We couldn't find that.
Let's go back home and try again.

What’s new in Peru?

Travel Editor Elizabeth Hansen revisits a favorite destination for a fresh perspective

Llamas and alpacas in Colca Canyon in Southern Peru
Image Credits Llamas/alpacas, Indigenous people of Lake Titilaka: photography courtesy of Titilaka Hotel; Kayaking, Peruvian Paso horse dancing: Photography courtesy of Sol y Luna Hotel; Luxury glamping: photo courtesy of Puqio Hotel; Collqua woman, Monastery: photography courtesy of Cirqa Hotel; Gondola: courtesy photo

This may seem incongruous, but my travel wish list is growing in spite of the fact that I’ve been on the road and in the air for decades. Now, I want to revisit my favorite places to see what’s new.

The Best Peru Guru 

Because nothing stays the same, I rely on experienced travel planners who specialize in one area and are up to speed on changes that impact visitors. In the case of Peru, that’s Nina Fogelman at Ancient Summit

Nina planned our first trip to her beloved Peru, and we had a wonderful time exploring with Wilfredo Huillca Gamarra, our Ancient Summit guide. We especially loved touring Machu Picchu, the famous Inca citadel, which was larger and more spectacular than I expected. We stayed at Sanctuary Lodge near the entrance and enjoyed the easy access. We even managed to catch a breathtaking sunrise over the site. These days, admission is a bit more complicated, but still very doable. Tickets for a specific day and entry time are purchased well in advance and visits are for a limited amount of time. Everyone has to stay on a chosen circuit rather than wander at will, backtrack, and stand still and stare at the magnificence of it all. Another option: Mountain Lodges of Peru offers a unique Salkantay Equestrian Journey, which is a fully-guided, seven-day lodge-to-lodge journey along the Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu. They also offer guided hikes, multi-sport adventures, and week-long yoga and wellness experiences. 

Peruvian Paso horse dancing at Sol y Luna in the Sacred Valley
Peruvian Paso horse dancing at Sol y Luna in the Sacred Valley

Exploring Farther Afield

Travel in Peru no longer means just Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. When we return, I’d like to explore the less-traveled areas, which includes Northern Peru so we can see Kuelap, an impressive archaeological site. Here, the remains of a 6th century walled settlement built by the Chachapoyas civilization sits atop a mountain at 9,800 feet. Experts claim that the site is one of the most significant pre-Columbian ruins in all of South America, only matched in grandeur by Machu Picchu. The site can be reached by cable car, which provides easy and spectacular access. Also in Northern Peru: I’m intrigued by the remarkable ruins of Huaca de la Luna and Huaca del Sol, two huge flat-topped pyramids built by the Moche culture before 800 AD. 

Gondola to Kuelap archaeological site in Northern Peru
Gondola to Kuelap archaeological site in Northern Peru

I’d also love to see the sand dunes south of Lima. The ones at Cerro Blanco are some of the tallest on the planet and a great spot for experienced sand boarders. Two other significant archaeological sites, the Nazca Lines and Tambo Colorado, are in the region. Arequipa, Peru’s second largest city, is another popular destination. Foodies love it here in this gastronomic paradise where local restaurants are known as picanterias. For lodging in Arequipa, I’ve got my eye on Cirqa, a charming Relais & Châteaux hotel. A few hours to the north, Puquio offers rustic elegance in the scenic Colca Valley. Due east of Arequipa, the famously luminescent Lake Titicaca is shared between Peru and Bolivia. It’s the world’s highest navigable lake and a great place to kayak. Titilaka Hotel is the place to stay.

Speaking of lodging, the last time I checked in with Nina, she brought me up to speed on the favorite established places to stay and the newcomers. I think Las Qolqas, a new eco resort in Ollantaytambo where lodging is in safari style tents, sounds great. Ollantaytambo is halfway between Cusco and Machu Picchu and it’s where the train departs for Machu Picchu. On our first trip to Peru, we enjoyed the Inkaterra Hotel in the town of Aguas 

Luxury glamping at Puqio in Colca Canyon
Luxury glamping at Puqio in Colca Canyon

Calientes, which is also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo due to its proximity to the bucket list site. Nina’s current favorite hotel in this popular area is Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel. Sadly, Sanctuary Lodge, which is the only hotel right at the entrance of Machu Picchu, seems to have fallen from grace. I have fond memories of our stay at the Belmond Palacio Nazarenas in Cusco. Nina confirmed that Hotel B, where we stayed in Lima, is still quite good and the boutique Atemporal Hotel, also in Lima, is fantastic. In the Sacred Valley, the lovely Sol y Luna in Urubamba is still the best place to stay. I’m particularly fond of this hotel because the owner Petit Miribel is very engaged in the community and uses income from the hotel to fund a boarding school on the property for underprivileged children.  

Kayaking on an excursion from Sol y Luna
Kayaking on an excursion
from Sol y Luna

I’m looking forward to revisiting Peru and exploring areas that will be new to me. I have a feeling that Peru, like love, will be even lovelier the second time around. 


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *