Spanish, Quechua, Aymara
Nuevos Soles (pen)
Peru’s urban centres are bright, colourful, and filled with gastronomical innovation. Nature brims with astounding diversity.
WHY WE LOVE
Peru’s ecosystem is unparalleled; it is quite arguably one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world. This country covers over two and a half million square kilometres of Western South America. It borders Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, as well as the Pacific Ocean.
Peru is a country abundant in variety. Peru was once a home to ancient civilizations and despite the passing of the years, it has done a remarkable job at retaining many of its people’s past practices and traditions. This is no surprise considering Peru’s remarkable ability to continuously thrive in every aspect. Peru has managed to maintain over 25,000 different plant species, which is about 10% of the world’s total. This country is also home to over 5,000 species of fish and animals. In fact, Peru ranks as the number one country in the world to house the highest number of distinct fish species. But, it doesn’t stop there. Peru is also ranked second for birds, and third place for both amphibians and mammals. Animal and nature lovers must visit Peru.
Have we convinced you? Why not travel with us, practice your Spanish, eat delicious food and play Indiana Jones for a week or two? Drink coca tea, hike ancient paths, see Machu Picchu, and discover everything Peru has to offer. This splendid country will warm your heart with it’s captivating landscapes and welcoming culture. Explore this incredible country with few crowds, the wild way, the authentic way. Visit Peru with us! Scroll down to see what travel adventures await you.
“Peru, Peru. My heart's lighthouse." - Morrissey
Did you know…?
- Peru is located in the tropical Andes; this region contains about 1/6 of all plant life despite it amounting for less than 1% of the world’s land area. It is home to 84 of the world’s 114 life zones!
- Peru has over 1,800 species of bird. Over 50% of the migrating birds in the Americas fly over Peru at some point in the year.
- The Peruvian queñual is the highest-growing tree in the world; its copper-coloured bark is constantly peeling.
- Peru grows over 55 varieties of corn and over 3,000 varieties of potato!
- Some of Cuzco’s main streets are designed to align with the stars at certain times of the years. The Incas took astronomy seriously. They were the only ancient culture in the world to define constellations of darkness as well as light.
- Peru’s Nazca lines were first noticed from the air in 1927. This collection of geoglyphs—comprising more than 70 human figures and animals and 10,000 lines—is still considered one of the world’s greatest archaeological mysteries. Different theories about the lines’ purpose include; that they serve as a giant astronomical calendar, ceremonial centre, or alien landing strip.
- The superfood Quinoa grain is actually from the Peruvian Andes and was domesticated 3,000 to 4,000 years ago.
Peru Travel Guide
When to go
The best time to visit Peru is probably during the Peruvian winter which spans from May to September. This is the driest season which allows you to do more outdoor activities, like visit the Cusco area or trek to Machu Picchu, than the summer months which are usually wet and undergo frequent rain showers.
How to get there/around
Luckily, Lima, the country’s capital has an international airport that is only about 11 km away, with many direct flights from all around the world. The Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) is the main airport for international flights as well as the main hub for local flight connections.
Peru is a large country that provides many national flights. Although flying locally may be the fastest way to get around, it might not always be the most affordable. Buses are by far the most used method of transportation with reasonable fares and regular (for the most part) scheduling. You also have the option of taking a train to most cities across the country, this is another comfortable alternative.
Driving is also an option, although we recommend driving is done outside of the cities where highway conditions are safe and scenery can be admired. The Pan American Highway for example cuts straight through Peru from the Ecuadorian border to the Chilean one and the roads are safe (for the most part). Please be aware, of the surrounding area, due to the mountainous terrain, falling rocks may block roads on occasion. You should only drive cross-country if you are an experienced and secure driver. Otherwise feel free to rent a car with a driver, available for reasonable pricing at any number of car hire companies. Taxis are also a very popular method of transportation and are readily available (only get into yellow licensed taxis! See Do’s & Don’ts Section).
What to see & do
The Andes Mountains divide Peru into three main regions. These regions include; la costa or the coast, la sierra or the highlands, and la selva also known as the jungle. These terrains are all equally important as they are fascinating. If you cannot visit all these regions of Peru it is probably best you find the one that you find most compelling and spend your time there in order to fully embrace and get the most out of the area.
Visit Peru and discover its three spectacularly diverse regions. The coast is a narrow plain to the west. Although arid this area contains lush valleys and seasonal rivers. The highlands on the other hand are the opposite. This area juts out of the Earth and forms part of the longest continental mountain range in the world. These stunning mountains are known as the Andes; they stretch across seven South American countries and are home to Machu Picchu. Lastly, there’s the jungle, an impressive flat terrain covered by the Amazon rainforest.
What to pack
Most items can be found and bought in Peru’s cities but it is important to keep in mind that sizing might be an issue if you are too tall and or overweight. It is very difficult to find men’s shoes that are bigger than a US11/UK10/EU44 or women’s shoes that are larger than US9/UK7/EU39.5.
Peru has a varied climate depending on the region you travel to. The climate on the coast is usually arid with high temperatures and little rainfall. The Andes Mountains normally maintain a cool-to-cold climate with rainy summers and dry winters. The eastern lowlands present an Equatorial climate that includes hot weather and rain all year long. With that being said, it is safe to say that layers will be your best friend! Layers will allow you to adjust according to the climate. Necessary Peru travel items are; rain jacket, long comfortable pants (wicking material is preferable), shorts, t-shirts (wick), sweatshirt, sneakers/trainers, hiking shoes/boots, and a cat and or cap (remember this should be removed when going indoors), insect repellent, sunscreen, sunglasses, electrical adaptors (if necessary), malaria medication (if travelling to the jungle), and travel insurance (plus copy).
Where to go
Some travel insights from our experts about Peru
Make sure to call someone over by using your entire hand not by curling your index finger/ forefinger! This gesture although perfectly acceptable in North America is considered rude and insulting in Peru.
Visit a doctor before making the trip. They might prescribe altitude medication or other medication depending on the activities you will participate in during your stay. Always consult the CDC page on travel to Peru and ask your physician about possible shots.
If you are planning to take antimalarial tablets as a precaution please make sure to allow enough time for your body to adjust to the medication. The last thing you want is to have a serve reaction to the tablets that can possibly cause you to miss out on the experience.
Unplug electronics once fully charged. Electrical socks are 220 volts which is higher than those in the USA for example (which are only 120 volts). Although this shouldn’t hurt your electronics while charging, it is important you disconnect once object is fully charged in order to avoid unnecessary stress on the circuitry.
Do: Expect your ‘personal space bubble’ to get smaller. Peruvians tend to get close to whomever they are speaking to.
Do: Travel with toilet paper and expect to pay before going to the bathroom. The restroom fee is usually small and inexpensive but it is important to keep in mind that public restrooms will often not supply toilet paper.
Do: Expect to see guns. Armed guards are common in most places that provide public serves such as banks, shopping malls, airports etc.
Do: Expect to pay higher prices than the locals. Service prices are normally hiked up anywhere between 10-20% for non-locals or non-Spanish speakers.
Do: Make sure to drink a lot of water and Coca tea, while in Peru, in order to avoid altitude sickness.
Don’t: Take photos without asking. If you do, you might find yourself in an uncomfortable situation while having to face your unwilling subject(s). Always be wary when photographing police or military personnel, as well as their respective buildings and installations. Also try to exercise restraint in churches and other religious buildings; do some research and find out if photography is allowed. Most importantly, always be respectful of worshippers within the church or cathedral.
Don’t: Drink the tap water! Buy and drink bottled water.
Don’t: Travel outside of South America with Coca leaves! Coca leaves although decriminalized in most Southern American countries are still illegal in Paraguay and Brazil. Do not travel to North America, Oceania, and or Europe with the plant. Please, make sure to do some research before traveling with Coca.
Don’t: Be afraid to haggle. Peru is a country full of bargain-ers, it’s perfectly acceptable to not always accept the first price given. This is especially true in touristy markets and souvenir stands. The same applies to taxi and mototaxi fares.
Don’t: Take unlicensed taxis. Only take licenced yellow taxis and make sure to negotiate and settle on a price BEFORE departure.
Cuisine delights (3 best dishes)
Cooking is an art form in Peru. Peruvian cuisine is not only delicious, it is considered an edible for of storytelling. The combination between hot and cold, acidic and starchy, robust and delicate mimics the country’s mix of culture and tradition. Influences from indigenous populations, including the Incas, combined with the flavours of Europe make for a truly fascinating food experience.
Peru is a diverse country not only because of its ethnic mixes but also because of its different climates, therefore popular food varies depending on the region. For example, the coastal areas are famous for Ceviche, a cold fish dish that is traditionally made with sea bass (corvina) and marinated, “cooked”, for just minutes in lime juice, onion, salt and, hot chiles (aji). Peruvian ceviche is usually served with crisp onion, and sides of starchy boiled corn (choclo) and creamy sweet potato (camote). Dry-roasted corn kernels (cancha) are also added in order to add some crunch to the dish. Unlike other ceviche dishes from Central and South America, Peruvian ceviche does not contain tomato!
Anticuchos are brochettes that can be found in Peru’s cosmopolitan areas and are sold by street vendors or can be found in creole restaurants. These kebabs are made from beef heart that is marinated in various Peruvian spices then grilled. Anticuchos is often sold with boiled potato or corn.
In the valleys and plains of the Andes, the diet is still traditionally based on corn (maíz), potatoes, and an assortment of other tubers. Starch is usually served with meat from indigenous animals like alpacas and guinea pigs. Guinea pigs are a very popular Peruvian delicacy.
CHATTING CORNER – SURVIVAL GUIDE - Spanish
Much like in any part of the world, you will get a lot further if you learn a few phrases in the country’s national language. Not only will this gesture delight the locals, it will also make you feel more comfortable in your surroundings.
- Hello – Hola
- How are you? - ¿Cómo estás?
- What is your name? - ¿Como te llamas?
My name is …. – Me llamo __
- Where are you from? - ¿De donde eres?
I am from …. – Yo soy de ___
- How much is it? - ¿Cuánto cuesta?
- Where is…? - ¿Dónde está…?
- Do you speak English? - ¿Hablas inglés?
- Thank you - Gracias
- Please – Por favor
- Nice to meet you – Un placer conocerte
- Cheers! – ¡Salud!
- Beautiful –Bello
- Delicious – Delicioso
One of the particularities of Peru is the trend to add ‘ito’ o ‘ita’ at the end of the word, making it more endearing. Ex: Pequeño – pequeñito, guapa – guapita…