CULTURE / ADVENTURE / CITY SIGHTS / NATURE
From rainforests and beaches to mountains and desert, Peru's landscape is one of the most varied in the world and synonymous with natural beauty. Travel to the heart of Lima, the top of Machu Picchu, deep into the spectacular Sacred Valley and the waters of Lake Titicaca.
Kick off your travels by exploring Lima, Peru's coastal capital city. With its ancient ruins, fantastically unique gastronomy and colonial-era architecture, it is not a destination to be glossed over.
Hailed as the gastronomic capital of Latin America, Lima is home to wonderful traditional Peruvian fare, exquisite fusion cuisine and some the finest restaurants in the world, one of which is the magnificent Central who "humbly take on the great challenge of discovering and, in some cases, rediscovering this beautiful country, replete with unique ingredients, landscapes, cultures, traditions, and history." A tremendously varied gastronomy awaits!
Escape the capital to the little coastal town of Paracas, a coastal wildlife haven, boasting some fantastic beaches alongside archeological sites. Take a boat to the Ballestas Islands to see hundreds of penguins and sea lions in their natural habitat.
Heading inland and you'll find an altogether different landscape. You'll find Huacachina, a desert oasis hidden among the largest sand dunes in South America. Take a thrilling dune buggy tour, flying over large humps and bumps or go sandboarding!
Continue on with the exploration of Peru's diverse landscapes, by visiting Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable body of water in the world. Visit, or even stay with, the Uros people on their hand-crafted reed islands. Despite some concerns that the experience may feel a little contrived, it will give you a fascinating insight into daily life on Lake Titicaca. Many Uros people still live in the traditional way but some younger people do decide to start a new life on the mainland. For those youngsters who do decide to stay, it is clear that modern technology has weaved its way in to the traditional way of life. Learning and using traditional hunting and building techniques is extremely important, but the numerous solar panels come in very useful too!
Say goodbye to the reed islands and travel onto a beautiful Andean town, Cusco. Once the centre of the Inca Empire, today Cusco is more know for being the gateway to the spectacular Sacred Valley and the citadel in the clouds, Machu Picchu. But before you set off to discover the Inca citadel, discover Cusco's thriving Andean culture, Inca architecture and bustling plaza.
Outside of Cusco an astonishingly beautiful landscape awaits. The Sacred Valley is home to sacred Inca ruins and picturesque rural villages clinging to the mountainsides. Visit the mysterious agricultural terraces of Moray, the Maras salt mines and browse the colourful artisan markets.
Avid hikers can follow in the footsteps of the Incas on the legendary Inca Trail ending up at the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu. You'll be bowled over not only by how well this citadel has been preserved but also the setting. Simply breathtaking.
Best time to visit Peru (weather): May to September (the driest season)
RELAX / EXPLORE
Los Angeles, USA.
Los Angeles is home to the rich and famous for very good reason! Not only is the city fringed with golden beaches and spectacular hills, it is teeming with many local eateries packing one hell of a punch, edgy art spaces, live music venues and trendy neighbourhoods. You could spend weeks exploring California's largest city and only just scratch the surface.
Start the day by joining in with an Angeleno's favourite past time, hiking! Step into your hiking boots and head for Runyon Canyon and Griffith Park to take in views of the famed Hollywood Sign and the Griffith Observatory.
After your hike, grab a coffee from one of the town's trendy coffee shops, put your sunscreen on and head to the beach. Los Angeles features more than 120 kilometers of gorgeous coastline, with each beach having its own vibe. Cycle along the coast from Redondo Beach to Venice Beach, the epicenter for skateboard culture, followed by some fairground fun on Santa Monica Pier.
California is home to a multitude of incredible surfing spots, many of which are concentrated in Los Angeles. Malibu Surfrider Beach is one of the most iconic surfing destinations in the world, so watch the pros from a distance or grab your board and surf some epic waves! Just a short drive down the coast you’ll be hard pressed to find a more romantic beach than El Matador to enjoy an incredible sunset.
Hungry? Los Angeles offers a diverse and exciting dining scene, offering everything from food trucks to casual oceanfront eateries and from Michelin-starred restaurants to trendy local cafes. Whether you’re craving vegan bánh mì, the best tacos in town, or high end Japanese dishes, this city has you covered!
After feasting on L.A's finest food, discover its lively art scene. The contemporary galleries at the Broad and the massive Los Angeles Country Museum of Art which features more than 120,000 works, are an art lovers dream!
If art, beaches, food, high-fashion shopping and outdoor hiking adventures are not quite enough, enjoy the thrills and spills at Universal Studios Hollywood and the famed Studio Tour. The Studio Tour is where you can experience the largest street movie set in Hollywood history and a behind the scenes look at movie making secrets.
If you fancy a trip out of Los Angeles, Laguna is a super coastal spot, located halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego. With seven miles of coves and sun-drenched shores, mountain biking trails, running paths and dramatic vistas, the city is the perfect location for adventurous exploration.
Best time to visit LA (weather): Year round.
Get your itinerary started! If you need a little inspiration, or just a helping hand to get your L.A. itinerary started, check out TripMapper's interactive itinerary below. Simply click the 'Copy this Itinerary' button to take it into your TripMapper account and then customise it to make your own!
Trip itinerary app by TripMapper
CITY SIGHTS / RELAX
From marvelling at architectural masterpieces to gorging on artisan produce, visiting the sea to strolling around the harbour, there is little wonder that stylish Barcelona is one of Europe's most popular destinations.
The magnificent Gaudí creations are a magnet to visitors. Dotted all over the city, Gaudí's works stand as testimony to his genius. The Sagrada Família, arguably his most famous work, is outstanding, externally and internally. When the sun hits the multi-coloured stain glassed windows, it is truly stunning sight.
After you’ve marvelled at Antoni Gaudí’s fabulous works take advantage of Barcelona’s sunny Mediterranean climate by heading to one of its sun-drenched beaches. With excellent amenities and services make the most of Barcelona being a city by the sea!
After a few hours at beach, soak up the sights! Find gems of industrial modernista and Catalan Gothic architecture; indulge in Barcelona's 2,000 year history; browse the boutiques along Passeig de Gràcia; and discover all of Barcelona’s neighbourhoods, each with its own distinct personality.
The warm, balmy evenings are the perfect time to go for a coastal stroll or explore the backstreets and tree-lined boulevards. Stop for a cool drink and sample some of Barcelona's unbeatable gastronomic offerings. Barcelona and Catalonia have been at the epicenter of the worldwide explosion of Catalan cuisine for past few decades. From modern Michelin-starred restaurants to family run tapas bars and 19th century establishments to fresh produce markets, there are so many opportunities to discover what the locals actually eat.
Best time to visit Barcelona (weather): Shoulder season (March to May, September and October) is a good time to visit Barcelona, with pleasant weather and fewer crowds.
Get your itinerary started! If you need a little inspiration, or just a helping hand to get your Barcelona itinerary started, check out TripMapper's interactive itinerary below. Simply click the 'Copy this Itinerary' button to take it into your TripMapper account and then customise it to make your own!
Trip itinerary app by TripMapper
Have you been searching for the best travel planning apps to help plan your travels? Look no further, you've found it! Sign up for TripMapper, the best holiday planning app!
Editor's note: There are still some restrictions on travel due to COVID-19. Please check the latest guidance before booking and departing and always follow local health guidance. TripMapper is not affiliated to any third party mentioned or linked to in this blog. Linked third party websites are not under TripMapper’s control, and TripMapper is not responsible for their content.