Independent travel consultant Nicola Leyland tells us about some of her ‘must-see' sights of mysterious Peru.
When driving overland trucks through South America, Peru was one of my favourite countries. A widely diverse and surprising country, Peru has many of the top sites and activities of South America.
Entering the country via the northern border with Ecuador, the first experience would be beaches, archeological sites, museums and the Nazca lines. A region rich in mystery, legend, history and natural beauty.
One remarkable outdoor museum is Chauchilla cemetery where mummified bodies remain from the 9th century. The dry desert climate as well as mummification rituals have contributed to the preservation of these 1000 year old bodies. One simply heads off the highway a little way to find a collection of 20 or so bodies in sunken, but open tombs.
Another fascinating experience is in the beautiful Andean town of Arequipa. Once you have tasted the local delicacy of roasted Guinea pig, and sampled the thriving nightlife; you can seek out frozen Juanita. Ice mummy Juanita was found in the Andes near Arequipa in 1995, and has been recovered and kept in a frozen state ever since. Currently she rests in the Arequipa museum and her history of sacrificial offering to the gods 500 years ago is horrifying.
I hope I’m not painting too gruesome a picture? While driving around Peru, I would take my groups to Colca Canyon to see the Condors, onto the floating read islands of Lake Titicaca, and over the high peaks of the Andes. Many colourful scenes of local activity would greet us, and in many places time does not march on and culture remains resolutely intact.
Macchu Picchu is the biggest tourist attraction in Peru, and with good reason. The hike and the archaeological site are spectacular reminders of a rich heritage.
So if you love history, mystery and enigma, do include Peru in your tour of the world, it will not disappoint.
Guest post written by Travel Counsellor Nicola Leyland. Nicola can book your dream holiday whether it's Peru or Poland, as well as arranging extras including car hire and excursions.