Our friend Gabriela went on a trip to Peru and was happy to share her story from this thrilling location. Spontaneous decisions, attractions off the beaten track, Peruvian cuisine and countless emotions defined Peru for Gabriela.
Peru Useful Tips
When it comes to accommodation in Peru, it is worth considering staying in a dorm. Dorm room costs around 7-15 euros and even though it will not give you as much comfort as the hotel would, you can spend the savings on some unusual souvenirs of local cuisine!
Peru is the centre of the culinary world in South America and there are a lot of delicious dishes to try for very affordable prices. If you are planning to eat in the restaurants, lookout for meals of the day, as they will normally cost around 3-5 euros. However, you can find an enormous variety of delicious fruits on the markets.
‘Incredible variety of fruits and vegetables, including 2,000 varieties of potato and pretty well any tropical fruit or vegetable you could imagine. Peruvians particularly love their aji (chilli pepper) and Ajo (garlic).’
You must also try a variety of fresh juices in Peru. Delicious and healthy options of apple, orange, grapefruit, maracuya, papaya, pineapple and many others will energise you for the upcoming sightseeing!
The cheapest way to travel around Peru is taking a bus and generally they are quite comfortable. However, think twice before taking a night trip. They might appear to be challenging in terms of local weather.
In Peru, a lot of most interesting attractions are on a high level above the sea (Arequipa – 2000m, Puno – 3800m, Colca Canyon – 5000m). Altitude can be a very challenging aspect of exploring Peru and Gabriela strongly recommends taking it slow. You should take it easy for the first couple of days, because if you are not used to the altitude, you will feel rather weak. The easiest tips to eliminate the symptoms are to drink a lot of water, eat light meals, dine early and also try Coca tea (Mate de coca).
Activities Not To Miss
Machu Picchu is one of the most famous attractions in Peru and you should undeniably put it on your itinerary. It takes some energy when hiking, but views from the top are mesmerising and absolutely worth the struggle.
Sandboarding in Huacachina
Huacachina might at first seem to be a mirage. It is a little city in the desert oasis that is already interesting enough to have a visit. In addition, you can try sandboarding in the desert, which is a lot of fun.
Colca Canyon and Agricultural Terraces
Colca Canyon is the deepest canyon in the world and it is thought to be twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. As a result, you are bound to see some of the most incredible views of the region and even spot Andean condors.
‘A trip here isn’t complete unless you visit one of the small agricultural villages for a taste of daily life. I wish I could spend at least three more days there to hike the Colca Canyon.’
Maras Salt Ponds
Maras town is famous for nearby salt evaporation ponds. Ponds were in use since Inca times and it is a very picturesque site to visit. Moreover, you can buy salt with different flavours there, which makes a perfect local souvenir.
Gabriela has spent 4 days in Cusco and if given a chance, she would definitely come back for more. Food, markets, museums, salsa dancing and night walking are only some of the fascinating things that describe this southeastern city. In 1983 Cusco was declared a World Heritage Site protected by UNESCO. It is now one of the major cities in Peru for travellers and an official historical capital of the country.
Chauchilla Cemetery was completely looted by treasure hunters as they took away all the treasures that were kept in the mummy tombs. Visiting this cemetery might give you mixed feelings because you can actually see people remains there. Yet it is also a fascinating experience of learning about mummification and the culture.
Peru offers a lot of interesting dishes to try. Consider ordering Pollo a la Brasa. This Peruvian chicken dish is one of the beloved choices by locals. Additionally, think about getting Palta la Reina. It is a salad dish with avocado, tomatoes, sometimes chicken, that you should try in Huacachina. Also, Lomo Saltado will definitely not disappoint. You can try this stir-fry beef dish throughout the region and find out your best destination for it. Lastly, for a dessert, order a plate of Picarones. Firstly they originated from Lima, but can now be found all around the country. They make a perfect local sweet dessert and for the cheapest options consider looking in the local markets.
For something entirely Peruvian, try Mate de Coca. It is primarily a herbal tea that locals drink for health causes and it will help you fight altitude sickness. Secondly, did you know that Peru has its own version of cola? Apparently, in Peru, you can buy a soda drink called Inca Kola. Peruvians originally make it from the lemon verbena and travellers compare its flavour to bubble gum. Another interesting drink that you should look for is Chicha Morada. It is a sweet drink from the purple corn that does not contain any alcohol. If you are looking for a drink that is very traditional, Chicha Morada is your option. Its creation dates back to Inca Empire. However, if you would like to have a local evening cocktail, look for Pisco Sour. Primary ingredient includes lime, which makes it very refreshing.
Peru is an incredible South American destination to visit. Astonishing panoramic views, interesting culture and fabulous undiscovered cuisine can make you want to put it into the personal travel diary. We wish interesting travelling for Gabriela in the future.