5. Arequipa central market – Arequipa is often only glanced over by tourists visiting the surrounding hiking trails and volcanoes, but in the city itself are a number of fascinating places to visit.
My favourite thing about the city was the colourful and bustling market occupying the large central square. It’s not massively highlighted in local guides but that just means that it’s mainly visited by locals and seemingly only the odd tourist.
Highlights here are the food areas with numerous stands selling crispy pork with local corn and potato. If you’re not comfortable in Spanish then a smile and some low key pointing will usually end in a generous portion of the day’s speciality for only a few dollars.
Finish off your meal with some local fudge.
4. Huanchaco – It’s not quite so beach picture perfect as Brazil or Panama but Huanchaco is laid back surfer cool.
Plenty of beach space with endless surf schools to help you practice your skills, plus a good enough wave to keep the experts happy, Huanchaco has something for everyone on the backpacker circuit.
Equally it’s not quite the full on party scene of Mancora further north but it has cool hostels with a relaxed drinking vibe and handful of bars to party into the night.
3. Ollantaytambo – Ollantaytambo is usually just a pass through point for people getting the train before the final Machu Picchu descent but it is beautiful in it’s own right.
Full of Inca ruins and surrounded by cloud laden mountains it’s particularly spectacular. Also, after mid morning when all the minibuses have rushed past, you’re likely to get the whole place virtually to yourself.
2. Huacachina – Desert oasis Huacachina is hidden amongst the dunes near Ica. Known for it’s parties there’s endless activities to do like sand boarding, dune buggies and boating on the lake.
Huacachina has some pretty cool hostels too, with happy hour offers all round before you head to the top of dunes to watch the sunset.
- Machu Picchu – Magnificent Machu Picchu is possibly the most awe inspiring place I’ve ever visited. The photos I’d seen before visiting didn’t even begin to prepare me for sitting there and looking out across the Inca city in the clouds.
The site itself is huge and the rolling clouds only add to the mystery and magic of the place. Despite the hoards of tourists heading there every day it still manages to feel like a place that you’ve discovered first. Truly unforgettable.