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Peru - Travel Blog & Photos from a Backpacker

Places, Experiences, Info, Tips + 2688 Photos from Peru

Anything is possible in Peru, from jungle adventures in the Amazon to sandboarding down some of the biggest sand dunes in the world in Ica. Ancient cultures can be seen and experienced including the Nazca Lines and the city of Cusco (The City of the Inca). Great surfing can be done in the northern coast areas where many beaches including Mancora are located. Visit Cajamarca and the rock formations at Cumbemayo, see the Machu Picchu of the north called Kuelap near Chachapoyas and the Peruvian Amazon!

I have spent a lot of time in Peru, in the country at least 15 times now. I have visited Cusco 3 times in 2008 and 2011 and have travelled up and down the coast from north to south and back in 2009 for over 2 weeks. I also did a 5 day dash up the coast from south to north in 2010. In 2011 I spent 5 weeks traveling the mountains from the north of Peru all the way down to the south. In 2012 I again travelled from south to north. In 2014 I spent time in Lima and Tacna. 2015 the journey from Tacna to Desaguadero and in 2016 the Peruvian Amazon! There is more I want to see in Peru in the future. Here are my experiences and story.
Read more about Iquitos to Santa Rosa
Iquitos to Santa Rosa: The Journey To The Border Of Colombia  » photoset (46 photos) «
Iquitos proved to be a fantastic place to explore the Amazon jungle on foot, to enjoy nature, wildlife and all the little creatures I found hiding among the leaves! Time now to get back to Colombia where I live. This would be my 5th river journey in the Amazon, but my 1st in a fast boat, the others were in the slower more laidback ferries! I bought a ticket in central Iquitos just down from the main plaza for $150 Soles ($45USD) for an early exit at 6:30am, it's a 9hr ride at an average speed of 55-65kmsph. More
Read more about Iquitos
Iquitos: World's Largest City Unreachable By Road  » photoset (158 photos) «
Arriving in AND leaving Iquitos by plane on the same trip is just plain wrong! You absolutely must arrive in OR leave this place by RIVER! Otherwise what's the point? You come to Iquitos for as much of an Amazon experience as you can get, this was my thinking! And the river of course is a major part of a real Amazon and jungle experience. More
Read more about Yurimaguas to Iquitos
Yurimaguas to Iquitos: Taking A Ferry To Iquitos From Yurimaguas  » photoset (104 photos) «
After a couple of weeks of traveling the Amazon by road, I finally came to the end of the road in Yurimaguas, the only option was to continue by river! This would be my 4th journey by river in the Amazon, but my first in Peru, the other trips were in Brazil. More
Read more about Tarapoto to Yurimaguas
Tarapoto to Yurimaguas: Going To Yurimaguas For A Ferry To Iquitos  » photoset (33 photos) «
The last stretch of road in north/east peru that connects to the rest of the country runs to Yurimaguas from Tarapoto. From Yurimaguas it's all down river baby! This ride from Tarapoto to Yurimaguas takes 2hrs on a winding paved road and goes through a heavily forested area (the Cordillera Escalera), make sure you eat well like I didn't. More
Read more about Tarapoto and Lamas
Tarapoto and Lamas: The Only Castle In The Amazon  » photoset (57 photos) «
I didn't come to Tarapoto to do a jungle tour because I planned to do that a week later in Iquitos and I didn't come to see any waterfalls as I had seen a couple in Tingo Maria and I didn't come to Tarapoto to go out on a lagoon because I had done that in Pucallpa. More
Read more about Tingo Maria to Tarapoto
Tingo Maria to Tarapoto: Road Notorious For Bandits & Robberies  » photoset (105 photos) «
From the photos, the journey between Tingo Maria and Tarapoto looks like a pleasant drive through the jungle and cloud forest, which it is, but it could have been much different! This road is notorious for bandits and robberies and is known as one of the most dodgy routes in Peru. More
Read more about Pucallpa
Pucallpa: Birds & Wildlife At Lake Yarinacocha, Ucayali River, Iquitos Ferry  » photoset (105 photos) «
In the middle of Peru, deep towards the eastern side in the Amazon on the banks of the Ucayali River sits the city of Pucallpa. A rugged and busy little town full of mototaxis at every turn. I came to Pucallpa from Tingo Maria, a 4-5hr journey through the jungle by shared co-op car. More
Read more about Pucallpa to Tingo Maria
Pucallpa to Tingo Maria: Journey Through The Amazon Jungle By Road  » photoset (67 photos) «
The road between Pucallpa and Tingo Maria takes you for a 250km ride through the Amazon jungle. I enjoyed this journey in both directions, along the way getting to see slices of life and glimpses into how the people live. The road is mostly in good condition but there are problems in a couple of places and may require waiting for roadworks around the Aguaytia River. More
Read more about Tingo Maria
Tingo Maria: Door To The Amazon With Many Waterfalls & Caves  » photoset (80 photos) «
On the surface Tingo Maria looks and feels just like another small busy and crazy Peruvian town with a million mototaxis buzzing up and down the streets, but after discovering the area around the city and getting a better sense of its location as a major junction between various other cities, you may find Tingo Maria to be quite a special place. More
Read more about Huanuco
Huanuco: Kotosh Ruins & The Journey To Tingo Maria  » photoset (85 photos) «
A quick 35min flight from Lima brought me up to Huanuco in the mountains at just under 2kms above sea level. I chose Huanuco as the place I would make my way down to the Peruvian Amazon from. Huanuco is known for its climate of warm days and cool nights, the temple of Kotosh, the old Calicanto stone bridge and the San Sebastian church. More
Read more about Cusco
Cusco: There's A Lot To Love About This City  » photoset (109 photos) «
Cusco is a great town for nightlife, clubs, bars, restaurants and of course, the place to book your Machu Picchu tour! Cusco is not the be all and end all of Peru however, but being in the highlands it is a more beautiful place than perhaps the coastal cities are. More
Read more about Lima
Lima: You Need More Than A Few Days To See This City  » photoset (166 photos) «
In 2014 I spent 2 days in Lima and had a great time exploring the city without any problems although I was warned a few times to be careful with my camera and of course after my 2009 experience I was very careful with taxis. I arrived first thing in the morning on a flight from Bogota (Colombia) and walked to a hostel about 1km from the airport. More
Read more about Pisco, Islas Ballestas & Paracas
Pisco, Islas Ballestas & Paracas: Nature And Animals Are Things You Never Forget  » photoset (51 photos) «
I arrived in Pisco at about 5am from Lima which was a 3hr journey south. From the bus I was hussled by mototaxis for a ride into the center of Pisco. The buses drop passengers on the Pan-American highway because the road into Pisco is currently (2009) inaccessible to buses because of the earthquake in 2007. More
Read more about Ica / Huacachina
Ica / Huacachina: Sandboarding In The Amazing Sand Dunes  » photoset (33 photos) «
I travelled from Pisco to Ica by bus and took a short taxi ride to Huacachina the next morning to stay by the oasis and go sandboarding on the huge sand dunes. I found a great hostel with a pool and bar and outside area with a bunch of macaw as pets that sat and flew around the garden. More
Read more about Nazca
Nazca: The Place To Visit For Archaeology  » photoset (40 photos) «
I have been to many places in Peru more than once and Nazca is one such place. I do different things each time I pass through. Once when I arrived in Nazca from Ica, at the bus terminal I was approached immediately by people offering accommodation and tours to the Nazca lines. More
Read more about Arequipa
Arequipa: The White City Near The Snowy Mountains  » photoset (79 photos) «
I have visited Arequipa twice now, in 2009 and 2012, each time for 2 nights. Arequipa is reminiscent in some ways to Cusco. One of the highlights in the city is the beautiful Plaza de Armas - a big wide open space with palm trees, grass areas, fountain, pigeons, seating and people enjoying the sun. More
Read more about Puno / Juliaca
Puno / Juliaca: Is There Anything To Eat Apart From Fried Chicken?  » photoset (30 photos) «
I arrived in Juliaca at about 8pm one night and found a budget hotel. I went out for some horrible fried chicken meal. The bed was so horrible I left the hotel at 4am and found a collective taxi-van on the street leaving to Puno by 4:30am. Juliaca didn't look like an attractive town to me. More
Read more about Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu: The Number 1 Tourist Attraction In The Country  » photoset (8 photos) «
I went on a day trip to Machu Picchu on the train, it took about 4hrs each way from Cusco and cost $105USD for everything included except the entrance ticket to the ruins. There was a group of us with a guide to talk about and explain things. When we arrived, from the train station we got on a bus that drove us up to the top of the mountain which took about 20 minutes. More
Read more about San Pedro Journeys
San Pedro Journeys: You Had To Be There  » photoset (14 photos) «
I and a small group of 4 others went up into the mountains overlooking Cusco to a special place to drink San Pedro, the day cost $70USD. We had an amazing experience which lasted about 10-12 hours. I can't really explain it, but it was very surreal. I saw a rainbow around the sun in an exact circle, not a halucination. More
Read more about Puno to Bolivian Border
Puno to Bolivian Border: The Way From Peru To Copacabana  » photoset (52 photos) «
From Puno I wanted to go to Copacabana on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca. I have spent a few days at Copacabana on 3 occasions. On my first trip I came here from La Paz in the south and on my third and fourth trips from Puno in the north. One time by mistake from Puno I got on the wrong bus which was going to Desaguadero on the other side of the lake from Copacabana instead of a bus to Yunguyo. More
Read more about Chile Border to Tacna
Chile Border to Tacna: A Straightforward Border Crossing  » photoset (6 photos) «
From the bus and taxi terminal in Arica in northern Chile I took a collective taxi across the border to Tacna in southern Peru. It was the end of the day and the Peruvian people who come over the border each day to sell their products in Chile were packing up at the terminal and getting buses back into Peru. More
Read more about Tacna
Tacna: Gateway To Chile, There's A Few Things To See  » photoset (37 photos) «
2015 I came through Tacna this year on a flight from Lima so to get from Tacna to Desaguadero on the border of Bolivia which took 6hrs 15mins in a shared van. We passed through Moquegua, a place I had visited a few years earlier. 2014 I came through Tacna twice this year, once when I passed through heading south on my way to Arica Chile and then on the way back stopping to spend a few hours walking around taking some more photos before a flight north to Lima. More
Read more about Moquegua
Moquegua: The Road To Desaguadero On The Bolivian Border  » photoset (32 photos) «
2015: I passed through Moquegua from Tacna on the way to Desaguadero on the border of Bolivia, there are some good photos of the journey! 2010: I turned up in Moquegua after leaving Arica in Chile in the middle of the day, going across the border into Peru to Tacna bus terminal by co-op taxi, then from Tacna by bus for about 150kms to Moquegua. More
Read more about Camana
Camana: A Good Place To Spend A Night To Break The Journey  » photoset (13 photos) «
I was glad to arrive in Camana after a not so pleasant bus ride from Tacna, it took about 9hrs and I was in desperate need of some soup. I asked a few restaurants if they served soup and they all kept telling me the same name of a place where I could get some. More
Read more about Huanchaco / Trujillo
Huanchaco / Trujillo: Banana Boats, Surfing And Historical Sites  » photoset (59 photos) «
In Trujillo and nearby Huanchaco there is a lot to see and do. Trujillo has a fantastic historical center with at least a dozen notable churches worth checking out. Trujillo's main square - the Plaza de Armas is quite spectacular to see with colorful buildings surrounding it, the cathedral and flower gardens. More
Read more about Mancora
Mancora: Tourist Central Surfing Beach, Lots Of Fun  » photoset (28 photos) «
I arrived in Mancora at 11pm from Trujillo, stepped out of the taxi-van and was immediately hounded by 4 mototaxi drivers asking if I needed accommodation and that they knew of a good place. All talking at the same time, I chose one to take me for a short ride to a cheap crash pad by the beach which cost only 15 Soles ($5USD) per night. More
Read more about Ecuador (Macara) to Sullana to Piura
Ecuador (Macara) to Sullana to Piura: How Many People Can You Fit Into A Taxi?  » photoset (4 photos) «
Exiting Macara in Ecuador for Peru is straight forward, you can get your exit stamp at the border, walk across the bridge and get your entry stamp for Peru on the other side. Once this is done there are co-op taxis waiting there to take you to Sullana which is about 130kms away. More
Read more about Chimbote
Chimbote: Port Town, Not A Bad Place At All  » photoset (62 photos) «
The first time I stopped in Chimbote was for a few hours to have lunch with a friend who lives here and then we travelled 6hrs by bus south to Lima. The prices of the buses varied a lot, we got a ticket for 20 Soles in first class which was a good deal (2009). More
Read more about Nazca to Chincha Alta
Nazca to Chincha Alta: What I Saw Along The Way  » photoset (44 photos) «
I left Nazca in the early afternoon up to Ica and at the bus terminal hopped on a bus to Chincha Alta arriving in the late afternoon. This was the next place I had decided to stay on my 4 day dash up the coast of Peru from south to north. Before Nazca I had come from Moquegua during the night. More
Read more about Chincha Alta to Piura
Chincha Alta to Piura: Covering A Lot Of Distance As Fast As Possible  » photoset (46 photos) «
I left Chincha Alta after lunch on a bus up to Lima and then took another bus north during the night up to Chiclayo and then took another bus to Piura. This part of my dash up the Peruvian coast from south to north would take 22hrs from leaving Chincha Alta to arriving in Piura. More
Read more about Piura to Tumbes
Piura to Tumbes: Up The North Coast To Cross The Border To Ecuador  » photoset (54 photos) «
I arrived in Piura for a 3rd time but this time to stay the night, the other 2 times I was just passing through. This was part of my 4 day dash up the coast of Peru from south to north. I had just spent 22hrs traveling all the way up from Chincha Alta south of Lima and this was where I would have a rest for the night. More
Read more about La Balza to San Ignacio
La Balza to San Ignacio: This Is One Way Of Entering Peru From Ecuador  » photoset (19 photos) «
Of the 3 border crossings I have done between Peru and Ecuador, La Balza is the most remote and isolated, but it's scenic, adventurous and fun. I came from Zumba in Ecuador and travelled 1hr down to Pucapamba at the border, then did passport formalities and walked over the bridge across the Rio Blanco to La Balza. More
Read more about San Ignacio to Chachapoyas
San Ignacio to Chachapoyas: An All Day Mission, Hectic  » photoset (39 photos) «
The journey from San Ignacio to Chachapoyas takes most of the day, 7hrs and 30mins in total. The first 3hrs to Jaen, another 1hr 30mins to Bagua Grande and another 3hrs to reach Chachapoyas. It is a nice trip through low-altitude forest and jungle regions where crop fields are separated by rows of palm trees. More
Read more about Chachapoyas
Chachapoyas: See The Fantasic Ruins Of Kuelap  » photoset (59 photos) «
I came to Chachapoyas from the north and spent 4 nights there, it's one of the more isolated cities in northern Peru away from the coast up in the mountains 2235m above sea. Chachapoyas is home to the ancient civilization 'the People of the Clouds' who fought the Inca from Kuelap - the amazing fortress high up in the mountains. More
Read more about Leymebamba to Celendin
Leymebamba to Celendin: One Of Those Journeys To Get From A To B  » photoset (45 photos) «
The bus left Chachapoyas at 6am, it would take 9 more hours to reach Celendin and a further 3hrs to get to Cajamarca by early evening. We arrived in Leymebamba at 8:20am and stopped for about 30mins for breakfast. I had a walk through the town of Leymebamba and had a quick look around, it is a lovely little place with a stone church, narrow streets and tiled-roof houses. More
Read more about Cajamarca
Cajamarca: Beautiful City In The Highlands, Cumbemayo Is A Must See  » photoset (122 photos) «
Cajamarca is a place full of history, it's a beautiful city in the northern Andes, a city full of indigenous locals wearing white hats, the place where the Inca Empire came to its demise. The city has plenty of old churches, monuments and statues, plazas, parks and markets. More
Read more about Cajabamba
Cajabamba: I'm Here I Might As Well Have A Look Around  » photoset (55 photos) «
I travelled on a beautiful day from Cajamarca to Cajabamba, it took 3hrs 30mins for the 125km journey. I enjoyed very much the countryside and landscapes along the way, red rock mountain sides, pastures and farmland. We passed through the small towns of Namora and San Marcos before arriving in Cajabamba where I spent the next 2 nights. More
Read more about Huamachuco
Huamachuco: I Arrived Just In Time For The Huge Annual Festival  » photoset (126 photos) «
I could not have been more lucky with the timing of my arrival in Huamachuco, it was the Thursday before a weekend of celebrations for the festival called Feria Patronal - Homenaje Santisima Virgen de la Alta Gracia, the 458th aniversary of Huamachuco! I hadn't planned to stay more than a couple of days in Huamachuco but decided to change that and stay until Monday. More
Read more about Huamachuco to Caraz
Huamachuco to Caraz: I'm Glad To Still Be Alive After That  » photoset (52 photos) «
The best way to describe the journey from Huamachuco to Caraz in the highlands is 'pure hell', in total it took around 20hrs in crappy buses on the most roughest of unsealed roads that weaved around cliffs with sheer drops of 100 meters or more. It took 2 and a half days to complete. More
Read more about Yungay and Caraz
Yungay and Caraz: 2 Beautiful Places To Visit  » photoset (47 photos) «
I had spent the previous 2 and a half days traveling over some very rugged terrains from Huamachuco in the north to get to Caraz, I was tired and ready to spend a couple of days taking it easy. I found a nice little hotel just half a block from the Plaza de Armas, it's a beautiful plaza and park with a fountain, gardens and tall trees, the cathedral Catedral de Piedra San Idelfonso stands on one side. More
Read more about Huaraz
Huaraz: Trekking Is The Name Of The Game  » photoset (49 photos) «
Trekking, trekking, trekking, this is the principal reason to visit Huaraz, the Callejon de Huaylas has the highest snow-capped mountain peaks in Peru. The city of Huaraz itself is at an altitude of 3100m, the peaks of the Callejon de Huaylas are over 6000m above sea level, you need to take it slowly over a period of days to get used to these altitudes, do not arrive in Huaraz from sea level and go hiking the next day! Huaraz has many tour companies along the main street, treks can be organised to peaks such as Quitaraju (6036m), Chacraraju W (6112m) and Artescuraju (6025m). More
Read more about Huancayo
Huancayo: I Visited The Huaytapallana Mountains  » photoset (70 photos) «
I came to Lima from Huaraz to get to Huancayo. I made my way by taxi to the bus at Terminal Terrestre and bought a ticket for around 30 Soles ($10USD), it would be an 8hr trip. The first hour of the trip was through the smog climbing up and out of Lima, gradually the sky became clear and blue and the air cleaner. More
Read more about Ayacucho
Ayacucho: Like A Mini-Cusco With Over 30 Churches  » photoset (76 photos) «
Ayacucho is definitely the most underrated and undervisited city by tourists in Peru. I had come to Ayacucho on an 8hr bus from Huancayo through some amazing terrains and landscapes. 40 minutes out of Huancayo the distance to Ayacucho is 223kms, Huancavelica 111kms and Izcuchaca 33kms, during this time we passed through Huancan with its pretty plaza and church and 2 other small churches in the countryside. More
Read more about Andahuaylas
Andahuaylas: The Sunday Market Is Famous And With Good Reason  » photoset (79 photos) «
Andahuaylas was the next place I wanted to visit in Peru's southern highlands. Andahuaylas is famous for its Sunday market, a huge market full of color and activity, the biggest market in South America that I have ever seen! From Ayacucho it had been an 8 and a half hour journey to get to Andahuaylas, we had passed through some brilliant and beautiful terrains including from up in the mountains - amazing views of the river Rio Pampas at Airabamba with its turquoise blue waters. More
Read more about Abancay
Abancay: A Nice, Easy-going Town A Few Hours From Cusco  » photoset (43 photos) «
I enjoyed a couple of days in Abancay just walking around the city, it's a nice place and I was lucky to be here during a small festival for the local college. Abancay is known as the "valley of the white lilies" by the indigenous Quechua community. To me, Abancay felt and looked similar to Caraz, a place I had visited a few weeks earlier. More

Hostel & Hotel Reviews:
  • Hostal El Colibri - Iquitos
  • Jungle Lodge - Iquitos
  • Hostal Las Brisas del Oriente - Iquitos
  • Hotel del Peru - Iquitos
  • Hospedaje Nuevo Amanecer - Yurimaguas
  • Alojamiento La Siesta - Tarapoto
  • Residencial Rey - Tocache
  • Palacio Hotel - Tingo Maria
  • Hospedaje Diana - Pucallpa
  • Hotel Leon - Tingo Maria
  • Sosa Hotel - Huanuco
  • Jose Galvez Hotel - Huanuco
  • Hotel Malibu - Lima
  • Copacabana Hotel - Tacna
  • Manhattan Inn - Lima
  • Amazonas Hostal - Lima
  • Pay Purix Backpackers Hostel - Lima
  • Hostal Los Delfines - Chimbote
  • Hostal Terminal - Arequipa
  • Hostal Brisas - Puno
  • Tomy's Hospedaje - Cusco
  • Hospedaje Misti - Abancay
  • Hotel Libertadores Wari - Andahuaylas
  • Hotel Cental Andahuaylas - Andahuaylas
  • Hospedaje Zaragoza - Ayacucho
  • Hospedaje Aruba - Huancayo
  • Hospedaje El Chinito - Huaraz
  • Hostal Sol de Oro - Yungay
  • Hotel San Marco - Caraz
  • The Police Station - Chuquicara
  • Hospedaje Luz Maria - Huamachuco
  • Hospedaje Gloriabamba - Cajabamba
  • Hospedaje Inkamerica - Cajamarca
  • Hotel Prado - Cajamarca
  • Kuelap Hotel - Chachapoyas
  • La Posada - San Ignacio
  • Hotel Jupiter - Moquegua
  • Hostal Posada Guadalupe - Nazca
  • Fred's Hostal - Chincha Alta
  • Hostal Vito - Piura
  • Casa de la Gringa - Cusco
  • Loki Backpacker Hostel - Cusco
  • The Point Cusco - Cusco
  • Hostal La Casa de Selenque - Cusco
  • Hostal El Cesar - Pisco
  • Hostal Rocha - Huacachina
  • Hostal Guillens - Nazca
  • Casona Blanca Hostal - Arequipa
  • Hotel Santa Maria - Juliaca (Apr 2009 - 1 night) - They said they had hot water but didn't, the bed was so bad we left at 4am in the morning and got a ride by co-op taxi-van to Puno by 4:30am.
  • Hotel Royal Inn - Tacna
  • Hostal Plaza - Camana
  • Hostal Tambo Colorado - Pisco
  • Plazza's Hotel - Huanchaco
  • Hospedaje Angeles Del Mar - Mancora
  • Chan Chan Inn - Trujillo (Jun 2009 - 1 night) - Basic and not very nice room, the bed was thin and uncomfortable and I was covered in bug bites in the morning, not recommended.

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