3. Surf’s Up
Huanchaco in the north of Peru has gone from sleepy fishing village to a favourite with travellers, mainly because of the excellent waves that roll in across the Pacific. It still has a laidback vibe and the bars come to life when the sun goes down. There are numerous surf shops along its sandy beachfront, where you can hire a board and wetsuit. For a culture hit, nearby is the ancient Chimú city of Chan Chan, the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas, and the even older Temples of the Sun and the Moon from the Moche Civilisation.
4. Poor Man’s Galapagos
Known as the poor man’s Galapagos, the Ballestas Islands are an hour and a half by boat from the town of Paracas, just south of Lima. The nickname doesn’t do justice to the rich variety of marine life you can see, including pelicans, cormorants, penguins, sea lions and dolphins.
On the boat trip out, from your ocean vantage point, you’ll also see a giant figure etched into the sandy coastal hills, the Candelabra geoglyph, which is over 150m high and 50m wide. It’s one of Peru’s great unsolved mysteries, because nobody knows which civilisation created it and why it’s there.
5. Wild White Water
For the ultimate adrenaline hit, Peru has some of the best white water rafting rivers in the world. Options range from a half or full-day blast, to three or four-day adventures, from the spectacular Andes to the lush canyons of the Upper Amazon.
Cusco is a good base, within reach of the Urubamba and Apurimac Rivers, or for a really adventurous trip try the Tambopata River in Peru’s south eastern jungle. Splashing.