'Lima is Peru', as the celebrated Peruvian writer Abraham Valdelomar quite rightly said. You can encounter all our races and customs in its colonial streets and modern districts that look out onto the Pacific Ocean, a synthesis of our cultural diversity and our incomparable gastronomy, as well as certain manifestations that allow us to understand the complex history of our country a little better.
But beyond this historical-cultural aspect of Peru’s capital, Lima is also film and theater, good music, shopping and art galleries, nights out, museums and a different cityscape that looks out onto the sea, and in which the present and the past combine to create a city like few in the world.
Handicrafts, alpaca, jewelry, silverware, painting, photography, Lima is the best place to go shopping and it has an interesting range of shopping centers, art galleries, workshops and craft shops and ateliers where you can buy the best Peruvian products from every region.
Its range of restaurants, bars and markets has made it recognized as the gastronomic capital of the region. The city houses three of the 50 best restaurants in the world and nine of the 50 best in Latin America, according to the 2016 list compiled by Restaurant magazine. But it also has an important pre-Hispanic legacy, with archaeological sites in the middle of the city, such as the huacas of Mateo Salado, Pucllana or Huallamarca, and sanctuaries such as Pachacamac, located on the southern outskirts of the city.
The Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, a Unesco World Cultural and Natural Heritage site, is one of the most important attractions in the country, but it is also among the places with the greatest biodiversity. In addition, this extraordinary place allows a certain number of visitors per day to enter in two shifts so that they can obtain an exclusive view of the impressive perfection of its imperial architecture.
Paracas National Reserve
Among the dunes of Ica there are red sand beaches where you can enjoy a calm blue sea. This is the setting for the first UNESCO Natural Protected Area, the Paracas Reserve, designed to preserve abundant marine and coastal ecosystems. The extraordinary rock formations in the area, created naturally by the erosion of the sea and the wind, are home to various species of birds, sea lions and penguins.
Titicaca National Reserve
There are many tourists who choose this location in the region of Puno due to the numerous cultural manifestations of its native peoples, some of whom live on floating islands. This natural area, located between Peru and Bolivia, is home to aquatic birds, animals and endemic plants. Lake Titicaca is 280 meters deep, houses 36 islands, connects Peru with Bolivia and can be crossed aboard magnificent boats.
Mangroves of Tumbes National Sanctuary
Located in the region of Tumbes, on the border with Ecuador, it is considered to be one of the most productive ecosystems in the world and its conservation is practically free of human intervention. It is the perfect place for wildlife tourism due to its peculiar amphibian flora and fauna, sheltered by the splendid formations of mangroves that protect the coast.
Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve
This majestic territory belongs to the region of Arequipa and possesses a great number of glorious volcanoes and splendid lagoons. It also has numerous trails that let you see much of the reserve, as well as a huge network of rivers and streams with their own ecosystems and inhabited by Andean camelids such as llamas, alpacas, vicuñas and guanacos.
The Peruvian Amazon
The best kept secret in South America is the Peruvian Amazon. It has the planet’s last great virgin forests, where 34 life zones have been identified, beating several records in biodiversity. At the same time, it protects diverse human groups and many of them are in a state of total symbiosis with their green environment. On the other hand, the excellent hostels and services, as well as the warmth of the Peruvian jungle’s inhabitants, turn visitors’ stays into a dream-like experience.
From its source in the Andes of southern Peru, this river receives different names until it reaches the Peruvian jungle and joins the river Marañón: at this point it is known as the "downstream Amazon". The most representative and fascinating city of the Peruvian jungle is located near here: Iquitos, the pearl of the Amazon.
You can sail on a cruise ship on the longest river in the world and enjoy the exotic local cuisine on board. Part of the route comprises one of the areas with the greatest diversity of endemic flora and fauna in the world: the Pacaya Samiria National Park. This place, located in the region of Loreto, has provided valuable information about animals and vegetation in the wild.
From Puerto Maldonado, in the Madre de Dios region, you can set out on a wonderful experience in Peru’s southern Amazon, reaching National Parks and Natural Reserves like Manu and Tambopata. The latter is a reserve with accommodations that allow unique contact with the rainforest and the native communities that are masters of ancestral knowledge regarding the medicinal use of plants. The best way to penetrate the immense trees in the area is to sail along the surrounding river, also called Tambopata.