Machu Picchu and the Nazca Lines may be the most famous of Peru’s unique locations, but they are hardly the only ones. If you’re looking for a Peruvian adventure that’s a little bit different than just another visit to the Inca ruins, here are 3 lesser known locations in Peru that still have plenty to offer to enterprising tourists and world travelers.
Sand boarding at Huacachina
Peru is a popular destination for surfers from around the world, but it’s also home to another boarding activity that’s a bit more unique. Despite being located in the middle of a desert, the Peruvian town of Huacachina is still a popular destination for tourists. Why do so many people travel to the heart of an arid desert for their vacations, you ask? It’s because Huacachina’s dunes are perfect for sand boarding and riding dune buggies. Huacachina has a long history as a popular vacation spot, stretching back to the days when wealthy Peruvians would travel to the town to take a dip in its oasis lagoon, which was believed to have medicinal properties.
The oasis around which the town is built even has its own creation legend: once upon a time, a princess was bathing in the desert. When an overzealous suitor snuck up on her, she was so started that she ran off, leaving her bath water behind. The legend continues to say that the princess still lives in the lagoon as a mermaid, occasionally peaking her head out of the water. While the chances that you’ll see a mermaid at Huacachina are low, you can still enjoy a relaxing swim in the lagoon after a long day adventuring in the dunes with fellow sand boarders and dune buggyers.
Wildlife Tours at the Ballesta Islands
Aside from the Amazon rain forest, there’s no better place to see the unique wildlife of Peru than the Ballesta Islands. Located off the Pacific coast near the town of Paracas, the islands are often called the Galapagos of Peru. Like those other famous South American islands, the Ballestas Islands are home to many rare and exotic animals. Birds such as the Peruvian booby and the Inca tern call the island home, as do an assortment of turtles, dolphins, and other aquatic life. Best of all, the Ballesta Islands are only a 2 hour boat ride away from shore.
Hiking the Cordillera Blanca
Machu Picchu isn’t the only awesome mountain destination in Peru. The Cordillera Blanca is the highest range of the Peruvian Andes and includes Huascarán, the tallest mountain in the country and the third highest in the Western Hemisphere. Excluding of the Inca Trail, the Cordillera is easily the best place in Peru for those who enjoy hiking the mountains and exploring the tallest reaches. If you’re less interested in ancient ruins than you are in conquering a snow-capped peak, the Cordillera Blanca is well worth the visit.
Don’t wait to book your trip to Peru – contact Best Peru Tours today to get great deals on international travel. We can be reached toll-free at 866-788-5647 from the U.S. or Canada.