By Gel Evangelista (Guest Alpaca Blogger)
There are times when the hunt for adventure will bring us to a trail of new places that have yet to be appreciated by everyone. Most will go to big cities in Europe and the United States, but what they don’t know is that there is more to explore in the Southern part of the Americas. One good example for this is Peru – a perfect mix of old cultures and new perspectives. Despite its modernization, it is gaining popularity because of the ancient ruins that once were the centers of civilization. If you are a history buff who wants to explore a new country, then this is the place to be! Let’s get to know some of these attractions that will surely keep you on your toes as your travel around the wonders of Peru.
Explore the City of Cusco
In the Southeastern part of Peru, there is a thriving city called Cusco. It was once the capital city of the powerful Inca Empire until they were conquered by the Spaniards during the 16th century. From then until now, the Spanish influence on the city is still quite evident, making it a very quaint but beautiful place. Last 1983, it was declared as a World Heritage Site, making it one of the most important tourist sites that all history buffs must visit during a trip to Peru. Imagine exploring the whole town while learning about each corner’s history and how they came to be the way they are now.
Everyone has heard about this historical site, but only a few have really set their sights on this majestic wonder. When you come to Peru, it is a must to include Machu Picchu in your itinerary. Built in the 15th century as a sacred hidden city in the mountainous areas near Urubamba River, it gives of a mystical sort of vice for those who visit for the first time. It was only discovered again in 1901 and ever since then, it has opened its doors to tourists. It is mostly compared to the mystical city of El Dorado. Marvel at the sight of clouds covering the valley on a good day – yet another feature which makes this place even more appealing.
Visit the Capital of Peru – Lima
The capital of Peru is the perfect blend of old and modern. The Spanish influence in the culture is still evident in today’s world because of the existing baroque structures like the famous Lima Cathedral. Mainly because of its Spanish roots, this is in the city’s Plaza Mayor, and beside it is the archbishop’s palace. It was originally completed in 1538 and renovated several times to the structure that you see now. Since it is a place of worship, there is no entrance fee for this place so make sure to include it in your itinerary.
Go to Chan Chan in La Libertad
Perfect for a day trip, take time to explore Chan Chan – once considered as the biggest cities in South America. It is located in the Northern part of Peru and was famous for being the capital of the Chimor Empire which lasted 900AD to 1470. Today, it is a vast archeological site that is being preserved by the Peruvian government. It was declared as a World Heritage Site as well on 1986. This makes it more exciting to visit. Not only will it be a beautiful sight to behold, but each corner will also have its own history to share.
Also known as the Sacred Valley of the Incas, this tourist attraction is one of the biggest hits for those who are visiting Peru. Millions of tourists come here as a side trip after visiting the city of Cusco because of its near proximity. The Incas were quite particular about their locations when it comes to different aspects in life, and this was no exception. This place was their heartland because of the fertile soil which allowed them to plant and harvest Maize – one of their most important crops. From then until now, it has retained its natural beauty so take a step to veer off from your gadgets during your visit and enjoy the view!
Arequipa’s Historical City Center
There is definitely no shortage of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Peru. Arequipa is the perfect product when local masons work together with European designs. It’s no wonder the city is well-planned and looks breathtaking from every angle. Most buildings are made from sillar (pink volcanic rock), and this uniformity adds a bit of charm to ambience of the whole city. Visitors can take a walk and visit famous spots like the Plaza Mayor and the Monasterio de Santa Catalina. You’ll definitely see the heavy influence of Spain in the architecture, culture, and also the local hospitality.
An oasis in the Sand Dunes – Huacachina
For those seeking out a unique experience without sacrificing the quality of their trip, then it’s time to head to Huacachina. It is literally an oasis surrounded by sand dunes. Located in the Southwestern part of Peru in Ica Province, many tourists come to this place to see and enjoy the activities that it has to offer. Huacachina was built to surround a tiny natural lake in the sand dunes, and this gamble has paid off because it is a sight to behold amidst the brown surroundings. Try out sandboarding or take a ride on one of the dune buggy rides – better known locally as areneros.
Is there any doubt with regards to the legitimacy of Peru as a great travel destination? Some might not have discovered the attractions here yet, but it’s about time to immerse yourself into the time of ancient civilizations and how they their relics have survived throughout the millennia. By visiting the cities in Peru, you will get a glimpse of how people of long ago have flourished. If you are on a mission to tick off some things on their bucket list, then Peru should be considered as your next destination!