Recommended Reads

& Additional Peru Resources
Apus Peru > Visiting Peru > Recommended Reads

Before you head to Peru for that once-in-a-lifetime Andean adventure, check out some of our favorite must-reads to get you in the mood!

Informative and inspiring, these books offer more than the generic info about Peru and are great if you are looking for some in-depth investigation into Inca history, as well a glimpse of Peru through the eyes of people who have spend their lives exploring this fabled land.


Engaging but non-fiction accounts of Peru & Inca history

Turn Right at Machu Picchu, by Mark Adams

If you are looking for a laugh out loud, fun-filled book, then look no further! The author, Mark Adams, quits his day job and takes us on an exciting trip, following the path that professor Hiram Bingham took to discover Machu Picchu many years ago. The history behind this story is researched exceptionally well, and the writing is done in such a way so that the reader feels themselves walking along the path with Adams while feeling the sun beating down on their backs. This book is not one to be missed!

Last Days of the Incas, by Kim MacQuarrie

We recently re-read this book and loved it just as much as we did the first time. Though we assume it is historically correct, it is a wonderful read, just like a novel: full of intrigue, drama, and lots of blood and guts! Also, it provides a range of perspectives, from that of the Spanish and the Incas, as well as an understanding of the early political intrigues in Peru. This is a great book for people who will be making the journey to Cusco and Machu Picchu, and especially those who have a history bent!

The White Rock, by Hugh Thomson

Hugh Thomson sets out as a young man, at the age of 22, to rediscover ruins that had previously been discovered but were lost again. This is a highly readable and thought-provoking novel, not to mention an excellent piece of travel history. It’s a recommended travel companion as you will have the opportunity to learn about the history, geography, and culture of the Incas and Peru. This is my number one choice for pre-Andean adventure reading. Another good, but less engaging, book by Hugh Thompson is Cochineal Red, which looks at pre-Incan civilizations and how they informed the development of Incan culture.

conquest incas


The Conquest of the Incas, by John Hemming

According to the Times, this is “a superbly vivid history distinguished by formidable scholarship, uncluttered language, a graphic sense of the craggy terrain in which the tragic combat took place.”



Light reads based in Peru

These are light, enjoyable reading – often not totally factually correct or even downright wrong – but they give you a sense of Peru and its people. These are especially great if you are not into historical tomes!

Conversation in the Cathedral, by Mario Vargas Llosa

Anything that was written by once-presidential hopeful Mario Vargas Llosa gives you a fascinating, fictional insight into Peru. This book contains paints a portrait of power and politics in Peru under the dictatorship of General Manuel Odría in the 1950s. This book is long (about 600 pages) and the first few chapters are rather difficult to get through due to disturbing events, but if you stick it out it’s worth the read! 

The Celestine Prophecy, by James Redfield

A highly recommended and interesting read about a manuscript that was found in the rainforest of Peru. It touches strongly on spirituality. While the story behind it is great, you must remember it is a novel and does not have the best depictions of Peru. Many things are incorrect which can lead to some frustration. That said, the book holds some rather fascinating ideas, and although it’s not for everyone it just might be worth the read!

The Incas Series, by A.B. Daniel

There are three books in this trilogy:

  1. The Puma’s Shadow
  2. The Gold of Cusco
  3. The Light of Machu Picchu

This series is listed as historical fiction. It depicts the lifestyle of the Incas well, and leads you on an intense story. There are a lot of political terms throughout the story and other readers have mentioned that it’s sometimes hard to understand due to the text including words in Spanish/Quechua. Despite that most readers agree that it’s worth the read! 

Lima Nights, by Marie Arana

A strong and brilliant novel if you can push past the topic of the book – in short, a married man finds himself falling for a young dancer at a local bar. This story really allows for the highlighting of Peruvian culture and is well written. Not suitable for children. 

American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood, by Marie Arana

A fantastic story about a young girl who grew up in both America, and Peru. Two very different locations with a much different environment and cultures. The journey follows her parents tumultuous marriage and how she finds herself in harsh surroundings.

With an incredibly talented writer at the wheel, or pen I should say, this is not a book you would find yourself disappointed in. It comes highly recommended!



Historical accounts of the Inca Trail & other Peruvian treks

Lost City of the Incas, by Hiram Bingham

A real-life Indiana Jones, this is explorer Hiram Bingham’s highly readable account of his discovery of Machu Picchu, the Lost city of the Incas. It is a great rollicking tale, sometimes factually incorrect, but certainly sets the scene for your Machu Picchu visit. We highly recommend taking the time to check this book out! 

Pampaconas Bingham 1914



Along the Uncharted Pampaconas, by Hiram Bingham 



Forgotten Vilcabamba- Vincent Lee



Forgotten Vilcabamba, by Vincent Lee



Vilcabamba - Deyermenjian 1985


Vilcabamba Revisited, by Gregory Deyermenjian  

Read more about Peru!

Additional Peru Resources

The following websites provide information about traveling to Peru, and we hope you find them helpful! Apus Peru has no control over these sites and cannot be held responsible for any content published within.

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