Wonders of Peru

Territory

Gocta Falls, Peru
Gocta Falls / Elemaki, / CC BY 3.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

P

eru is one of the most interesting and diverse countries in the world. Many landmarks here are unique, without analogs in the world.

Highlights of Peru are:

  • Archaeological heritage – Peru in this respect is one of the most interesting countries in the world. Here evolved many ancient cultures, such as Chavín, Paracas, Moche, Nazca, Wari, Chimú, and the last and best known – Inca. Here developed the most ancient urban centers in the Americas and were built giant pyramids and other unique structures.
  • Historical cities and colonial architecture – when Peru was conquered by Spaniards, quickly were developed new cities with rich colonial architecture. Some cities retained Inca and earlier planning and now represent a unique blend of urban planning and architecture – very impressive churches and monasteries.
  • Canyons – some of the deepest canyons in the world are located in Peru – only in the Himalayas are located deeper ones. Cotahuasi Canyon is up to 3,535 m deep.
  • Waterfalls – here are some of the tallest waterfalls in the world such as Tres Hermanas Falls (914 m).
  • Biodiversity values – Peru is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world – but it is hard to single out an area with a very distinct, unique ecosystem.

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 25 wonders of Peru

Geological wonders

Pongo de Mainique

Cusco

3 km long canyon of Urubamba River with 300 – 900 m high cliffs. The forest here has extremely high biological diversity, one of the highest in the world. The canyon is crossed by Inca bridge, leading to Machu Picchu.

Marcahuasi

Lima

Mountain plateau with amazing granite formations, resembling large sculptures of humans and animals. Located at almost 4 km height, considered to be a place with mystical properties.

Colca Canyon

Arequipa

One of the deepest canyons in the world, up to 3,200 m deep (some sources give as much as 4,160 m). A location where soaring Andean Condors can often be seen.

Colca Canyon, Peru
Tres Hermanas Falls (Cataratas las Tres Hermanas)

Ayacucho

This 12 meters wide stream has a total height of 914 meters in 5 drops.

Archaeological wonders

Machu Picchu

Cusco

One of the most spectacular archaeological sites in the world. Extensive ruins of stone structures on a rugged cliff peak. The town was built around 1450 as a shelter and center for Inca rulers and abandoned sometimes around 1572. An especially interesting monument here is Intihuatana – a sculpted stone, a possible astronomic clock or calendar.

Machu Picchu, Peru
Nazca Lines

Ica

The best-known geoglyphs in the world were created sometimes around 400 – 650 AD in the extremely dry Nazca Desert. Giant, up to 200 m long prehistoric drawings are spread over a large area, the best among them are Family, Mandala, Tree, Spider, Condor, Astronaut, Whale.

Nazca lines in Peru - drawing of spider
Chavín de Huántar

Chavín de Huántar

The former capital of Chavín culture, a place of high spiritual importance. Occupied since at least 3000 BC, a sacred site since the end of the 2nd millennium BC. Numerous diverse temples and amazing artworks including the sculpture of the Lanzón that was created some 3000 years ago.

Sacsayhuamán

Cusco

One of the most impressive complexes of megalithic walls with blocks up to 120 – 200 tons heavy: possibly built by Kilke culture between 900 – 1200 AD. Ruins of temples found.

Chan Chan

La Libertad

The capital of Chimor, the largest known Pre-Columbian city in South America, with some 6 km² large urban core. The city was built from adobe, it flourished in 850 -­1470 AD. Chan Chan consists of 10 walled citadels. Intricate ornamentation of adobe walls.

Ruins of Chan Chan, Peru
Vilcabamba

Cusco

Ruins of the last capital of Inca. This remote mountain refuge was constructed by Manco Inca in 1539 and fell to Spaniards in 1572. Rediscovered in 1892.

Pyramids of Sun and Moon (Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna)

La Libertad

One of the largest adobe structures in the world. Located in the former capital of Moche state. Built sometimes around 450 AD. The pyramid of Sun initially was 50 m tall, now 41 m tall.

Choquequirao

Cusco

Ruins of an abandoned Inca city, located in a dramatic mountain setting. Constructed in the late 15th century. The site includes a mountain with truncated, leveled top, dramatic-looking agricultural terraces.

Chankillo

Ancash

Ruins of large prehistoric site, built by the unknown culture around the 4th century AD. Contains Thirteen Towers – possible observatory.

Sarcophagi of Carajía

Amazonas

A group of unique, practically intact clay sarcophagus. Seven sarcophagi are shaped like standing people and are up to 2.5 m tall.

Sayhuite monolith

Apurímac

Large rock with more than 200 geometric and zoomorphic bas reliefs. Located in an ancient center of religious worship.

Aramu Muru

Puno

Giant stone carving in live rock, most likely unfinished. Represents a giant gate that leads into the cliff. Local stories about portal leading to the world of spirits.

Aramu Muru - mysterious (?) gate to nowhere, Peru
Paracas Candelabra

Ica

Prehistoric geoglyph on the slope, well visible from the sea. This 185 m long figure most likely has been made sometime around 200 BC.

Qenko

Cusco

The holy place of Inca, with artificially shaped limestone blocks. Includes gnomons – sundials and intricate incised lines – “snakes”.

Qenko, Peru
Patallacta

Cusco

Well preserved ruins of Inca village, with a magnificent system of agricultural terraces around it.

Laguna de las Momias

Amazonas

Breathtaking archaeological monument – a necropolis hewn into a high cliff overlooking a lake. In mausoleums still are located numerous remains of deceased. People here were buried in a seated position, wrapped in intricate textiles.

Architecture wonders

Cusco historic center

Cusco

The historical capital of the Inca Empire, inhabited since 900 AD. During Inca time (the 13th century – 1532) the city was developed according to a strict plan. After the Spanish conquest, the city has maintained much of its original planning and part of building stones, but there has been built a new, magnificent city, blending local and European traditions.

Cusco, Plaza des Armas
Ollantaytambo

Cusco

Inca site – the royal estate of Pachacuti. One of the oldest continuously inhabited towns in Southern America developed since the late 15th century. Many original Inca buildings are still inhabited. The ruins of the Sun Temple on Temple Hill include a Wall of Six Monoliths – a surprising megalithic structure.

Lima Historic Center

Lima

One of the first major European urban centers in the Americas, founded in 1535. Many buildings are sumptuous and ornate, showing off the wealth of Peru in Spanish colonial times. At the time even the streets were paved with silver bars here. A characteristic feature is more than 1600 ornate balconies.

WorldYellow Recommended books

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Peru


Explore Peru region by region, from local festivals and markets to day trips around the countryside and a journey to Machu Picchu in the Inca heartland.

Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time


In 1911, Hiram Bingham III climbed into the Andes Mountains of Peru and “discovered” Machu Picchu. While history has recast Bingham as a villain who stole both priceless artifacts and credit for finding the great archaeological site, Mark Adams set out to retrace the explorer’s perilous path in search of the truth—except he’d written about adventure far more than he’d actually lived it. In fact, he’d never even slept in a tent.


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