10 Reasons To Visit Peru

Amantica Lodge

Do you ever really need another reason to visit one of South America’s most fascinating countries? Nonstop flights, fabulous festivals, and adventure tours in the spectacular Sacred Valley are just a few reasons to book a trip to Peru now. Few South American countries put such a diverse range of experiences—rugged coastline, epic mountains, cultural excursions, and serious adventure—on the same plate.—Terry Ward

Sky Lodge Adventure Suites

Sleep slung from a cliff under a sky full of stars

WHERE: Urubamba-Ollantaytambo, Peru

People with a fear of heights need not to apply to the serious adventures-in-sleeping that await at the Sky Lodge Adventure Suites in Peru’s Sacred Valley. Clear sleeping capsules made from polycarbonate and aluminum hang off sheer Andean cliffs some 1,300 feet above the valley. There’s only one way into them, and that’s up! You reach the capsules via a dizzying hike or, scarier still, a Via Ferrata—a steel ladder mounted into the cliff face that ventures vertically for 400 feet. After a restful (or, more likely, restless) night comes a thrilling descent—a zipline ride from your sky-high bed back down to reality.

Insider tip: Bring eyeshades—there’s nothing to keep the morning sun from streaming straight into your transparent sleeping pod.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Cusco and the Sacred Valley Guide

SUMAQ MACHU PICCHU HOTEL

Learn to mix a proper pisco sour

WHERE: Aguascalientes

You’ve got to love a hotel that includes a mixology class and ceviche-making lessons with your room rate. And that’s just the case at the Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel in Aguascalientes, the gateway to the ancient Incan ruins. After a day exploring Machu Picchu, settle in for a fun session with the hotel’s bartenders and chefs, where you’ll learn how to get the egg white foam just right for Peru’s national cocktail. You’ll also be taught how to prepare a perfectly balanced leche de tigre for your ceviche (and indulge in the fruits of your labor).

Insider tip: Airport duty-free shops sell all the pisco (a brandy-like liquor) you’ll need to bring home for your own bar stash. Wait until the end of your trip to buy it.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Aguascalientes Guide

The Sacred Heartbeat

Go on an Adventure with a side of Luxury

Guid     WHERE: Sacred Valley, Peru

Libertador Hotels, Resorts & Spas sends guests off on fantastic three-day adventures dubbed “The Sacred Heartbeat” that include mountain biking with Andes views, kayaking in Piuray or Huaypo lake, and hiking in some of the most spectacular parts of the Sacred Valley. In between activities, you’ll visit the terraced wonders of the Maras salt mines and ancient Incan agricultural circles of Moray. The best part? After a day out in all that sensory-overload nature, you’ll get to relax in one of Libertador’s luxury hotels in Cusco or Urubamba.

Insider tip: Follow the locals’ lead and stave off altitude sickness in these parts with frequent refills of coca-leaf tea.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Cusco Guide

Amantica Lodge

Cruise to an eco-lodge on a private island

WHERE: Lake Titicaca, Peru

As if you needed another reason to feast your eyes on Lake Titicaca—the highest commercially navigable body of water in the world that straddles Peru and Bolivia at an elevation of 12,500 feet—a luxe hotel is luring guests. The Amantica Lodge, located on an island in the lake, is only accessible by a three-hour boat ride. You’ll feel at least a universe away from anything remotely resembling the real world here. Coca leaf readings, kayaking, hiking, and pachamama ceremonies (offerings to mother earth) are among the lodge’s activities.

Insider tip: Plan an evening with the resort’s astronomy specialists for nighttime views to blow your mind.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Lake Titicaca Guide

Courtesy of Inkaterra Hotels

Enjoy Luxury in the Andes

WHERE: Urubamba, Peru

Within easy striking distance of Cusco, the Maras salt mines, and Machu Picchu, the Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba in the Sacred Valley is worthy of its otherworldly Andean setting. The experience here is an exclusive one, with nightly cocktail hour, birding excursions, and tours of ecological farms included in your room rate. All 36 rooms (some with fireplaces) have spectacular Andes views, blankets made from baby alpaca wool, and lush Pima cotton sheets to make sure you’re bedded down in ultimate comfort.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Urubamba Guide

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Travel without a layover

WHERE: Lima

The newly combined brand of LAN and TAM, LATAM Airlines Group launched a new nonstop flight from Washington Dulles International Airport to Lima, Peru, in May 2016, with roundtrip prices around the $600 mark. With three flights weekly, the route is the first to connect the nation’s capital with the land of the Incas, with a total flying time of roughly 7.5 hours (you nod off to sleep in the northeast and wake up in South America). From Lima, LATAM offers easy connections to Peru’s tourism hotspots like Cusco as well as 15 additional destinations in Peru and elsewhere in South America.

Insider Tip: Spend your first night in Lima in style at the Westin Lima Hotel,  a contemporary high-rise with dazzling views of the San Isidro district.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Peru Guide

Libertador Hotels, Resorts & Spas

Feast on Local Food with Andes views

WHERE: Urubamba, Peru

Since Incan times, farming has been a major activity in the Urubamba Valley, where over 200 varieties of corn and some 350 varieties of quinoa are grown. You can taste the fruits of all that fertile soil with some of the most unbelievable scenery (the Andes and the rushing Urubamba River) as a backdrop during riverside lunches at Tambo del Inka hotel. Chefs prepare an alfresco spread of dishes with freshly caught river trout, locally produced cheese, and bountiful fruits and vegetables (arugula, corn, squash, strawberries, and more) grown just a few yards from where you dine. A chef-led tour of the hotel’s gardens is included, too.

Insider tip: Keep an eye out for exotic drinks made from quinoa at Tambo del Inka’s excellent breakfast buffet.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Urubamba Guide

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Catch an urban wave in Lima

WHERE: Lima

Peru’s surf-rich Pacific coast has long lured those looking to hang ten in an exotic locale, but you don’t have to know what you’re doing to try the sport right in Peru’s busy capital. The instructors at Pukana Surf School—located on Makaha Beach in the city’s stylish Miraflores district—will get you paddling out in no time. There are no currents or rocks on the beach here, making it a great place to learn. And if you already know the ropes, you can rent boards and wetsuits (remember, the Pacific is chilly!) right onsite.

Insider tip: After your lesson, head to the Miraflores Boardwalk, a great spot for watching the sun set in a ball of flames over the Pacific.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Lima Guide

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Admire Ancient Artifacts

WHERE: Lima

Even if museums aren’t your thing, a visit to this spectacular private collection of pre-Columbian artifacts that spans 3,000 years of history is a wondrous experience. Housed inside an 18th-century ranch house that’s covered nearly to the rooftop in bougainvillea, the collection includes pottery masterpieces, exquisite gold masks, children’s burial shrouds complete with mummies inside, and a vast array of beaded gold and silver jewelry. A separate erotic gallery is worth an ogle, too, for its vast array of vessels and sculptures depicting ancient erotic themes.

Insider tip: The museum’s café is a popular lunch spot for locals, with tasty ceviches and pisco sours among the contemporary offerings.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Lima Guide

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Unleash your inner earth goddess

WHERE: Throughout Peru

Home to a wealth of traditions, Peru is one of South America’s most exciting countries for experiencing a local festival nearly every month of the year. Dia de la Pachamama (Mother Earth day) takes place in early August in and around Cusco and features cultural ceremonies where locals bury food, throw candy, and, sometimes, sacrifice guinea pigs that outsiders are invited to watch. Fiesta del Inti Raymi, also in Cusco, is the Festival of the Sun, held in June to celebrate the winter solstice with music, dance, and parades. There’s also Carnaval in February and March, and Semana Santa (Holy Week) in March and April.

Insider tip: Book well in advance and look for hotels outside of Cusco and other tourism centers for the best deals during festival periods.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Peru Guide

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