10 places to visit in Peru – with your camper

Peru, a land of ancient ruins, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant cultures, offers an unforgettable adventure for camper enthusiasts. Renting a camper van or motorhome in Peru opens up a world of exploration at your own pace. Here’s your ultimate guide to the top destinations in Peru that are perfect for your camper journey!

Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley

Begin your adventure in Cusco, the historic capital of the Incan Empire. Renting a camper van here and driving approximately 75 kilometers to the Sacred Valley will not only expose you to stunning Andean landscapes but also lead you to the gateway of Machu Picchu. This ancient city, perched high in the mountains, is accessible by a short train ride from Ollantaytambo, a village in the valley. Along the way, explore the weaving villages, salt pans of Maras, and the agricultural terraces of Moray. Camping spots are available in the Sacred Valley, offering a serene base to explore this historic area.

Machu Picchu

Coucher soleil Plaza de armas Arequipa

Arequipa and the Colca Canyon

Traveling about 160 kilometers from Arequipa, you’ll find the Colca Canyon, one of the world’s deepest canyons. Arequipa itself, sitting at 2,335 meters above sea level, is renowned for its glistening architecture and as a hub for Peruvian culinary delights. The drive to Colca Canyon is scenic, with opportunities to see wild vicuñas and stop at traditional villages. Campgrounds near the canyon provide facilities for overnight stays, allowing you to wake up to breathtaking views and possibly witness the flight of the condors at Cruz del Condor.

Lake Titicaca

Situated about 380 kilometers from Cusco, Lake Titicaca is not only the highest navigable lake in the world but also steeped in Andean mythology. The lakeside city of Puno serves as the starting point for exploring the floating reed islands of Uros and the traditional communities on Taquile and Amantaní islands. Several campgrounds and RV parks in Puno cater to travelers, offering a base to experience the lake’s tranquil beauty and its cultural significance.

Uros Island Titicaca Lake Peru

Nazca Lines from the air

Nazca Lines

The journey from Lima to Nazca covers approximately 450 kilometers, leading you through diverse landscapes to the desert plains etched with the mysterious Nazca Lines. These ancient geoglyphs, best viewed from a small airplane, depict animals, plants, and geometric shapes on a monumental scale. Nearby, the city of Nazca offers various campgrounds, making it easy to plan flights over the lines and visits to surrounding archaeological sites.

Lima’s Culinary Scene

As the capital of Peru, Lima is about 450 kilometers north of Nazca and stands as a culinary powerhouse, offering everything from street food to gourmet experiences that showcase the diversity of Peruvian cuisine. While camper parking in Lima might be more challenging, several secured parking areas and campgrounds on the city outskirts provide a base to explore Lima’s rich history and vibrant food scene.

Ceviche and Tiger Milk in Lima

Guacamayo Parrots in Puerto Maldonado

The Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon basin is vast, and while accessing the heart of the rainforest by camper van is not feasible, the city of Puerto Maldonado serves as a gateway to the Amazon. Situated about 500 kilometers east of Cusco, it offers organized tours into the jungle. Campgrounds in the area allow for exploration of the rainforest’s edge, where the biodiversity is staggering.

The Cordillera Blanca

Located in the Ancash region, about 400 kilometers north of Lima, the Cordillera Blanca is a mountain climber’s dream. Home to Huascarán, Peru’s highest peak, this area offers numerous trails that navigate through breathtaking landscapes. Camping here provides a base for days filled with high-altitude treks and stunning scenery.

Huayhuash Cordillera Blanca Peru

Piura, on the north coast of Peru

The Northern Beaches

The northern coastline of Peru, particularly around the town of Mancora approximately 1165km north of Lima, is famed for its warm waters, excellent surf, and vibrant nightlife. This beachside paradise is the perfect place to unwind after exploring the country. Camper sites along the beach offer the ideal spot to relax, with easy access to surf lessons, kitesurfing, or simply enjoying the laid-back atmosphere of Peru’s northern shores.

Trujillo and Chan Chan

Trujillo, situated on the northwestern coast of Peru, approximately 560km north of Lima, is a city that boasts a rich history and cultural heritage. This region is home to the Chan Chan Archaeological Zone, the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The journey to Trujillo offers an insight into Peru’s northern landscapes, with the coastal desert meeting the Pacific Ocean. Exploring the vast adobe city of Chan Chan reveals the advanced architectural skills of the Chimú civilization, with its intricate designs and water channels. Campers can find spots along the nearby Huanchaco beach, where reed watercrafts known as “Caballitos de Totora” have been used for fishing since pre-Incan times.

Chan Chan next to Trujillo, Peru

Salkantay Trek next to Limatambo

Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

While Machu Picchu itself is an essential destination for any visitor to Peru, the journey there can be just as memorable, especially for those seeking an alternative to the traditional routes. The Salkantay Trek, named after the majestic Salkantay Mountain, offers a unique and breathtaking path through some of Peru’s most stunning landscapes, culminating in the arrival at the iconic Incan citadel. This 5-day trek covers approximately 60km and takes you through varied terrains, from lush rainforests to high-altitude mountain passes, offering a more secluded and intimate experience with nature.