It should also be mentioned that being Latin and exotic doesn't automatically make this trip a third-world experience without civilized comforts. On the contrary, this is such a well-worn path that planned luxury tours can take visitors all over the country without once having to give up the cocoon of luxury provided by air-conditioned coaches and five-star hotels. The only thing visitors need to worry about is which tour package to pick.
The country's capital city of Lima is bound to be the entry and exit point for most travelers, so it makes sense to plan for it on the itinerary. It helps that Lima is the most popular among all the Pacific Coast tourist destinations in the country. Grandiose colonial architecture jostles with mega-malls and nightclubs. Not to mention the serene natural beauty of the beaches and desert sand dunes.
Lima is usually the starting and end point for most luxury tours. The hard part is deciding how much of the rest of the country can be packed into the middle. The easiest option is a simple one week tour that includes Lima, Machu Picchu and the Amazon jungle.
To add a touch of spice, throw in some adventure such as Inca Trail trekking or rafting in the Urubamba River rapids. A visit to the Pacaya Samiria reserve is bound to be a memorable aspect of this trip. This is a massive reserve set deep within the Amazon jungle, filled with 130 mammal species including the famed pink dolphin. There are 330 bird species in the reserve, but they don't really know much about the huge number of amphibious and reptilian creatures that exist in the shadows.
This is just the core of the tour, and there are so many more fascinating destinations within easy reach that can easily be included. For example, the incredible Nazca Lines (six hours from Lima) are on the way to Cuzco and Machu Picchu. Arequipa and Colca Canyon are likewise possible detours for tourists heading out of Lima or coming back.
The tour can also be taken beyond Cuzco and further into the highlands to the Puno region, where the main tourist attraction is Lake Titicaca. This lake is the highest among all the navigable lakes in the world. Visiting all or most of these aforementioned spots will take anywhere between 7-10 days. While the miles clocked can be minimized with proper planning, it might help even more to look on these journeys as part of the whole experience of getting to know the real Peru.
Visitors planning for travel to Peru should understand that it's not necessary to remain ensconced in luxury all the time. A bit of spontaneous contact with the real world is a good thing in order to get a taste of the local culture and food, and to meet some new people. New Peruvian friendships and time spent on the beaches, restaurants and bars will ultimately be far more memorable than pictures taken in Machu Picchu, notwithstanding the fact that the Inca citadel is indeed an awe-inspiring sight.
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