With each region offering so many different attractions, it’s hard to generalize about the places you should visit first. Apart from the ostensibly unattractive capital, Lima , where you may well arrive, Cusco is perhaps the most obvious place to start. It’s a beautiful and bustling colonial city, the ancient heart of the Inca Empire, surrounded by some of the most spectacular mountain landscapes and palatial ruins in Peru and magnificent hiking country. Yet along the coast, too, there are fascinating archeological sites – the bizarre Nazca Lines south of Lima, the great adobe cities and ceremonial centres of Chan Chan , Túcume and Batan Grande in the north – and a rich crop of sea life, most accessible around the Paracas National Park . The coastal towns, almost all of them with superb beaches, also offer nightlife and great food. For mountains and long-distance treks there are the stunning glacial lakes, snowy peaks and little-known ruins of the sierra north of Lima, above all around Huaraz , Cajamarca and Chachapoyas . If it’s wildlife you’re interested in, there’s plenty to see almost everywhere. The jungle , however, provides startling opportunities for close and exotic encounters. From the comfort of tourist lodges in Iquitos to exciting river excursions around the Manu reserved areas or Puerto Maldonado , the fauna and flora of the world’s largest tropical forest can be experienced first-hand perhaps more easily than in any other quarter of the Amazon
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