I have had the opportunity of going to the Andes Mountains, the Amazon Rainforest, the central jungle, the Pacific coast, the Peruvian desert among others.
Here are my recommendations of places to visit while in Peru:
1. Machu Picchu: The ancient ruins of the Inca city is one of the Wonders of the World. This trip was the most incredible experience of my life! You can do a multiple day hike to arrive at Machu Picchu, or also travel to Cusco and stay in the city before visiting Machu Picchu. I visited twice and loved doing both! Also, if you visit Machu Picchu and are up for climbing, you can climb Huayna Picchu, which is the enormous mountain behind the ruins. We climbed to the tip; the climb and the view overlooking the ruins was unlike anything else!
2. Amazon Jungle: The Amazon Rainforest is home to amazing wildlife and makes for a unique and fun trip. A traveler can fly into Iquitos (this city can only be accessed by boat or plane, as there are no roads leading in or out of the city) and can then travel into the Amazon. There are dolphins, birds, monkeys, sloths, piranhas and many more animals that will be seen in the rainforest.
3. The Peruvian Desert: Ica is a fun city in the desert and tourists can ride dune bugggies and try sandboarding while here. The desert in itself is an incredible place, but adding the adventure and action of these activities made the trip one of the most fun! I would also recommend traveling to Paracas from Ica, which a coastal city nearby, where one will find the Islas Ballestas. These islands are incredibly beautiful and home to countless sea lions, and even penguins!
4. Mancora: This is a coastal city and known to have the most beutiful beaches in Peru! There is sun in Mancora during all times of the year! The city is located in northern Peru right next to the Ecuador border. Also, there are bus lines that run from Lima to Mancora for great prices. I got a ticket for only 140 soles trip (About $50)!
5. Punta Hermosa: If you are living in Lima and looking for a cheaper option for travel, there is a nearby coastal city named Punta Hermosa. This also has wonderful beaches, is typically sunny, even when Lima is not, and is less than a 2 hour ride outside of Lima. You can take a combi for only 2.50 soles each way to arrive at the beaches in Punta Hermosa. This is known as being more of a young-people's destination and for that, it has a fun night-life as well.
At Machu Picchu!
The Beautiful Islas Ballestas!
In the Amazon Rainforest!
If staying in Lima, there are great places to visit as well:
1. Central Lima: This is home to the Plaza de Gobierno, countless incredible churches, museums and parks. There is always something going on and tons of people around in downtown Lima. The architecture is traditional Spanish, and the downtown squares are beautiful. Definitely a fun place to spend the day sight-seeing.
2. Miraflores: Known for being more of the tourist destination in Lima. The Miraflores district holds Parque Kennedy (park), Larcomar (shopping), the beach, countless hotels, restaurants and shops, and an amazing nightlife.
3. Barranco: This district is another district in Lima that is known for its parks and beauty. It is a great place to spend an afternoon! Also, Barranco has a great strip of discotecas and bars which provide a very fun nightlife. The nightlife here is a favorite to many students and young adults.