Natural Wonders of Peru: From Forests to Canyons

Posted on January 21, 2012 by

This is a sponsored guest post by Virgin Holidays.

Peru is home to the famed monuments of Machu Picchu and to the vibrant capital city of Lima. Both of these places are beautiful and intriguing in their own right, but it is the breathtaking beauty of Peru’s natural wonders that are the true treasures of this magnificent country.

Amazon Rainforest

In Peru, the Amazon Forest is flanked by the Andes Mountains on the east and the Pacific Ocean on the west. The resulting convergence of a diverse and varied ecosystem,  unmatched anywhere else in the world. Start your journey in either Iquitos or Puerto Maldonado. A three hour boat trip, an adventure on its own, brings you to an isolated jungle lodge on the banks of the Tambopata River. There is no describing the visceral excitement of sleeping in an open hut as howler monkeys, hyacinth macaws and jaguars all vie for your attention through a cacophony of sounds.

Colca Canyon

Deeper than the Grand Canyon and blessed with spectacular scenery, the Colca Canyon should not be missed. The gateway to his natural wonder is the city of Arequipa, Peru’s second largest. A variety of overnight camping tours are available but be warned, the trek is physically demanding and not for the faint of heart. The rewards are great, however, as the region is blessed with a multitude of flora and fauna, includin the rare Andean Condor, found only in this part of the world. A typical hike will pas through mountain, volcano and rainforest ecosystems. There is even a stop at a local village that has natural hot springs to heal your aching muscles.

Lake Titicaca

As the highest commercially navigable lake in the world, Lake Titicaca is a sight to behold on its own. The lake is also famous for its floating reed islands, home to the Uros people. Titicaca is also blessed with a wide variety of flora and fauna endemic to this region. Lake Titicaca is almost only accessible by bus from Cuzco or Arequion. Once there, you can easily book day trips to the reed islands of the Uros or to Amantani, an island in the middle of the lake and home to a tribe of native Quechua speakers.

Cordillera Blanca

The Cordillera Blanca offers some of the most magnificent and pristine views of the Andes Mountains. Monumental glaciers and Huascaran, the highest mountain in Peru and are some of the sights to behold. Huascaran, at 6700 metres, offers experienced climbers a true mountaineering experience. Access to this mountainous wonderland is through the town of Huaraz located some 429 kilometres north of Lima. It take some time to reach this snow-capped paradise but the it is well worth the effort.

Ballestas Islands

If sea creatures are your thing, then look no further than the “Galapagos Islands of Peru,” the Ballestas Islands. Pelicans, terns, boobies and cormourants are just a few of the avian wildlife that inhabit this unspoilt islands. Daytrips are available from the town of Paracas. Don’t miss the abundant sealife of sea lions, turtles, dolphins and whales as you make the crossing to the islands. Completely different but equally compelling, a trip to the Ballestas Islands rivals the experience of the rainforest.

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