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Peru

La Sierra, La Selva and La Costa: these are the three regions that characterise Peru, each with their own highlights (literally and figuratively). Join us on an adventure as we explore the highs and lows of the country.

Let’s go!

The Highlands

1,000 to 6,768 metres above sea level

La sierra

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Sky high

Huaraz and Huascarán National Park

The literal high points of Peru are nestled in the Cordillera Blanca, a mountain range that is part of the Peruvian Andes. At its foot lies Huaraz and from this town you can see Peru’s tallest peaks, some of which are over 6,000 metres high. For a closer look at these mountains, head to Huascarán National Park. The park itself sits at an elevation of 2,500 metres and offers sweeping views of Peru’s top attractions. Other highlights are the many glaciers and deep blue lakes that are dotted around the park.

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Marnix Schmidt
Peru 03 Lasierra Hemels 3
Marnix Schmidt
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Peru 04 Lasierra Laguna69 1
Marnix Schmidt

From Huaraz it’s a 3-hour’s drive and then a 2.5-hour’s hike to reach Laguna Sesentinueve. But don’t be discouraged, it is well worth the effort.

Laguna Sesentinueve

69? Bingo!

Laguna Sesentinueve, Spanish for ‘Lake 69’, is just one of the 300 lakes in Huascarán National Park. As you travel through this spectacular landscape you will pass by two other pretty lakes, but they are no match for Laguna Sesentinueve’s beauty. Fed by melted snow, this glacial lake has a hypnotic bright blue colour that forms a stunning contrast to the grey, white and black tones of its surroundings.

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Marnix Schmidt
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The Nazca Lines

Mysterious beauty

There are many different theories about the purpose of the famous Nazca Lines, and some are more credible than others. But the truth is nobody really knows why they exist. Ever since the discovery of these geoglyphs of birds, lamas, jaguars, monkeys, people and flowers, the Nazca Lines have been a major tourist attraction. And rightfully so. An aerial tour of these inexplicable lines is absolutely breathtaking – even more so when you realise they were created more than 2,500 years ago, without a hint of modern technology.


Good to know: the Nazca Lines are not near Huaraz, but are located closer to Pisco and Ica, two larger cities in Peru’s southern coastal region.

The Lowlands

80 to 1,000 metres above sea level

La selva

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Go green

Iquitos

The amazing thing about Peru is that the country has something to offer at every altitude. The landscapes vary greatly from region to region and as a result provide a host of different attractions, food and activities. Visitors to The Lowlands can explore the Amazon rainforest, which practically covers the entire region. Make Iquitos your home base and venture into the jungle accompanied by an experienced guide. 

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Gateway to the Amazon

The largest city in Peru’s Amazon region, Iquitos, lies along the banks of the Amazon, the longest river in the world. A perfect starting point to explore the waterlogged universe of the jungle with its unique flora and fauna. 

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Sail away

The best way to discover the Amazon is by boat. The smaller the boat the better your chances are of spotting caimans, giant river otters and the unique Amazon River dolphins.

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Above the mighty jungle

Get ready to wake up very early and overcome your fear of heights to experience the canopy walk: 30 metres above the jungle floor, you can walk across suspension bridges and explore the canopy of the largest jungle in the world. 

The Coastal Region

From sea level to 80 metres of elevation

La Costa

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Pisco

Perfect starting place

Pisco lies in one of Peru’s lowest regions, only 9 metres above sea level. The city offers plenty of attractions, but it’s also a convenient starting place to explore La Costa, Peru’s long coastline. You’ll find numerous other attractions in its vicinity such as the Paracas National Reserve, the Huacachina Oasis and the Ballestas Islands. But whatever you do, don’t leave Pisco without sampling a Pisco Sour. The region’s signature cocktail is made with Pisco, a local brandy, lime or lemon juice, sugarcane syrup, beaten egg white and bitters. 

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A zoo without fences

Paracas National Reserve and the Ballestas Islands

La Costa concentrates most of the beaches, hotels and restaurants, but the region also harbours significant archaeological finds and impressive natural areas, such as the Paracas National Reserve and the Ballestas Islands. You will likely spot some animals that live nowhere else in the world, such as the Humboldt penguin and the blue-footed booby. And with any luck you may even catch a glimpse of a whale – or its tail.

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Peruvian oasis

Huacachina

The Huacachina Oasis looms like a mirage in the desert. This unique location is only a one-hour’s drive from Pisco. You can spend the night in the adjacent village. Tip: visit the oasis by night. Climb one of the high sand dunes, grab a spot and watch Huacachina in all its glory. During the day, you can sandboard down the dunes or drive through the desert by buggy with a local guide.

A taste of Peru

How about concluding (or starting) your trip to Peru with a taste of all the regions? That is the idea behind Central Restaurante in Lima. Chef Virgilio Martinéz Véliz compiles his menus to take his guests on a journey through Peru’s diverse ecosystems. Using local ingredients, Véliz creates magnificent edible landscapes. This is a one-of-a-kind introduction to a country that brims with (culinary) highlights from top to bottom.

Tip: reserve at least 30 days ahead of time to bag a table at Central.

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Nicholas Gill / Alamy Stock Photo
Peru 15 Central 2
Nicholas Gill / Alamy Stock Photo