The Cities Of Peru
Year after year, the country of Peru has elevated its offerings to tourists with its cultural attractions,
culinary offerings, and hotel accommodations. Winning three awards at the 2021 World Travel Awards (WTA), along with nominations in 18 categories for the South American edition for the 2022 WTA, and 10 nominations by the 2022 World Culinary Awards, Peru has positioned itself as one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the world. Peru is also so much more than just Cusco and Machu Picchu! Below, we look at some of the familiar, and unfamiliar cities in this magical country.
The capital city of Lima is filled with museums, world renowned restaurants, and many hotels from which to choose…it’s no wonder that in recent years a visit to Peru has meant more than a trek to Incan ruins.
In Lima, visitors can stroll through the artsy neighborhood of Barranco with its dozens of galleries and museums. Book a stay at Hotel B (www.hotelb.pe), Lima’s only Relais & Châteaux hotel. Hotel B is a fully restored Belle Époque mansion which was first built in 1914 as a summer home for a wealthy Limeño family. Walk through the area known as Miraflores, with miles of manicured parks bordering along a coastal bluff. While the food scene has most definitely flourished here (restaurant Central was voted the second-best restaurant in the world), history abounds within the city limits and there’s no better place to learn about pre-Columbian culture than with a visit to the private Larco Museum set within beautifully landscaped gardens. There are over 10,000 years’ worth of fascinating artifacts, taking you on a journey to discover ancient civilizations that extend well beyond the Incan empire.
Peru’s second largest city, Arequipa, is often referred to as the White City due to its abundant sillar stone architecture. Home to three snow-capped volcanoes, this colonial city is filled with monasteries, cobblestone streets, and a gastronomic heritage. For those that enjoy visiting cities but are often overwhelmed by a large, dense population, Arequipa is the perfect alternative to Lima. It has the city feel without the daunting size of Lima.
At an elevation at 7,600ft, it’s a perfect place for acclimating before heading onto the higher elevations around Cusco and Lake Titicaca. It’s a city that offers an incredible culinary scene, wonderful museums, perfect weather, outdoor activities and is a very manageable size with only one million residents. For an upscale stay in Arequipa, Hotel CIRQA (www.cirqa.pe) is the only high-end boutique hotel in the city and is located just one block from the main Plaza de Armas. The hotel is in the historic center of Arequipa, in a UNESCO protected site. It’s a former monastery dating back to the year 1540 when the city was founded. There are eleven rooms here, some of which have restored high-vaulted ceilings and on the hotel’s second floor, El Techo de CIRQA overlooks the surrounding neighborhoods and showcases the city’s volcanoes.
PISCO & PARACAS
Visit the city of Pisco, just south of Lima, for a flight over the city of Nazca, best known for the famous and mysterious Nazca Lines. High temperatures and extreme desert conditions mean nearly zero rainfall, making Nazca a year-round destination for travelers that are intent on getting a glimpse of the Nazca Lines. The Nazca Lines caught the attention of UNESCO and in 1994 they were declared an Archaeological World Heritage Site. While it’s usually a quick stopover between Lima and the Andes, some travelers stay longer, seeking a full immersion into this area of South America’s most mystical archaeological sites. The city of Nazca still lacks in accommodations so, from there, take a three-hour drive to Paracas, a small town on the coast. Making Paracas your home base will let you explore the region, visiting the many museums and archeological sites in the area. The Doubletree by Hilton
(www.Hilton.com) offers luxurious suites next to Paracas National Park, known for its rich ecosystems. The hotel offers a range of water sports, and a wellness spa. The Hotel Paracas Resort by Marriott
(www.marriott.com) is another great option in the area, offering world-class facilities, a private dock, and the city’s only luxury spa. Yampu Tours (www.yampu.com) offers an adventure tour in the area including sunset picnics in the dunes, sand boarding and dune buggy rides.