When people think of Peru, there tend to be six things that come to mind – the three cities of Cusco, Arequipa and Lima alongside the three stunning attractions of Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca and the Nazca Lines. When it comes to must-see destinations these are right up there – but, there is more to the South American country. Keep reading to have a look at some of the lesser-visited places that can help you see the “real” Peru.
Tingo Maria – This is a hugely popular destinations for the residents of Lima who head here to enjoy the delightful tropical climate, but it is still yet to be a tourist hot spot.
This warm town lies in the alta selva which means that although its back is firmly pressed against the Andes Mountains, the valley has the unmistakable climate of the tropical rainforest, making it a unique spot. This is a relaxing spot for a tourist because of the fact that it is located centrally and you can easily get to the natural wonders around the area by using bicycles, bus or even on foot.
Not to miss are the waterfalls such as Santa Carmen which is in the National Park of Tingo Maria and is a great spot to swim in the falls or join locals in a Sunday picnic on the rocks.
Several caves are also popular spots such as the Owl Cave which is ironically filled with oilbirds. Another favorite spot is the Laguna el Milagro which is located to the north of town and is a peaceful lagoon in the high jungle where you can spend an afternoon rowing a canoe and swimming in the calm, blue water.
There is a hugely relaxed atmosphere created by the fact that the calm town is based next to the natural wonders, and when you consider the many rainforest foods like fish and exotic fruits you are almost ensured to enjoy your stint.
Don’t be fooled though, this lazy town springs into action at night, with some of the best nightlife I have seen in Peru. There is a popular style of music found in the jungle – cumbia – and there are night clubs filled with young people dancing away. This is somewhere that many people stay a while, so when taking a break from traveling at Tingo Maria be cautious that you might fall in love with it!
Ballestas Islas Located off the coast of the protected region of the Paracas National Park, these islands are often jokingly referred to as the “poor man’s Galapagos.
Considerably lesser known and for that less expensive, these islands still offer unparalleled opportunities to see unique wildlife just like the Galapagos Islands.
Due to natural erosion, the islands have many naturally formed caves and arches that are ripe for exploration. The species that visitors may enjoy are penguins, blue-footed boobies, sea lions, dolphins which often follow boats into the islands and black cormorants among others.
Heading out from the splendid nature reserve of Paracas, the boats depart in the morning.