Lima, Cusco, and Arequipa. All of them beautiful and famous South American cities. But Peru has more special places to offer. From beautiful mountain villages to colonial old cities. Peru is diverse and that certainly applies to its cities too. We list the top 5 lesser-known cities in Peru that are worth visiting, from north to south.
With more than 400,000 inhabitants, Iquitos is a large city in the north of Peru. But do you think that a city of this size is easily accessible? Forget it. This northern city is seen as the largest city in the world that cannot be reached by road. That’s where the adventure starts.
Those who want to travel to Iquitos, do so by boat or by plane. Iquitos is an impressive city. A city with impressive colorful colonial buildings, large green palm trees, a cozy market, and many, many tuk-tuks. The city is surrounded by three rivers: the Itaya, the Nanay and the Amazon. The perfect base to spot the pink river dolphin in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve.
In the north of Peru, at an altitude of 2,000 meters, lies an almost undiscovered mountain town with the name Chachapoyas. The city is the capital of the province of Amazonas and is located on the edge of the Sierra and Selva. The beginning of the Amazon jungle.
In September this year, Chachapoyas celebrates the fact that it has held city rights for 481 years, although the culture here can even be traced back to 700 AD. Because this place is still unknown, the area around it is seen as one of the most beautiful places in Peru. An absolute must-visit is the Fort of Kuélap and the Gocta waterfall, one of the highest waterfalls in the world.
Beautiful beaches, a pleasant sea with perfect waves and the warm sun rays on your skin. Máncora is the best-known surfing village in Peru and is a great base for enjoying a few days of sun, sea, and beach. You will also find the best sandy beaches in Peru in this sunny region.
Although Máncora is quite small, it is lively all year round and there is always something to do. Drink the most delicious tropical drinks with fruits filled with Pisco, kayak at sea or take a tour to the protected nature reserve Los Pilares de Quebrada Fernandez. In these forests, you can ride horses, swim in the waterfalls and relax in a mud bath.
In the heart of the snowy mountains of the Cordillera Blanca in central Peru, lies the town of Huaraz. Huaraz is a beautiful mountain village in the province of the same name, about an eight-hour drive from Lima. Although Huaraz is 3,100 meters above sea level, the village itself is not that exciting.
The environment is all the more so. The ideal location and many hiking opportunities make it the perfect base for adventurers. An absolute must-do is a day hike to the secluded turquoise glacier lake Laguna 69 (4,600 m), in which you can see the surrounding snow-capped mountains and the glacier with waterfall on a clear day. Breathtaking!
Huacachina is a unique village in the middle of the desert. It is located a few kilometers from the city of Ica, in southwestern Peru. A village that is like out of a movie. It is an oasis village, built around a natural lake in the desert of Peru.
Huacachina is mainly inhabited by tourists but is therefore no less fun. The oasis is surrounded by meters-high sand dunes. The place to improve your ‘sand skills’. From sandboarding, standing and sitting on the board, to braving the high mountains with a sand buggy. You are going to find enough adventures in this special oasis village.