Natural locations, with a variety of eco-systems and a high degree of biodiversity in world terms; it is one the few countries in the world that can offer the traveler sun and beaches, snow sports, and adventure in the tropical jungle at any time of year.
Historical structures show the signs of civilization from Paleolithic times through various stages of Andean cultures until they reached their prime in the grand buildings of the Incas.
Folklore, with expressions of dance, music, gastronomy and crafts that are unique to each one of the regions.
Remarkable human achievements such as the temples and fortresses built at high altitudes (Chavin, Kuelap, Machu Picchu), the mysterious Nasca Lines, and colonial churches.
Programmed events in which visitors can participate, such as the case of many popular festivals -Corpus Christi in Cusco or the Virgen de la Candelaria in Puno- which are held throughout the year.
Inca walls, colorful costumes, churches built on top of palaces, citadels lost in the Andean heights, legendary roads-all the beauty of a glorious past that enfolds the visitors who arrives in Cuzco, the sacred city of the Incas and archaeological capital of the Americas. Ever since US archaeologist Hiram Bingham discovered the citadel of Machu Picchu for the world, Cusco has fired the imagination of millions of travelers from all over the world who venture down the Inca Trail every year, headed for the summit of one of the world’s most extraordinary monuments.
The city of Cuzco, however, features many other attractions which by themselves would be enough to attract visitors. The main square, which the Incas called Huacaypata, the artisans quarter of San Blas, the Convent of Santo Domingo, built on top of the Temple of the Sun or Korikancha and the palaces of the Inca and his court are part of a long list of archaeological wonders.
Machu Picchu (“old mountain” in Quechua, the ancient language of the Incas) nestles on top of a mountain saddle high above the Urubamba River in the middle of the cloud forest. It was both a center of worship and astronomic observatory as well as the private retreat of the family of Inca ruler Pachacutec. It is split into two major areas: the agriculture zone, made up of terracing and food storehouses; and the urban zone, featuring the sacred sector, with temples, squares and royal tombs which have been carved to an extraordinary degree of perfection. The stone staircases and canals are found throughout this unique archaeological site.
In 2007 Machu Picchu was elected one of the new seven wonders of the world along with the Chinese Great Wall, Rome's Coliseum and Taj Mahal.
Centuries ago, 50 square kms of desert floor were covered by vast drawings, figures of mammals, insects and deities, just two hours from Ica. The Nazca Lines, discovered in 1927, are the most extraordinary legacy left by a culture that flourished in 300 BC. These lines are a series of complex designs up to 300 meters (984 feet) long which can only be seen in their true dimension at an altitude of at least 1500 feet.
The Nazca culture is believed to be incapable of manned flight. Still the question remains as to how they crafted the drawings, what technology they used, and what purpose the lines served. Theories abound regarding these mysterious etchings, ranging from landing strips for aliens to a giant seismograph. The most probable theory is that of María Reiche, a German researcher who dedicated her life to studying the lines. Ms Reiche believed that the lines were part of a vast astronomic calendar whose figures marked different solar phases. Ms Reiche. affectionately nicknamed the Angel of the Plains by the local inhabitants. was the first to discover the ancient technique of digging into the tough and dry desert floor and covering the track with stones brought from distant sites. The component of natural plaster existing in the area helped to preserve the drawings for thousands of years. The hummingbird, the spider. the condor and the monkey, are among the more than 30 figures etched into the plain.
The Nazca Plains (four areas in total: Palpa, Ingenio, Nazca and Socos) lie in the department of Ica, some 460 km (285 miles) south of Lima. The lines that decorate the desert floor like an embroidery of the gods have been declared a Mankind Heritage Site by UNESCO and the ancient mystery of the figures still waits to be unraveled.
Koricancha is a classic example of the fusion of Inca and Western cultures. It was one of the most important temples in the Tahuantinsuyu. Its finely polished stone walls were used as the foundations of the Convent of Santo Domingo.
The temple, whose walls were said to have been sheathed in gold and silver, was dedicated to sun worship, as well as containing images of the gods of thunder and Wiracocha, deities brought from various regions and the mummified bodies of Inca rulers.
Worship within the temple was reserved for the highest-ranking figures of the era, and for representatives of distant, non-Inca communities all over the empire who would render homage to the goods of the Thahuantinsuyu.