17 Peru Books That Will Take You To Machu Picchu And The Amazon Right At Home

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In college, my roommate and I decided we were going to go to Machu Picchu and I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately so I figured why not do my Peru book post now?

I also just love Latin America so expect a lot of that coming up. I had my Nordic book phase (it’s not over, don’t worry) and now we’re onto South America.

First up in this section is books set in Peru! This list has a lot of non-fiction Peru books but there is some fiction in there, too.

I’ve read a few of these and have a lot of them on my TBR, too. I actually have a couple of them with me and will probably read them this winter.

  • If you’re want to listen to some of these, consider trying Audible! You can get your first month free (one free book) plus tons of others they have for free.  Get that Audible deal here.
  • If you’re on more of a budget, try Scribd!  You can get your first month free there. You can read books and listen to audiobooks. It is unlimited (especially the reading) but if you listen to tons of new audiobooks you may be restricted after a few. I don’t listen to enough to confirm this, but I do use Scribd myself and like it a lot.
  • If you want to read more on your Kindle but don’t want to buy books, Kindle Unlimited is a wonderful option and right now you can get four months for $4.99! It’s usually $9.99 so this is a great deal. Get that deal here!

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

In 1911 Hiram Bingham III “discovered” Machu Picchu in the Andes Mountains. 

He was credited as a villain for taking priceless artifacts and credit for the discovery.  Mark Adams follows his footsteps to find the truth and ends up writing more of an adventure than he really had, after all, he never even slept in a tent.

I’ve wanted to read this one for years and just got it for my Kindle! I’ll update this once I read it.

The Last Days of the Incas

This is the story of the fall of the Inca Empire to Spanish Conquistador Francisco Pizarro and the recent discovery of the lost guerilla capital of the Incas, Vilcabamba, by three American explorers.

This one isn’t for me but if you’re a history buff, this may be the perfect one for you.

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

This is part adventure, part education as Paul Rosolie, a naturalist, conservationist, and explorer, takes us into the most remote sections of the Madre de Dios.

His love for the Amazon started in 2006 on his first trip there and over the coming years would return as often as possible. 

He ventured into some of the most inaccessible areas of jungle alone, seeing floating forests, jaguars, poachers, and more.  He raises an orphaned anteater and helps fight to protect the Madre de Dios from developers, oil giants, and gold miners.

This is one of my favorite books ever, I have two copies of it. And someday I’d love to go on one of the Tamandu Expeditions trips.

Ruthless River: Love and Survival by Raft on the Amazon’s Relentless Madre de Dios

Holly FitzGerald and her husband Fitz set out on a year-long honeymoon backpacking around the world.  Five months into their trip, they are in Peru on their way into the jungle when the little plane they are on crashes in a penal colony surrounded by jungle. 

They can either wait for a way out or take a raft down the Madre de Dios to get there a lot sooner.  They choose the raft and things go downhill quickly.

They assume they can get food from locals along the river, so they bring few supplies, but after a few days a storm throws them off course, stranding them for 27 days with no food in a flooded dead end of the river with no land to stand on until they realize the only way out is to swim.

I really liked this one, but I love survival stories. And the Amazon Rainforest, so this was right up my alley.

The Lost City of Z

In 1925, Percy Fawcett set off into the Amazon in search of a fabled civilization, never to be seen again.  Plenty of people died after this trying to find the same place he called “The Lost City of Z.” 

This is one that I have with me and know I’ll read it eventually. Hopefully I’ll read it after some of my other jungle books.

Trail of Feathers: In Search of the Birdmen of Peru

Tahir starts his trek because of a shrunken head and a feather with traces of blood on it. He’s fascinated by the theme of flight in Peruvian folklore and sets out to see if the Incas really could fly over the jungle like a Spanish monk reported.

He travels through the Andes Mountains, the desert, and finally deep into the Amazon to discover the secrets of the Shuar, a tribe of legendary savagery.

This one sounds perfect if you like adventure books or books about explorers.

Between Inca Walls: A Peace Corps Memoir

I almost applied to the Peace Corps in my last semester of college but ended up not. I still am always interested in hearing about experiences though and can’t wait to read this!

Evelyn is twenty-one and naive about life and love. She grew up in a small town in Montana then moved to California with her devout Catholic family where she is drawn to Latino culture.

Over the summer of her junior year in college, she helps set up a school and library in a small town in Mexico. After graduation, she joins the Peace Corps to work on community development in the Peruvian Andes.

She and her roommate Marie work on projects to improve the community while adjusting to life with few amenities. She even falls in love with a university student forcing her to choose between following the religious rules of her youth and giving in to her sexual desires.

Eight Feet in the Andes: Travels with a Mule in Unknown Peru

Dervla and her nine-year-old daughter, Rachel, clambered the length of Peru with the most basic supplies and a mule named Juana. They spent most of their time above 10,000 feet and were sustained by their love for and the beauty of the Andes.

This one sounds really fun! I’d like to read this one, too.

Forgotten Vilcabamba: Final Stronghold of the Incas

Part modern adventure, part historical education, this shares the long and stressful quest to uncover the secrets of Vilcabamba, the last refuge of the Incas.

This Peru book is perfect for fans of history and adventure, for sure.

Missing in Machu Picchu

When I started reading this description, I thought it was a true story, it’s not.

Four thirty-something professional women embark on the Inca Trail to confront their online dating dependency only to find themselves fighting for their lives after falling victim to a predator’s ruse.

They’re ready to leave relationships behind but Rodrigo, their mesmerizing hike leader is too hard to resist and one by one, he pits them against each other as they vie for his attention.

Under his sway, he manipulates them into participating in an ancient sacrifice to guarantee the success of his megalomaniac dreams.

The Gold Eaters

Here’s another fiction-but-based-on-history book set in Peru for you.

Waman, a young Inca boy, is kidnapped at sea by conquistadors seeking the golden land of Peru. He is forced to become Francisco Pizarro’s translator and finds himself caught up in the Spanish invasion of the Inca Empire.

To survive, he has to learn political gamesmanship while learning who he really is and where he really belongs. Only then can he search for his shattered family.

Inca-Kola: A Traveller’s Tale of Peru

On his fourth trip to Peru, Matthew Parris finds himself spending time with bandits, prostitutes, and peasants. He and his three companions seem to always find trouble.

This is perfect for anyone looking for a Peru travel book. I’m curious about this one myself!

Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter

Marito’s life in the news department of the local Lima radio station it interrupted by two arrivals. His aunt Julia who is recently divorced and with who he begins a secret affair and Pedro Camacho, a radio scriptwriter who choose Marito as his confidant as he slowly goes insane.

I had no idea what this was about when I added it to this list, then I had to re-read the description to make sure I read it right. I did and now I want to read this.

The Bridge of San Luis Rey

By chance or fate, a monk witnessed the bridge collapsing and dropping five travelers into the gulf below. Brother Juniper sets out to probe divine intervention led to the deaths he witnessed that day, not chance.

His search leads him on a timeless investigation into the nature of love and the meaning of the human condition.

At Night We Walk in Circles

Nelson’s girlfriend is sleeping with another man, he’s left to care for his widowed mother, and his acting career isn’t going anywhere.

At least until he lands the lead role in a legendary play by his hero, Henry Nunez, the leader of the storied guerilla theater troupe Diciembre. Then the trouble starts.

He is taken across a landscape he’s never seen that still shows scars of the civil war. He grows closer to his fellow actors while becoming entangled in their lives until s long-buried betrayal is brought to the surface during a performance and the troupe is thrown into chaos.

Betty Zee in PC: Sights and Sounds from a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru

In October 2009, Betty quit her promising PR job to join the Peace Corps. In March 2012, she received her invitation to serve in Peru.

This is a collection of blog posts turned-book on her time serving as a youth development volunteer in northern Rural Peru.

Cloud Road: A Journey through the Inca Heartland

This is the account of the five months John spent in the Andes Mountains while following the Camino Real, the great road of the Incas.

Finding and studying remote villages is central to the quest but he also faces dog attacks, sweltering canyons, floods, and stubborn donkeys on his way from the Equator to Machu Picchu.

Have you read any of these books set in Peru? Which ones? Any other Peru books I should check out?

Author: Megan Johnson

I'm Megan, a Wisconsin native currently working my way around the US. You can probably find me reading on the beach, wandering through the desert, or hanging out in a cute little coffee shop.

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