Cusco, 2018: An estimated 3.7 million international travelers visited Peru during 2016, up around 8% on the previous year’s figures, and visitor numbers are continuing to grow. But if you think that means crowded tourist attractions and a country overrun with travelers, then think again!
3.7 million tourists may seem like a lot, but if we remember that Peru is the size of the United Kingdom, France and Spain combined, and that almost ten times that number (35 million arrivals by air) visited Mexico during the same twelve-month period, then it becomes clear that Peru remains a well-kept secret in the world of international travel and tourism.
Of course, Peru’s top tourist attraction is the pre-Columbian and colonial city of Cusco, with its Spanish mansions and churches built over the vestiges of Inca temples and palaces. But travelers shouldn’t imagine Cusco as a city crowded with tourists during the high season, in the manner of famous cities of comparable size in other parts of the world, such as Italy’s Florence (370,000 inhabitants), which every August finds its streets packed with people from all over the globe. In Florence, more than 1.7 million people buy a ticket for the Uffizi museum each year, far fewer than those who come to explore the wonders of the Inca city of Machu Picchu.
And Peru offers visitors so much more than Machu Picchu, the Inca Trail and the living culture and splendid architecture of Cusco. Most travelers associate Peru with the Incas and the Andes, but around 60% of the country is in fact covered by Amazon forests, including protected natural areas harboring the most biologically diverse spots on Earth. These include Tambopata National Reserve, easily accessed from Cusco.
And Peru’s desert coast is one of the most archaeologically rich places on the planet, sheltering the remains of cultures that pre-date the Incas by thousands of years. There are more than 2000 archaeological sites around the northern coastal city of Trujillo alone, which is why northern Peru is known as the “Egypt of the Americas”.
And, of course, foodie visitors should not forget that Peru’s cuisine is ranked among the world’s top ten, with Lima’s restaurants forming the hub of that culinary tradition!
For more information about how you can visit one of the world’s most fascinating travel destinations, contact Andean Adventures Peru directly.