Top 10 Main Cities in Peru

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Joel Fulleda

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Peru overlooks the Pacific coast of South America and inside it preserves one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world: Machu Picchu, the remains of an ancient Inca city shrouded in mystery, as well as numerous other sites. Peru is partly covered by the Amazon rainforest and beyond capital Lima, on the coast, it also has many other interesting cities. For an itinerant trip to discover the country, let's see together the 10 main cities of Peru.


  1. Chimbote
  2. Huancayo
  3. Iquitos
  4. Ayacucho
  5. Piura
  6. Puno
  7. Cuzco
  8. Trujillo
  9. Arequipa
  10. Lima
  11. User questions and comments

10 - Chimbote

Chimbote is a city on the coast of Peru north of Lima and has about 350.000 inhabitants, overlooking the bay of the same name, in front of the Isla Blanca. The main activity of the city is certainly that of the port and fishing: in the past it was the most productive city in the world for the fish market. Another industry that drives the city is that of steel. The area on which the city stands was populated by numerous ancient civilizations, as well as today teems with archaeological sites like the whole country, here we can find: Huaca San Pedro, Pukurì, Pañamarca and many others.

  • Best time: between February and March, when the sea is warmest
  • Main attractions: archaeological sites including Huaca San Pedro, Pukuri, cruise to Isla Blanca
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 50,00 per room -

9 - Huancayo

Huancayo is located on the Andes mountain range, at 3260 meters above sea level. The city has about 430.000 inhabitants and is located in the green Mantaro valley. It is particularly famous for the production of handicrafts for which a characteristic market is held every Sunday in the city center. To visit the Cerrito de la Libertad zoo, square of the Constitution and the park of the Identitad Huanca, an ancient population that resided here and that was subdued by the Incas. For an excursion a little outside the city, the Torre Torre geological formation is a very impressive attraction.

  • Best time: in the long dry season from April to November
  • Main attractions: Identidad Huanca park, Cerrito de la Libertad zoo, Sunday market of handicrafts
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 20,00 per room -

8 - Iquitos

Iquitos has about 360.000 inhabitants and is a city in the north east of Peru, the main center of the Peruvian Amazon. Iquitos was founded on the Amazon River and is located on a real crossroads of waterways: the Itaya River that plunges into the Rio and then numerous lagoons that form around the city and at the confluence of the Marañón and Itaya rivers. The peculiarity of Iquitos is that it cannot be reached by land: only by river or by plane. From here you can also do one cruise on the Amazon River to Manaus, in Brazil. The tourist interest of the city is growing, just like reference point for excursions in the Amazon. The climate is very humid.

  • Best time: in January celebrations are held on the anniversary of the founding of Iquitos
  • Main attractions: the Amazon rainforest, the rivers, the Pacaya-Samiria reserve
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 50,00 per room -
  • Iquitos: 6-Hour Amazon River Tour with Belén & Butterfly Farm Iquitos: Amazon River Guided Boat Tour and Iquitos Native Community: 6-Hour Guided Wildlife Tour

7 - Ayacucho

Ayacucho is located in central Peru, northwest of Cuzco, at 2700 meters above sea level. It has a population of 93.000 inhabitants which, however, become almost 150.000 with the surrounding urban agglomeration. As in any Peruvian city, Christian worship is very much alive: to visit Basilica of Santa Maria. From the viewpoint called Mirador of Acuchimay, in a central position, you can enjoy a superb view over the entire city. To visit the museum dedicated to the politician Andres Avelino Caceres and the Joaquin Lopez Antay house museum, an artist from Ayachuco who painted beautiful and very colorful plaster figurines. Speaking of colors, don't miss the gaudy Arc de Triomphe in the city.

  • Best time: temperatures are good all year round, and in August the water festival, Yaku Raymi, is held to thank the Andean gods with ancestral dances and celebrations.
  • Main attractions: Mirador of Acuchimay, Basilica of Santa Maria, Antay house museum
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 40,00 per room -

6 - Piura

Piura is a northwestern city in Peru, not far from the border with Ecuador and close to the Sechura desert, with about 420.000 inhabitants. Like every city in Peru, even in Piura there is no shortage of archaeological sites, first of all Narihualà and its museum. There are also in the city many museums to visit and interesting places, such as the Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel, the Vicùs municipal museum and the Gran Almirante Grau House Museum, which retraces the deeds of the Peruvian hero of the seas in the war against Chile. Kurt Beer ecological park.

  • Best time: the San Clemente fair is held in November
  • Main attractions: Narihualà archaeological site, Gran Almirante Grau House Museum, Cathedral of San Michele Arcangelo
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 60,00 per room -

5 - Puno

Puno is located on the west shore of Lake Titicaca, which Peru shares with Bolivia. It is a city of about 120.000 inhabitants and is considered the capital of Peruvian folklore. Very important for the economy of Puno is the commercial port on the lake, from where the main productions start: tobacco, gold, copper, cereals, coal and livestock. In 1994, therefore very recently, a pre-Columbian archaeological site 50 km from Puno: Jisk'a Iru Muqu. Plaza de Armas, as in almost every Peruvian city, is the beating heart. In Puno very interesting to visit is the Titicaca lake reserve, the islands of the Uros, the Cathedral, the Yavari museum ship on the lake.

  • Best time: in November the anniversary of the foundation is celebrated with dances, typical costumes and celebrations for the whole city. Numerous other traditional events between January and March.
  • Main attractions: Yavari Museum, Titicaca lake reserve, plaza de Armas, Jisk'a Iru Muqu archaeological site
  • starting from € 830,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 50,00 per room -
  • Titicaca: Full-Day Tour from Puno From Puno: Uros Islands and Taquile Full-Day Tour

4 - Cuzco

Cuzco is a city in the Andes, it is located at 3400 meters above sea level and was once the capital of the Inca empire. Today it is considered the historical and archaeological city par excellence of Peru and has been recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the main one starting point for visiting the site of Machu Picchu, many tours start from here. In the center of the old city is the plaza de Armas, with inlaid wooden balconies. Very interesting is the Baroque convent of Santo Domingo, built on the ruins of an ancient Inca temple. In the city is the famous Sacsayhuamán Inca wall complex. There is also, of course, the Inca museum to visit and the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art.

  • Best time: temperatures are stable all year round, just under spring. In July there are numerous traditional celebrations with parades and masks, such as the festival of Quillabamba and the Virgin of Carmine
  • Main attractions: Inca Museum, Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, Sacsayhuamán
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 60,00 per room -
  • Machu Picchu: Full-Day Train Tour from Cusco Machu Picchu: Round-Trip Bus from Aguas Calientes From Cusco: Half-Day to Moray, Maras, and Salt Mines

3 - Trujillo

Trujillo is located on the north coast of the country and on the right bank of the Moche River. It has a very large and populous metropolitan area, about 800.000 inhabitants. It was founded by Francisco Pizzarro in 1535 and preserves some in its territory really interesting archaeological sites: the Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna, both sites where there are very ancient temples and buildings dating back to the Moche civilization. Another very important site is Chan Chan, an ancient complex which is considered the largest adobe city in the world. In the city to visit the plaza de Armas and the cathedral of Santa Maria.

  • Best time: Carnival on Huanchaco beach is held from November to March in February
  • Main attractions: Huaca del Sol, Huaca de la Luna, Chan Chan
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 60,00 per room -

2 - Arequipa

Arequipa is located in the south of the country, on the banks of the Chili River, not far from the coast and surrounded by three volcanoes. The city has about 61.000 inhabitants, although in the metropolitan area they become almost 900.000 and has the particularity of its own colonial old town, made up of baroque buildings built with a white volcanic stone called sillar. The best way to get to know the city is to discover it step by step, perhaps through the markets, very colorful and full of typical products, and places of worship. To visit the plaza de Armas, the Basilica of Arequipa, the Dominican Monastery of Santa Catalina and, for an excursion outside the city, the Misti volcano or the Colca canyon. Arequipa has spring temperatures and a dry climate all year round.

  • Best time: in February or March the Carnival is celebrated with the traditional planting of trees called yunza
  • Main attractions: Santa Catalina Monastery, plaza de Armas, Colca Canyon, Misti volcano
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 60,00 per room -
  • Colca Canyon: Full-Day Guided Tour from Arequipa Colca Canyon and Titicaca: Tour from Arequipa to Puno Arequipa: City and Santa Catalina Monastery Guided Tour

1 - Lima

Lima is the capital of Peru and is located on the central coast of the country. City founded in 1535 by a Spanish colonist, with its nearly 10.000.000 inhabitants in continuous growth it is the most populous in the country. Its colonial historic center has been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco and is especially famous for its wooden balconies. The starting point for visiting it is certainly the splendid Plaza Mayor. Also worth visiting is the Basilica of San Francesco da Lima. However, Lima also has a modern facade, with its futuristic skyline. The climate is very particular, it is one of the driest cities in the world, yet it has a subtropical climate characterized by humidity and frequent fogs.

  • Best time: from November to February / March, the hottest and least foggy period. In January, the anniversary of the founding of Lima is celebrated, with parties, parades and fireworks.
  • Main attractions: plaza Mayor, Basilica of San Francesco, skyline, Larco Museum
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 50,00 per room -
  • From Lima: Nazca Lines Full-Day Tour Lima: City and Coast Culture Bike Tour with a Local Lima: Half-Day Fountains Tour with Dinner and Folklore Show

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