Visiting Peru is as much an exercise in finding less-crowded alternatives as it is anything, where spots like the Ausangate (aka Rainbow Mountain) and Machu Picchu draw the Instagramming masses by the thousands. But the country can be seen without the crowds, if you know how to do it. Matador shows you all of that, and also shows you other things you didn’t know existed in Peru, like epic surfing and luxury cruises on the Amazon.

Scour the best restaurants in Lima on your first visit, then immerse yourself in Andean culture in Cusco on the second — Peru’s varied landscapes make it a place you’ll want to visit a few times. We’ve got travel guides to both cities, plus tips on visiting Peru’s Huacachina desert and mystical cloud forests. Peru’s a beautiful place if you know how to see it right, and you’ve found the inside skinny on how to do it.