Introducing Central Highlands
While most travelers to Peru will make a beeline for either Cuzco or the Amazon Basin, the truly curious, adventure spirited and time rich will take a slow, meandering and exploratory look at one of the country’s lesser-known regions – the central Peruvian Andes. While they possess no world-famous sights or ruins or even high-tech tourist centers, the central highlands do offer a glimpse of Peru at it’s most normal. This is the heartland of Andean Peru – its soul, one might say. A place where the Inca spirit lives on in an everyday way.
In this land of bare rocky mountains you’ll find sweeping altiplano (Andean plateau) vistas studded with lakes, glaciers and tiny villages that live as they have done for aeons. You’ll find valleys large and small where people live off the land and off their handicrafts – places where art is not just for tourists with large budgets, but for people of lesser means for whom art is part of their everyday life.
The towns of the central highlands are unprepossessing. They neither deliberately entice tourists nor live off them. Yet the traveler is always given a smiling welcome and is often afforded hospitality beyond the means of the region’s modest-living inhabitants. Festivals, celebrations, customs and traditions thrive. If you want to slip away from the well-trodden Gringo Trail look no further than Peru’s heartland; take the time to explore the central highlands and you will be rewarded more than you might expect.
Backroads & Highlands of Peru
Get off the beaten path in the highlands of Peru and discover stunning mountain scenery and remote cities few tourists visit. Getting to Cuzco is half the adventure—travel by public bus keeps costs down and allows you to connect with the locals in the rarefied mountain air of the Andes. Climb the legendary Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, the 'Lost City of the Incas'.