Beyond Machu Picchu: The Best Kept Secrets in Peru
Everyone who plans a trip to Peru immediately thinks about making arrangements to see Machu Picchu.
While any trip to Peru would certainly be incomplete without a trip to Machu Picchu, the country offers many more beautiful sights, and you would be missing out on a lot if you kept your sights so narrow.
Extraordinary Peru Tour Destinations
Not sure which destinations should be on your radar? Here are some of the best-kept secrets in Peru that you might want to consider adding to your trip to Peru:
Maras Salt Pans
The Maras Salt Pans are located within the Sacred Valley, which is rich in natural beauty, history, and culture. While salt pans themselves might not seem like a very alluring attraction, what makes the Maras Salt Pans special are the natural, geometric patterns that form as a result of the spring dating back to the 1400s that feeds into pools on the side of the valley. The locals scrape up the salt left behind after the spring recedes and the water evaporates.
National Geographic named the Maras Salt Pans tour one of the world’s top 20 dream hikes, thanks to the unique scenery.
The Moonstone Trek follows a 25-mile route above the Sacred Valley and goes through several pre-Inca archeological sites. The trek follows in the footsteps of the ancient Incas, so you can really get a feel for how these historical people lived. You can imagine yourself living as they lived, traveling through the Valley in search of food or other resources.
This trek also allows you to enjoy views of Mount Veronica, to visit local Andean people, and to pass through working farms.
The Choquequirao ruins may not have the same notoriety as Machu Picchu, but they are also quite awe-inspiring. Standing right near the city of Cusco, rated one of the best family destinations in Peru, you can take a trek to Choquequirao that lets you tour the ruins while also visiting remote villages, exploring mountain trails, and experiencing the Apurimac canyon, which is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States.
You’ll marvel at the intensity of the turquoise color of the beautiful Humantay Lake. The scenic lake lays quietly against a backdrop of mountains and nearby snow-covered glaciers. You can explore the flora and fauna, spot beautiful birds and other wildlife, and take hikes through the nearby mountains.
Lake Titicaca is world-famous for its many floating islands and its expansive, navigable surface area. You can hike around the lake and explore the natural wildlife and local communities, or you can go on the water to explore the lake geography and learn about the communities on the islands. Some of the local people even open their homes to tourists for overnight stays.
Like its name suggests, this famous mountain offers an array of dazzling colors that you’ll have to see in person to really believe. Not only are there multiple colors embedded in the rock of this mountain, but the colors are also separated by arched bands. You’ll think you’re looking at some kind of earthen rainbow when you stand before this mountain. Hike nine miles to peak elevation, or trek at lower elevations.
Wanay Wayna means “forever young” in the local tongue, and it’s the name of an Incan ruin located on the Inca Trail leading to Machu Picchu. The ruins are built into a steep hillside, and they overlook the Urubamba River, providing stunning vistas. The ruins include homes that connect to one another through staircases and fountains, as well as agricultural terraces.
The Moray ruins sit atop a high plateau at about 3,500 meters within the Sacred Valley. The ruins feature circular terraces that are depressed in the ground – some as much as 30 meters deep. What’s even more fascinating than the way these ruins look is trying to figure out why they were created in the first place. Some of the depressions are so deep that there is a temperature difference of 15 degrees Celsius between the surface and the bottom.
Phuyupatamarca means “city above the clouds,” and when you look at it, you’ll understand why. This archeological site along the Inca Trail sits at about 3,600 meters above sea level, and it rests on a series of earthen steps in the hillside. There are five stone baths within the ruins that are filled with constant fresh, running water during the wet season. You can hike to the ruins and explore the local countryside at the same time.
Ollantaytambo is known as the best example of an intact Incan village. It still contains waterways that run through the town, showing visitors how the ancient people once got the clean water they needed for bathing, cleaning, and cooking. The village is steeped in history, having once been the royal estate of an emperor during the Incan Empire and having served as a stronghold for the leader of the Inca resistance during the Spanish conquest of Peru. You’ll love exploring the village and learning about all the people who once lived there.
Take Guided Tours of Peru Destinations
You can take any number of guided tours in Peru to help you reach new heights and expand your experiences to places you’ve never been! From the archeological site of Phuyupatamarca to the gorgeous scenery of the Rainbow Mountain, no matter which destination you choose, it will be the experience of a lifetime. For help deciding which tour to take first, contact Guiding Peru to find the right guided hiking tour in Peru! Start planning your trip today!
The Best Kept Secrets in Peru for You to Explore!
Take in all that Peru has to offer with these best kept secrets. After all, Peru isn’t just about the hot tourist spots! Find what all there is to see in this amazing country!
Last modified: May 15, 2019