Lay of the Land
As the believed birthplace of the Incan people, the arrestingly beautiful Lake Titicaca is one of the most unique places in the world. Travelers can experience ancient ruins, rare aquatic species (including giant toads) and indigenous communities that live on manmade islands constructed entirely of reeds.
The highest navigable body of water in the world (12,500 feet above sea-level), Lake Titicaca straddles the border between southeastern Peru and western Bolivia in the Andes Mountains. It is located a two-hour drive from Juliaca Airport, a 30-minute flight southeast from Cusco or 90-minute flight from Lima. The drive from Juliaca Airport requires passing through the cities of Juliaca, an unavoidable transit hub, and Puno, the touristy jumping-off point for Lake Titicaca. If staying at Titilaka, with its location further to the southeast, time spent in Juliaca and Puno can be avoided.
The Amazon River basin, in the northeast of Peru, makes up more than 60 percent of the Peru’s landmass, but is inhabited by only nine percent of the country’s population. This biologically rich region is home to thousands of animal and plant species, and the lack of infrastructure and roads makes it one of the least developed and touristed areas in the world.
The main point of access to the Peruvian Amazon River is Iquitos, which is a 2-hour flight from Lima. The only way to access the off the beaten path parts of the river are via small riverboats, including Aqua Expeditions’ Aria and Aqua Amazon. Most itineraries are three, four or seven nights and will end back at Iquitos or Nauta (a 90-minute drive from Iquitos on the region’s only highway). The river can be explored year-round; high-water season (December-May) is best for touring by boat, when the skiffs can penetrate deep into the tributaries, while low-water season (June-November) is great for guests who want to navigate the rainforest on foot.
A favorite weekend retreat for Lima and Guayaquil residents, wave-chasers and—with the addition of KiChic—global sophisticates looking for the next place to drop off the map, this bohemian beach town is Peru’s answer to José Ignacio. Màncora has come a long way since the 1990’s, when the country’s far northwestern coast was just dunes and beach and didn’t have electricity. Now there are a number of notable lodgings, but the main draws to the area are the consistent surf and the relaxed beach bars.
Getting There: The closest airport is 45 minutes away by car, in Talara. Tumbes and Piura Airports are each about a two-hours drive from Máncora, and LATAM Airlines has daily flights to all three.