The Gringo Trail

The Gringo Trail is the classic Peru itinerary, a well-connected route that takes in all of the most famous Peru tourist attractions. If you visit Peru, you find yourself following the trail, at least in part, at one time or another. But if you have limited time and intend to just see the hotspots; the Gringo Trail offers a good way to cram in as much as possible.

 

Description of the route


The Gringo Trail starts in Lima – is the standard starting point for anyone arriving in Peru by air (the main airport of the country is in Lima). Then tourists travel south visiting Pisco, Ica and Nazca, then to the Andes – Arequipa, Titicaca Lake, Cusco and Machu Picchu. Cusco is the final point of the trail. You can fly home from here with a flight connection in Lima

 

Lima. Parks and museums of the Peruvian capital are worth seeing and in bus stations you can buy a ticket to Pisco.


Pisco/Paracas and the Ballestas Islands. Psico is 3 hrs travel south from Lima. The main reason of visit is the Paracas National Reserve and the Ballestas Islands, which is the habitat of penguins, sea lions, pelicans and other many other wonders; in the evening you can leave for Ica from here.


Паракас, острова Бальестас

 

Ica and Huacachina Oasis. Ica is considered the home of pisco (strong grape drink). You can visit wineries and Pisco, but the main attraction of Ica is the Huacachina Oasis located 5km from town. The oasis surrounded by sand dunes is and is an excellent place for sandboarding on giant dunes. Sandboards can be rented here.


Оазис Уакачина

Оазис Уакачина

 

Nazca. The next stop – Nazca is 2 hrs travel to south from Ica. This is the homeland of pre-Incan Nazca civilization that left the famous geoglyphs (the enormous lineal drawings of animals, birds and geometric figures that can only be appreciated from the air) and burials with well preserved mummies. There are companies offering flights in light aircrafts over the Nazca Lines located right here.  


Arequipa and Colca Canyon. Arequipa is an attractive colonial city with a vibrant atmosphere. It is totally different from traditional Peruvian towns. The Colca Canyon and the Cotahuasi Canyon are among the deepest canyons in the world. If you want to climb mountains and see the flight of condors – this is the best place for it.  

 

Colca Canyon


Puno and Titicaca Lake. Puno is located almost on the border with Bolivia, on the shore of the huge mountain Lake Titicaca. You can take a boat trip to enjoy the beautiful lake and see the Floating Islands of the Uros people.


Cusco and Machu Picchu. This is the final, but, probably, the most interesting point on the trail. Cusco is the ancient capital of the Inca Empire. It is the city where you can see the traces of the magnificent civilization everywhere. Both the city itself, and its outskirts are interesting to see: Sacsayhuamán, Tambomachay, Q’enqo and others. The Sacred Valley of the Incas with magnificent towns like Pisaq, Ollantaytambo, a temple in Chinchero, agricultural terraces of Moray and salt pans at Maras are not far from Cusco.


Machu Picchu, Мачу-Пикчу

Machu Picchu, Мачу-Пикчу

 

The mysterious Machu Picchu is the reason for going to Peru in the first place. You can take train or bus to Machu Pichu, but most travellers prefer hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu or the alternative Salkantay trek.

You can return from Cusco to Lima by bus via the above route (this is long and tiring road) or fly home with connecting flight in Lima


How Much Time to do the Gringo Trail?


Two weeks or more (depends on you) is enough time to see everything. However if you have additional time you can visit Manu National Park – huge national reserve in the Amazon jungles – after the Gringo Trail. Or you can return to Lima and go north – to visit attractions of Moche and Chimú civilisations, the Pastoruri Glacier and the Huascarán National Park, Cajamarca hot springs and many other interesting places.



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