Best books about Peru to read before your trip

Planning a trip to Peru? Best books about Peru that will make a perfect travel companion. Set in Peru fiction and non-fiction book recommendations.

The Conquest of the Incas by John Hemming

A detailed and well-researched account of  the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire in the sixteenth century. It tells the stories of Francisco Pizarro and his brother; the last ruler of the Inca empire  Atahualpa and his descendants as well as the discovery of Machu Picchu.  An interesting read for anyone who plan to visit Peru.

Available on Amazon

The White Rock by Hugh Thomson

A travel memoir by Hugh Thomson, who as a young man in the early 1980’s decided to go to Peru in hopes of finding an Inca ruin, that had been previously discovered but then lost again. Following the footsteps of great explorers,  the author combines his personal experiences and the historical facts.

Available on Amazon


Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams

A travel editor Mark Adams traces back  Hiram Bingham’s 1911 expedition and his controversial discovery  of  the Incas most sacred city of Machu Picchu. The book follows Adams journey to the famous Inca sites of Cusco, Ollantaytambo, Vitcos, Vilcabamba, Choquequirao, Llactatpata and  Machu Picchu. It also covers the history of the Inca Empire and investigates the allegations against the famous explorer.

Available on Amazon


Trail of Feathers : In Search of the Birdmen of Peru by Tahir

Inspired by Spanish chronicles from the XVI century and recurring theme of flight in Peruvian legends, Tahir Shah travels to Peru in hopes to solve the mystery of the “bird-men of Peru”. The author visits famous Inca sites of Machu Picchu and Cusco,  Lake Titicaca, famous Nazca Lines and travels up the Amazon to learn about shamanic magic and head-shrinking practices.

Available on Amazon


Life and Death in the Andes: On the Trail of Bandits, Heroes, and Revolutionaries by Kim MacQuarrie

Having spent several years traveling the length of the Andes, Kim MacQuarrie presents an insightful and entertaining look at the history of the region. The book includes fascinating stories about the Incas, Charles Darwin,  Pablo Escobar, and Shining Path movement and many more.

Available on Amazon


Rebel Mother: My Childhood Chasing the Revolution by Peter Andreas

A fascinating memoir of the author’s childhood experiences ‘searching for the revolution’ with his activist mother during the 1970s. Having lost the custody battle, Carol Andreas kidnaps her young son and moves to South America. First they live in Allende’s Chile and then among Shining Path activists in Peru.

Available on Amazon


The Shaman and Ayahuasca: Journeys to Sacred Realms by Don Jose Campos

Written by Peruvian shaman Don José Campos, the book is an introduction to the spiritual powers and the plant world, in particular the Ayahuasca, an Amazonian plant brew that is believed to be capable of inducing altered states of consciousness.

Available on Amazon


Death in the Andes by Mario Vargas Llosa

A powerful novel by a Nobel Price winner Mario Vargas llosa. Set in a remote village of Naccos in the Peruvian Andes, the story follows corporal Lituma and his deputy Thomas investigating three mysterious disappearances thought to be involving the Shining Path guerilla movement. The book is part a detective story, part an allegory of current political and economic problems of Peru.

Available on Amazon


Mother of God: An Extraordinary Journey into the Uncharted Tributaries of the Western Amazon by Paul Rosolie

A gripping memoir by an American naturalist and conservationist Paul Rosolie about his adventures and wildlife exploration of the Madre de Dios region of the Peruvian Amazon basin.

Available on Amazon

What have we missed? Share your recommendations on your favourite books about Peru in the comments below

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