From Latin America

Inca Trail Trek Alternatives

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on September 13, 2011

Read our blog entry on some alternative treks to Machu Picchu, sometimes there just isnt space on the Classic Inca Trail….

http://peru-tour-packages.com/peru-trekking/

Peru Vacations – Is It Worth Visiting Colca Canyon?

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on April 15, 2011

So, you’ve got to that part of your Peru vacation planning where you can’t decide which places to visit and what you may need to cut out in order to fit with your timeframe. It’s difficult as there are so many options in a country as diverse as Peru, that someone planning their trip can get overwhelmed.

One great option to include in your trip is a visit to the Colca Canyon in the south of Peru. This article will help you decide if you should include it in your Peru vacation or not.

What is the Colca Canyon?
The Colca Canyon was formed by the Colca river, and is located about 160km northwest of Arequipa. Most visitors use Arequipa as the base for trips to the canyon, which is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon and is considered the second deepest in the world.

Who goes to the Colca Canyon?
The Canyon has plenty of options for outdoor types and adventurers as well as those who simply enjoy spectacular scenery and traditional towns and villages. There are many popular treks around the Canyon, from two day circuits on well maintained paths to seven day routes that require an experienced guide. Rafting, mountain-biking, climbing and horse-riding are also popular. You can also take a dip in the ‘La Calera’ thermal baths whilst enjoying the superb scenery.

Wildlife enthusiasts have a near guarantee of seeing the largest land-based bird in the world, the giant Andean Condor. Visitors to the ‘Cruz Del Condor’ viewpoint in the early morning can see these huge birds swooping past the lookout point over the precarious drop into the base of the Canyon, 1.2 kilometers below.

How much time do I need to visit the Colca Canyon?
Including travel from Arequipa and then on to Lake Titicaca or back to Arequipa, three days are a good length of time. However, if you want to take more time to investigate Arequipa and the Colca Canyon, there is plenty to do to fill up any additional days! Alternatively if you are pushed for time the canyon can be visited as an overnight trip. A day trip from Arequipa is not recommended due to the travelling time involved.

What else can you combine with Colca on a Peru vacation?
Based in the south of Peru, the Colca Canyon is near to the impressive Lake Titicaca that sits on the border with Bolivia. Visitors can visit the various islands dotted around the lake and see the hand-woven floating reed houses that the local people still live on.

Also in the south and easy to combine in a circular route from Lima is Cusco and the Sacred Valley; the ancient centre of the Inca Empire. From there it is possible to travel to the famous UNESCO World Heritage site of Machu Picchu, perhaps hiking the last 46 kilometers along the popular Inca Trail or one of the alternative routes.

Also relatively easy to include in your circuit are the Nazca Lines, a mysterious collection of ancient geoglyphs carved into the Nazca desert. Shapes range from simple geometric forms and lines to animal shapes like monkeys, birds and lizards. No-one is really sure why the lines exist, or who put them there.

The Colca Canyon is most commonly combined into a tour taking in Lima, Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. To this route you can easily add the southern coast and Nazca Lines and/or the Amazon Rainforest depending on the time you have available.

Have you visited the Colca Canyon? What did you think?

Author: Gary Sargent – Escaped to Peru / Escaped to Latin America

Machu Picchu – How To Guarantee A Better Vacation Than Anyone Else

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on March 3, 2011

One of the most iconic sites in Latin America is Machu Picchu. Whenever someone thinks of taking Peru vacations, the classic photo of the Inca citadel sitting high in cloud forest comes to mind.

However, it’s no secret that Machu Picchu has large numbers of visitors all year round. If you’d like to visit the site and get a unique experience that is probably better than most other visitors, here are some tips.

1) Get there early
The idea of dragging yourself out of bed at 4.30 am may not be very appealing, but it will be worth it when you find yourself at the front of the queue for entrance to the site. You’ll also get the opportunity to be one of the 400 visitors with permission to climb the spectacular slopes of nearby Huayna Picchu, as this is only available to early arrivals.

2) Start from the wrong end
Most visitors to Machu Picchu take a conventional path around the site, working their way up the nearest terraces to the guard house to take their own version of the iconic photo of the site with Huayna Picchu in the background. You’ll get a dose of near-solitude if you head straight to the other end of the site near the base of Huayna Picchu and work backwards.

3) Arrive by foot
It may be hard work, but you’ll feel rewarded when you finally get to the site instead of rumbling along in a bus with everyone else. Two main options exist:

Option 1: The Inca Trail
A 3 or 4 day hike along the best-preserved section of ancient Inca highway, the route takes you through an incredible variety of landscapes before finishing at the Sun Gate that overlooks the site. It’s a very popular route, so make sure you book up to 3 months in advance…

Option 2: Walking from Aguas Calientes
If you are staying in the nearby village of Aguas Calientes, it is possible to walk up to the site first following the river then using a steep flight of stairs through tropical foliage. Visitors are recommended to make an early start and to carry a flashlight.

4) See the site from all angles
Check out the site from more than the classic Gate House angle. Try climbing Machu Picchu mountain itself – this is a fairly strenuous climb but offers fantastic views from the top of both the site and the surrounding mountains.

Other options for a different angle on Machu Picchu include looking down from Huayna Picchu and making the 45 minute walk back up the Inca Trail from the main site to the Sun Gate. You’ll be surprised how few people make the effort…

5) Get a good guide
There are a lot of conflicting theories about Machu Picchu’s history, and it is easy to get spun a tall tale by a guide. By travelling with a reputable tour operator you can get escorted around the site by an expert who puts a lot of time and effort into staying on the cutting edge of discoveries about Machu Picchu. This will definitely give you a unique perspective on the site. Be sure to choose a fluent English speaker!

6) Stay the night in Aguas Calientes
Try to avoid the typical scenario of cramming a trip to Machu Picchu into a single day. If you are prepared to stay the night in nearby Aguas Calientes you’ll have the benefit of a peaceful afternoon on the site after all the day trippers have left to rush back to Cusco. You’ll be amazed how much quieter the site is towards the end of the day. This also allows you to get to the site when it first opens on the following day.

Have you got any other tips to have a unique trip to Machu Picchu? What was your visit like?

 

Author: Gary Sargent – Escaped to Peru / Escaped to Latin America

Peru Vacations – 11 Tips To Remove Luggage Stress

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on March 1, 2011

 

One of those necessary annoyances of travelling to Peru or elsewhere in Latin America is planning the luggage that you will carry. You don’t want to end up lugging around giant suitcases of empty space, but you don’t want to be breaking zippers either.

Here’s some helpful advice on sorting out your luggage for a Peru vacation.

  1. Pack light with spare capacity. You will probably fill up your luggage space as you travel with purchases and gifts for friends and family back home.
  2. Treatment of luggage in Peru is no better or worse than anywhere else – take a sturdy suitcase, soft-sided resilient backpack or hold-all (depending upon the nature of your trip).
  3. You will also need a day pack which should be taken as hand luggage providing it falls within the permitted dimensions.
  4. An easy way to free up space – you will NOT need a clean set of clothes for every day of the trip as all good hotels have laundry facilities and laundries can also be easily found in any tourist destination.
  5. It is useful to have luggage that can be locked to stop people quickly rummaging through your belongings. (Do note that traveling through the US customs may break your lock to check the contents of your bags).
  6. Check luggage requirements for all the airlines that you may be using on your vacation – these are constantly changing, so have a look at their website to avoid being caught out.
  7. For hand luggage, the maximum weight varies between 6 and 10kg. The rules may differ on your return journey. Items such as laptops are often counted as separate from your hand luggage allowance, so take advantage of this in your packing!
  8. If any of your flights involve a change of plane, there is always the possibility that you and your checked luggage will arrive separately. Make sure you plan a day on arrival at a fixed address that can receive your forwarded luggage when it arrives.
  9. Try to use distinctive baggage that will be easier to describe if it goes astray, and label your bags clearly with your name and hotel destination.
  10. If you are moving fairly quickly on to your next port of call add this information to the luggage label. Place a duplicate label inside each piece of luggage.
  11. Due to the climatic diversity of Peru you may need a variety of clothes to suit the coastal desert, the high Andes and the Amazon Rainforest depending on your itinerary. Layers are more practical than thick jumpers and mean that the same clothes can be used in all three climatic zones. Check the high and low temperatures before you travel and the likelihood of rain.

Some additional guidelines for baggage allowances
Note: these can be subject to change, so make sure you check your airline’s website!

  • Baggage allowances vary from one carrier to another.
  • Infants have no baggage allowance, but parents are allowed to carry a reasonable selection of items for the baby, free of charge.
  • Children (aged 2-11 years inclusive) normally have full adult baggage allowance.
  • Club and First Class passengers have a higher baggage allowance than Economy Class, usually around 30kg in total.
  • As a very general rule, most international carriers as well as domestic carriers in Latin America allow a maximum of 20kg in Economy Class, for both internal and international flights.
  • If you are taking a small domestic flight, airlines operating planes with fewer than twenty seats often have a limit as low as 5kg.

Do you have any other useful tips for packing for Peru vacations? Did you ever have a bad luggage experience?

Author: Gary Sargent – Escaped to Peru / Escaped to Latin America

Machu Picchu – 5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Too

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on February 26, 2011

Have you heard of Machu Picchu? If not, you’ve probably never heard of Peru, or South America! Machu Picchu is a famous Inca Citadel located in the Andes mountains of Peru.

It is a destination that attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists a year on Peru vacations. Here are five reasons why you should follow in their footsteps and go and see Machu Picchu for yourself.

One of the 7 wonders of the world
In 2007, Machu Picchu was voted one of the new ‘Seven Wonders Of The World’ in a worldwide internet poll involving millions of people. Other sites included the Taj Mahal in India, Chichen Itza in Mexico, the Colosseum in Italy and the Great Wall of China in…China.

If there was ever a place to see before you die, Machu Picchu is globally recognized as one of your best options.

An incredible setting
2,430 meters above sea level on a mountain ridge in cloud forest, Machu Picchu was hard to find and was never discovered by the Spanish conquistadors. Despite improved access for the high numbers of tourists, visitors can still get a sense of the remoteness of the site.

Visitors to the site can stare down over dizzying drops to the Urubamba river that churns through a deep valley surrounding the site. Peaks rise up on all sides, covered in thick vegetation. There is no substitute for visiting Machu Picchu and getting a true sense of what it must have been like for the Inca inhabitants hundreds of years ago.

Adventurous access – the Inca Trail
Machu Picchu isn’t just a site, it is a destination. For travelers with a sense of adventure and a desire to test their legs, Machu Picchu can be accessed by a 3 or 4 day trek along a section of the ancient Inca highway known as the Inca Trail.

The route passes through cloud forest and Andean tundra, climbing over 4000 meters on mountain passes in full view of snow-capped peaks. It is impressive, which is why it books out quickly – if you’re interested, get in touch with a tour operator at least 3 months in advance to reserve your space.

See it while it is still around
On the World Monuments Fund 2008 list of the 100 Most Endangered Sites, Machu Picchu showed up. With the number of annual visitors in the order of hundreds of thousands, the site is degrading under the physical effects of so many tourists.

Geological surveys on the site have revealed that certain areas are in danger of collapsing – if you want to visit one of the most iconic sites on the planet, you may not have much time left.

See the classic photo for yourself
Almost everyone has seen the famous photo of Machu Picchu – the Inca ruins perched on top of a mountain ridge with the impressive steep slopes of Huayna Picchu mountain in the background.

However, no photo can give you the full impression of the site. The only way you’ll ever appreciate the majesty of Machu Picchu is to visit it for yourself!

Have you been to Machu Picchu? What did you think?

Author: Gary Sargent – Escaped to Peru / Escaped to Latin America

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on February 25, 2011

Sometimes clichés really do say it best, and expect the unexpected does the job when trying to describe our Peru experience. When we booked our vacation with Escaped to Latin America we harbored the usual, reasonable expectations:  that our flights would be reserved properly—they were; the hotel staff wouldn’t be surprised to see us when we showed up—they weren’t; we would enjoy learning about a country we’d never visited before—we did; and the memory card on the camera would be chock full of amazing photos—it was. Having our expectations met is certainly notable but in the end, it was what we weren’t expecting that made our trip unforgettable.

 We didn’t expect our driver, Eduardo, to stay with us until we were safely checked in to our hotel, or wait in line with us the next day at the airport until he was satisfied we were properly checked in for our flight to Cusco and had waved us through security with paternal concern.

 We didn’t expect a personal meeting with Freddy, our Inca Trail guide, the night before our trek. He came to see us at our hotel, got to know each of us, made sure we were physically and mentally prepared for the trek, and patiently answered all of our questions.

 We didn’t expect to have Freddy anda bevy of porters all to ourselves, anticipating and attending to our every need for the entire trek; we didn’t expect every meal to be a multi-course extravaganza that was so delicious we asked our cook, Dimitri, if he would come home with us and be our personal chef (he politely declined); and we certainly didn’t expect to wake up every morning and have a steaming cup of coca tea handed to us before we got out of our sleeping bags.

 From the planning stages with Zara who catered to our every request and patiently customized our trip exactly the way we wanted it; the many tour guides like Philippe and Silvia who engagingly shared Peru’s cultural and historical delights with us; our nightly chats with Freddy, when we played cards, learned new ‘Quechuan words, and exchanged cultural anecdotes; to our exit team that handled last minute travel glitches with calm professionalism; our escape to Peru far exceeded our expectations.

 We thoroughly enjoyed the culture and people of Peru and anticipate more opportunities to travel in Latin America. When we do start planning that next adventure, the first item on our ‘to do’ list will be contact Escaped to Latin America; and we will definitely be expecting the unexpected.

7 Things To Avoid On A Peru Vacation

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on February 20, 2011

Peru is an incredible travel destination, which is why so many people take Peru vacations and Peru tours every year. But just like anywhere else in the world, Peru has its problems. If you’re taking Peru vacations, here are seven things that you should be careful to avoid.

1) Getting denied entry
Conditions are always changing in Latin America to be able to visit a country, and Peru is no exception. International relations, disease outbreaks and changes in regulations can mean that even if you book a flight to Peru you won’t necessarily be allowed to enter the country. Check your government website for visa and vaccination requirements at least a couple of months before your departure date to make sure the Peruvian government has no reason to keep you out.

2) Health scares
Health problems can come in all shapes and sizes, from physical injuries to getting malaria. The best option is to have as many situations as possible covered and to make sure that you have travel insurance to cover medical emergencies and repatriation. Be sure to check the small print on your policy to find out what you’re really covered for and what you must do in the event of a claim.

3) Pick-pockets
Peru has some great markets like the Witches market in Chiclayo or the popular market in Pisac near Cusco. However if you are negotiating a crowded market place you could be the victim of pick-pocketing, something that frequently happens to tourists. When out and about be sure to leave your valuables in a secure place back at your hotel. Any essentials that you must carry should be in a money belt under layers of clothing. Also try not to flash money or valuable objects around in public as this will attract the attention of thieves.

4) Stomach trouble
Traveller’s belly has soured a few Peru vacations over the years. The best way to avoid sickness is by being careful about what you eat, and particularly the water. Tap water in Peru is not drinkable, so stick to bottled water and avoid ice and foods such as salads that can be washed in tap water.

5) Altitude sickness
Peru’s mountainous regions are spectacular but very, very high! To avoid getting altitude sickness try not to make big jumps in altitude over short time periods. If that can’t be avoided, make sure you plan a few rest days at higher altitude before attempting any exercise. Try to avoid alcohol and drink lots of water to stay well hydrated in your first few days at altitude.

6) Large bills of money
A common problem in Peru is the lack of small change that people have. Even trying to use a relatively small note to pay for something may create problems for many store-owners. Try to carry money in small denominations – you can change large bills at banks or when making bigger purchases.

7) High tourist season
The problem with being a popular tourist destination is that there are a lot of tourists in Peru! Businesses tend to raise their prices around the times of year that lots of tourists visit and popular sites can be very busy. If you would like a quieter vacation try to avoid the months of July and August and mid-December to mid-January.

What other things should be avoided in Peru? Is there anything else that you should be careful about?

Author: Gary Sargent – Escaped to Peru / Escaped to Latin America

Peru Tours – Custom Designed Vs Group Tours

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on February 19, 2011

If you’re considering options for Peru tours, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by choice. Something that can narrow things down for you is deciding between a custom designed vacation or a group tour. This article explains the differences and the benefits of each option so you can choose the best one for you.

Group Peru tours – what are they?
Group tours are fixed routes with set dates that are filled by travel agents or tour operators. They generally have a large capacity and the people booking onto the tour will not know the other travelers in the group (unless a large group books together and fills up the tour).

What are the benefits of group Peru tours?
Lower cost – as many people are doing the same thing, it should normally be possible for the tour agency or tour operator to get a lower price for the tour per person particularly when using larger chain hotels.

Good for visiting very popular sites – most countries where tourism is popular like Peru, have sites that everyone visits such as Machu Picchu. If you’d like to base your trip around these sites and don’t mind a fairly generic visit and the possibility of being in a crowd, group tours can be a good option for you.

Meet other people – if you’re up for meeting new people on your travels, then a group tour could be for you. You’re going to be spending the duration of the tour with other travelers that you’ve never met. You have to be lucky with who ends up in your group, but you could end up making some great new friends.

Custom designed Peru tours – what are they?
Custom Peru tours are those which you design in conjunction with your Peru tours operator. You decide how long you travel for and when, where you visit, what sort of accommodation you use and how much time you spend in each place. Your Peru tours operator will offer you advice and expertise on your options, but you ultimately get to decide. By having complete flexibility in your vacation planning the tour will be tailored to your tastes and interests.

What are the benefits of custom Peru tours?
Flexibility – you get to control all the elements of your tour. Instead of fitting in with the fixed schedule of a group tour, you can leave out places you don’t want to visit or spend more time in places that you’re excited about visiting.

Accommodation – on group tours operators tend to use large hotel chains. If your preference is for smaller more personal hotels with local character then a custom tour can accommodate this.

Visit places not on major tourist routes – group tours tend to only take people to the big tourist sites, but if you’ve got a lesser-visited location that you want to include on your Peru tour, a custom tour operator can make it happen. Also if you want to visit somewhere a bit different but aren’t sure where, a good custom Peru tours operator can suggest less popular places that are more off the beaten track.

Follow your interests – maybe you are an archeology buff or wildlife is your thing. A custom tour operator will design your Peru vacation to fit with your specific interests rather than the generic interests of a large group.

Great for families – typically families have a very specific set of needs and schedules and prefer to be their own group rather than part of a bigger one. If you are planning a family trip to Peru, consider going with a custom Peru tours operator. This will allow you to stay in family friendly hotels and set the itinerary and pace to suit you and your family.

Go at your own pace – the classic example is a hiking trip. In a group there will be fast and slow people, which can be a source of frustration for all concerned if people have to wait around for others or feel pressured by the rest of the group. In custom tours this isn’t a problem as you define the pace of your trip during the planning process. Equally on an excursion if you want to spend more time in a certain place, you have more flexibility and don’t have to convince anyone else to stay!

Custom tour operators may also be able to combine the best of both worlds. A tailor made vacation may include certain shared services such as a trek, excursions or shared transport where appropriate in order to lower costs and to allow you to share those experiences with a group. That way your overall itinerary is customized to your needs whilst taking advantage of some shared services.

Which option is the best for you? What other benefits are there for group Peru tours and custom Peru tours?

 

Author: Gary Sargent – Escaped to Peru / Escaped to Latin America

Ten Things To Expect On The Inca Trail

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on February 13, 2011

If you want to take a Peru vacation, you’re probably thinking of visiting the famous UNESCO World Heritage site of Machu Picchu. The most famous and popular way to get to Machu Picchu is on the Inca Trail, over 30 kilometres of winding paved path that is more than 500 years old.

So if you’re thinking about Inca Trail tours, what should you expect? Here are ten important things.

1) A waiting list
The Inca trail is so popular that most people must book 3 months in advance. If you’re thinking about booking, it’s also worth remembering that the trail is closed in February for maintenance.

2) Obligatory guides
Since 2000 the Peruvian Government has made it an official requirement to trek the Inca Trail with a guide. This means the only option is to do the trek as part of a tour.

3) Poor service for low prices
When choosing your tour operator for the Inca Trail, avoid the temptation to go as cheap as possible. You’ll find yourself in large groups of twenty people or more and there’s a high chance that the tour operator will treat their Peruvian staff badly.

4) Tipping porters and guides
Even if you choose a company that treats its workers well, cooks, guides and porters will still be relying on tips to get paid a decent wage for their work. Generally accepted rates are as follows:

If you are part of a group, each group member should allow:
• US$5 per person for the porters (ratio is 1 client: 1 porter)
• US$10 per person to the cook
• US$10 per person to the guide

However, if you are part of a very small group, you may consider increasing these amounts.
If you are on a privately escorted trip, you should allow:
• US$25 for the porters
• US$10 for the cook
• US$50 for the guide

5) Difficulty with Altitude
Coming straight up from Lima and getting stuck into the Inca Trail will leave even the fittest hiker gasping for air. With the 4200m “Dead Woman’s Pass” waiting for you on day two of the four day hike, try to allow for a couple of days in nearby Cusco to acclimatise to the altitude before setting off.

6) Crowds
Guides do their best to keep distance between groups on hiking days, but expect to see crowds in campsites. Inca Trail regulations permit 500 people on the trail per day (most of whom are expedition porters and staff) so if you wanted to be alone in the wilderness, there are probably better routes to choose from in Peru.

7) Lots of rules
Want to light a camp fire? Nope. Any chance of camping outside designated sites? Nope. Walking off the trail? Nope.

Expect a set of strict rules when walking the Inca trail – if you get frustrated try to remember that a lot of people use the Inca Trail and for good upkeep a strong set of rules are necessary. If you want a more flexible trek, there are plenty of options for hikes in the same region.

8) Steps
Up, down, up down…don’t expect an easy, flat road. Inca engineers took their climbs and drops pretty seriously, so trekkers will have the benefit of kilometer after kilometer of stone steps to negotiate the mountains.

9) Early mornings
If you’re not a morning person, don’t opt for the Inca Trail. Particularly on the last day for the approach to Machu Picchu; your guide will be trying to get your group a good position amongst the others for entry into the site which will result in a cheery 5.30am wake-up call.

10) Incredible views and the trip of a lifetime
Despite all the problems and challenges, you’ll be set for a wonderful experience which keeps trekkers coming back to the Inca trail, year after year. It’ll be a decision that you’ll never regret!

Have you trekked the Inca Trail? What were your experiences?

Author: Gary Sargent – Escaped to Peru / Escaped to Latin America

Peru Tours – 5 Unmissable Places To Include In Your Trip

Posted in Traditions and Culture, Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on February 13, 2011

If you’re planning a Peru vacation, there’s a couple of places that you really shouldn’t miss – especially if this is your first trip to Peru. Here are 5 place in Peru that you should include in your Peru tour plans.

1) Machu Picchu
Everyone has heard of the world famous UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve probably seen the picture of the impressive Inca ruins rising out of the cloud forest. No matter how many times you’ve seen the image, nothing compares to actually standing and looking down over the site. If you really want to go for the traditional Machu Picchu experience, try to book yourself onto the Inca Trail, a four day trek that follows a 500 year old Inca path and finishes at the site.

2) Amazon Jungle
Half of Peru is covered by the Amazon Rainforest which provides a home to the greatest concentration of animal and plant life on earth and incredible bio-diversity. The main areas that are visited by travelers are the Tambopata and Iquitos regions which can be reached relatively easily. The Peruvian Rainforest is a truely spectacular environment even if you are not a complete animal or bird enthusiast!

3) Nazca lines
Best seen from a light aircraft, the Nazca lines are a set of ancient drawings on the surface of a desert in southern Peru  that range from simple lines to complex images like monkeys and spiders. Some figures are more than 200m across, and archaeologists are still debating hotly as to the origin and purpose of these mysterious lines as they can only really be fully viewed while flying!

4) Lake Titicaca
This lake sits 3,811m above sea level and is the largest lake by volume of water in South America and is shared with Bolivia. Visitors can navigate the lake by small boat and visit the various islands dotted around it’s vast area, as well as paying a visit to the famous Uros floating reed islands made by the inhabitants who still to this day live and work on their self-constructed homes.

5) Colca Canyon
The second deepest canyon in the world (the deepest being the Cotahuasi next door), Colca Canyon offers visitors the opportunity for some spectacular hiking and other adventure and cultural activities. It’s also recognized as one of the best places to see the famous Andean condor, the largest land bird in the world with a wingspan of 3.2 metres.

Visiting all 5 sites
Depending on the time constraints of your vacation, it’s possible to visit all these sites as part of the same trip. However, to do this independently normally requires a lot of time to organize transport and travel between the different sites (many of which are hundreds of miles apart) let alone sort out logistics once you arrive. If you are planning on taking a Peru vacation where you have less than a couple of weeks to play with and want to see this top 5 it is generally advisable to book with a Peru tour operator.

Have you visited any of the sites mentioned above? What other spectacular places would you recommend for Peru vacations

Author: Gary Sargent – Escaped to Peru / Escaped to Latin America