Located in South America, Peru is a country with a very rich history and biodiversity, in addition to being a basin for many cultures that still coexist today.
One of the most coveted destinations in all of South America comes complete with breathtaking fortresses built by the Incas, soaring cloud forests, the snow‑topped Andes, the dusty Atacama and the misty Amazon rainforest alike 😍.
No wonder there are lot of hidden gems in Peru with veritable wealth of must‑see spots 🤩.
Lima is the capital of Peru, a bustling city, where authentic Peruvian culture can be breathed in every corner: a rich gastronomic tradition, terracotta pottery, textiles and musical instruments, as well as local drinks and customs are everywhere in the city. The locals will tell you the most magical stories of each of them..... take your time, it will be worth it!
Peru was also the heart of the Inca empire, the largest in pre-Columbian America, and still offers many sites and places that testify to a history as ancient as the famous Machu Picchu citadel or the city of Cusco. The nature is without voice even in Peru. The countless natural reserves are open to tourists and offer a great biodiversity of fauna and flora. Interestingly, the more nature is involved, the more cultures meet: local villages and towns are still found in the Andes, in the jungle and along the many rivers. More than 40 languages are officially recognized in Peru and most of them are spoken in these regions, although Spanish is the most spoken.
Let’s explore the 7 best hidden gems in Peru you should visit now :
1- Machu Picchu - Aguas Calientes
MACHU PICCHU is one of those fascinating places that you CAN’T MISS !! 🇵🇪🏔
But ! you need to be aware of some things before your visit :
You have to print your entrance ticket 🎫 before !
Take your camera to capture this beautiful place and some snacks (on site it’s very expensive 💸)
April and October are the best time to visit Machu Picchu (Sun shine’s all day ☀️)
There are several alternatives to go to Machu Picchu, the best known are the following:
- Salkantay Trekking - 5 days and 4 nights excursion covering 70 kilometers until the arrival to Machu Picchu . This is one of the most difficult routes because it crosses very high mountains like the Salkantay Pass, the highest point located at 4,650 meters above sea level. To get to Machupicchu, pass through the city of Aguas Calientes. The route is free, so you can do it with a tour or alone.
- Trekking Lares - Excursion of 4 days and 3 nights that covers 32 kilometers until reaching Machu Picchu by the last train trip from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes. Tour of the rich Andean landscapes of countries with very marked traditions. For this reason, it is known as the "cultural" route to Machupicchu. It is an open path so it can also be done with a tour or alone.
- Trekking Huchuy Qosqo - 3 days 2 nights excursion covering only 17 kilometers until you arrive at Machu Picchu with the last train trip to Aguas Calientes. It owes its name to the visit to the archaeological site of Huchuy Qosqo. It is one of the easiest routes in Cusco, so it is most recommended to do it with children or elderly people. It can be done with or without a tour (alone).
- Inca Jungle - Excursion of 4 days and 3 nights in which trekking and adventure sports are practiced until reaching Machu Picchu through the jungle region of Cusco (hydroelectric road). On the way, cycling, trekking, canoeing and afternoon rest at the Cocalmayo Spa. This ride must be done with a tour to complete the sports safely.
Inca Trail - 4 days and 3 nights Excursion of 39 km that crosses the historical paths used by the Incas (qhapac ñan) to reach Machu Picchu. In the last section, you arrive to Intipunku (Sun Gate) from where you have a first panoramic and impressive view of the Inca wonder. It is the only way that enters Machupicchu in this way. It is considered the best trek in Cusco and Peru.
2- Uros, Lake Titicaca
A visit to Lake Titicaca is not complete without a trip to one of the floating islands, the Uros Islands (usually included in tours purchased in Puno).
These small islands are made by the Uros population, about a thousand people, with totora, a plant so versatile that it can also be used to build houses and boats.
“Kamisaraki, Kamisaraki” is how you’ll be greeted by the Uros families when your boat approaches the small reed island 👋
Several towns and villages dot the shores of Lake Titicaca, but even more unique are its island inhabitants and occupants 👩👩👧👦
3- Huacachina, Ica
Huacachina, probably the most enchanting oasis in the world ! The desert oasis of Peru, is a lagoon surrounded by the highest sand dunes in South America.
This enchanting oasis is located in the district of Ica, near the main attractions of southern Peru such as the Ballestas Islands, the Parcas reserve, the Nazca lines, often overlooked by those who arrive in Lima, to continue directly to Arequipa or Cusco.
From an oasis where you can laze lazily in the shade of palm trees, Huacachna has quickly become the capital of sand sports. Sand-boarding, that is to say, going down the dunes while balancing on a surfboard, and dune-buggy, going up the dunes and running on the sand with cars transformed for this kind of acrobatics, are now the main activities of the oasis, replaced at night by noisy parties.
So if you have an idyllic idea of Huacachina, don't even go there, unless you find yourself spending the middle of the week in the off season.
If, on the other hand, you want to release the adrenaline in your body, welcome to Huacachina!
4- Salineras de Maras or Maras Salt Mines
A tour of the Sacred Valley is an essential part of your exploration of the Inca Heartland in Peru. 🦙
The Sacred Valley of the Incas is a territory full of incredible landscapes and unique archaeological sites. Indeed, there are many ruins to visit and mountainsides to trek, but one intriguing sight not to be missed are the **ancient salt pans**, known as the Maras Salt Mines, or Salineras de Maras.
Strategically dug into the mountainside, thousands of shallow pools filled with salt water. The Salineras de Maras are made up of more than 3,000 natural salt wells near the town of Maras. Each of the wells is 5 square meters in size.
The 3,000 pools are fed by a hypersaline underground spring that originated 110 million years ago during the formation of the Andes.
Currently, these natural salt pools attract hundreds of tourists. The view of this landscape is magnificent, most tourists do not know the secret way that allows you to arrive behind the mines, but stay high just to take pictures from afar! With Travel Differently we make you discover this place out of the tourist crowd, you will be able to walk between the terraces!
Eventually, they evaporate and leave behind crystallized salt. These salt pans have been in operation for more than 500 years. To this day, they are mined by local families for their special, beloved Peruvian pink salt.
5- Nevado ausangate
One of the highest mountains in Peru: 6,372 meters (20,905 feet) ! 🏔️ And you can climb it ! 😱
Ausangate is one of the most challenging hikes around Cusco but at the same time one of the most rewarding in sense of scenery. 😍
This exhilarating adventure for both mind and body will leave you spellbound. Hiking the Ausangate trail is to find peaceful contemplative moments and be into nature to feel its energy, as well as to mingle with locals rather than the tourist crowds 🙌🏻.
Some information about the trek to Nevado Ausangate:
- Total distance: about 70 KM
- Average altitude: over 4'000 m
- Highest passes: Arapa pass - 4'850 m; Palomani pass 5'165 m
This trek requires good physical performance and training as it is a high mountain trek with steep ascents and descents.
It is highly recommended to go with an agency because of the difficulty, do not hesitate to contact us here if you want to do it!
6- Rainbow Mountain
This beautiful place was unknown before 2015 ! 🌈⛰️ And we know who made the first expedition, is our partner, Matt Waugh ! 🤫 (our first ecotour partner!)
Once you land in Cusco, you will be over 3,600 meters above sea level 😱 But the peak of Rainbow Mountain is even higher, at 5200 meters above sea level, a magical place hidden up in the sky! 🙌🤩
For more and more travellers, it has become a must in Peru, almost as much as Machu Picchu.
7- Aguas turquesa de Huancaraylla
Have you ever heard of these natural pools with intense turquoise water ? THIS RIVER IS NOT WELL DOCUMENTED AND DOESN’T EVEN HAVE AN OFFICIAL NAME! 😮
So finding this location is not an easy task.
Located in the center of Peru in one of the "most dangerous" zones according to some sites, it is also a place very little known by foreign tourists.
This paradisiac place is worth the detour ! The nature is king, the water is freezing but it doesn't matter because of its splendor, the walk to reach it is easy and exotic !
After doing some deep research, you can find a spot on Google Maps marked as “Aguas De Huancaraylla”. This hidden paradise is worth a shot !😍
Let's explore the HIDDEN GEMS IN PERU !
They are many hidden gems inPeru that are worth exploring. These locations are off the beaten track and offer a unique experience for those who want to get away from it all. They are perfect for responsible travelers who wish to have real, off-the-beaten-path experiences while on a road trip to Peru!
We are here to assist you in planning your vacation in advance if you wish to visit Peru with this attitude.