Remote mountains of rainbow colors, high altitude lakes age-old Inca secrets, ancient hidden archaeological wonders and steamy jungles teeming with life are just some of the amazing sights outside of Cusco. I traveled this region for over a month in search of some of Peru’s most off the beaten track sights which are all still close to Cusco the capital of the Inca Empire. What I discovered was a culturally rich region with a plethora of amazing archaeological sights and climate zones that can change in the blink of an eye. This is the real Peru! The one we all dream of.
Nazca and Ica, Peru
As I peer out into the endless and shifting light crawling across the sand dunes, I enter a seemingly perfect scene for photography. Every so often the light reflects onto a corner of sand revealing the bones of the ancient Nazca or a mud brick structure that is possibly over 2000 years old. You see, Nazca is not just a tourist destination or a photographer’s dream, it is also a place of discovery where a wannabe intrepid explorer can live their dream of becoming an archaeologist if only for a few days! This is an area of Peru many forget or bypass, but those like me who spend the time to discover it will see that it is one of the most fascinating places on the planet!
As the clouds roll down the mountain, the dense jungle foliage emerges. Further afield, structures clinging to the mountainside appear seemingly from nowhere. Climbing higher into the cloud forest towards this archaeological site it becomes ever more apparent that not many have been here as we must hack our way through this jungle. Arriving at the site we see mummies, sarcophagi and a series of human skulls littered about. This is adventure at its finest.
In a corner of Peru you have probably never heard of, sits a series of remote valleys in Northern Peru that have remained largely off of the regular tourist path. Home to the fascinating cloud people of Peru, Chachapoyas is shrouded in mystery with ancient pre-Inca sights being discovered daily. Wedged in between Peru’s Amazon jungle and Andean Highlands makes this region one of the most biologically rich cloud forests in the country. This is an area of Peru reserved for adventurers, this is Chachapoyas!
Peru, Sacred Valley
No, where on earth have I found a place like this, a remote indescribably beautiful and culturally diverse series of valleys containing all the historic riches of the Inca. From desolate high-altitude plains and misty cloud forests full of colorful birds. Peru’s highlands will take you on a whirlwind adventure transporting you in time entirely. It’s a whole other world just begging to be explored by the curious would-be adventurer. Time and time again I found myself walking in the footsteps of explorers long ago discovering ancient cities and vibrant villages. This is a destination for those who love travel, this is the Peruvian Highlands!