Sacred valleys, mysterious mountains: Peru tours capture the magic of the country

There are some destinations that blend spellbinding scenery, a sense of exotic remoteness and a touch of ancient mystery, creating an irresistible appeal to travelers. Perhaps the best example of that unique combination is Machu Picchu. The mist-shrouded “Lost City of the Incas,” hidden in the Andean mountain jungle, tops countless travelers’ wish lists, but the carefully controlled site can be tricky to reach. Perhaps the best way to ensure that you get to see Machu Picchu is through Peru tours that cover the technicalities of getting there, while also giving you opportunities to see more of the country.

In addition to its marquee attraction, Peru has a number of outstanding destinations for visitors. From its seaside capital to its ancient cities and soaring mountains, there’s plenty to explore. Well-rounded Peru tours will show you the best the country has to offer and make travel more accessible – with a wisely planned itinerary, all you need to do is relax and enjoy. What’s more, Peru tours will ensure that you have access to Machu Picchu. Daily attendance is limited, as a protective measure, so it’s essential that your spot be reserved, and tour operators like Tauck will ensure that it is.

Some of must-see sights and attractions on Peru tours include:

* Lima: The capital city clings to the cliffs along the Pacific Ocean and then sprawls inland to form a stylish, savvy and historical capital. The colonial “centro” district features an impressive plaza surrounded by the cathedral and ornate government buildings, dating from the 16th through 20th centuries. Look for the elaborate wooden balconies that provided cool shade and comfort to wealthy residents. The Miraflores district is arguably the most fashionable part of the city, and visitors will be rewarded with world-class cuisine, excellent shopping and charming strolls along the seaside and through the central Parque Kennedy. Another experience on your Peru tour is the incredible Museo Larco also in Lima, where you’ll see the world’s largest collection of pre-Colombian art, ranging from vivid feathered capes to dramatic gold jewelry and vivaciously creative ceramics in the form of everything from musicians to animals.

* Cuzco: During your Peru tour, you will visit Cuzco the Inca capital which is now a charming mountain town built upon those foundations. As you stroll the cobbled streets, marvel at the precision and artistry in the Inca stonework that still underpins many of the colonial-era buildings, from private houses to Qorikancha, the Inca temple that was converted into the church and convent of Santo Domingo. Here you’ll have opportunities to see examples of the weaving tradition that stretches back thousands of years in the surrounding region. Just outside the city are the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, a stone fortress that played a defensive role in numerous battles and remains as a testament to the incredible artistry and precision of Inca stonework.

* The Sacred Valley: “El Valle Sagrado” is a place of tiny traditional communities dotted among mountains, valleys and rivers, and surely counts as one of the highlights of all Peru tours. In places like Ollantaytambo, you’ll see how the ancient cultures of the past have extended and, in different ways, survived through time. Villagers in Ollantaytambo live practically right alongside a wonderfully preserved Inca settlement, which is today a National Archaeological Park. From Ollantaytambo, it’s not far to Aguas Calientes, a more modern village, but significant because it’s the base for visiting Machu Picchu. Visitors on Tauck’s Peru tours will have the opportunity to stay just outside the site, at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, making it easy to get up and experience the iconic event of sunrise over the ruins.

For more information and an ebrochure about Peru tours, visit Tauck online.