Peru offered surprising contrasts. Lima is a modern city with all the traffic and noise one might expect (indeed, horn-honking seems to be a Peruvian hobby, as it was also in Quito and La Paz). The central parts of the city, and the districts of Miraflores and San Isidro, are as modern as any city in the world. Yet, on the outskirts of Lima, the terrible slums remind the visitor that Peru still has a long way to go. One can travel from Lima to Cuzco in a few hours (by plane). In that time, one is transported back in time to a place where the Indians (the campesinos) still wear their traditional costumes (and not just for the benefit of tourists) and fields are plowed by oxen (if not by hand).
Lima is not an easy city for the tourist. I stayed in the Miraflores area, which boasted modern hotels, nice restaurants and a beautiful malecon, the area along the coast. It is an area where I felt perfectly safe at any time of night, but it offers little in the way of museums or other traditional tourist sights. The central part of Lima holds the cathedral, and the Plaza de Armas and the Plaza San Martin and various museums scattered around beyond easy walking distance
From Lima, I went on an overnight excursion to Nazca, to see the remarkable lines in the desert. They are certainly well worth seeing (but do not photograph well, so their true impact is hard to appreciate from the photos here). The trip entailed a seven-hour bus ride each way and a forty-five minute flight over the lines (as well as a visit to several other sites in the area). I cannot recommend the bus ride, but I'm glad I endured it for the sake of seeing the lines (also known as "geoglyphs").
I also spent several days in Cuzco, which is the jumping off point for the Inca sites. Machu Picchu was beyond doubt one of the highlights of the trip and, in my opinion, is a "must see." The trip from Cuzco to Machu Picchu (on a comfortable "tourist train") alone is worth the effort, but the ruins themselves were beyond anything I could have anticipated. From Cuzco, I also visited a number of lesser Inca sites in the "Sacred Valley," as well as the Sunday market in Pisac.
Also in Peru, from the city of Puno, I visited Uros, the "Floating Islands," on Lake Titicaca. These islands were constructed by the residents from totora, the reeds out of which they also build their houses and boats. Except for their recent interest in selling things to tourists, the islanders live much as they have for centuries.
The photos above offer a general overview of the areas I visited in Peru. The other Peru pages on this web site provide more photos and more specific information about each area. Make your selection from the list below.