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A Gap Year in Peru

Why go backpacking in Peru?

Peru is one of the most fascinating, and popular, countries in South America. It’s home to otherworldly Inca ruins, a colourful culture packed with vibrant festivals, and jaw-dropping landscapes. It’s also perfectly positioned between Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, and Chile, perfect for a wider journey. There’s a ludicrous number of reasons why backpacking in Peru should be high on your bucket list.

Chief among them, of course, is Machu Picchu. The hike up to these mountain ruins – known as the Inca Trail – is a rite of passage for any backpacker in South America. Make sure you book your place well ahead of time, as spots are limited! And when you have it secured, pray for clear weather!

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The cities

Capital city Lima may be your first port of call, this big, bustling city is the ideal place to get to grips with travelling in Peru. It boasts rambunctious nightlife, and long stretches of beaches to lounge on and nurse a hangover. There’s also the Historic Centre of the city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which includes the stunning Monastery of San Francisco and the Palace of Torre Tagle.

Another must-see city is Cusco, the historical city that you’ll pass through on your way to Machu Picchu. Once the site of the Inca Empire, this city has been named the Historical Capital of Peru, and is the place to see the original Inca temples; Qorikanca and the Temple of the Sun. There are many other Inca buildings and foundations here as well as Spanish Colonial buildings, such as the Cathedral of Santo Domingo. Get your camera ready.

The scenery

Alright, where to start?

Machu Picchu, of course! It’s almost certainly why you’re backpacking in Peru in the first place. Backpackers can pack their bare essentials and take on the four to five day hike over the 43km Inca trail, where they’ll be rewarded with the amazing site of the 15th century ancient village. You can always take a train or minibus but seeing this incredible sight makes it all that more special when you’ve worked harder to get there.

There’s also the incredible landscapes of the Nazca lines and Floating Reed Islands, sights that can’t be matched anywhere else in the world.

It’s not all sightseeing and history absorbing here though; there’s plenty of space for adrenaline activities as well. You can go White water rafting and canoeing down the Urubamba River in Cusco, mountain bike along the trails of the beautiful mountains in the Huaraz National Park, and finish off surfing on the waves of the Chicama and Punta Rocas beaches.

Backpacking in Peru is an unrivalled way to spend your gap year, a trip you will never forget or regret. Basically what we’re saying is go, go, go!

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