Reading List: Peru

It’s time for a reading list! Let’s take a look this week at Books to Read before you travel to Peru.

Machu Picchu has been a popular destination for decades, attracting some of the top tour operators and adventure enthusiasts, like G Adventures and more. Read more about operators who travel in Peru:

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Lost City of the Incas, The Story of Machu Picchu and its Builders, by Hiram Bingham. 

This classic account is a gripping story of exploration, archaeology and natural history — and still an outstanding overview of the site itself. With original expedition photographs. Originally published in 1952, the book is still an excellent account, not only of the expedition but also of the site itself.

Death in the Andes

Written by Mario Vargas Llosa, the book is about the first man of the Peruvian literature. Vargas Llosa wrote dozens of stories set in Peru. In his novels, he comments on the difficult Peruvian reality, complicated history and the country’s quirks. Death in the Andes is a gripping page-turner that brings the readers back to the times the 1980s. 

The Heights of Macchu Picchu, by Pablo Neruda. 

Chilean poet Pablo Neruda composed this long-form poem after visiting the famous Incan ruins of Machu Picchu. With complex, evocative imagery and a strong sense of spirituality throughout, this is one of Neruda’s best and most well-known poems.

The Incas, People of the Sun, by Carmen Bernard.

This jewel of a book features hundreds of archival drawings and photographs, a chronology and long excerpts from the journals of early explorers. It’s a guide to the ancient monuments, daily life of the Incas, and history of exploration.

Trail of Feathers: In Search of the Birdmen of Peru, by Tahir Shah. 

Obsessed with a Spanish monk’s report of Incas who could “fly like birds,” Tahir Shah set out on a journey across Peru in search of these titular “birdmen.” The result of his quest is this wonderfully weird travelogue, tracing his journey through jungle, mountain and desert. This book is perfect for travelers with an appreciation for mysticism and the surreal.

Turn Right at Machu Picchu, by Mark Adams. 

You can’t find any list on Peru-related reading without several stories about Machu Picchu and the Inca heritage. Turn Right at Machu Picchu is one of the more popular books. Mark Adams did a remarkable job, first researching thoroughly the Inca history, and then tracing the steps of Hiram Bingham, the legendary discoverer of Machu Picchu.

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Willamette International Travel
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