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Peru’s natural wonders attract travelers from around the world year after year. The typical progression is to fly into and explore the vibrant city of Lima and make your way up to Cusco city from which you will prepare and begin your trek to Machu Picchu. And although these two attractions are certainly not to miss, there are an endless variety of incredible discoveries in between. From the Archaeological and culinary treasures of Moray to the vast natural wonders surrounding Rainbow Mountain, be sure to allow ample time to experience the widest breadth of what Peru has to offer.
FOLLOW THE INCA TRAIL
01/ MORAY FOR THE DAY
45 minutes by car from Sacred Valley, Moray is at the top of our list. If you can do one thing besides trekking Machu Picchu this should be it. Before your trip, reach out to the Restaurant Mil Centro (sister restaurant to Michelin star Central of Lima) for an exceptional tasting lunch or dinner celebrating the vast biodiversity of Peru by chef, Virgilio Martínez Véliz. The space additionally acts as a workshop for examining the flavors of newly discovered flora species in the region and is set amongst the mysterious terraced spherical depressions of archeological Inca ruins; a truly unforgettable culinary experience.
02/ RAINBOW MOUNTAIN & BEYOND
To fully grasp the biodiverse contrast between Peru’s various elevation points, it’s important to take time to explore the natural wonders outside of Machu Picchu. Choose from a handful of popular hiking destinations at varying levels of difficulty. Closer to Machu Picchu is Humantay Lake, a clear turquoise alpine lake set amidst snow peaked mountains that is worth the strenuous hike to get to. Or head back south past Cusco for a hike and horseback ride to Vinicunca (Rainbow Mountain) where you’ll encounter wild llamas and alpacas as you make your way across an impossibly vast landscape. For a less strenuous activity visit the captivating salt mines in Moras where you'll walk amongst more than 3000 individual salt pools dating back to the Incan times yet still functional today.
03/ TEXTILE TREASURES
A trip to Peru is not complete without a visit to a local, thriving market. Typically held a few days a week, these markets are crucial to locals for supplying weekly fruit and vegetables to purchase, and also act as a place for artisans to connect with visitors and share the beauty of their traditional crafts. From textiles to ceramics the colorful scene is sure to transfix and it is highly unlikely you will leave empty handed. Try the Pisac market held in the central plaza of its quaint mountain town. Or visit Chinchero market, where you’ll find the largest selection of textiles sold directly by their indigenous weavers.