From ancient Inca ruins to the mysterious Nazca Lines, snow-capped peaks to dense Amazonian jungle: Peru is one of the world’s most diverse destinations. That diversity is also reflected in the stunning places and range of activities you can enjoy. These are the cities that receive the highest number of international tourists, according to figures from the Base de Datos Turísticos del Perú. These cities are not necessarily the biggest cities in Peru. Paracas, for example, is a long way from being one of the major cities in Peru in terms of population, but the nearby Islas Ballestas and Paracas National Reserve make it a popular destination despite its small size.
List of best cities of Peru:
Ica is a nice enough place, but the city isn’t typically the main reason for staying in this part of Southern Peru. Ica serves as a base for trips to the surrounding dunes for buggy rides and sandboarding, most famously at the Huacachina oasis. The surrounding area is also part of the pisco route, with some of Peru’s finest pisco distilleries nestled in the region’s river valleys.
The city itself is brimming with colonial, republican and religious architecture, much of which was built using the distinctive white or pink volcanic ashlar stone of the region. Notable buildings surround Arequipa’s plaza de armas, while the vast Santa Catalina Monastery provides another architectural, historical and cultural highlight within the city.
Puno only just sneaks onto the list of Peru’s 20 biggest cities. But Puno has two attributes that keep the tourists coming. The city is known as the “Folkloric Capital of Peru” thanks to its rich traditions and frequent festivals, with annual festivities drawing big crowds from across Peru and beyond.
Cusco is Peru’s prime tourist destination, with at least 80 percent of all foreign tourists heading there during their stay. Cusco itself has plenty to offer, bursting as it is with history and tradition. Two words, however, explain the almost hypnotic attraction that the former Inca capital has over foreign visitors.