The most popular tourist attractions in Peru are all dotted along — or at least close to — the so-called Gringo Trail. But what about all the other less-visited regions of Peru? What attractions do domestic and international tourists visit the most in departments like San Martín, Cajamarca, Ayacucho and Moquegua?
The map infographic below shows the most popular attraction in each region of Peru, based on statistics from various government sources (see below).
Click on the map to see a larger version.
Most Popular Attractions in Peru by Region, A-Z
Here’s an A to Z list of the info presented in the infographic above, with some additional notes.
Sources used include Datos Turismo by Ministerio de Comercio Exterior y Turismo (Mincetur); “Reporte Estadístico de Turismo, Octubre 2016” by Mincetur; and “Conociendo al turista que visita las regiones” by PromPerú.
Amazonas — Fortress of Kuelap near Chachapoyas.
Ancash — Huascarán National Park
Apurímac — Laguna Pacucha. This was a tricky region due to a lack of available visitor statistics. But according to PromPerú, Laguna Pacucha is the most popular attraction. Other popular spots in the region include Abancay National Park and the Sondor archaeological site.
Arequipa — I included Colca Canyon and the Santa Catalina Monastery on the map because they’re almost tied, with Colca Canyon only receiving a few thousand more visitors in 2016.
Ayacucho — Wari Archaeological Complex
Cajamarca — Ventanillas de Otuzco Archaeological Center. This strange pre-Inca archaeological site is located just outside the city of Cajamarca. The Cuarto del Rescate (“Ransom Room”) of Atahualpa must also be popular; if I come across some concrete figures, I’ll add it to the map.
Cusco — Machu Picchu is the most popular tourist attraction in the Cusco region, which will surprise absolutely no one.
Huancavelica — This was another tough region, as it’s one of the least visited in Peru. The Inka Wasi archaeological site is popular; Huancavelica Cathedral also receives plenty of visitors, but not all are tourists. Other popular sites include the Santa Bárbara mine and Choclococha Lagoon.
Huánuco — Tingo Maria National Park and Cueva de las Lechuzas (Cave of the Owls). The Kotosh archaeological site is also popular.
Ica — Paracas National Reserve. Depending on the figures used, either the Nazca Lines or Laguna Huacachina come in second place.
Junín — The main square and Casona Ugarte León in the town of Concepción.
La Libertad — The archaeological sites of Huaca del Sol y de la Luna and Chan Chan. PromPerú says that Huanchaco is the most visited attraction in La Libertad, but Huanchaco is a town rather than an actual attraction, so I didn’t include it.
Lambayeque — Tumbas Reales del Señor de Sipán Museum
Lima — The Magic Water Circuit received about 2.4 million visitors in 2016. Of course, not all of them are tourists, as it’s a popular place for Lima locals too. But still, that’s a lot of visitors. An argument can also be made for Larcomar Shopping Center being the most popular attraction in Lima. According to Perú.com, Larcomar received more foreign visitors than Machu Picchu in 2012. That’s just depressing, so I’ll leave it at that.
Loreto — Quistococha Zoo and Tourism Center in Iquitos. Quistococha Zoo is underfunded, so you might not enjoy seeing the condition of some of the animals (but the zoo needs visitor funds, so there’s no harm in visiting). If you do go, don’t miss the manatees at the Amazon Rescue Center just down the road.
Madre de Dios — Tambopata National Reserve.
Moquegua — Plaza de Armas and Cathedral of Moquegua (Iglesia de Santo Domingo).
Pasco — Church of Santa Rosa on the Plaza de Armas of Oxapampa.
Piura — Visitor numbers for Piura are hard to come by for some reason. But the beaches of Máncora must be among the most visited attractions, especially among foreign visitors to the region.
Puno — Titicaca National Reserve. The reserve is the top attraction in the Puno region, while also containing other popular attractions like Isla Taquile. The most popular attraction outside the reserve is the Sillustani archaeological site.
San Martín — Baños Termales de San Mateo (San Mateo Thermal Baths) in Moyobamba. The second most visited attraction in San Martín is the Ahuashiyacu Waterfall just outside Tarapoto.
Tacna — The Paseo Cívico in Tacna lies at the heart of the city and is home to parks, monuments, fountains and Tacna Cathedral.
Tumbes — Finding figures for Tumbes was tricky, but the beaches of Punta Sal must be right up there. The Santuario Nacional Los Manglares de Tumbes (National Mangrove Sanctuary) is also popular.
Ucayali — Pucallpa Natural Park.