Perú at a Glance
Perú has always an important role in the history and development of South America. Starting with the rise of the Inca Empire with its capital in Cuzco, later the Spanish established the seat of the Viceroy for South America in Lima. The port of Callao was the most important on the continent, and the principal link of communication with Spain. It was from here that the Conquistadores landed and then traveled to what would later be Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Ecuador.
Among the most famous landmarks in the country are Machu Pichu, which is known the world over; the already mentioned Cuzco and the ruins of the Inca Capital, the Amazon rainforest and the impressive Lake Titicaca. You could write –and people have written- entire books about each of those places. But there are some curiosities that have escaped mainstream mention, and they are worth more than a passing mention. Places like the floating islands near Puno, or the spectacular beaches near the Equadorian border.
There is a legend about a lost city that is more spectacular and beyond Machu Pichu, to where the leaders of the Inca fled after the Spanish invasion. There is plenty of archeological evidence, but to this date it hasn’t been found.
Before you get distracted and join a quest down the towering mountains into Amazonia, there are lots of other attractions to Perú. One that is quickly getting known the world over is Peruvian cuisine. As the cosmopolitan capital of South America, many cultures and flavors came together over the years to create some must-taste dishes. Of course the best place to try food is the place it’s originally from. The capital of the country, Lima, is chock full of restaurants and local eateries to try out real ceviche, pisco and other typical delicacies.
If you are looking for something even more ancient than the Inca, you should look south and wonder at the Nazca lines, huge geoglyphs that can only be seen from the sky, and predate history.
Perú by itself is worth an entire vacation. From beaches, mountains, rainforest and ancient ruins to mysterious legends, rich culture and complex history; there is a lot to see. However, Perú still remains one of the most dangerous places to visit in South America for foreigners. If you keep both eyes open to what’s around you, and practice safe traveling techniques, you will have a wonderful experience in Perú.