Remember how sad I was that we didn’t get to see all we wanted to see and do in Egypt?

This time, I’m determined not to have the same regrets.  We have made a bucket list, and have even started crossing things off.  Without further ado, here the top five things I think you should see and experience in Peru:

Image trail

1. Cusco and the Sacred Valley

Cusco is filled with lovely architecture and is picturesque in every direction.  The houses cling to the steep hillsides at impossible angles.  Above the town are the massive ruins of Sacsahuaman.  Alpaca shops abound, and are a good deal by U.S. standards.  There are also more hiking outfitters than I’ve seen in a long time.

While in Cusco, we went to the Sacred Valley for a day, and it was magnificent.  I want to go back, and again and again.  The landscape is incredible, the opportunities for hiking around is legion. Inca Ruins abound – my favorites were Pisac and Ollantaytambo.  Pisac is described in the guidebook as “some ruins above the town.”  Instead, it was terraces taller than two people spread over steep mountainsides like a quilt, over 300 burial sites, and an incredible town clinging the the mountain top like a crown.  The walls are very well preserved, and there are several styles of building at the site.  Ollantaytambo has long been on my list as it is the site of the most famous Inca victory over the Spaniards.  Seeing it in person makes the history that much more real.  We didn’t have a chance to see Moray – more reason to go back!

2. Inca Ruins

There is, of course, Machu Picchu, and we will definitely make the trip.  However, there are other sites I would love to see as much if not more.  Top on this list is Choquequirao.  The site is often called a sister city to Machu Picchu, and is only 30% excavated.  There are terraces with stone llamas that I would just love to see.  From what I’ve read, this one is a hike though, so probably a kid-free visit.  I’ve also read so much about Vilcabamba the Old or Espiritu Pampa, supposedly the last city of the Incas.

3. Amazon River Cruise

My sons are fascinated by “the jungle” and after watching this travel with kids show, I think they would enjoy it hugely.

4. Lake Titicaca

Isla Del Sol, an island in the middle of the lake, is the site of the Inca creation myth.  It seems silly not to see that given my new obsession with all things Inca.  Besides, the lake is apparently beautiful.  I would also love to experience Puno’s Festival de la Virgen de la Candelaria (Candlemas).

5. The Inca Trail

This one has been on my bucket list for a very long time.  There are a few caveats: 1.) Definitely not with the kids, 2) definitely not at my current fitness level.  The wikipedia article is fairly informative.  I would like to do the classic trail in five days.

If you are interested in Peru at all, you should probably read “Turn Right at Machu Picchu” by Mark Adams.  It is a hugely enjoyable read, and started my fascination with all things Inca.  I now have a VERY long reading list – thank goodness for electronic library collections.

I haven’t even mentioned Nazca, Paracas, or or or… Peru is certainly a fascinating place.  Now I just wonder whether the two and a half year we have left is enough!

Peru visitors, what did I miss?

This post was written in response to a Daily Post prompt