Ancient Ruins

Kuélap Perched atop a limestone mountain, this monumental stone-fortified city is the best-preserved site of Chachapoyas.

Cahuachi When in Nazca, it’s worth checking out these expansive 2000-year-old pyramids and other ancient buildings.

Chavín de Huántar Explore the maze of tunnels around the Castillo in these beguiling ruins.

Wari The capital of the empire that ruled the roost in the highlands before the Inca invaded.

Huanuco Viejo Ascend to the high plains above La Unión for an exploration of this extensive Inca settlement.

Caral From its stone pyramids to millennia-old bone flutes, routing through this ancient sight is chilling.

Marcahuamachuco Billed as the Machu Picchu of the north, this unexploited beauty is well worth exploring.

Tambo Colorado An understated gem on the south coast, it’s worth going with a guide for a fuller appreciation.

Hiking

El Clásico The best trek in the Cañón del Colca for seeing a bit of everything except for a paved road.

Ausangate In a stunning arena of tumbling glaciers, turquoise lakes and rural hamlets awaits the most challenging trek in the Cuzco region.

Santa Cruz This five-day favorite journeys through Andean hamlets and valleys, with excellent views of Huascarán, Peru’s highest peak.

Lares Beautiful Andean landscapes are just a by-product, since the main draw here is remote village life in the Sacred Valley.

Quilcayhuanca–Cojup trek No crowds, no pack animals – just you and the spectacular peaks of the Cordillera Blanca in this very challenging trek.

Peruvian Delicacies

Cooking courses Learn from the masters in Arequipa.

Patarashca A seafood jungle dish cooked with tomatoes, sweet peppers, onions, garlic and sascha culantro (native cilantro), wrapped in a bijao leaf.

Chocolate Luxuriant Andean-style hot cocoa is spiked with chilis and honey at Choco Museo.

Picanterias The best of Arequipa’s ultimate salt-of-the-earth restaurants emphasize authenticity and spices.

Belén Mercado Grab a crash course in real Amazonian grub with a trip to this manic floating market – yes, 'grub' as in the insect larvae…

MIL Masterpiece restaurant and food laboratory above the Moray ruins single-handedly bringing back ancient Andean foods.

Time-Traveling Cultures

In Peru, the traditions of indigenous cultures are easily witnessed in many religious or seasonal festivals. To get a more in-depth experience, check out the following.

Colca homestays Rustic homestays in the villages of Sibayo and Yanque offer a taste of rural canyon life.

Weaving villages Cuzco-based tour operators visit the more remote traditional villages around the Sacred Valley.

Nazca Beyond sighting the famous ‘Lines,’ the highly distinctive and colorful pottery amazes too.

Community tourism Live with locals in Amazonian villages at Lago Sandoval and near Yarinacocha.

Inti Raymi This dramatic ancient winter solstice festival culminates in the Sacsayhuaman ruins above Cuzco.

Into the Wild

Potent scenery is not hard to find in Peru, where ecosystems range from parched desert to lush Amazonian rainforest and glaciated Andean peaks.

Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit A 10-day odyssey among alpine lakes with condors circling the 6000m peaks.

The source of the Amazon A three-day hike from the Colca Canyon to the genesis of the world’s longest river.

Cotahuasi A 12-hour road journey from Arequipa lies the world’s deepest canyon.

Choquequirao A remote sister site to Machu Picchu that requires four to five days of hard trekking.

Río Heath Parque Nacional Bahuaja-Sonene is one of Peru’s largest, wildest, most biodiverse regions.

Parque Nacional Manu See scores of animals, from kinkajous to giant anteaters, in this biodiversity haven.

Pisco

Emblematic of Peru, this potent grape brandy is best known in sours but new fusions with jungle fruit and herbs make it even more quaffable. Follow its journey from producer to bartop.

Bodega Tacama Lays on free tours and tastings at its lovely colonial hacienda.

Museo del Pisco A chic Cuzco bar with an encyclopedic list of piscos and original cocktails that wow.

Lima bars Taste pisco sours at its source, El Bolivarcito, or exotic remixes at chic mansion Dada.

Luanahuná Sip industrial-strength pisco at the Bodega Santa Maria – a day trip from Lima.

Chuncho Serves exquisite cocktails with sugarcane spirit Caña Alta, an up-and-coming pisco alternative.