4 Hidden Gems in Peru

 

Peru is world famous for its rich culture and history, particularly with many Inca sites, such as Machu Picchu, and is world famous as a South America Tours destination. Of course there is so much more to this beautiful country and today in this article we will go through some of the alternative places to visit in Peru, so read on to find out more.

 

The other Machu Picchu

Choquequirao is known as the “other” Machu Picchu and actually translated to “cradle of gold” and no Peru Tour should ever be completed without a visit here. It is located about forty kilometres away from Machu Picchu, but has a much more authentic and unexplored feel, especially with a significantly lower number of tourists. The challenge of the hike is something that many experienced travellers will relish in, so make sure you pack some good walking shoes. In the end you will be rewarded by stunning views that go as far as the eye can see, huge canyons, Inca ruins and the feeling of almost total isolation!

Lake_Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

This lake lies between Peru and Bolivia and is about 3800 metres above sea level and is a well known tourist spot, that is generally teeming with tourists. The best way to view the lake is of course in the route less travelled and the best place to do this is at Llachon. This small place is located 80 kilometres of Puno and offers many options for hiking, historic sites and even experiencing the lake from a kayak. This place is a far cry from the other tourist saturated viewing points of the lake and is sure to please someone looking for a bit more peace and quiet.

Kuelap Fortress, 3000 meters (9840 feet) above sea level, is seen in the Andean region of Chachapollas, in this aerial view taken June 25, 2011. The archaeological site of Kuelap, constructed by the pre-Inca Chachapollas community in about 800 AD, consists of more than four hundred buildings with stone walls of heights of up to 19 meters (62 feet). REUTERS/Janine Costa (PERU - Tags: TRAVEL ENVIRONMENT)

Kuelap Fortress

This fortified citadel was built by the Chachapoyas and sits 900 metres above sea level overlooking the Utcubamba Valley in northern Peru. Getting to this magical place is not the easiest, but it sure is worth it, especially with its ruins, which feature huge stone walls (about 600 metres high) and hundreds of small round dwellings that are protected by these walls. Kuelap Fortress is a place that you won’t forget and you can find out more about it here.

 

Cotahuasi Canyon

Cotahuasi Canyon is actually the deepest canyon in the world and of course everyone knows the Grand Canyon in Arizona, but it is interesting to note that it is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon at over 3400 metres deep. Like most destinations in this article, this is not the easiest place to reach and is often ignored for the more travel friendly Colca Canyon. No words could probably accurately describe this amazing place, but there are a multitude of things to enjoy, like waterfalls, alpacas, amazing views and of course hot springs.

Viva La Paz!

Not to be confused with the better-known Bolivian city of the same name, La Paz on the Baja California Peninsula is one of Mexico’s foremost coastal destinations, offering activities to suit even the most adventurous of travellers.

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It’s position on Mexico’s Pacific coast also makes it an ideal stopping place for those heading south from California to enjoy holidays in Central America – with its ferry crossing to Mazatlan allowing you to traverse the Gulf of California and continue your journey overland to Mexico City, and then on to Guatemala and Belize.

If you’d like to find out more about travel through the Baja California Peninsula follow this link, or read on for more information about the fantastic range of things to do there is in La Paz:

Watersports

Being a coastal city situated on sheltered gulf where water temperatures are regularly in the high 20s, one of the most obvious things to do is to get wet!

Depending on your preference, this could be as uncomplicated as putting on your boardshorts or bikini and going for a paddle at one of the region’s many stunning white sand beaches, or as involved as getting fully kitted up for a scuba diving adventure with hammerhead sharks and giant manta rays.

If getting wet is not your thing, but you still like to get out an enjoy the fresh sea breeze, why not cast line and see if you can catch a sea monster or two, including the fabled marlin or a powerful tuna?

Of course, you may just prefer to look at the water, so you can simply slap on the sun lotion (temperatures get well into the 30s in this part of the world, so you’ll need it), roll out your beach towel and lie back on the sand with a cool bottle of cerveza in your hand.

Sightseeing

Being a lively city, La Paz has plenty to keep you occupied away from the beach too. The best place to start is the city’s zocalo (main square), which is at the heart of everything that happens in La Paz.

Surrounded by historic buildings – the Catedral de Nuestra Senora de la Paz; the Library of Regional History of the Californias – this shaded space with a fountain at its centre is a hive of activity. Hang out with the locals, grab a bar in a nearby bar and dine on some delicious locally caught seafood in one of the restaurants.

Day trips

La Paz is also a great base for day trips to other places of interest on the peninsula, including the island of Espiritu Santo – an 11-mile by three-mile desert island rich in biological diversity.

Much like the Galapagos Islands, it is home to a number of endemic species such as the  ring-tailed cat, black jackrabbit and ground squirrel, while its waters are home to more common but no less spectacular species, including turtles, whales and sharks.

Although evidence of human habitation stretches back tens of thousands of years, the only visitors now are adventurers keen to camp in the wilderness or swim with dolphins.

With its stunning weather, beautiful beaches and outdoor activities, La Paz really is a top-class adventure destination, so don’t just fly straight to Mexico City, try the Baja Peninsula out for size.