What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Peru? The Emperor’s New Groove? Machu Picchu? This amazing country, home to the Andes Mountains and the Amazon Basin rainforest, has so much to offer for adventure and cultural exploration. Once you visit, you’ll see there are more things to do in Peru than you ever knew.
1. Visit Vibrant Markets
In Cusco, the capital of the ancient Incan empire, you’ll find traditional Peruvian handicrafts in the bustling, colorful marketplace. Practice your Spanish language skills as you shop for unique souvenirs for your family and friends—from festive hats and colorful ponchos to mouth-watering chocolate and fresh tropical fruits. Wander the narrow, winding streets of this city and you might stumble upon a lively gathering of music and dancers for one of Peru’s many festive holidays.
2. Live Like a Local and Give Back
Some of the most meaningful things to do in Peru are immersive volunteer experiences. The small communities of this country truly define the diverse cultural identity of Peru. So when you volunteer, you experience customs, conversation, and meaningful relationships that you wouldn’t otherwise as a visitor in a big city. As a teen volunteer, you might build houses, tend to farms, or help elementary school children learn English as a second language. Locals welcome you with warm smiles and open arms—you quickly learn to love their villages as though they were your own home.
3. Channel Your Inner Indiana Jones
One of the most amazing things about the indigenous history of Peru is the Inca Empire, the largest empire to exist in all of pre-Columbian America. Venture off the beaten path to explore awe-inspiring Incan ruins like Ollantaytambo, the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti. These ancient cities remain well-preserved and beckon travelers with adventurous spirits to discover them.
4. Cook pachamanca
This Peruvian dish is baked with the aid of hot stones in an earthen oven known as a huatia. One of the best things to do in Peru is to cook and share this meal with fellow travelers and local hosts. The dish includes a variety of local meats and vegetables. Habas or green lima beans and cassava or yucca are popular ingredients. Pachamanca plays an important role in Peruvian cuisine because it evolved over time since the 13th century. Similarly, if you venture to Peru’s South American neighbor, Ecuador, you’ll find pachamanca here too!
5. Experience the Sacred Valley
No trip to Peru would truly be complete without a visit to the Sacred Valley in the Andean highlands region. Here, you’ll discover a beautiful mix of Incan and colonial architecture. For example, Coricancha, the most important temple in the Incan Empire dedicated to Inti the Sun God, still resides in the Sacred Valley. The Incans were master stonemasons who built agricultural terraces with the natural environment in mind. The ancient civilization and the towering mountains create a stunning, complimentary vista that showcases the wonders of time past.
The best things to do in Peru as a teen with TFT
If you’re looking for the adventure of a lifetime, Travel For Teens offers exciting programs in over 40 countries, including Peru! Our experienced program directors stay up to date on the most life-changing things to do in Peru so teens get the most out of their travel experience. Reach out to us if you have questions, or find a program that’s right for you!