Off-the-beaten-path: Hidden Gems in Peru 

Peru, a country steeped in history and natural wonders, extends far beyond the famed Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu. Embark on a journey to discover the lesser-known treasures that make this top South American destination a true adventurer’s paradise. Here are a few hidden gems that help make this place so unique:

Experience Chimu culture on the Pacific coast, at the ruins of Chan Chan

Step back in time to the ancient city of Chan Chan, the capital of the Chimu civilization. Located in the north of the country, near Trujillo, Chan Chan is a sprawling adobe city that predates the Incan Empire. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, the intricate friezes, ceremonial plazas, and labyrinthine architecture provide a fascinating glimpse into a civilization that thrived along the northern coast of Peru. Chan Chan stands as a testament to the ingenuity of its builders, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts seeking a deeper understanding of Peru’s rich cultural tapestry.  And remnants of the Moche culture are nearby as well, at Huaca de la Luna and Huaca del Sol.  

Off-the-beaten-path: Hidden Gems in Peru  Ideal South America

Hike through mountains and jungle to Machu Picchu, via the locally revered Salkantay Peak

For those craving an off-the-beaten-path trekking experience, the Salkantay Trek offers a challenging and awe-inspiring alternative to the classic Inca Trail. Winding through the Andes, the Salkantay Trek leads adventurers to the foot of the stunning Salkantay Mountain, the highest peak in the Vilcabamba Range. This lesser-explored route promises breathtaking vistas, diverse ecosystems, and encounters with traditional Andean communities. As you traverse high-altitude passes and lush cloud forests, the Salkantay Trek unveils the raw beauty of the Peruvian landscape, making it an especially rewarding expedition for avid hikers.

Off-the-beaten-path: Hidden Gems in Peru  Ideal South America

Dig Deep into Chachapoyan culture in northern Peru, at the ancient ruins of Kuelap

Nestled high in the cloud forests of northern Peru, Kuelap stands as a testament to the Chachapoya civilization’s ingenuity. Often overshadowed by its Incan counterpart, this ancient fortress boasts massive stone walls and intricate structures that predate Machu Picchu by several centuries. Accessed by a scenic cable car, Kuelap provides a glimpse into a civilization that once thrived amidst mist-covered peaks. The serene atmosphere and the mysterious carvings adorning the structures make Kuelap a hidden archaeological gem waiting to be discovered. 

Off-the-beaten-path: Hidden Gems in Peru  Ideal South America

Beyond the well-known landmarks, these harder to find treasures call out to curious travelers to explore the diverse and lesser-explored places in this captivating country.