Visit Peru’s Cultural Heritage destinations
UNESCO has declared various destinations across Lima, Arequipa, and Cusco, World Heritage Sites.
The following list takes you through Peru’s twelve must-see, UNESCO recognized national destinations. Lima, Cusco, and Arequipa are three cities that boast infamous historic centers and incredible ancient complexes known for their stunning architecture.
-The City of Cusco: Named a World Heritage Site in 1983, the magic of this destination is enhanced by its historic streets lined with beautiful, well-preserved churches and mansions. The San Blas neighborhood is one of the preferred spots for many travelers, when visiting this mystical city.
-The Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary: This grand and endlessly impressive Inca citadel – declared a Cultural and Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983 – is Peru’s most famous and popular touristic attraction. Visitors are urged to experience the majestic site in a different and more personal way via the scenic Inca Trail.
The Chavin Archeological Complex: Located in the Huari province within the Ancash region, this site was named a World Heritage Site in 1985 thanks to its monumental and diverse structures – of which some of the most impressive are: the Tello Pyramid, the Circular Plaza, the Rectangular Plaza, the tenon heads, and the lanzon stela.
-The Huascarán National Park: This unique landscape was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 thanks to its striking natural wealth. Here, visitors can revel in the gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains and lagoons, or engage in a variety of diverse adventure activities – like rock climbing and mountain biking, among others.
- Chan Chan Archeological Site: This pre-Colombian adobe complex has been recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1986. The archeological complex features small, walled citadels, pyramids, and canals.
- Manu National Park: Located between the Cusco and Madre de Dios departments, this amazing national park is infamous for its incredible natural wealth. Boasting a seemingly endless variety of flora and fauna, the park is recognized as one of the best places on earth for nature tourism, and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987.
-The Abiseo River National Park: This park was created with the goal of protecting the flora and fauna endemic to the Amazon and San Martin Rainforests. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.
-The Nasca Lines and the Jumana PAMPAS: These enormous and mysterious ancient geoglyphs – declared World Heritage in 1994 – can only be truly appreciated aerially, be it from the on-site lookout tower, or from a small airplane. The giant hummingbird, the condor, the monkey, and the spider are among the most representative of these enigmatic drawings, which are located in Ica.
- Arequipa’s Historic Center: This lovely city center, known for its colonial architecture, has been considered a World Heritage Site since 2000. The Santa Catalina Monastery is one of its main attractions.
-Qhapaq Ñan: This network of Inca paths and roads, declared a World Heritage Site in 2014, was used to unite the far reaching Tahuantinsuyo Empire. It spans over 60,000 kilometers – from Colombia to Argentina, and across Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Chile.
-The Sacred City of Caral: The oldest civilization in Peru and the Americas (3000-2000 A.C.), this site is located in the Barranca province, and was declared a World Heritage Site in 2009. The Main Temple, the Amphitheatre Temple, and the Sacred Fire Altar are some of its most important constructions.
-Lima’s Historic Center: Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991, this historically rich part of Lima boasts an assortment of noteworthy architectural gems.