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Planning Peru!

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I am working my way up to saving enough money to travel and explore Peru (which has been a life long dream) and I don't really know where to start! It is just a large country and I don't want to miss out on any of the best bits! Does anyone have any advice, suggestions or recommendations for me as to the top places to visit are? I am planning on drawing up a travel route that should take me up and then back down the country from Lima - like a round trip. Any tips would be amazing, thank you!

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    Maria Heather--Hope these tips are amazing:

    Peru has three different terrains or climates, with an almost infinite gradation between them:

    The Pacific Coast, which is mostly at sea level and is largely desert. It runs the length of Peru. There are lots of interesting things along the coast, including colonial cities like Lima and Trujillo, archaeological sites like Chan Chan, Sipan and Nazca and world-class archaeological museums, and the unique natural attractions of the Islas Ballestas and the Paracas Peninsula. And food. . . ! Lima is or is fast becoming one of the culinary capitals of the world.

    The Andes, with an obligatory visit to Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu, and possibly to places farther north like Cajamarca or farther southeast like Lake Titicaca. The Andes run the length of Peru, inland from the coast (obviously). Many, if not most, people, confine their trip to Peru to Cusco and surroundings,despite the fact that Peru has much, much more to offer.

    The Amazon basin, with vast national parks and areas outside the park for exploring. Many people like Manu, which you can reach from Cusco with a tour company.

    I would sample some of each (and have). Get a good guide book--Fodor's is good, and I just bought a used Insight Guide with pictures that made me want to return.

    Post back if you have further questions, or as you get along in your planning.

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