The South American nation of Peru is a beautiful and wonderfully scenic and historic country in more ways than one. The Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is only one of the cities from that period dotted around the Andes Mountains. However, while most travelers head to Peru for a visit to Machu Picchu, Peru has many more attractions. In fact, these include the country’s historic colonial cities, its stunning canyons, waterfalls and lakes. Read on to find out more about the other side of Peru, perfect to chill out, relax and rejuvenate on vacation.
Colca Canyon, southern Peru
The stunning Colca Canyon is located around 100 miles from the city of Arequipa and with its depth of 10,728.35 feet, is the deepest of its kind in the world. The Colca River winds through the canyon, which also features the Colca Valley, which has pre-Inca roots. Meanwhile, the towns in the valley date back to Spanish colonial times. Moreover, the towns are fascinating to visit as the Collagua and Cabana cultures’ ancestral traditions are still maintained here.
Looking at the canyon itself, visitors can see the pre-Inca stepped terraces, known as “andenes” on both sides of the valley. Enjoy a hike through the Colca Canyon, while watching Andean condors flying above you. Moreover, you can buy beautiful handmade souvenirs to take home.
Lake Titicaca and the Titicaca National Reserve
Straddling the border between Peru and Bolivia, Lake Titicaca is high up in the Andes Mountains. In fact, it is believed to be the highest navigable body of water anywhere in the world. Moreover, it is among the largest lakes anywhere in South America.
According to legend and many ruins in the area, Titicaca was the birthplace of the Incas. Meanwhile, the locals believe the lake is the sun’s birthplace. Taking a hike in the area surrounding the lake, travelers will also come across the remains of pre-Inca cultures, Tiwanaku, Collas and Pukara. Meanwhile, Lake Titicaca National Reserve is a worthwhile visit to view rare aquatic wildlife like giant frogs. Moreover, you can meet the tame and friendly llamas that accompany the locals, and see the floating islands where they have made their homes. Learn more about the history of Lake Titicaca and tour information here.
Gocta Falls, Chachapoyas, Peru
Gocta Falls is a perennial waterfall located in the province of Chachapoyas in the Amazonas. At a height of some 2,500 feet, it is believed to be the third-tallest waterfall in the world. Meanwhile, it comes behind Angel Falls in Venezuela and Tugela Falls in South Africa. Moreover, the water runs into the Cocahuayco River and can be spotted from a number of miles away.
Meanwhile, local natives have known about the waterfall for centuries, but it was only when a German explorer, Stefan Ziemendorff found it that it became known to the outside world. While it takes around half a day to hike to Gocta Falls, the sight is truly worth it.
Explore the other Peru on your next vacation, taking in the history, culture and beauty along the way.