out” than cold noodles and spam. I’m married with kids now, so solo travel isn’t something I’m likely to do again, but before my life of domesticity I always sought a trip where I knew I had the opportunity to go it as a single in a group and make new friends. It’s certainly made my Facebook news feed a bit busier and more international these days.

Phil with his family
Phil with his family at Rabbit Island near Mt Maunganui

Again, there’s solo, and there’s solo. With noodles and spam.

– Phil, Active Adventures Director

5 Reasons to Take up Adventure Travel in Your 40’s

You mean you haven’t already done it yet? That’s OK. Don’t panic! It’s certainly not too late. Luckily there are a few very good arguments in favour of leaving it until you’ve turned 40. If you’re anything like me, you have no idea how the world actually works until you’re 30. Then for many, this decade is taken up with starting a family, establishing a career & discovering humility. When 40 comes along you’re a little more immune to the pressures the world puts on you – who you should be, what you should look like… It’s experiences that become more important than anything else, and you become acutely aware of time. So our view is to not squander life’s most valuable commodity once the 4-zero hits. Here’s the top 5 arguments to get that 40 year old self booking a trip somewhere amazing…

You make better choices

You’re older, probably need to exercise more, and have some grey poking through, but you sure do make sounder decisions now. Gone are the days when you’ll book a boozy trip to Thailand, lie on a beach and go home with nothing really to show for it. Your adventure travel choices are still based on an element of escape, but because your time is valuable, that hiking trip in Nepal or the overnight stay in a New Zealand mountain hut is likely to have come from a more considered position, and be more fulfilling than a trip to Cancun that you can hardly remember apart from the neon lights.

Everest Base Camp, Active Adventures
Making it to Everest Base Camp!
Jerry Champlain, ‘EBC’ Trip

Because life is short

The clock is ticking. It’s that simple really. You only get one shot at this whole life thing so you might as well make it count. Experiences are what you’ll take to your final days, and they do shape you. Given that you now make better choices, you’ll also know that you’re still mobile (and will be for quite some time if you stay in shape!) and more than capable of hiking to Machu Picchu or snorkeling with seals in the Galapagos Islands. So think about what experiences are likely to stay with you until your dying days. And do it. Tick tock, tick tock…

Galapagos Islands, Active Adventures
Snorkelling with the Sea Lions in the Galapagos Islands
Russ Meyer, ‘Tortuga’ Trip

You’re a better social animal

Communication and socialisation in general come easier when you’re older. You’re not out to prove a point any more. Hell – it’s even amusing poking a little fun at yourself from time to time. Your travel experiences are enhanced by the people you travel with, and those you meet along the way. Your better able to go with the flow, and willingness to meet like-minded people makes your adventures a shared experience, which is ultimately what we all want. What good is keeping that up-close encounter with a dolphin in Milford Sound all to yourself?

Milford Sound, Active Adventures
Dolphins at Milford Sound
Ruth Lucci, ‘Rimu’ Trip

No more slumming it

When I was 20, I felt obliged to stay in crowded, cold (or sometimes unbearably hot) hostels with simply awful facilities, eat cheap horrible food, and travel in a bus where there wasn’t room to scratch yourself. Part of that obligation was financial, but if I’m honest it was mostly because it was just what I thought was expected of me. But I’m not sure I actually enjoyed it that much – people snore, arrive late, chose to play drunken card games at 2am, get sick from eating terrible food, miss buses…. When you’re 40, there’s simply no pressure to slum it anymore, and you’re happy to say you want somewhere comfortable and memorable to stay, and you enjoy it. You’ve just hiked through virgin rain forest to see a spectacular glacier on the west coast of the South Island, why wouldn’t you want to kick your feet up in a comfortable lodge room with a glass of wine and some local cheese?

Braemar Station, Active Adventures
Relaxing at Braemar Station
Monica Hahn, ‘Rimu’ Trip

It’s the small things that matter

I used to think it was only the grandiose experiences that mattered to me. Kayaking class V rivers, surfing in the Mentawai Islands – the sort of thing I took away from my adventure travels. It’s now the brief encounters, momentary observations and flashes of uniqueness of a place that etch themselves in my memory. That’s down to a more discerning travel palate. A chance encounter with school children while on the trail to the Annapurna Sanctuary in Nepal, waiting for the sheep on the road to part while we drive through to Mt Cook National Park in New Zealand, an ice cream in the sun in El Calafate, Argentina – these things will never leave me, and add so much to my travel memories.

Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, Active Adventures
Giggle from the fence on the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek
Michael Adams, ‘AST’ Trip

– Phil, Active Adventures Director

The Top 20 Things to Do in Peru–That Aren’t Machu Picchu!

Let’s be honest–it probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that we’re big fans of Machu Picchu. I mean, we’re even called IncaTrail.info! That said, Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail certainly aren’t the only parts of Peru that we’re in love with. In our humble opinion, Peru is one of the world’s most magical countries for reasons that span much further than one (albeit truly incredible) archaeological site. But if you’ve just been browsing our site, you might not have noticed this yet. We’ve kept quiet about all the other wonderful things to see and do in Peru, mostly because we’ve had so much to say about Machu Picchu and the surrounding areas/activities.

That is, until now! In honor of all the other wonderful destinations and activities that Peru has to offer, we’ve decided to craft a new list: the top 20 things to do in Peru that aren’t Machu Picchu. Due to the nature of the article, we won’t be going into too much detail about each site–but maybe, in the future, we’ll have some more time and space to expand on a few of them.

1. Bird Watch at the Colca Canyon

colca canyon - things to do in peru

Southern Peru is home to the Colca Canyon, one of the country’s more popular tourism spots that nonetheless you’ve probably never heard of! Many people are surprised to learn that the Colca Canyon is more than twice as deep as the world-famous Grand Canyon in the United States, though its walls are not as steep and as such it’s not quite as visually striking. The Colca Canyon is also home to the Andean Condor, one of the largest birds in the world with a wingspan reaching up to 3.2 meters. This is one of the few spots on the planet where it’s relatively easy to see the birds at close range–a truly magical experience.

2. Fly Over the Nazca Lines

nazca lines - things to do in peru

If you’ve never heard of the Nazca Lines before, there’s a good chance that you’re quite confused by the image above, which is fine! The Nazca Lines, to put it succinctly, are a series of hundreds of massive designs dug into the ground by the Nazca culture well over a millennium ago. They range from simple geometric shapes to highly-stylized images primarily depicting plants and animals from the natural world. Because some of the figures are over 200 meters across, the best way (well… the only way, really) to see the Nazca Lines is from above. There are a variety of tour operators offering flights above the lines if you are so inclined.

3. Surf or Just Relax in Máncora

mancora - things to do in peru

If you’re planning a trip to Peru, spending some time relaxing on the beach probably isn’t on your to-do list. If you’re on a tight schedule, we totally understand this, but if you’ve got the time, then why not? If a few days of sand, surf, and sun sounds right up your alley, then the laid-back surfing town of Máncora is perhaps your best option in Peru. Though the town is small, there are lodging and dining options galore for most any budget. To enjoy the beach the way that Peruvians do, this is your place.

4. Sandboard or Take a Buggy Ride in Huacachina

huacachina - things to do in peru

As much as this might look like a scene straight out of the Sahara Desert, trust us–Huacachina is very much in Peru. Located in the same southwestern Peruvian province as the Nazca Lines, this tiny oasis village in an otherwise parched dry desert has been attracting tourists for a while. Though nowadays additional water is pumped to the oasis from the nearby city of Ica, it’s still undoubtedly a cool place. Popular activities here in the “oasis of the Americas” include sandboarding and dune buggy riding.

5. Take a Boat Tour of the Islas Ballestas

islas ballestas - things to do in peru

This small group of equally small islands has recently become one of the world’s most widely-recognized biodiversity hot spots. From birds such as blue-footed boobies and Humboldt penguins to seals and sea lions, many of the world’s most charming and beautiful animals call the Islas Belletas home–or they would if they could, you know, talk. Boat tours leaving from the nearby coastal town of Paracas generally take around two hours and are highly recommended as one of the coolest things to do in Peru.

6. Do Some Shopping at a Peruvian Marketplace

pisac marketplace - things to do in peru

Peru, especially the Andean region, is famous around the world for its colorful marketplaces catering to tourists and locals alike. If you’re looking to buy a keepsake for yourself or some souvenirs for friends and family back home, skip the brick and mortar stores and check out the market stalls first! The Andean highlands are home to a number of major marketplaces (check out a description of Cusco’s largest in an article by a fellow site contributor at this link), but the most famous is without a doubt located in the small town of Písac. Pictured above, Písac’s marketplace is regarded as too touristy by some, but regardless, we remain fans and recommend it at least as a short half-day trip from Cusco.

7. Visit the Floating Islands of Lake Titicaca

lake titicaca - things to do in peru

Lake Titicaca is famous for a number of reasons: it’s the largest lake in South America, the highest navigable lake in the world, and it has an admittedly funny name (for English speakers, at least). It’s also the home of the pre-Incan Uru people, an indigenous group that still lives in the most incredible of ways–on floating islands built and rebuilt out of dried reeds, drifting over the surface of the lake. Originally this was done as a defensive strategy, and though the threat of Inca invasion is long gone, the lifestyle has managed to live on. Today, visitors can take tours of the islands and even participate in homestays with local families. When it comes to these activities, there are a couple of tours that we specifically recommend!

8. See the Otherworldly Maras Salt Ponds

maras salt ponds - things to do in peru

A slightly lesser-known historic and cultural site not far outside of Cusco, the town of Maras makes for a fine day trip. Or, if we’re being more specific, an area just a kilometer or so outside of the town makes for a fine day trip–the town itself, to be frank, is pretty slow. But we digress… The bizarre scene you can see above is just a small section of the massive terraced salt ponds from which many Maras residents derive their livelihood. The indigenous people of the region have used evaporation to harvest salt here for centuries, and it’s one of the most interesting ways to step back in time in Peru today.

9. Explore the Peruvian Amazon

amazon rainforest - things to do in peru

When most people think of the Amazon Rainforest, their minds immediately jump to Brazil–and although South America’s largest country does contain the lion’s share of the Amazon, one could actually make the argument that it’s not the best place to visit the rainforest! In fact, many would contend that that specific honor should go to Peru. Home to Iquitos, the largest city in the world without outside road access, the Peruvian Amazon has been attracting lots of visitors in recent years. The city itself is home to many historic and architectural wonders, but the real draw here has always been the region’s stunning nature and biodiversity.

10. Get Some Perspective in the Belén District

belen - things to do in peru

On the outskirts of Iquitos, on the floodplain of a major Amazon River tributary, sits the Belén District, often referred to as the “Venice of the Amazon.” But frankly, the similarities end with the water. The residents of this notoriously impoverished area have built floating homes out of necessity, mostly because no one else wanted to live in an area that experienced such terrible annual flooding. Most of Belén is dreadfully poor, but it’s still an amazing feat of construction. Though some might feel ethical qualms regarding what is sometimes termed “slum tourism,” others view tourism to places like this as an effective source of income for local residents. Decide where you stand, and if you’d like to visit Belén go during the day, and with a trusted local guide.

11. Climb the Misti Volcano

misti volcano - things to do in peru

Without a doubt Peru has a wide, and we mean wiiide variety of hiking, trekking, and climbing options. You should know by now that we’re big fans of both the Inca and Lares Trails, but if you’re looking for something different then southern Peru’s Misti Volcano might be more your speed. Let’s be clear: this is by no means an easy climb. Even the shorter of the two main routes to the summit features nearly 2,000 meters of elevation gain, and a good portion of this is through loose volcanic sand. That said, the climb does not require any technical mountaineering skills, and those who arrive at the summit seem to agree that it’s a truly inspiring experience.

12. Wander Túcume, Peru’s Valley of Pyramids

tucume pyramids - things to do in peru

This valley is bone dry, abandoned, and home to the ruins of some 26 major pyramids and mound structures built over the course of some 800 years. It’s also a source of fear and apprehension for local people–many still believe this valley to be cursed and refer to it by the Spanish word for “purgatory.” But you don’t believe in any of that stuff… right? Indigenous groups here built and rebuilt pyramids in an attempt to appease what they perceived as angry gods, but it seems that the system never worked after all. Today the valley is an archaeological site relatively popular with hikers and history buffs, and it even features a small hotel just outside the site boundaries.

13. Discover Chan Chan, the Largest Pre-Columbian City in South America

chan chan - things to do in peru

Though eclipsed in popularity by some other ruins sites including Machu Picchu, this ruins complex near the modern-day city of Trujillo should be a mandatory stop for anyone visiting Peru. Chan Chan was the capital city of the Chimu Empire and was quite large even by today’s standards, the urban center covered approximately six square kilometers while the city continued to stretch less densely much further still. The city thrived until conquering Incas arrived and forced a relocation of its residents in the 1470’s. By the time the Spaniards arrived to explore this area, the once massive Pre-Columbian city was nothing more than a ghost town.

14. Enter the Walled Fortress of Kuelap

kuelap - things to do in peru

If you’re getting bored with the archaeological sites, this is the last one–we promise. But seriously, look at this place! Located in northern Peru, Kuelap was a massive walled city home to over 400 buildings constructed by the Chachapoya culture, sometimes referred to as “the Warriors of the Clouds.” Though the ruins within the fortress are certainly very impressive, nothing matches the sheer size and scope of its walls, which reach up to some 19 meters in height. Though often neglected in favor of other pre-Columbian ruins structures, a visit to Kuelap is certainly one of the most interesting things to do in Peru.

15. Indulge Your Appetite in Lima’s Culinary Scene

central restaurante lima - things to do in peru

Any savvy readers who have already done a bit of research on Peru may be wondering about the total lack of Lima on our list so far. How could it be that the country’s capital and largest city hasn’t yet been mentioned? Well, we’ve basically decided to save all of our Lima entries for the end of our list. It’s no longer any secret that Lima is home to one of the most innovative, exciting, and simply delicious culinary scenes in all of Latin America. From new-school classics like Central Restaurante to upscale takes on uniquely Peruvian cuisines to just some darn good sandwiches, you can truly find anything here. It should go without saying that these examples are just the tip of the iceberg.

16. Examine Pre-Columbian Erotic Pottery at the Larco Museum

larco museum - things to do in peru

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. This private Lima museum is one of the country’s finest, despite the fact that its numerous galleries showcasing works from over 4,000 years of Peruvian history are generally overshadowed by its one gallery showcasing nothing more than erotic pre-Columbian ceramics. It just goes to show you that at the end of the day, we really haven’t changed all that much. Without a doubt, this is one of the wackiest yet most interesting things to do in Peru.

 17. Take a Stroll on the Malecón in Miraflores

miraflores malecon - things to do in peru

Of all of Lima’s upscale neighborhoods, Miraflores is probably the most well known. Perhaps this is due to its striking coastal location that makes for some truly stunning photographs? If you’re looking for a place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of the city without really leaving it at all, Miraflores is the place. Its seaside walkway, called the Malecón, is especially popular with locals and tourists alike, it’s a beautiful public space with gardens, parks, and plenty of public art. If you’re looking for a slice of what life is like for Lima’s richest residents, this is it.

18. Experience the Magic Water Tour at the Park of the Reserve

park of the reserve - things to do in peru

Your gut reaction to our having included a fountain tour through a public park on our list might simply be a bewildered, “what?” But please trust us–this place really is something special. Inaugurated in 2007, the newly remodeled Parque de la Reserva is home to El Circuito Mágico del Agua, now officially the largest fountain complex found anywhere in the world. For the meager price of four soles (currently less than $1.50 US), visitors can experience thirteen colorful and interactive fountains, including one that reaches over 80 meters into the sky.

19. Get Bohemian in the Barranco District

barranco - things to do in peru

Head south from Miraflores and you’ll arrive in Barranco, undoubtedly Lima’s “hippest” neighborhood home to artists, squatters, and increasingly the nouveau rich. The district has a back story similar to those of many up-and-coming neighborhoods around the world. To put it shortly, the rich people fled as the expanding city encroached, poor artists and creative types moved in and made it cool, and now they’re slowly being pushed out again as a different kind of rich people buy up the property once more. But for the time being at least, Barranco is still home to galleries, cafes, bars, nightclubs, and everything else you’ll require to pass the time in bohemian bliss.

20. Buy All the Clothing You’ll Ever Need in Gamarra

gamarra - things to do in peru

By far the most “off the beaten path” of our Lima suggestions, the city’s Gamarra district certainly isn’t for everyone–it’s noisy, incredibly crowded, and home to the largest clothing and textile market in Latin America. It’s been estimated that there are over 20,000 shops here, selling everything from t-shirts and jeans to tuxedos and bridal gowns to designer knockoffs to traditional Peruvian garments. If you can’t stand crowds, stay away, but if you’re into clothing or simply enjoy shopping like a local, hold on and get ready for a wild ride.

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