Of all the spectacular sites on the South American continent, Peru is home to quite a few of them. Located in the heart of the Andes Mountains and with a long coastline on the Pacific Ocean, it should surprise no one that Peru is one of the most picturesque countries in the world. The entire country is gorgeous, and there are several sites in Peru that every world traveler should make it a point to visit.
Any trip to Peru must include a visit to Machu Picchu, which is one of the world's most iconic landmarks. Everyone has certainly seen pictures of the mountain that centuries ago acted as the estate of the Incan emperor Pachacuti, but seeing it in person will have your jaw on the ground in absolute astonishment. There's no substitute for being able to see Machu Picchu in person, as all the pictures in the world don't do it a justice. The ruins of the old Incan civilization are one of the most important historical and architectural sites in the world, and should be the top priority of anyone traveling to Peru.
Vinicunca Mountain truly shows off Peru's beauty. It's affectionately nicknamed Rainbow Mountain for its extraordinary color pattern. Rainbow Mountain is located in the Willkanuta mountain range, which is a branch of the Andes. Just getting there generally takes six days of travel through the Ausangate Trek. Obviously, getting that is quite the journey, but few who have made the trip regret doing so, as Rainbow Mountain is one of most unique geological features on the planet.
Another Incan site in Peru that bears some resemblance to Machu Picchu is Choquequirao. The highlight of Choquequirao is the truncated hilltop known as Sunch'u Pata, which is where the Incan ruins sit. The ruins include terraces, palaces, and temples that are intricately laid out. Of course, getting there requires a two-day hike, but in the mountainous setting there are plenty of breath-taking views to enjoy along the way, making the journey part of the destination and well worth the effort.
All photos courtesy of Ayni Peru
One final place on the must-see list in Peru is Ausangate, a mountain in the same range as Rainbow Mountain. You won't find any rainbow rock formations in Ausangate, but you will be privy to views of snow-capped mountains that sit above the green countryside below. This part of Peru is filled with mountainous trails for hiking, including "the road of the Apu Ausangate," which is one of the best-known treks in the country, offering a tour of a region with great beauty and diverse geological features that you have to see to believe.
In addition to the amazing sites you can see in Peru, you can also have a genuine and authentic experience while visiting the country through home stays. A home stay allows you to live alongside the Peruvian people anywhere in the country, from large cities to remote villages. You will eat authentic Peruvian meals, learn about the lives of people who live in the Andes, and be fully entrenched into the culture of Peru in a way you can't imagine without experiencing it firsthand.