Peru

Things to do in Peru

Visitors wondering what to do in Peru will be hard pressed to run out of options. The country is bursting with activities to discover, food to sample, and sights to take in. Plan on setting aside some time to trek the Inca Trail, a four-day hike that culminates at Machu Picchu and offers sweeping views of the country’s breathtaking topography. The country is a great place for adventure lovers. There are plenty of things to do in Peru that will get your adrenaline pumping, including zip-lining through the jungle, horseback riding on the beach, and biking through the mountains.

For those looking for a less physically taxing vacation, there are plenty of things to do in Peru that don’t require you to break a sweat. The city’s urban centers – primarily its capital, Lima – boast a lively cultural scene, complete with museums featuring local art, crafts fairs and bars and nightclubs. Foodies wondering what to do in Peru are also in luck – the country’s indigenous cuisine is varied and delicious. Don’t leave without sampling ceviche, and as many of the country’s famous desserts as you can get your hands-on.

Ancient silver vessels and stone idols fill one wing; the other provides a survey of more recent history.

More distinctive than the touristed Plaza Mayor is the Palacio de Torre Tagle, a former marquis' mansion. Completed around 1735, its stone arches and airy inner courtyard reference Moorish Spain and are reminiscent of buildings in Andalusia.

The magnificent recently restored mansion of Don Pedro de Osma y Pardo is yet another place to see a rich variety of art and artifacts. Built around 1900, the house was once a stage for the grand lives of Peru's aristocrats.

Mario Testino’s sister, Giuliana, is one of the most talked-about designers in town. Pick up her hand-crocheted clothes. If you don’t like your dress hems short (and these are short), there are also plenty of delicate cardigans, shawls, and capes.

For a fascinating introduction to pre-Columbian life, visit this diminutive museum. The textiles are of particular note; the striped pieces have thread counts in the hundreds and could not be duplicated with modern techniques until recently. Open by appointment only, so call ahead.

Baroque, solemn, and imposing, a relic of the time when the Spaniards used the might of religious architecture to seduce the natives into becoming Catholic.

Peruvian-owned and -operated boutique firm offers trekking outings with access to Andean regions of Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia. T+L Trip pick Lodge to Lodge Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu. Follow the picturesque Salkantay Route to Machu Picchu and stay in luxury lodges.

Located in quiet Pueblo Libre, this museum is known for its unusual collection of erotic pottery, made more than 1,300 years ago.

A minor basilica and museum, this Lima Baroque church was inaugurated in 1672 and is best known for its large system of catacombs. Uncovered in 1943, the subterranean passageways contain hundreds of thousands of bones, some of which are arranged in elaborate geometric patterns.

Spend time between Lima, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu learning from culinary masters. You will make ceviche, or chopped fish with lime juice and spices, and cook pachamanca, or a meat dish, in an earthen oven—all while benefiting local artisans and organic farmers.

The Church of San Pedro Apóstol de Andahuaylillas, sometimes called the Sistine Chapel of the Americas, is currently undergoing restorations with the help of the World Monuments Fund.

The pre-Columbian brick ruins can't compare with Machu Picchu and Cuzco, but the location—in the middle of a modern cityscape—has a surreal appeal.

Owner Mari Solari stocks her shop, which doubles as her residence, with handicrafts from around the country.