The diverse beauty of Peru in photos

Exploring Machu Picchu, the Amazon, and more

The toughest part of traveling to Peru is deciding what you want to see and do. With an abundance of wildlife, an ever-changing landscape, and a fascinating history, the country offers one of the most diverse travel experiences you will ever have. From the highest peaks of the Andes Mountains to the dense jungles of the Amazon Rainforest, you will be transported to an exotic land of different cultures, habitats, and ecosystems. 

What we love about visiting Peru is the multitude of choices. Whatever type of vacation you want, you can have it. Be it the challenge of hiking the Inca Trail or relaxing on a beach, Peru has it all. We’ve never experienced a country where you can be sweltering in the jungle for a few days and then hop on a flight and see the snowcapped mountains of the Andes mountain range.

Even the cultural experiences change in Peru. While Lima is a cosmopolitan hub of business and commerce, the Quechua people of the Andes still herd llamas and sell arts and crafts, and the tribes of the rainforest live off the land and the fruits of the Amazon River. And how can you forget the ancient Inca civilization? The history is fascinating. We love walking through the ancient cities of Machu Picchu and Ollantaytambo to learn about the people, but also take in the views of the incredible mountain landscapes. Peru is truly beautiful. 

We could tell you all about it, but a picture really is worth a thousand words. We gathered many images from our travels through the country. On our first visit, we focused on the Sacred Valley, the desert dunes of Huacachina, and the coast. Our next visit took us into the Amazon and more of Lima. We saw diverse wildlife—from species in the rainforest to marine life similar to what you’d see in the Galápagos. But instead of having us go on and on, sit back and relax, grab a cup of rich South American coffee, and enjoy a visual journey through one of the most diverse countries in the world.

Looking for a little more action? Check out our picks for six active adventures in Peru

Penguins of Peru

Penguins of Peru

We bet you didn’t know that Peru had penguins. We didn’t know before our travels there. But off the southern coast of the country, there’s a group of islands known as Islas Ballestas. These islands are a sanctuary for marine species like blue-footed boobies and the incredibly cute Humboldt penguins.

Fur seals

Fur seals

Penguins aren’t the only things you’ll see on Islas Ballestas. An abundance of fur seals and sea lions call this land home. Take a two-hour boat tour out to the islands to get a taste of what a trip to the Galápagos would be like.

Candelabra

Candelabra

The Nazca Lines of Peru are ancient geoglyphs found in the desert. If you can’t make the flight over the lines, the next best thing is the “candelabra” found at Pisco Bay. This massive 600-foot-tall formation cut deep into the sand dates back to 200 BC. What’s fascinating is that it has stood the test of time, surviving through erosion, storms, wind, and rain.

Desert dunes

Desert dunes

Did you know that Peru has some of the highest desert dunes in the world? Set up shop in the oasis of Huacachina and spend a few days exploring the incredible sand dunes by dune buggy or sandboarding. It’s the perfect place to relax and recharge while watching the sun go down as you enjoy a delicious pisco sour.

Lima

Lima

Peru isn’t all about desert landscape and wildlife; the city of Lima is an urban metropolis that makes for a great city adventure. In the beautiful coastal suburb of Miraflores you can enjoy drinks overlooking the sea, or you can go into the historic center of Lima to view the incredible Spanish architecture and churches.

Catacombs

Catacombs

Lima’s historic center has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site due to places like the Monastery of San Francisco’s catacombs, which date back to 1673. If you thought Paris was the only place to explore catacombs, think again. The thousands of bones on display deep in the dungeons are darker, dustier, and eerier than the famous crypts of Paris.

Shopping

Shopping

A vacation wouldn’t be complete without shopping. Check out the many markets in Peru. There’s everything from shopping malls to pedestrian streets lined with shops. What do you buy? We suggest a poncho, a pan flute, some silver bracelets, or some famous Peruvian pottery.

Amazon jungle

Amazon jungle

We didn’t make it to the Amazon during our first trip to Peru, so we made sure our next trip was all about visiting the world’s largest rainforest.

Wildlife

Wildlife

Peru is one of the most biologically diverse landscapes in the world. There are species of plant and wildlife found only in the Peruvian jungle. Jaguars, monkeys, and sloths may be the star attraction, but don’t forget about the tiny tree frog.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

We know you’ve been waiting for it. How could we take so long to mention Peru’s most famous site? Yes, Machu Picchu is a must when visiting the country. And while you are there, make sure to say hello to the resident llamas.

Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo

Machu Picchu isn’t the only Inca site in the country. The Sacred Valley is filled with ancient cities. Ollantaytambo is a popular archaeological site just an hour outside of Cuzco. During the height of the Inca Empire, it was a royal estate. Unlike Machu Picchu, people still inhabit Ollantaytambo.

Cuzco

Cuzco

Cuzco is another UNESCO World Heritage site and the jumping-off point for exploring Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. It was once the capital of the Inca Empire, so it is fitting that it should be the first stop for exploring the history of the area.

Music

Music

Everywhere you go in Peru, you will have the privilege of listening to talented musicians. It’s a musical culture, and an evening out wouldn’t be complete without watching bands play classical South American tunes.

Culture

Culture

There are many indigenous cultures in Peru, from the nomadic tribes of the Amazon basin to the Quechua culture of the Andes. The people of Peru are friendly and welcoming. If you travel there, take the time to learn about the specific culture of the region you are visiting.

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The Planet D

Dave and Deb wrapped up their tenure as Expedia Viewfinder bloggers at the end of 2015. They continue to inspire adventure in everyone. They've spent 8 of their 15 years of marriage exploring more than 100 countries on all 7 continents inspiring their international audience to follow their dreams and push their boundaries. Dave and Deb prove that ordinary people can live extraordinary lives. As spokespeople and brand ambassadors, The Planet D have had the opportunity to work with some of the world’s top companies and have spoken around the globe about pursuing passion and what it takes to make it happen.They've appeared regularly on TV and have been featured in such publications as The National Post, BBC Travel, and National Geographic.

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