Ever wanted to visit Peru? If not, you will after seeing these photos...

61 Amazing Things to Do in Peru

Some articles on Desk to Dirtbag (and just what is a dirtbag, anyway?) contain affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase through these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). Thank you for reading!


Are you trying to plan a trip to Peru? Well, we finally wrapped our trip to Peru, which consisted of an incredible three months (89 days) of traveling and road tripping through the country from north to south – and I must say, this country should definitely be on your list of places to visit. While there are about a million things to do in Peru, here’s 61 of the coolest places we visited and will help you plan your next trip.

There were so many highlights throughout the entire country, but what impressed me most about Peru was the beauty of the natural landscapes, particularly the mountains. But there was so much more than that, there were the incredible cities, the delicious food, the wildlife, and the sheer diversity of the landscape across the country.

Here are 61 places to help inspire you and help you plan a trip to Peru.

Canon del Pato

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

The stunning canyon winds its way up from the Pacific Coast near Chimbote up to the mountainous highlands near the Cordillera Blanca.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

The Canon del Pato (Duck Canyon) narrows down to basically a single lane road and features tons of tunnels, narrow passageways, and interesting driving conditions when you encounter others.

The Cordillera Blanca

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

The Cordillera Blanca is a prominent range of mountains near the town of Huaraz, Peru and features some of the most impressive peaks I’ve ever laid eyes on.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

The area in and around the Cordillera Blanca was where we spent the largest bulk of our time in all of Peru. I would consider this one of my top recommended things to do in Peru.

Read More: Peru’s Cordillera Blanca

Laguna Paron

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

Speaking of beautiful mountain scenery, no where impressed me quite like Laguna Paron.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

The setting of this high alpine lake is breathtaking, literally since it sits at over 13,600 feet in altitude.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

But the color of the lake and the backdrop are what make it truly special.

Read more about visiting Laguna Paron.

Driving through Huascaran National Park

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

Punta Olimpica tops out at just over 15,525 feet – one thousand feet higher than any mountain in the Continental USA. It’s incredible!

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

Yeah, I love driving through the mountains, even more so in Peru.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

You come face-to-face with some mighty impressive mountains.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

Just look at how many switchbacks are on the road down from Portachuelo de Llanganuco another high mountain pass, after driving the full loop from Huaraz to Chancas to Yanama and down to Yungay. One of the single best drives I’ve ever done.

Laguna 69

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

Laguna 69 is famous for a reason… Just look at this place! We got a super early start so we could beat the crowds and have it all to ourselves (so worth it!).

Read more about visiting Laguna 69.

The Santa Cruz Trek

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

The Santa Cruz Trek is one of the most famous hikes in South America.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

One of my favorite campsites, high in the alpine, below towering mountains. This was just below Punta Union.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

A wider shot of the same campsite, tucked along a tranquil alpine lake.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

The stars were unbelievable here, the sky was so dark, with little to no light pollution since there were no neighboring towns.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

The trail features some difficult ascents at times, and is meant to be completed in three or four nights.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

The scenery along the multi-day trek was unforgettable.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

Made it to the high point of the Santa Cruz Trek, Punta Union at more than 15,500 feet above sea level.

Santa Cruz Trek - Things to do in Peru

Hiking down from Punta Union and staring up at a formidable mountain peak…

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

Chacraraju is a gorgeous peak, don’t you think?

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

Yet another incredible campsite… There was no one in the immediate vicinity.

Read more about the Santa Cruz Trek.

Climbing a Peak in the Andes

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

I couldn’t miss out on the chance to scale to a new high point here in the Andes. This is Yanapaccha!

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

The sunset before camp was amazing! Just look at those colors above Pisco (the mountain, not the drink).

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

The Andes in general are quite steep which makes for great and challenging mountain climbing.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

We didn’t get the summit view that we were looking for, but the climb was still amazing.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

Heading back down to camp and the weather cleared up, thankfully.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

Looking back up the jumbled face of Yanapaccha, my new highest point at nearly 18,000 feet. Mountain climbing may just be one of the most unforgettable things to do in Peru.

Pastoruri Glacier

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

This looks like a scene out of Alaska or Patagonia, but it’s just another one of Peru’s incredible landscapes – a huge glacier in the high mountains.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

Feeling small is a theme throughout Peru, but you better hurry if you want to see this imposing glacier. It is melting fast thanks to climate change.

Puya Raimondi Plants

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

I’d never heard of these Dr. Seuss like plants, but they only grow in the High Andes…

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

The plants can grow as high as 15 meters or 45 feet!

(Psst... Wanna know the "secret" to traveling forever or being free to do what you love? Here's the answer, in five simple steps)

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

Camping here – all to ourselves – with the Milky Way above was an unforgettable experience.

Driving the High Country

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

Much of inland Peru is at high altitude, solitary and beautiful, filled with winding roads and awesome scenery. This stretch of road lies between the Cordillera Blanca and the Cordillera Huayhuash.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

And you run across scenes like this in the high country… Thousands and thousands of llamas!

Paracas Reserve

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

We returned to the Pacific Ocean after a long time away and were blown away by the desert scenery.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

The cliffs surrounding the ocean are high and rugged in this protected national reserve.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

It’s always pretty spectacular when the ocean meets the desert, and Paracas did not disappoint.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

It was also just a lot of fun driving through the sandy, desolate desert to get to those rugged ocean-side cliffs.

Islas Ballestas

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

Islas Ballestas is often called the Poor Man’s Galapagos Island, for the sheer amount of wildlife that congregates here.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

Truly, I have never seen so many birds in my entire life… It was like something out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

It’s a short boat ride out of the town of Paracas (near the above mentioned reserve as well), and is worth it to see the sea birds, sea lions, penguins (although we only saw one), and more.

The Sand Dunes of Huacachina

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

Step into a landscape that feels more like the Middle East than Peru… The area around Ica and Huacachina is full of monster sized sand dunes that you can climb (and sand board down).

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

Be warned though, hiking up these dunes is really, really hard work. It’s definitely two steps forward, one step back.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

The tiny town of Huacachina is a literal oasis tucked into harsh desert landscape.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

The dunes stretch on as far as the eye can see…

Nazca Lines

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

These ancient petroglyphs are carved into the ground on a massive scale and are still pretty mysterious. You’ve got to get a birds eye view to appreciate them though, from they ground they look like nothing.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

The roads around the Nazca Lines are also just fun to drive…

Pampa Galeras

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

The road from Nazca up to Cusco heads back up into the highlands around 14,000 feet. It’s flat grasslands for miles…

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

But there are plenty of wild vicunas to be seen on the drive! They are a relative of the llama.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

Plus the landscapes in Pampa Galeras are just stunning in their own right.

Cusco

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

The city of Cusco was probably my favorite town in all of Peru – a nice size, not too big or too small, and filled with awesome stuff.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

The old town was particularly amazing, filled with great restaurants, coffee shops, culture and history.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

There are some peculiar attractions throughout as well, like these catacombs or crypts.

Read more about what to do in Cusco, Peru.

Machu Picchu

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

No visit to Peru would be complete without a trip to the famous ruins of Machu Picchu! We ended up driving the backroads to get to Machu Picchu, which was a great trip itself.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

The setting was as impressive as I imagined it to be, and that is despite the crowds of people.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

But if you hang around long enough, the crowds die down and the true residents of Machu Picchu makes appearances, like this vizcacha.

Read more about how to visit Machu Picchu on a budget.

Maras Salt Ponds

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

The salt ponds of Maras are a peculiar, surreal sight outside of Cusco, near the Sacred Valley. People have been farming salt here for thousands of years in these amazing hillside terraces.

Andean Condors and the Colca Canyon

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

One of the highlights of the entire trip was seeing these incredible Andean Condors flying over Colca Canyon.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

The birds have wingspans up to 10’ and Colca Canyon is up to twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.

61 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Peru

The whole setting with the birds, the deep canyon, and the snowcapped mountains was so amazing. It is a must visit if you are traveling through Peru, and the city of Arequipa (nearby) is very pleasant as well.

Our Visit to Peru

In total we spent nearly three months in Peru driving the length of the country from north to south. Surprisingly, such a massive trip was quite affordable. We tracked our total expenses, down to the penny, over the entire time.

See this detailed post about how much it costs to travel in Peru.

Tons of Things to Do in Peru

I hope you enjoyed this photographic tour of some of the amazing things to do in Peru and that inspires you and helps you plan a trip. Because while most people start their trip in the capital Lima, which is supposed to be amazing and full of things to do, and visit the popular attractions around Cusco, as you can see there is so much more to this amazing country!

There is much more that we explored that I didn’t even touch on in this post, and there’s so much we didn’t even get to see… So this truly is only scratches the surface of what there is to see and do in Peru.

Don’t miss out on all my other posts about traveling in Peru.

Traveling to Peru on your next trip? Book the perfect room on Booking.com today!

Wish you could travel more? Click here to grab my free resources for affordable, long-term travel.

Share This

Did you enjoy this post about things to do in Peru? Please take a moment to share it on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.

Ever wanted to visit Peru? If not, you definitely will after seeing these photos... Here's why Peru should be your next vacation destination...

The following two tabs change content below.
61 Amazing Things to Do in Peru

Ryan

Author, Writer, and Head Honcho at Desk to Dirtbag
Ryan is an author, adventurer, perpetual wanderer, and self-proclaimed dirtbag (but that might not mean what you think). Originally from Seattle, he headed to Washington D.C. where he spent five years working for Congress before heeding the call of the wild. He set out living in his pickup truck to road trip across the American West. Since then he backpacked through Colombia, drove across all of Central America, and also wrote a best selling book: Big Travel, Small Budget. He just finished driving his old truck across all of South America -- support the adventures by visiting the D2D Shop. Follow the adventures on social media or read more about me.

Comments 2

  1. 89 days of travel in Peru sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing the photos of some of these beautiful places you went to. I think I’d like to go to the Maras Salt Ponds, Laguna 69 and Machu Picchu most.

    1. Post
      Author

      It was definitely pretty amazing! Peru has proved to be a favorite country here in South America. All three of those places you mentioned were awesome and worth checking out, among the many options…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *