Beyond Machu Picchu: Three different places to visit in Peru

    Article by Zaytoen Domingo

    Zaytoen Domingo

    Posted: October 22, 2018

    When visiting Peru, you may be immediately drawn to the ancient lost city of Machu Picchu, but there is so much more to Peru than that. Here are GVI’s three top suggestions for the Peruvian experience of a lifetime.

    GVI’s Peruvian base is in the city of Cusco, a thriving and diverse city with something for everybody to try.

    Plan your visit to Cusco around a GVI volunteer program. In your spare time you can explore this magnificent city, and learn about the history and culture of the community you are volunteering in.

    Visit Cusco cathedral

    Peru’s modern culture is deeply rooted in Catholicism, so there are plenty of religious monuments to visit. Spend an afternoon taking in the history and learn about the cultural importance of the largest cathedral in Cusco.

    Not only a religious monument, the Cusco Cathedral is home to archaeological artifacts, relics and art from the region’s colonial past. It presents a magnificent opportunity to learn more about the history and culture of this fascinating city and those who live there.

    When volunteering with GVI, it is imperative that you know the history and culture of the people you are volunteering with. Not only will this deepen opportunities for cultural exchange, but it will help you to understand some of the specific development challenges in the region, and how your work with GVI contributes toward overcoming these.

    This 16th-century cathedral towers over the Plaza de Armas, and is not to be missed.


    Original photo: barb howe

    Wander the streets of San Blas

    This charming area of Cusco is filled with the sounds of live music, the smells of fresh street food, and the chatter of locals going about their daily business.

    Walk towards San Blas from the Plaza de Armas along an ancient Incan road. Pay attention to the famous 12-angled stone, set into the best-preserved wall in Cusco, on your way up.

    Spend some time walking about the cobbled streets and lanes of San Blas, exploring and discovering authentic Cusco. While you’re here, try out Ceviche, the national food of Peru, and a delicacy to seafood lovers everywhere.


    Original photo: Paul B

    Discover the Sacred Valley

    If you are looking to get out of the city for a day, there is no better place to go than the Sacred Valley of Peru. Just 12 miles from the city of Cusco, the Sacred Valley is home to Machu Picchu, but also so much more.

    The valley houses multiple Inca ruins, so take this opportunity to learn about the history of the Cusco region. Take in the remains of ancient agricultural, religious, and military buildings.

    There are also plenty of vibrant and lively modern villages in the Valley, so seek out a local guide, spend a day visiting these villages and learn about the local culture.


    Original photo: World Wide Gifts

    In the Pisac region of the valley, support local businesses by visiting the famous handicrafts market, and get your hands on some authentic, handmade Peruvian clothing, such as a poncho made of alpaca fibers.

    When you are in Peru, helping to improve primary school education, and providing resources for women to broaden their skill sets, take some time to discover the beautiful and fascinating surrounding area.

    Ready to begin your Peruvian volunteering abroad adventure? Get in touch with our GVI team today!

    Article by Zaytoen Domingo

    By Zaytoen Domingo

    Zaytoen Domingo is a content writer and editor based in Cape Town, South Africa. She is currently enrolled in the Masters program in English at the University of the Western Cape. After graduating with an Honours Degree in English and Creative Writing, Zaytoen completed a skills-development program for writers and became an alum of the GVI Writing Academy.