Among the greatest tourist destinations in this world, there are some that everyone knows and can easily reach them by modern transportation, making for completely mundane experiences, and then there are those that people dream about, those that few know and have discovered along the years, still bearing a certain unique charm, true testaments to the mysteries and treasures that the Earth still bears for humans. Such an authentic and fascinating destination is Peru, a country often overlooked, but holding an overwhelming amount and variety of beautiful things to see, to know and to do. Perched between the South Pacific Ocean and the tall peaks of the Andes Mountains in Western South America, Peru is mostly known for its ancient civilizations and its cultural heritage, but it is an enchanting destination from all points of view, from nature to culture and from people to wildlife. Getting to know Peru cannot be achieved through travel books of photos, but by trekking its land on foot, seeing and understanding its culture and its enchanting scenery.
From the shores and beaches of the Pacific to the highest peaks of the Andes and the lush jungle of the Amazonian basin, Peru is diverse and rich in attractions, both natural and cultural. The Andes Mountains offer some of the wildest and most remote hikes and treks in the world, with routes that pass through amazingly beautiful landscapes. Descending towards the sea, the snow transforms into green forests and then dry deserts towards the sea, while on the other side, the dense Amazonian jungle is filled with a vibrant wildlife and small traditional tribes. But surely the most famous attraction of Peru is the magnificent ancient site of Machu Picchu, also known as the Lost City of the Incas, its location, wealth, architecture, history and other characteristics. Unseen from the surrounding valleys, the city is perched on top of high mountain, having all the resources for survival and prosperity. Peru has many other such sites, reminders of the ancient civilizations which flourished throughout the territory, like the Inca, Nazca, Chavin, Paracas, Wari and others.
Marked by the Spanish conquest and rule for hundreds of years, Peru still offers sites reminding of the old civilizations, making it a completely complex experience, where one can discover the marks and signs of thousands of years. Near the Machu Picchu site, the Sacred Valley of the Incas has plenty of landmarks and attractions to offer an unforgettable journey through time. The ancient city of Cuzco also presents many traces of Inca and Spanish colonial times, with its famous Plaza de Armas in the center, as well as the traditional artisans selling Peruvian handicrafts. Also extremely intriguing and sought after by mystery lovers, the Nazca lines have captured the imagination of thousands of travelers. There are countless more landmarks and attractions in Peru, including the charming Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca and its artificial islands, Arequipa and its old Santa Catalina Monastery, the Peruvian Amazon jungle, the beaches of Mancora, the ancient adobe city of Chan Chan and many others, many of them situated along fascinating trekking routes, the most famous and popular being the unforgettable Inca Trail.
Although there are many other different treks available in Peru, many of them equally enchanting and rewarding, there is none as known and sought after as the Inca Trail, a veritable time travel opportunity, taking tourists through the remarkable Inca culture. For those travelers passionate about history and long lost empires, this might as well be the best trail in the world, a unique occasion to walk on the footsteps of the Inca emperors and marvel before their most impressive and daring masterpieces, ruins of old cities and settlements. All these while being surrounded by some extraordinary and breathtaking landscapes of the Andes Mountains and the Rio Urubamba valley. The destination of the four day trek is the amazing city of Machu Picchu and travelers spend the time between the campsites discovering other Inca ruins such as Llactapata, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarka and others, all of them located at over 2,000 meters altitude, veritable journeys above the clouds. This is not the only way to reach the Golden Gate and Macchu Picchu, but it is definitely the most enjoyable.
Still in the high Andes Mountains and around the Inca sites, the Lares Trek still ends in Machu Picchu, but takes on a different route, following the Sacred Valley and throwing in the high snowy ridges of the Andes and its unique scenery. The Salkantay Trek also ends in Machu Picchu but follows a more modern way of discovery, using lodges and trains to travel between sites. There is an entire list of treks for the different attractions and areas of Peru, offering one of the most diverse trekking experiences in the world. The Chacapoyas Trek goes deep into the cloud forest of a mysterious pre-Incan civilizations, the Santa Cruz Trek conquers the snow-capped slopes of the Cordillera Blanca Mountains, the Colca Canyon Trek gives the unique opportunity to visit a canyon bigger and greener than the famous one in the United States and the list could go on. These amazing and inciting Peru treks take those brave enough to set aboard and ride this adventure. They offer a unique insight into the natural beauty and rewarding culture of the country.