City of Cuzco
Cuzco was originally an Incan city whose appearance has since been transformed by the arrival of the Spanish in the 1500s. Instead of destroying the conquered, ancient city, the Spaniards decided to preserve the infrastructure and build atop the preexisting Incan structures. Today, the city is a bustling cultural center home to over 300,000 people.
Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu
Located high in the mountains of the Urubamba Valley, Machu Picchu is the most well-known symbol of the Incan Empire. Relatively young compared to other indigenous civilizations, the sanctuary was built as late as 1450 and remained inhabited for less than a century. Today, the ruins are a well-preserved collection of temples, parks, and residences.
Chavin (Archaeological Site)
This archaeological site was constructed by a pre-Incan culture around 250BCE is now a well-known protected site located in the Peruvian Andes. The site includes a number of temples, residences, and other structures as well as many uncovered ancient artifacts like tools, pottery, precious metals, and textiles thousands of years old.
Huascarán National Park
Declared a World Heritage Site to protect the flora, fauna, and geological formations, the Huascaran National Park is situated high in the snow covered Peruvian Andes. The park is great for eco-tourism and horseback riding and is an exceptional stop for trekking, attracting hikers of all skill levels.
Chan Chan Archaeological Zone
Once the capital of the pre-Columbian Chimú civilization, this city was built around 850CE and remained strong until its fall to the Incan Empire in the fifteenth century. The city is believed to have once housed as many as 30,000 people and includes ceremonial rooms, burial chambers, temples, reservoirs, and residences as well as impressive artwork carved into the walls.
Manú National Park
Home to some 800 plus different bird species, the Manú National Park is an immense reserve stretching 1.5 million hectares through the country. The tropical areas located at lower elevations are home to many rare species while the park on the whole is home to some of the most impressive biodiversity of any national park in the world.
Historic Centre of Lima
Although the city has experienced a large number of destructive earthquakes, its historic center is today protected for the large number of colonial buildings that make up what was once a very powerful city during Spanish colonization. The convent of San Francisco is one of the largest in existence in this region of the world, and it, along with the many other historic buildings, has attracted tourists from all over the world.
Río Abiseo National Park
This park was declared protected more than twenty years ago in an effort to protect the area’s endangered species. The yellow-tailed woolly monkey was once thought extinct but is now believed to only exist in Río Abiseo. The park is home to many endemic plant and animal species as well dozens of pre-Incan archaeological sites that have been discovered at high altitudes in this region.
Lines and Geoglyphs of Nasca and Pampas de Jumana
Located in a large area of the arid Peruvian desert are the Nazca Lines, created between 500BCE and 500CE, one of archaeology’s greatest wonders. The lines depict living and mythological creatures and other shapes scraped into the earth’s surface that can only be made out from the air. Experts still wonder about the motivation behind the lines as their creators could never see their own work.
Historical Centre of the City of Arequipa
[Famous for its integration of native and colonial architecture and building techniques, the historic center of Arequipa is one of Peru’s many protected gems. The city was once an important mainstay of Peru’s fight for independence from Spain in the early 1800s and is now one of the Peru’s larger cities.