Why you should add these Peruvian icons to your bucketlist

by | 22 Sep 2022

When you think of Peruvian icons there are so many to add to your bucket list. Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Lake Titicaca and the Nazca Lines are just the start.

We are offering a new Nazca Lines extension to our hugely popular Peru with Machu Picchu tour. As well as visiting the iconic Nazca Lines, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and taking to the skies to view them, this three day extension also includes a visit to the magnificent Ballestas Islands.

For inspiration see our Peru destination guide


One of nature’s great mysteries and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Nazca Lines are situated in southern Peru. Made up of around 300 geoglyphs and spread over 500 square meters, the lines are one of the greatest Peruvian icons and the best way to see them is from above. The distinct white lines crisscross the desert, forming simple geometric designs such as
rectangles, triangles and swirls. They also form more distinct shapes including a monkey, a hummingbird and a spider.

According to scientists, the lines were created by the Nasca people, who flourished from around A.D. 1 to 700. The Chavin and Paracas cultures who lived before The Nazca people may have also drawn some of the geoglyphs.

A must on your Peru bucket list, travel with Insight and enjoy the beach town of Paracas, known for its wildlife and the Paracas Candelabra geoglyph. Then you’ll take in the area from above with an aircraft ride over the mysterious Nazca Lines, the best way to experience this stunning natural wonder in all its glory.


Known as “The Peruvian Galapagos”, the Ballestas Islands are home to thousands of birds and mammals, including sea lion, penguins, pelicans and dolphins. This is one of the most accessible ways to see some of the diverse eco-system of South America’s islands. The islands are protected, meaning you can get very close to them by boat. However, you cannot swim with the animals to walk on the islands themselves. If you are thinking of what to see in Peru, the islands are one of the great Peruvian icons and offer a unique experience that shouldn’t be missed if you are in the region.

Have your cameras at the ready as you head out on a scenic cruise to the Ballestas Islands on your Insight Vacations premium guided tour. Famous for its rock formations and marine life, you’ll discover the wildlife sanctuary that holds over 200 species of birds including Peruvian boobies, Inca terns, red-legged cormorants and Humboldt penguins.

Read more: Craving a more authentic, meaningful travel experience? Go guided


Have you ever wondered what goes into a Pisco sour? As much one of the great Peruvian icons as llamas, Machu Picchu and ceviche, the signature drink features the local spirit Pisco. As part of your Nazcar extension with Insight you will have the joy of visiting a Pisco distillery. Here you can learn all about the local spirit, how it is produced and enjoy a tasting. Sipping a Pisco Sour (or two) is one of the essential things to do in Peru.

Developed in the 16th century, Pisco is made by distilling fermented grape juice into a high proof spirit. Produced in winemaking regions of Peru and Chile, it can be described as a yellowish or colourless brandy. A curious mix of tangy and sweet, the Pisco Sour is a unique combination of tastes, with raw egg being the key ingredient. However, its taste belies its strange ingredients, and it is a drink many tourists visiting Peru fall in love with.

If you are keen to make your own you’ll need to mix three parts Pisco, one part sugar syrup, one part lime juice, one part egg whites. Then add ice, and either blend or shake energetically until there’s a nice, thick layer of foam at the top. Pour into a glass and drip a dash of Angostura bitters on top… and enjoy!


Facing the Paracas Natural Reserve, where natural beaches and a great variety of wildlife are preserved, the Hotel Paracas offers a truly magnificent stay. Part of the Marriott Luxury Collection, this beach resort offers world class facilities including a luxury spa and delicious local and international cuisine. Each comfortable, palatial room has a furnished terrace with a view of the sea or the wonderful gardens. Bamboo wall coverings, geometric textiles and other pre-Incan décor encapsulate the areas culture and history. As if that wasn’t enough, the lavish bathrooms provide a private, spa-like retreat for you to relax at the end (or start) of the day.

With two great restaurants exclusively for guests, the hotel offers great dining options. Indulge in a rare blend of local Peruvian flavors and international cuisine at the Ballestas Restaurant, or enjoy delicious seafood at the Chalana Restaurant. Surrounded by Paracas Bay, the restaurant brings the ingredients of the sea straight to your plate. Enjoy fresh, locally sourced scallops and sushi at this one-of-a-kind dining room, which proudly “blurs the line between restaurant and pier.”

Read more: 11 of the most unique and beautiful cultures around the world, in pictures


For the ultimate Peru vacation, take a look at our Peru tour – Peru with Machu Picchu with the Nazca Lines. As well as the amazing experiences described here, see the grand city of Lima, join a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® experience and visit a local traditional Quechua weaver in the Sacred Valley and enjoy a private, after-hours Visit and tour of Planetarium in Cusco. Visit one of the ultimate Peruvian Icons, Machu Picchu as the highlight of your tour and enjoy the best of Peruvian cuisine every step of your journey.

I'm Alex, Editor of Insightful. I have over 10 years' experience as a travel writer and editor, and have been lucky enough to visit some incredible destinations in that time. Canada, Italy and Iceland are (so far) my favorite places on Earth, but at the top of my wish list for future adventures is India. I'm fascinated by indigenous cultures and traditions, have a hearty appetite for history (but a poor memory for dates), and feel most at home in wild, unpopulated landscapes.