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General Peru Information

Weather

Peru, being one of the 16 most diverse countries in the world, is country with more climate zones and variety than the European continent as a whole. Therefore giving a clear cut overview of the Peruvian climate is an almost impossible task. Nevertheless in order to provide a bit of guidance when it comes to the weather in Peru the best way is to divide Peru into the three main geographical zones; the coastal desert, the central highlands and the jungle.


The coastal desert includes the whole coast of the country from Ecuador in the North to Chile in the South. The climate is characterized by little or no rain and an average tropical climate. Temperatures almost never go under 15ºC (60ºF) and hardly over 30ºC (85ºF). The humidity however can make the sensational temperature feel colder or warmer depending on the season. On the southern part of the Coast (Lima and down) there is also an effect called “Garúa”  which translates in “drizzle” and means a humid mist mostly in the morning allowing for little visibility at times. This effect is provoked by the cold Antarctic Ocean currents colliding with the warm desert air.


trujilloThe Peruvian Highlands runs in the center of the country also from North to South and comprise some of the most impressive mountain ranges in the world. With altitudes from 1000 meters (3,200ft) to 6,768 meters (22,200ft) one can imagine that there are a lot of different climates to be found in this region.  Nevertheless the main common demeanor for the highlands are the rainy and dry season. The rainy or green season (which sound a lot more dramatic than it actually is, allowing for great tourism opportunities) runs basically from December through March and the dry season from April through November. During the dry season there is little rain and warm sunny days but cold nights. In the green season there is more chance on rain and more clouding but with higher nighttime temperatures. The green season also allows for less crowds and more diverse country sides.


mistyThe jungle comprises actually the largest part of Peru but houses only about 10% of the population. In general the jungle is always hot and humid with a good chance on rain throughout the year. Nevertheless the jungle also has a rainy and dry season. The rainy season runs from November through April and the dry season from May through October. Both seasons have their charm and their typical wildlife. The rainy seasons allows for better access on rivers and lakes allowing to see wildlife from the boat on the shores and in the water. The dry season on the other hand allows for better hikes through the jungle allowing you to get to spots one can often not get to in the rainy season. Less water also means that animals often concentrate around the different water sources around.


Money

The national currency in Peru is the “Sol” with an approximate exchange rate of 3 Soles for the US Dollar. The US Dollar is also officially accepted but can best be avoided for smaller purchases due to the less favorable exchange rates in shops. They can however easily be exchanged in local “Casas de Cambio”. When bringing US Dollars to Peru, please make sure you bring along new and impeccable bills as older or teared bills are not accepted. ATM are widely found in Peru and accept most Debit and Credit Cards. ATM’s disperse both Soles and US Dollars. Debit cards may have a limited and in some cases have to be activated for the country in advance with your bank. Please check with your bank any costs for withdrawals with your credit or debit card. In most higher-end tourist restaurants and shops credit cards are accepted. Tipping is appreciated and for higher end restaurants the norm is around 10%. For guides and drivers the amounts can vary slightly but around US$5-10 per person for a full day is the going rate. For more information, please do not hesitate to write your travel consultant.  


Travel Documentation

Visitors from the USA, Canada, European Union, Australia and New Zealand do not need a visa to enter Peru just a passport valid for at least 180 days on the day of arrival to the country. For more information feel free to get in touch with your travel consultant.


We do also recommend taking out travel insurance. Everyone knows that travel is full of variables and there is always a risk, however small, that something might go wrong before or during your trip. Something as minor as a flight delay can have a significant financial impact, as can illness, bad weather or luggage delays.

Overview


Time for a quick introduction to Peru; everyone landing on this website probably heard of Machu Picchu but as Peru is a mega diverse destination with a ton of things to do, places to visit and experiences to relish, the following guide may help seeing the woods through the trees.


Lima

Lima is the proud capital of the nation. With almost 11m people one of the largest (and unavoidably chaotic) cities on the continent. Due to its mere size it is a city that hosts so many sights, impressions, vibes and atmospheres that it becomes an impossible task to do it all. Therefore allow us to let you in on a little secret; the key here is food. Lima is one of the culinary hotspots in the world and not only because of the large number of internationally renowned restaurants – no, in every barrio, on every corner at every dinner table food is the cultural demeanor of this massive city.


Cusco

The ancient city of Cusco needs little introduction. One of the oldest cities in the Americas and gateway to Machu Picchu. That being said, it would be a shame to see it as only this. The city is a true pearl in the Andes with its unique colonial architecture on top of Inca remains. The old capital of the Incas and later of the Viceroyalty still stands with all its pride as the ages have only made this city more interesting – a Breathtaking destination in all senses of the word.  


The Sacred Valley

Forget the hustle and bustle of Cusco; at about one hour’s drive from Cusco you can experience going to a place where time has stood still (or at least went a lot slower than in many other parts). The Urubamba Valley due to its vital agricultural importance for the Inca Empire claimed the Sacred title and this is noted till the day of today by the dazzling amount of Inca sites to be found here; from Sacred Temples, to remote fortresses and agricultural laboratories; the Inca’s dominated this land as no other.


Machu Picchu

The Crown Jewel of the Andes needs no introduction. With recent visitor limitations the government made sure that each visit is still the awe-inspiring experience Inca Pachacuti had in mind when he designed this architectonic marvel. Draped over a green and lush mountain ridge protected by two soaring granite towers it is impossible not to rub your eyes when laying them upon this wonder. -The closest most of us get to feeling Indiana Jones –


Lake Titicaca

Often referred to as the highest (navigable) lake in the world; apart from being inaccurate we feel that this lake does not need a superlative in order to stand out. Surrounded by legends and mysteries such as being the birthplace of the Incas, exiled populations living on floating islands, the search for Atlantis and the masons of Tiwanaku, the lake and its secrets give a lot to ponder on…luckily the views here are made to let your mind drift off in the endless horizon and ever-changing reflection of the sun.


Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon Rainforest is still the dream for many discoverers but as we are not all Bear Grills, luckily the Peruvian Amazon provides some of the best places on the planet to get introduced into the “Life in the Wild” without having to surrender on some basic comforts. Two thirds of the country is covered by these forests with as only gateways the many rivers crossing them. Living at the pace of nature, breathing the fresh air, being aware of the habitants housed in these forests and later in the evening laying your head down in your lush cabin allowing the cacophony of the woods closing your eyes. Refuging in these massive forests allows you to put it all in perspective.


Arequipa

The White City could not have picked a better nickname. The entire historic center is built in sillar, a local volcanic rock that apart from being useful also provide the buildings with a certain royal flair few construction materials hold. Maybe it is because of this royal feel to the buildings that the people from Arequipa have a bit of a posh air but for the visitors to this city this sense of pride will be a main entertainer. Wanting to engage with any Arequipeño it only takes a question such as “what is so great about Arequipa” to make a new BFF and win yourself a guide to the city. Having enjoyed a little of both the coast as the highlands, Arequipa is a city that feels comfortable with both cultures making them a very “Cosmoperulitan” city.   


Colca Canyon

What the Sacred Valley is to Cusco is the Colca Canyon to Arequipa. Here too it is easy to feel that time stood still and that people here live on the same pace and peace of mind as they have done for centuries. One of the deepest canyons on the planet, home to the famous Andean Condor soaring the skies this place is one that none will easily forget. Whether you come for the unlimited hiking opportunities, seeing the condors or relaxing in some of the many thermal baths you will not be disappointed.


Nazca Lines

The Nazca Lines may as well be one of the biggest mysteries in a country filled with mysteries. These huge geoglyphs painted across the desert would not have existed any longer were it not that they are located on one of the driest places on earth. It has not rained here in hundreds of years allowing these ancient lines to survive and keep provoke the same questions with all visitors; why, when and how.


Ballestas Islands

Sometimes called the Peruvian Galapagos Islands these islands are perhaps not the highlight of most trips to Peru but nevertheless do surprise a lot of visitors with its sights. The amount of wildlife one sees here on a 2 hour boat ride few people will enjoy in a full day on the Galapagos. Penguins, Sea lions, hundreds of Sea birds and even Dolphins and Condors are all part of the wildlife viewing buffet offered by these tiny islands.


North Peru

The place to fall in love with for those taking the time to visit North Peru. Deserted beaches, fascinating colonial cities, ancient ruins dating back thousands of years, lost cities in cloud forests, the most beautiful mountain in the world topped off by some of the highest waterfalls known; what more…adventure awaits. 

Culinary Delight


In the last couple of years Peru has truly experienced an amazing culinary revolution growing from a regional player to a cuisine that now competes with the great cuisines of the world such as Italy, France and Japan. Partially initiated by the successful chef Aston Acurio, Peru embarked on a culinary self-exploration re-discovering the wealth of their local products and cooking cultures already present in the country Peru re-invented itself in a way that few countries have done before. Following you can find some of our favorite restaurants around.


Lima

Central

One of Peru’s flagship restaurants; named fourth best restaurant in the world and three time’s best restaurant in Peru; chef Vergillio Martinez does not only offer a great lunch or dinner but offers a complete culinary experience allowing diners to explore Peru through its ingredients and altitudes rather than its sights.


Maido

The frontrunner of Peruvian Nikkei Fusion. Recognized as one of the best restaurants in the world, chef Mitsuharu Tsumura is responsible for this ground breaking restaurant combining the best of both the Japanese and Peruvian kitchen.


Astrid & Gastón

The flagship restaurant from the man responsible for the culinary revolution Peru of the last couple of years. It is this restaurant that put Gaston Acurio’s name on the map as the godfather of Peruvian cuisine. Classic Peruvian food with an international accent.

Rafael

Rafael is the first restaurant from Rafael Osterling, another main player in Peru’s culinary revolution. Peruvian / French cuisine in a great ambience and excellent service.


La Mar

Gaston Acurio’s take on ceviche. This seafood restaurant is heaven for sea lovers. All dishes as fresh as they come providing typical Peruvian dishes such as ceviche, arroz con mariscos and chicharron with Gaston’s typical gourmet style.


El Mercado

El Mercado is the Peruvian style restaurant from Rafael Osterling. Providing well established typical Peruvian dishes in a new outfit. A great place for your first steps in Peruvian cuisine.  


Isolina

This Peruvian Taberna serves lunch and dinner as in former days. Large dishes to share among friends and family in a non-pretentious ambience in the heart of Bohemian Barranco. Back to the essence of Peruvian food.


Huaca Pucllana

Always dreamt of having dinner looking over ancient pre Inca ruins more than thousand years old; well Lima offers you the chance. A fine dining restaurant located in the Huaca Pucllana beautifully illuminated at night taking you back to ancient days.


Cusco

Cicciolina

This long standing restaurant has won the title of Cusco’s best restaurant for many times and is a steady player in the ever expanding culinary offer in Cusco. Peruvian / Mediterranean Fusion food with typical Andean accents.


Limo

Located on the beautiful Plaza de Armas, this Asian / Peruvian fusion restaurant provides some fine lunch and dinner options as well as great cocktails.


Chicha

Gaston Acurio’s take on Andean comfort food. Typical dishes such as chicharrones and capchi de habas are served wrapped in a gourmet jacket.

Inka Grill

Looking for a good old fashioned steak or grilled meat, Inka Grill is the place to be. Conveniently located on Cusco’s main square here you can satisfy your meat cravings.


Greens Organic

This vegetarian restaurant specializes in the famous Andean superfoods such as quinoa, maca and avocado. They also have some non-vegetarian dishes so this is an all crowds pleaser.


Encanto

This all-time favorite located on the main square has a wide range of dishes, most of them with a Mediterranean flavor and touch. Pizzas, pasta’s, vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, a great family option.


Kion

Cusco’s best Chifa restaurant. Chifa is the Peruvian / Chinese Fusion cuisine designed by the many Chinese immigrants in Peru. Mixing Peruvian ingredients with Chinese cooking techniques and spices allowed Peru to fully embrace a new take on Chinese food.


La Granga Heidi

This Peruvian / German option provides high quality food using solely organic ingredients directly from their own farm in the Sacred Valley. They offer daily menus for lunch which is an excellent option for a good meal in between excursions.


La Bodega 138

Non pretentious, homemade, woodstove pizzas accompanied by some of Peru’s bests craft beers; what else could one ask for some nights.


Papacho’s

Another of Gaston Acurio’s creations; under the slogan everything is hamburgerable here the gourmet hamburger is re-invented with a Peruvian touch.


MAP Café

Located on the beautiful patio of the Pre Colombian Museum in Cusco, providing a great insight in the history of this city before the Incas, this restaurant provides Peruvian dishes with a gourmet presentation accompanied by some amazing cocktails and nonalcoholic lemonades.


Sacred Valley

Hacienda Sarapampa

This private family owned hacienda located in the heart of the Sacred for years is an example of the typical colonial haciendas that popped up in the Valley after the Spanish conquest. An amazing lunch prepared with all local ingredients allowing you to appreciate the importance of this valley for the Incas.  
Hacienda Huayuccari

A family owned Hacienda known for its beautiful orchid gardens and Peruvian Paso horses. Non pretentious cuisine taking the local ingredients to the foreground meanwhile appreciating the Andean countryside.

Qanela

A small restaurant in the heart of Urubamba, the valley’s largest town. Either in the green gardens or cozy interior here you can enjoy typical Andean dishes with some international influences.


Huacatay

Huacatay is the name of a typical Andean herb used in many Andean dishes. This is the essence of this restaurant; taking you back to ancient times in the valley, adding some modern accents.


El Albergue

This long standing restaurant located in the old Ollantaytambo Train station provides a wide range of dishes for the whole family, all with an excellent quality and service. Enjoy some of the typical craft beers from the Sacred Valley in the cozy interior or beautiful green gardens.

Health Precautions and tips


Altitude Sickness

In a country where almost one third of the territory is located over 2,500 meters (8,200 ft) above sea level, it should not come as a surprise that the altitude is something you may want to keep in mind. Almost 70% of the visitors to Peru will only feel some minor discomforts when arriving to high altitude for the first time and these discomforts can be headaches, shortness of breath, less appetite and perhaps some small stomach issues. In order to avoid having serious issues with the altitude we recommend the following guidelines;

 Take it easy for the first 24 hours at altitude -- don’t overexert yourself and don’t go any higher. This is particularly important if you’re arriving by plane. Avoid alcohol, tobacco and sleeping pills. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Eat high-carbohydrate foods (such as pasta, potatoes and bread). Drink coca tea or chew coca leaves upon arrival at altitude and during your stay. Medication is also an option. Acetazolamide (diamox) is the most common type of “soroche pill.” Further options exist, but they are no substitute for proper acclimatization. Always consult your doctor before taking altitude sickness medication.

As with most diseases and illnesses, prevention is the most important. Therefore when arriving on altitude, try keeping the altitude in mind from the moment you arrive, making sure you do not overexert yourself the first day(s), drink plenty of water and eat light food. With these tips, most travelers will only have minor discomforts when arriving to altitude.


In the jungle (and also in a small amount in Machu Picchu) it is important to protect yourself from mosquitoes. Use good repellent (preferably with DEET) throughout the day and wear long sleeve shirts and trousers in the early morning or late afternoon.


Traveler’s stomach illnesses can also be an issue in some cases. Peru has an amazing kitchen but as cooking processes and ingredients vary from what you are used at home you may want to refrain from street food and restaurants that give the impression of not being the most hygienic. Most tourist restaurants are more than find and for some tips see the restaurant list on this page. It is also best to avoid tap water and to use bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth.


Being a country with many days of sun throughout the year as well as altitudes make that protection from the sun is very important. In the highlands due to the clouds and winds one may not feel the sun as strong but the radiation in these parts of Peru is often more than double than on sea-level. Therefore it is important to use plenty of sunscreen with a good factor throughout your trip. This is also true for dry season trips to the jungle as well as the summer time on the coast.

As with most diseases and illnesses, prevention is the most important. Therefore when arriving on altitude, try keeping the altitude in mind from the moment you arrive, making sure you do not overexert yourself the first day(s), drink plenty of water and eat light food. With these tips, most travelers will only have minor discomforts when arriving to altitude.


In the jungle (and also in a small amount in Machu Picchu) it is important to protect yourself from mosquitoes. Use good repellent (preferably with DEET) throughout the day and wear long sleeve shirts and trousers in the early morning or late afternoon.


Traveler’s stomach illnesses can also be an issue in some cases. Peru has an amazing kitchen but as cooking processes and ingredients vary from what you are used at home you may want to refrain from street food and restaurants that give the impression of not being the most hygienic. Most tourist restaurants are more than find and for some tips see the restaurant list on this page. It is also best to avoid tap water and to use bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth.


Being a country with many days of sun throughout the year as well as altitudes make that protection from the sun is very important. In the highlands due to the clouds and winds one may not feel the sun as strong but the radiation in these parts of Peru is often more than double than on sea-level. Therefore it is important to use plenty of sunscreen with a good factor throughout your trip. This is also true for dry season trips to the jungle as well as the summer time on the coast.


Vaccinations

With regards to vaccinations for Peru: this is of course a personal decision and therefore not easy to advise on.  For Peru there are no obligatory vaccinations but the most common recommend ones are:


• Yellow Fever (only for trips to the Amazon Basin)


• Typhoid              


• Hepatitis A      


• Polio                    


• Tetanus          


For most jungle destinations in South America the Yellow Fever vaccination is recommended this is also the case for the Peruvian Jungle. Nevertheless; as it is important that you receive the most accurate and up-to-date travel health information taking into consideration any allergies, you should go for a personal consultation with a medical specialized person. As we are no medical professionals, this information is no substitute for obtaining accurate medical information. The only one qualified to provide you with this advice is your family physician or a specialist from a Travel Health clinic.


For more about health requirements: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinationPeru.aspx

Culture

History

  • Peru was home to some of the oldest civilizations known
  • The Inca Empire started in Southern Peru but son was to encompass the whole area from Quito to Santiago
  • The Spaniards set first foot on Peruvian land in 1529 to return in 1532 to conquer Peru and the Inca
  • In 1828 Peru obtained independence under leadership of San Martin
  • Peru’s modern history has been marked by economic turmoil and its political consequences
  • In the 80’s Peru suffered from leftwing guerrilla groups such as the Sendero Luminoso
  • Alberto Fujimori was able to put an end to this but with a very high price for Human Rights
  • In 2011 Ollanta Humala was elected president over Fujimori’s daughter Keiko

caralAs can be seen by the sheer quantity of archeological sites in Peru it is obvious that this is a country with a rich history. It is proven that Peru was home to one of the oldest societies known to the world. The Norte Chico civilization that lived on the north coast of nowadays Peru, takes us back to over 2000 B.C. Famous sites on the north coast such as Caral, the oldest city in the Americas, and Chan Chan, the biggest adobe city in the world, provide us with an idea of the ingenuity these societies were constructed with. Nevertheless, as history teaches us these societies or their descendants did surrender to another Peruvian ancient society; the Inca.


pachacutecBy far the most famous civilization in Peru and maybe the Americas the Inca at one point managed to conquer the biggest territory in the history of the Americas. Reaching from nowadays Colombia all the way south to Santiago de Chile more or less, this was a great empire ruled with great efficiency. The first Inca, Manco Capac, according popular legend was born on Isla del Sol, an island on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca. Here the Inca created their interest for masonry and construction, with as foundations the building capacities of the Tihuanaku, another population that lived around Lake Titicaca. From Lake Titicaca they moved north until they reached Cusco and declared Cusco to be the capital of the Inca Empire.


Inca Pachaqutec, probably the biggest of all the Inca kings due to his impressive legacy of sites built under his reign (Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, Sacsayhuaman), was also responsible for changing the Inca Empire from a small regional power to a continent wide power covering several thousands of kilometers. He conquered territory from Cusco to Quito, Ecuador, to Santiago, Chile and as far as Potosi, Bolivia. All the regions and civilizations he conquered were obliged to take over the Inca Sun Religion and comply with obliged labor. Some resisted but most did not last long against the Inca. One civilization known to have resisted for quite some time is the Chachapoyas in North Peru. Their fortress at Kuelap does explain partially why.


After Pachaqutec the rule went to Huayna Capac during whose rule the Spanish led by Francisco Pizarro first set foot on land in Inca territory. When Francisco Pizarro came back to Peru with the permission from the king of Spain to conquer Peru, Huayna Capac sons, Huáscar and Atahualpa struggled in a civil war. The empire got divided among two brothers each having their own capital. The capital of the south was Cusco and the Capital of the north was Quito, Ecuador. The king of the north conquered the south during a battle in the north of Peru and was on his way to Cusco to reunite the empire.


pachacutecMore or less at the same time the Spaniards under the leadership of Francisco Pizarro arrived in North Peru and had their first encounters with the Inca. It was here in north Peru that the Spaniards had their first battle with the Inca, killing an overwhelming number of Inca due to the superior armor and technology they possessed. They captured the Northern King and asked a ransom from the south only to kill the northern king and capture the southern king and hence control the Inca. The Inca Empire knew several other kings when the Spanish ruled Peru but these lived and ruled more and more in guerilla style and retreated more and more into the jungle until all Inca resistance was broken by the conquistadores. The Spanish were struck by the quantity of gold they found in this “new” world and soon established Lima as the capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru, comprising almost half of the South American continent.


pachacutecUnder influence of Simon Bolivar and in particular San Martin, Peru gained its independence from the Spanish Crown in 1828. From here Peru’s history has been characterized by military coups, dictatorships and wars with neighboring countries. Together with these there were many crashes of the local economy and this led to a fast overturn of governments.


The modern history of Peru is made up for a large part out of the same general economic malaise and corruption as in the former years, only now to express itself in the creation of guerilla groups such as Sendero Luminoso and MRTA (Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Amaru). Especially the Sendero Luminoso had quite some impact on Peruvian society in the eighties and nineties. It was when the country was under pressure of these groups that Alberto Fujimori became president of Peru in 1990.


pachacutecPeru at this moment was suffering from impossible inflations making Fujimori change monetary unit in Peru from the Inti to the Nuevo Sol. With these successes in economic turnover of the country, Fujimori got his liberty to work on the guerilla groups in the country. This was done with the help of paramilitary groups and several violations of Human Rights. Nevertheless apart from the large price the country had to pay he managed to get rid of the guerilla groups with the capture of Abimael Guzman and the knock down of the MRTA during the kidnapping of the Japanese Embassy in the mid-nineties.


In 2000 Alberto Fujimori (after cancelling the congress) was more or less ruling the country through a dictatorship and the first signs of corruption in his government, especially by him and the head of the Government Intelligence Vladimir Montesinos. Montesinos fled to the Galapagos and Fujimori auto-exiled to Japan. Montesinos was captured a couple of months later and sentences to several years in jail mainly for corruption charges. Fujimori was taken into custody by Chile for open standing corruption charges and extradited to Peru where he was being charged with Human Rights violations and corruption charges. In 2009 he got convicted to 28 years in jail for Human Rights violations in at least two cases when paramilitary forces where used during his government.


pachacutecNevertheless Fujimori still has a lot of popularity in the whole country and this became clear when his daughter ran for President and made it to the second round in the 2011 presidential elections. The outgoing president was Alan Garcia, also a two times Peruvian president after his first disastrous presidency in the eighties. In the end it was Ollanta Humala, a left wing ex-military who won the elections over Keiko Fujimori, Alberto’s daughter.


Food

  • Lima is one of the culinary capitals of South America with a large variety of food, from haute cuisine to junk food.
  • Pollo a la Brasa (wood grilled chicken) can be found on almost any street and provides a decent and cheap meal.
  • Ceviche is Peru’s most popular dish and is made of fresh fish cooked in lime and served with onions, corn and sweet potato.
  • Chifa is a mixture of Chinese food with Peruvian influences and can be found all over Peru.
  • In general Lima has the best and most varied choice of food with other tourist destinations such as Cusco and Arequipa not far behind.
  • Pollo a la brasa and Ceviche have their own national day.

As Peru is a country with a large variety of ingredients and cooking cultures spread over the three geographical regions of the country, it is obvious that Peru holds a lot of culinary potential. It is this potential that started to bloom and made Peru into one of the most upcoming culinary revelations in the last couple of years. Every region in Peru has got their special ingredients and preferences such as fish at the coast, potatoes in the highlands and different fruits and vegetables in the jungle, but unlike many other countries Peru has found a great fusion between the different ingredients and cooking styles of these different regions. Besides the wide variety of national cooking pride, Peru also took a leading role in adopting foods from other countries and give it their own twist. Chifa may be the best example. Chifa is based on the Chinese & Cantonese kitchen but with very recognizable Peruvian ingredients and touches. In more recent years Peru has been incorporating Italian pizza and Japanese sushi. Restaurant wise, Peru has great restaurants to offer, especially in Lima. Other cities having good restaurants would be the main tourists’ cities such as Cusco and Arequipa. For seafood besides Lima, the north coast is especially impressive. Besides the normal (tourist restaurants) Peru is full with “Menu Places”. These are small eateries mainly open during the day where you can get a set menu for a set (cheap) price. You will get a soup, a main course a desert and juice for one price. In case you would like to eat in a menu restaurant, it is advisable to check out the place first as not all of these restaurants take it strict with hygiene. In tourist restaurants they often have menus as well but do not offer them, therefore it may always be handy to inquire if a fixed menu is available (Hay Menu del Dia - Is there a menu of the day). Finally Peru is a country filled with great markets. These daily markets are filled with all products you can imagine and often also have some kind of “food courts” where menus are sold and often you can find the best regional plates around. Do however look out with hygiene when eating in these places.


Following are some of the Peruvian national dishes one should give a shot when in Peru;


pachacutecCeviche (Cebiche): The national plate form Peru. Fresh fish cooked in lime juice and served with fresh onions, aji (spicy pepper), corn and sweet potatoes. This dish is prepared all over the country mostly with the regional fish available. At the coast with sea fish, in the highlands often with trout and in the jungle with river fish. The real Ceviche however is made with fresh sea fish so on a seaside terrace in the sun in Lima, Trujillo, Chiclayo and Mancora would the best places to savor a true Peruvian Ceviche.

pachacutecLomo Saltado: This is also a very popular plate. It is a kind of Peruvian stir fry based on stripes of beef with onions and tomatoes stir fried with soya sauce and topped off with some French fries. It is served with rice and often comes in large portions. A good meal for after a hike!

 

pachacutecAji de Galina:This plate is based on shredded chicken in a mild curry sauce. It is served with potatoes, rice, a hardboiled egg and olives. This plate is often standard on the menu of smaller local restaurants.

 

Causa: A very popular plate especially in Lima, often eaten as a starter, this plate is based on two layers of cold mashed potato with in between a filling that can be made of chicken, tuna, or vegetables.

pachacutecAnticuchos: When walking on the street in Cusco you will often see ladies frying kebabs with meat on a barbeque on the side of the street. These kebabs can be made of chicken, beef or sausages but the real anticuchos are made of cow heart. The sticks are served with a sauce called chimichurri, made of spices and oil. A very nice appetizer for when you feel like something small to eat. Nevertheless it is recommend being careful to eat on the street, but no worries anticuchos are often served in restaurants as well.

 

pachacutecPollo a la Brasa: This is the main food that can be found in pollerias (chicken restaurants) is is a whole chicken spiced with herbs and grilled over a wood fire. The chicken than is cut up and served with French fries in half, quarters or eights. Most of the time the salad bar is free and sometimes may even be accompanied by a soup.

 

pachacutecChicharrones: Chicharrones is either meat or seafood that has been (breaded at times) deep fried. On the coast chicharonnes are mainly made of fish, octopus or other seafood. Meanwhile in the highlands you will find that chicharonnes de chancho (pork) are the norm. In the jungle chicharrones can be made of all three.

 

pachacutecGuinneapig (Cuy): This is typical plate from the Andes. They are served entirely (head, feet, etc…) and can be cooked, fried or baked. The meat is actually quite nice to taste but the work to get the meat of the bones makes many enthusiasts look into something else.

 

pachacutecWith regards to national drinks, Peru also has its fair share of choices. The most famous is perhaps Pisco, the Peruvian Brandy made out of grapes. The main production region is south Lima in (what’s in a name) Pisco and Ica. It is drank pure or can be mixed but most people will drink it in the form of a Pisco Sour, Peru’s national cocktail made of Pisco, egg white, ice and lime all mixed in a blender. A great cocktail for warm summer days!

 

pachacutecWhen it comes to soft drinks there is only one king in Peru; Inca Cola! Inca Cola is a very sweet, containing plenty of caffeine and is a fluorescent yellow drink that you can by almost anywhere in Peru. The taste is a bit like those big Bubbalicious chewing gums but then liquid! You will either hate it or love it, a tip - ask for a cold Inca Cola.

 

pachacutecOn altitude locals always will recommend you one drink to fight altitude sickness; Mate de Coca (Coca Tea). This mildly bitter tea is made from the leaves form the Coca plant. In the highlands you will mostly get actual leaves served in your hot water. Coca is a sacred plant in the Andean culture and blessed with many beneficial powers. Tip; drink your Mate de Coca with a bit of sugar.


So, as you can read besides the impressive destinations that wait for you in Peru there is also a whole world of new food and drinks to be discovered.

Religion

  • Peru is 95% Catholic
  • Catholisism is in many places, especially in the highlands combined with ancient Andean Religions
  • In the Jungle Catholisim is often combined with Religious dedicated to the nature and plants
  • Peru has hundreds of yearly processions that come from both Christian as ancient beliefs

 Peru used to be a country where entire religion was dedicated to the worshiping of the Sun and the Moon. The Inca are probably the best known but most ancient cultures in Peru had a religious connection with the sun and the moon. This is known from the Norte Chico Culture, the Moche Culture, the Nazca Culture etc… Nevertheless with the arrival of the Spanish, the Inca and other population in Peru (as in the rest of South America) were obliged to take on Christianity as the only religion. One of the most famous stories is that of Pizarro arriving in Cajamarca and obliged Athualpa, the Inca king of the moment to kiss the Bible. Athualpa refused unleashing the fury of the Spaniards who as a consequent took this as an insult and attacked the Inca with all force. After this the Conquistadores systematically started to delete all symbols and important figures for the Inca and their Sun God Cult.

pachacutecIn Cusco, one of the first buildings the Conquistadores destroyed was Qoricancha, or the Temple of the Sun. In order to make their intentions even clearer, they built a monastery on top of the ruins of Qoricancha. As they did this structurally all over Peru and the “New World” it is safe to say that the main religion in South America is Christianity. There are several different churches established among them the Adventist and Pentecostal churches. Nevertheless in Peru you will notice that the “ancient” religions have never been forgotten and that much of the population, especially in the highlands has combined both religions. They believe in Christ and the Christian God, but also still worship the Sun, the Moon and the Apus. The Apus are Sacred Mountains for the Inca, in many cases snowcapped mountains such as the Salkantay, Ausangate and Mount Veronica.

pachacutecOne of the best examples of this combination of religions is the yearly procession for the Señor de Qolloriti. This is a religious pilgrimage to the foot of the 6500 meters high Ausangate Mountain which takes place every year in June. As Inca custom requires that chosen persons climbed the mountain and brought back a large piece of ice to bless the crops and to please the Sun god Inti. Nowadays there is a church at the end of the pilgrimage and both religions and traditions have been combined into one. 


Coca & Culture

  • The Coca Leave is sacred in Peru, especially in the Andean region
  • The Coca plant is also used for the production of cocaine
  • Coca leaves are considered to have several beneficial characteristics
  • Chewing coca leaves helps suppress hunger and fatigue
  • Mate de Coca is the remedy for altitude sickness according locals

pachacutecThe coca leave or coca is a native plant that has a lot of beneficial and cultural value but has come under a lot of pressure in Peru. Most of the world knows the coca plant as the plant where they make cocaine from. Coca is grown in many countries such as Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. The most part of the production of coca goes indeed to the cartels to turn them with the use of several chemicals into cocaine. For this reason in Colombia the cultivation of coca has been completely prohibited.

In Peru and Bolivia on the other hand it is not that easy. As the coca leave is an important symbol and is used for both religious as for medical purposes, in Peru and Bolivia it is still legal to grow coca. True a large part of the coca grown in these countries also comes in the hands of the drug cartels but another part is actually been used in daily life. The most beneficial effect of coca is the supposed help it provides with altitude sickness. In the Peruvian highlands you will often get served mate de coca or coca tea. The tea is served with the coca leaves straight into the tea and has a bit of a bitter taste. No worries you will not get high from the coca tea. Local farmers use the coca leave during work. They chew coca leaves all day as the working substance in the leave will makes them feel less fatigue, hunger and the altitude.

Among the highland population the coca leave is also used in reading the future and many other rituals such as making payments to Mother Earth. You will probably get offered some mate de coca or coca leaves while in Peru. Therefore it is important to keep an open mind and feel free to ask locals about the coca culture in Peru. 

Lesser Known Peru


Peru is mainly known for Machu Picchu but contains hundreds of sites more, that would by themselves already attract people to come to Peru, Kuelap, Chan Chan, Caral, Tumbres de Sipan, etc… The north also holds some of the best hiking on the continent being the proud owner of the Cordillera Blanca.


pachacutecMost people coming to Peru focus their trip only on the south of Peru. As the south holds most famous tourist attractions such as Machu Picchu, Cusco, Lake Titicaca and Arequipa, it is obvious that in the south there is already more than enough to fill a 2 week holiday. Nevertheless the north of Peru is more than worth a visit and would provide you with another two weeks of amazing destinations. Trujillo with its vast ruins of Chan Chan and the Temple of the Sun and the Moon, Huanchaco with its ancient old fishing techniques, Chiclayo with its rich history of the Señor de Sipan, Chachapoyas in the northern cloud forest with its amazing site of Kuelap, one of the few civilizations that openly stood up to the Inca. Of course the north is not only culture, no it is also full of great outdoor activities such as hiking in the Cordillera Blanca, wild water rafting in the Cordillera Negra, biking in Oxapampa and (kite) surfing in Mancora. If you may be interested in getting to know the secrets of the north, do not hesitate and contact Peru Travels Online now!!!


Museums


Having such a large history of different civilizations and cultures, clearly Peru has an impressive collection of museums displaying many of the artifacts found over the years.


The country’s biggest cities are where you will find the most extensive Peru museums, and visiting those helps one gain insight and background knowledge into the history of Peru. The Peru museums do not only give you a good impression of the different and interesting cultures and civilizations that have lived in this territory, but can also take you through histories of local art, most importantly the Cusco School standing out when it comes to paintings. Next we will try to give you an overview of the different museums in Peru. As most international flights arrive in the capital city of Lima, it is definitely worth spending a day or two in Lima.

huacosAmong the best of the Lima museums is the Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera. This museum holds the largest, private pre-Columbian art collection in the world. The art revolves primarily around the Moche civilization, and their ceramics of high quality. The Sala Erótica (Erotic Room), is among the most visited exhibits in all of Peru, and it is likely to turn you a bit red in the face. If you are more interested in the Inca culture, and a more comprehensive look at past Peruvian art and history, your best choice would be the Museo de la Nación. Furthermore the Museo de Oro has an impressive collection of gold & silver artifacts from ancient cultures. The famous Tumi you will find in this Peru Museum.

huacosAnother lesser known museum worth a visit is the private Enrico Poli Museum. This smaller museum holds a nice collection of lesser known objects out of the time of the Conquistadores and has an interesting collection of paintings, many from the Cusco School. As this may have triggered your interest to visit Cusco, keep in mind that Cusco besides boasting Inca walls and nearby ruins, the city itself is a sort of living museum. If you skipped the Larco Herrera museum in Lima, or would like to have more information, you can find exhibits at the Museo de Arte Precolombino, which displays pieces taken entirely from the Lima Museum. The art here focuses on all notable periods of Peru history. Another large city with a great historic past is Arequipa, with its beautiful city centre. It is in Arequipa that you will find one of the most famous Inca artifacts.The Museo Santuarios Andinos exhibits the mummified Ice Maiden of Ampato as its principal exhibit. Nicknamed Juanita, the Inca maiden was sacrificed by Inca priests on the top of a snowcapped mountain near Arequipa, the icy conditions conserving her in almost perfect condition. Furthermore in Arequipa, you will find one of the best religious museums in Peru.

The Monasterio de Santa Catalina is set in a large convent that was built in the 16th century. Not exhibiting artworks on a permanent basis, the Monastery is definitely a worthwhile visit as a living museum in Peru which is still inhabited by nuns. In northern Peru, near the city of Chiclayo, the Museo Tumbas Reales de Sipan is considered to be one of the best museums in Peru. Located in the city of Lambayeque, this recently modernized museum is home to one of the country’s top exhibits. Part museum, part mausoleum, the Sipan museum displays hundreds of the most important findings of the last years in Peru. This list is far from the complete list but does contain the most famous and recognized museums in Peru. These are of course to complement a trip to the famous sites that these museum represent such as The temple of the Sun and The Moon, Chan Chan, Choquequirao, Ollantaytambo, Kuelap and of course Machu Picchu.

Peru People


Inca Kings

pachacutecManco Capac; this was the first Inca King who according popular legend was the son of the sun and born out of the depths of Lake Titicaca and travelled through the highlands until he found a place where his golden staff would sink in the ground. Cusco was the place where this happened and hence founded the Inca Capital here. In these days the Inca were still a small and very local civilization.

 

pachacutecPachacuti Inca Yupanqui (also called Pachacutec); or “World Shaker “is the Inca that has probably left behind the biggest legacy and founded the basis for the huge empire the Inca ruled when the Spanish arrived. Under Pachacutec rule he created the Tahuantinsuyu, a federalist system which consisted of a central government with the Inca at its head and four provincial governments with strong leaders: Chinchasuyu (NW), Antisuyu (NE), Kuntisuyu (SW), and Qullasuyu (SE). Pachacutec is also thought to have built Machu Picchu, Choquequirao and Qoricancha. The site of Ollantaytambo was probably also started under his rule but never finished.

 

pachacutecHuayna Capac; This Inca King was responsible for one of the larger expansions of the territory. He conquered parts of Ecuador and Bolivia and even some of the north of Chile. All these being added to the massive Tahuantinsuyu, the biggest empire the America have ever seen. It was under the rule of Huayna Capac that the Spanish first set foot on Inca Land, but this went hardly noticed.

 

 

pachacutecHuayna Capac conquered such a large territory that it started to have problems being governed, and after his dead his two sons Huascar and Atahualpa divided, after a civil war the empire into two parts. The north with its capital Quito belonged to Atahualpa and the south with capital Cusco to Huascar. During this period the two brothers fought a fierce battle around Cajamarca which was won by Atahualpa. Atahualpa was stationed in Cajamarca with an army of about 80.000 Inca soldiers after having defeated his brother when Pizarro arrived to Cajamarca. The Spanish tried obliging the Inca to turn to Christianity but of course these refused. This angered the Spanish so much that they completely slaughtered all 80.000 Inca soldiers with their superior weaponry and strategy (they had canons, horses and steel armors) and captured Atahualpa. Atahualpa in exchange offered the Spanish to fill the room he was captured in twice with silver and once with gold, which the Spanish of course gladly accepted. They never released Atahualpa and even killed Huascar. In the end the Spanish also killed Atahualpa and put in a puppet Inca King which they had under control.

 

pachacutecThis “last Inca King” was called Manco Inca and initially tried to find a way to cooperate with the Spanish. At one point his was tired of being treated as a puppet and retook Cusco as the Inca Capital. The Spanish retook Cusco and Manco Inca had to fled to Vilcabamba where he constructed the last refuge of the Inca known as Vitcos or Espiritu Pampa. From here the Inca remained fighting the Spanish in guerilla style until his son Tupac Amaru I was captured and killed on the Plaza de Armas in Cusco, finishing with the last of the Inca Empire and resistance. After the fall of Tahuantinsuyu, the new Spanish rulers brutally repressed the people and their traditions. Many aspects of Inca culture were systematically destroyed, including their sophisticated farming system. The Spanish used the Inca mita (mandatory public service) system to literally work the people to death. One member of each family was forced to work in the gold and silver mines, the foremost of which was the titanic silver mine at Potosí. When one family member died, which would usually happen within a year or two, the family would be required to send a replacement. The major languages of the empire, Quechua and Aymara, were employed by the Catholic Church to evangelize in the Andean region. In some cases, these languages were taught to peoples who had originally spoken other indigenous languages. Today, Quechua and Aymara remain the most widespread Amerindian languages.


Conquest & Independence


independenceFrancisco Pizarro; Born in Trujillo, Spain came from a wealthy family with close ties to the Spanish royalty. From 1502 he started embarking expeditions to the “New World”. After several expeditions to Panama and Colombia, in 1529 Pizarro first arrived to Peru in the region that is now Tumbes. After being welcomed with great hospitality by the locals even receiving gifts such as emeralds and gold he returned to Spain to get permission for a large expedition focused on Peru. In 1532 he set sail for Peru for the second time and this time to confront the Inca from whom he had seen their wealth on his first arrival. After having defeated a large part of the Inca army at Cajamarca, he marched towards Cusco to overthrow Cusco as well. After several battles and confrontations in the region the Inca were defeated and retreated in the jungle. Cusco being located in the interior of the country did not serve as capital so Pizarro founded Lima, the city of Kings and the capital of the Viceroyalty of Spain in South America. Pizarro is still buried in the Cathedral of Lima.


independenceTupac Amaru II; Was a direct descendant of the last Inca King Tupac Amaru I and was relatively accepted by the Spanish and given some special benefits as leader of the Inca. Nevertheless the horrible treatment of the Spanish towards the native population made Tupac Amaru II stand up against the Spanish and begin one of the many revolts against the Spanish dictatorship. He gathered an army of Inca natives and started a campaign against the Spanish recapturing cities in the Cusco region. After having killed hundreds of Spaniards and people loyal to the Spaniards he marched for Cusco to retake the city. The city was however heavily fortified and Tupac Amaru did not succeed and was captured himself. He and all his loyal followers were tortured and executed by the Spanish on the same place as his great- great grandfather Tupac Amaru I, on the Plaza de Armas in Cusco. After this the Spaniards took it even more to heart to eliminate all Inca culture and Inca clothing, gatherings and sacrifices to the sun were forbidden, punishable by death. Nevertheless Tupac Amaru II has been a symbol for Native resistance in Peru and South America having two independent Guerilla groups in Peru and Uruguay called after him; El Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Amaru (MRTA) in Peru and the Tupamaros in Uruguay.


independenceSimon Bolivar; The Great Liberator of South America. Born in Venezuela in 1783 from Spanish fathers, this person is one of the key figures when it comes to the liberation of South America from Spain. Coming from a wealthy family he enjoyed a military education in several countries. He got influenced with the French and American Revolution and decided that it was time for a South American Revolution. Following the triumph over the Spanish Monarchy, Bolívar participated in the foundation of the first union of independent nations in Hispanic-America, a republic, which was named Gran Colombia, and of which he was president from 1819 to 1830. Bolívar remains regarded in Hispanic-America as a hero, visionary, revolutionary, and liberator. During his lifetime, he led Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Panama, and Bolivia to independence, and helped lay the foundations for democratic ideology in much of Latin America.


independenceJose de San Martin; as an Argentine general and the prime leader of the southern part of South America\'s successful struggle for independence from Spain. In 1808, after joining Spanish forces in the Peninsular War against the French, and after participating in several battles such as the Battle of Bailén, San Martín started making contact with South American supporters of independence from Spain. In 1812, he set sail for Buenos Aires from England, and offered his services to the United Provinces of South America (present-day Argentina). After the Battle of San Lorenzo of 1813, and some time on command of the Army of the North during 1814, he started to put into action his plan to defeat the Spanish forces that menaced the United Provinces from Upper Perú, making use of an alternative path to the Viceroyalty of Perú. He set sail to attack the Spanish stronghold of Lima, Perú, by sea. On 12 July 1821, after seizing partial control of Lima, San Martín was appointed Protector of Perú, and Peruvian independence was officially declared on 28 July 1821. San Martin is officially recognized as the first president of Peru. A year later, after a closed-door meeting with fellow libertador Simón Bolívar at Guayaquil, Ecuador, on 22 July 1822, Bolívar took over the task of fully liberating Peru. Together with Simón Bolívar, San Martín is regarded as one of the Liberators of Spanish South America.


Presidents

independenceAlberto Fujimori; Ex-president of Peru from 1990 – 2000. Won the presidency over Mario Vargas Llosa, the famous Peruvian writer and started his first presidency in the chaos left behind by his predecessor Alan Garcia (according many Peruvians the worst presidency in the Peru modern history). The country was suffering from hyperinflation and economical and political turmoil. Furthermore the influence of two left wing guerrilla groups, The Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and MRTA was increasing and made large parts of the country impossible to govern. With heavy economic reforms, such as changing the currency from the Inti to the Nuevo Sol, new restrictions and opening Peru for more foreign investment he created a more stable economic climate in the country and won his re-election. His second term was focused on getting rid of the left wing terrorism in the country which he did with more than a firm hand. This period Fujimori used paramilitary groups such as the Grupo Colina accused of acting directly under his command and being responsible for Human Rights violations on large scale. Fujimori in this period found himself under such popularity and the congress was so discredited due to large corruption scandals that he organized an Auto Coup d’état dissolving congress and ruling Peru under an autocratic system. During this time large sums of money disappeared and figures close to Fujimori such as Vladimir Montesinos started enriching themselves at rates few times seen before in Peru. All this Human Rights Violations and corruption scandals made Fujimori go into auto exile in Japan until he was extradited to Peru after a trip to Chile in 2005. He was found guilty for Human Rights violations and large corruption scandals, and sentenced to 25 years in jail. Nevertheless all the strong evidence and scandals, he still remains popular with a large part of Peruvians as could be seen during the 2011 presidential elections where his daughter Keiko Fujimori (for a time his First Lady after Fujimori divorced from his wife during his presidency and always holding up the innocence of her father) went to the second round of the elections only to loose from Ollanta Humala, the actual president of Peru.


independenceOllanta Humala; is the actual president of Peru. His career before becoming president was mainly in the Peruvian Army where he managed to get the rank of Colonel. He was directly involved in the Peru – Ecuador war and the post Sendero Luminoso conflict in the Tingo Maria region. He won the presidency over the daughter of Alberto Fujimori, Keiko and it was his second run for president after having lost the first to Alan Garcia in 2006. In October 2000 ran an unsuccessful revolt against then president Fujimori after Vladimir Montesinos fled the country. After Fujimori was substituted he was pardoned and sent to Paris and Seoul on foreign military positions. When returning to Peru he left the army and focused on his political career. Nevertheless reaching presidency, Humala has several accusations of Human Rights violations during his time in the military and is thought to be involved in the failed 2005 coup d’etat his brother has been jailed for called Andahuaylas. It was here that his brother (according many under leadership of Ollanta who was in Seoul at this time) took a police office and demanded the resignation of Alejandro Toledo. Four police officers died in this attack but Ollanta was liberated from the accusation of being the intellectual author of this attack. His brother was sentenced to 25 years in jail.

Other

independenceHiram Bingham; The official discoverer of Machu Picchu. Hiram Bingham was a professor from the America Yale College and led during his time in South America many expeditions into the Inca Heartland. In 1911 Hiram Bingham graced the boundaries of Machu Picchu in search for the coveted Lost City of the Inca\'s, where Hiram Bingham believed was the final place where the Incas retreated from the Spanish. In Vilcabamba a site called Espiritu Pampa is the most certain last refuge of the Incas unlike Hiram\'s thoughts in regards to Machu Picchu. It is also quite ironic that Hiram Bingham actually discovered this site before he discovered Machu Picchu. With the help of a local historicist and a local farmer from Santa Teresa in 1911, Hiram Bingham led an expedition in which resulted the discovery of Machu Picchu. After freeing the site of overgrown jungle and with a little excavation, Hiram Bingham became convinced that he had finally discovered the \"Lost City of the Inca\'s\" built against the side of the great mountain. After the discovery of Machu Picchu, many of the found artifacts were sent to Yale University in the US for investigations. These artifacts have actually been stolen from the Peruvians and after many law suites in 2010 the first 30 boxes of archeological artifacts was recovered by Peru. Nevertheless, Yale still holds many of the most important pieces in their “warehouse”.


independenceMario Vargas Llosa; Probably Peru’s most famous cultural figure, Mario Vargas Llosa is writer of several famous books such as La ciudad y los perros (The Time of the Hero, 1966), Conversación en la catedral (Conversation in the Cathedral, 1975), La guerra del fin del mundo (The War of the End of the World, 1984), Travesuras de la niña mala (The Bad Girl, 2007), García Márquez: historia de un deicidio (García Márquez: Story of a Deicide) and El pez en el agua. (A Fish in the Water). These make him one of the most influencial writers in South America and and influencial person in Peru. Ran for president in 1990 but lost against Alberto Fujimori. In 2010 received the Nobel Price for literature, the first Nobel Price ever won by a Peruvian.

Transport

Travel to Peru


Air

Before buying your flight, make sure your passport is still valid for 6 months after departure. Compare international flight prices from day to day, weekend flights may be cheaper at times. Make sure if your airport taxes have been included or not. Most tickets issued these days are E- tickets, meaning that you will just have to provide you passport at the check in desk to obtain your boarding pass. Lima airport is about 1 hour drive from Miraflores, where most hotels are located. The main airlines serving Peruvian destinations are; LAN Peru, TACA Peru, Star Peru and Peruvian Airlines – not all airlines cover all destinations.


Being such a large country obviously Peru has many airports and airfields and most tourist areas can be reached easily with domestic flights. For flights coming from abroad to Peru, there are several international airports in Peru such as Lima, Cusco and Arequipa but the chances that you will arrive from abroad into another airport than Lima airport are quite slim.


Lima airport is called Jorge Chavez Airport and is the only public airport in Lima and all domestic and international flights depart and arrive here. Lima is quite a large hub for flights to South America having several daily connections with other large airport such as Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Santiago and Bogota. Lima is also served by several direct flights from Europe and the USA. In the USA direct flights can be found with several airlines departing from Miami, New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta. For Europe there are direct flights available from Amsterdam, London, Paris and Madrid. Madrid is on average the cheapest departure airport in Europe for flights to Lima.

For flights in Peru there are several national and international airlines serving almost all destinations in the country. The international airlines are LAN and TACA and offer flights to the main tourist areas in Peru such as Cusco, Arequipa, Juliaca (Puno), Puerto Maldonado, Iquitos, Pucallpa, Trujillo, Chiclayo, Tumbes and Piura (Mancora). The national airlines for the moment are 2, namely; STAR Airlines and Peruvian Airlines. They offer mostly the same destinations and some additional destinations not served by the larger airlines. Some destinations in Peru, mainly Cusco do not count with the technology to receive evening or night flights. Therefore it is important to keep in mind that most incoming and outgoing flights out Cusco will on average not arrive/depart after 3PM. Nevertheless flights to Cusco start early in the morning and there are about 15 different flights to Cusco daily.

For airports such as Arequipa and Juliaca often flights are planned very early in the morning or in the late afternoon or early evening. In general domestic flights in Peru last for 1.25 hours (Cusco) to 2.5 hours (Iquitos) for the longest flights.


Overland

Peru has borders with; Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile The Pan-American Highway runs all along the Peruvian Coast in between the Ecuador and Chile borders. The entire border with Colombia and Brazil lies in the Amazon Rainforest. The border crossings with Bolivia by Lake Titicaca are one of the highest in the world When crossing borders, stay calm do not go off with people pressuring you into using their services and keep an eye on your luggage.

Being one of the most central and largest countries in South America, Peru has borders with most South American countries. Crossing into Peru from Ecuador, Bolivia and Chile can easily be done overland and except for some typical chaos and border formalities in general go quite smooth. Whenever you are crossing the border on your own, always keep a firm eye on your luggage and belongings, do not engage in conversations with somebody offering you services like taxis or easier border crossings. Just stand in line and go through the formalities. In case you have any doubts, ask a uniformed officer at the border crossing offices.

Do not get stressed and get hustled in transport you don’t feel comfortable with or into a hotel or taxi ride that was maybe never necessary. Coming from Ecuador you will probably cross the border at Huaquillas. This border crossing is known as being one of the least hospitable to travellers. This is a consequence of the Peru – Ecuador war in 1941. During the years there were several new military clashes between Ecuador and Peru over the same region with the last one being as recent as 1995. This makes that the border is a demilitarized zone with only the border city of Huaquillas in between. The Ecuador border check is about 6Km out of Huaquillas and the Peru immigration offices are somewhere in between the actual border and Tumbes almost 25Km from the border. There is plenty of public transport to the border and back. Taxis are also available but do look out with independent taxis.

From Bolivia overland into Peru you will cross via Desaguardero or Copacabana. Both border formalities are quite straight forward but especially in Desaguardero have a close eye on your luggage. The border between Chile and Peru is easy and straightforward with good transport possibilities for ongoing travel on both sides of the border. Crossing into Colombia and Brazil may proof to be a bit more challenging. As almost the entire border with these two countries lies in the Amazon Rainforest, there is very little to no road access and most traffic can be found on the rivers or in the air. Even though Colombia has one of the largest borders with Peru, it can only be accessed through Leticia, the only bigger Colombian city on the Amazon River about 2 days upstream from Iquitos. Brazil can be reached overland via the Amazon River to Manaus and through Puerto Maldonado in the south of Peru to Rio Branco in Brazil. 

Trains to Machu Picchu


For the moment there are two train companies providing trains to Machu Picchu; PeruRail and IncaRail Both companies offer a standard and superior train PeruRail also offer the Luxurious Hiram Bingham Train to Machu Picchu Cusco’s San Pedro Station is no longer used All trains leave from either Poroy or Ollantaytambo Station Ollantaytambo Station is a good option as it allows you to combine the Sacred Valley tour with the train to Machu Picchu Poroy Station is the station closest to Cusco at about 40 minutes’ drive form the center

As the train is the only “public” transport, most people visiting Machu Picchu tend to go by train. Since 2009 there are two companies doing the route as the state imposed monopoly for PeruRail ended. So besides the first “old time” company PeruRail, there is now also a second company called Inca Rail (what’s in a name) running trains to Aguas Calientes. The main difference between the two companies is the fact that PeruRail has trains leaving from both Poroy as Ollantaytambo Station meanwhile IncaRail only has departures from Ollantaytambo Station.

As the train service from Cusco’s San Pedro Station got suspended in 2010, Poroy Station is now the station located closest to Cusco at about 30 minutes’ drive from the city center. Ollantaytambo Station (also called Ollanta) is the second station and a popular station due to the fact that it is the last village in the Sacred Valley and hence a good way to combine a visit to the Sacred Valley with the visit to Machu Picchu. The ride to Aguas Calientes is a very beautiful one and it is definitely recommended to have done the ride at least one way during day time.

Here is an overview of the two companies and their services;

 PeruRail

 trainExpedition Train; This is the most economical option for the trains to Machu Picchu and was designed to replace the “Backpacker” train. The Expedition train is a modern train with 4 seats socially located in front of each other. The carriages have large panoramic windows to fully appreciate the countryside as it rolls on by. All wagons have air-conditioning, and heating. Snacks and hot and cold drinks are available during the entire trip. Luggage can be stored in the racks placed above the seats. This train has departures from Poroy as well as from Ollantaytambo station.

train Vistadome Train; The very comfortable middle class train from PeruRail. The wagons have large panoramic windows and even windows in the roof of the train providing its passengers with great panoramic views. All wagons have plush leather seating with plenty of leg room, air-conditioning and heating. Snacks and hot and cold drinks are available during the entire trip. This service departs daily from both Poroy and Ollantaytambo station.

 trainHiram Bingham Luxury Train; The very luxurious (and pricey) train to Machu Picchu and one of the most famous train rides in South America. The train is an Original Pullman train complete with all decorations and colored in a majestic blue and gold. The wagons are all with warm and cozy interiors that feature elegant upholstery. As passengers step on board they are encompassed in a world of polished wood, gleaming cutlery and glittering glass. The train holds up to 84 passengers and has four wagons, two dining wagons, an observation wagon with bar and a kitchen wagon. Besides the train drive the Hiram Bingham train ticket also includes; brunch (Cusco – Machu Picchu) and dinner (Machu Picchu - Cusco) on board, exclusive bus return to the citadel of Machu Picchu, entrance to Machu Picchu, guided tour in the citadel and afternoon tea at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge.

IncaRail

eExecutive Train; The Executive train is the most economical option with IncaRail. The wagons hold only 50 passengers and are equipped with panoramic windows and comfortable seats with a table in the middle. During the whole ride there will be healthy snacks and hot and cold drinks available. The Executive train only leaves from Ollantaytambo station.

 eFirst Class Train; The luxury train from IncaRail; The train holds only 30 oversized plush seats and has even more legroom than the Executive train. During the trip healthy snacks and hot and cold drinks are available and there is a good selection of books about Peruvian history available. The First Class Train only leaves from Ollantaytambo station. 

For more information about trains to Machu Picchu, please see www.howtotraveltomachupicchu.com 

General


Taxis are quite cheap in Peru Be sure to take taxis displaying the company number Negotiate the fare before getting in the taxi Take well known bus companies for long distance travel in Peru


Peruvian public transport can as is the case for many South American countries be quite frightening initially to people coming from the states or Europe.  It seems that Latinos need less space to push a car through a car jam and especially are less laid back when it comes to driving. Nevertheless as you will not have your car here, chances are quite small you actually will have to get involved in this chaos. Most of the time you will have a driver, be it a bus, combi, taxi or what have you not. These drivers range (as in any other country) from great to terrible but most will drive “proactive”.  In general there are several types of public transport to get around in Peru.


In the cities most common public transport are combis and busses. Combis are small minivans that have their fixed routes that are shouted out by the helpers in the back. Some of these combis are suicidal experiences and not recommend if you do not know the city and hence the stops. Busses are the same as combis except bigger and even cheaper. In return the combis do their routes faster than the busses. Besides all these options there are off course also Taxis. Taxis in Peru are everywhere and are very cheap in general but nevertheless a headache for many tourists. This is because Peru does not know the taxi meter system automatically telling you the fee at the end of the ride. No, in Peru one has to negotiate the price for the ride in advance. This would not be that complicated were it not that most tourists do not have an idea of the distance and even less of the price for a ride. Therefore when you want to go in a taxi, stop the taxi and have clear the maximum price you want to pay for the ride. Then tell the place you would like to go and drop the taxi driver’s initial offer with at least 25%. In general in Lima you can count about 5 soles (US$2) for a 10 minutes’ drive and this can be multiplied for longer rides. Whenever taking a taxi it is important to go with your gut feeling. In case you don’t feel comfortable with the driver or his first impression, do not board the taxi and take the next one. In general secure taxis are the one with a large sign on top with the number of the central. Unmarked taxis are better to avoid.


Inner-city public transport in Peru is relatively well organized and with the improving road quality all over the country more and more an option to get around. There are hundreds of bus companies all serving a large number of destinations and routes. The most common routes are over the Panamerican Highway and from here routes go inland over the Andes to the Amazon Jungle. Peru is starting to control more and more of the bus companies and implementing new regulations for long distance busses. Nevertheless the number of malfunctioning busses and even worse bad or even unlicensed drivers is still quite high. Therefore it is strongly recommend using well-known bus companies for overland travel. Many routes are over 15 hours long and only the better companies hold to the obliged resting times and two driver systems. The most known companies for long distance busses are; Tepsa, Cruz Del Sur, Oltursa and Cial. Most of these busses include meals and provide two types of classes standard and superior. 

Health

Altitude Sickness


Altitude sickness can be felt from an altitude of 2400 meters above sea level The main symptoms are shortness of breath, headaches, dizziness and insomnia Most people will only experience small discomforts due to altitude sickness It is important to drink plenty of water during the first couple of days Eat light food and do not drink alcohol or coffee If the symptoms remain strong after a couple of days you may want to visit a doctor or go to lower altitudes Oxygen is widely available in higher tourist cities in Peru

With a country as Peru where a large part of the country is located on altitudes well over 2000 meters, altitude sickness is a phenomenon often experienced by visitors. It is caused by the lower level of oxygen available on higher altitudes. This affects the blood circulation and hence has different symptoms. It is commonly seen with altitudes over 2400 meters but it is hard to predict who will be affected by altitude sickness, as there are no specific factors that correlate with a susceptibility to altitude sickness. However, most people can climb up to 2,400 meters without difficulty.

The most common symptoms are; dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath, insomnia and loss of appetite. The most important rules when arriving on altitude are to avoid physical exercise the first day(s), drink lots of water, get enough rest, eat light and avoid coffee, alcohol and cigarettes. Most people will feel the lack of oxygen for a while but when taking the former advice into account undergoes little hinder. In case you would have stronger headaches, insomnia and troubles breathing it is strongly recommend to see a doctor. In Cusco and other cities on altitude oxygen is widely available in pharmacies. Most hotels also provide oxygen for their guests if requested.

For the locals there is only one remedy and that is drinking Coca Tea made out of the leaves from the Coca pant. Its benefits have scientifically not been proven yet but who can deny the argument of thousands of years of Andean Culture. For more about Coca and Peru culture, visit all about coca. 

Vaccinations


For most South American countries there are several vaccinations that are strongly recommend and some that are obliged for some regions. The most common recommended ones are:

Validity of recommended vaccines (correct at time of publishing).

 Yellow Fever 10 years (Obliged for some countries such as Bolivia and Colombia) Typhoid 3 years Hepatitis A 10 – 20 years (depending on the vaccine)

Please keep in mind that for some countries (Bolivia & Colombia) and for some parts of South America (Peruvian and Brazilian Jungle) the Yellow Fever Vaccination is obliged and sometimes will be checked at the border. Therefore, when travelling to one of these countries or regions, it is advisable to always have your Yellow Fever Vaccination Card with you (in most cases a yellow booklet containing all your vaccinations).


In general, it’s important that you receive the most accurate and up-to-date travel health information for the region you will be visiting. Therefore in any case you should go for a personal consultation with a medical specialized person. As we are not medical professionals, this information is no substitute for obtaining accurate medical information. The only one qualified to provide you with this advice is your family physician or a specialist from a Travel Health clinic.

  • Polio 10 years
  • Tetanus 10 years
  • Diarrhea

Traveler’s diarrhea can be caused by change of climate, water and food. You can reduce the risk of contracting it by drinking only bottled or sterilized water (never tap water), avoiding ice in drinks, fruit juices to which water has been added, peeling all fruit, not eating salad or seafood and avoiding ice-cream not of a recognized brand. If suffering from diarrhea, it is advisable to eat little but to drink plenty of clean water with mineral replacement supplements, or fizzy drinks (no fruit juice or milk). Rehydration products, such as Dioralyte, should be taken to replenish lost salts. If it does not clear up or is accompanied by a fever, you should seek medical advice as you may need to take a course of antibiotics. Take with you some anti-diarrhea tablets such as Lomotil or Imodium, but we don’t recommend these be used as a preventative.


As we are not medical professionals, this information is no substitute for obtaining accurate medical information. The only one qualified to provide you with this advice is your family physician or a specialist from a Travel Health clinic.

Malaria


If you are travelling to coastal and jungle regions within the tropics, you may enter infected zones and should take an appropriate prophylactic. Which anti-malarials to take depends on a number of variables, such as current illnesses and medication, previous illnesses, pregnancy, previous travel, duration of intended stay, so seek advice from your doctor or Health Centre before traveling. The best widely available repellent (in the UK) is the Jungle Formula range. The effectiveness of repellents depends on the percentage of diethyl toluamide (deet), the active ingredient. If you prefer something natural, Mosiguard can be very effective. Many other brands have only 10-15% deet and are therefore not very effective. Some repellents have up to a 95% concentration - this is very powerful and should not be used for long periods. It also has a deterious effect on leather, plastics and Lycra.


As we are not medical professionals, this information is no substitute for obtaining accurate medical information. The only one qualified to provide you with this advice is your family physician or a specialist from a Travel Health clinic.

Other


Water-purifying tablets, e.g. Sterotabs, are a useful standby in the jungle - or when trekking off the beaten track but are ineffective against amoebae and give the water an unpleasant taste. Boiling water for 10 minutes will kill amoeba. Mineral water is available at most jungle lodges that we book from here. It is important to ensure that you have a high intake of liquids in tropical and semi-tropical regions. You should also be aware of the fact that the sun is much stronger than at temperate latitudes and sunstroke is a danger. Avoid midday sun on tropical beaches, especially in the summer. Take plenty of high factor sunscreen lotion and sun block.

Before Travelling

Money


Peru’s official currency is the Nuevo Sol, called Sol in general US Dollars are widely accepted but the exchange rate can differ from day to day Small daily payments are best made in Soles Make sure that when you receive Dollar bills they are in 100% good state, one rip or crinkle can make them useless Always use ATM’s inside of banks and never accept any help When changing money, take your time going over the bills and if you are not sure, do not accept them

Since 1991 after the hyperinflation Peru’s economy suffered, the old “Inti” was replaced by the “Nuevo Sol” as the official currency for Peru. One Nuevo Sol, more commonly named the Sol, is divided into 100 centavos (cents). The coins available for the Sol are; 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 Sol, 2 Sol and 5 Sol. From 2010 on the government decided not to use the cents lower than 5 cents, so all prices are being rounded down or up. In banknotes there are 5 different notes; 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200. The 200 Sol notes you will not encounter quite often. In 2011 the government started changed the coins and the banknotes for new ones with better security measures. Therefore at this moment there are 2 types of all coins and notes being used in Peru. In Peru as in many other South American countries there is a big problem with false money, both notes as well as coins. The coins are not that big a problem as they are being exchanged without too many problems. Banknotes on the other hand can prove to be somewhat more complicated. For tourists it is always difficult to know if the bill at hand is fake or real and people sometimes do take advantage of this. The old notes in Peru can be pretty worn down making it hard for people to distinguish the good from the bad. The best way to find out if your bill is false or not (even though some fakes are quite well made) is checking the following points;

 Make sure there is a watermark on the blank part of the note There should be a bar that changes color in the center of the note When the face side is up, on the right hand side the picture should have a bit of profile you can feel when going over the bill with your finger The amount stated on the face side of the bill also should change colors when putting it in a different angle
Whenever you are being accused of having false money, do not panic and do not hand over the note just like that. In many cases the note is not false but they will tell you it is false and that they have to confiscate the banknote. In case they insist to retain the note, make sure that they perforate or rip it in front of your eyes. Therefore whenever you receive quite some change back or change money, take your time going over every bill (all Peruvians do the same) and if you are not sure about a bill ask them to change it for another one.

Another tip when it comes to money is to make sure you always have enough change or small bills and coins on you. Taxis, small shops and street vendors will very unlikely have change for a 50 or let alone 100 Sol bill. Therefore whenever you have taken out money and they give you large bills, make sure you pay with them in a restaurant or other large commercial business. In case they ask you if you do not have smaller bills, it is better to refuse and get your large bills exchanged for smaller purchases.

US Dollars are also widely accepted in Peru as the external economy of the country is run in US Dollars. In general it is better to change the US Dollars to Soles before making any purchases. The exchange rate you will get in official exchange offices is mostly better than in shops or restaurants. When changing US Dollars (or Euros for that matter) to Soles, it is recommendable to do this in official exchange offices. Another possibility is to do it with official moneychangers on the street. These you can recognize by their green jackets with official number and license. The US Dollar to the Sol can fluctuate quite a bit over a couple of days so it is better not to change too big amounts at once as the exchange rate can easily go up.

Regarding US Dollar bills; in Peru people are very strict when it comes to US Dollar bills, the bills with the smallest rip, crinkle or which is just looking old will not be accepted anywhere. Therefore if you receive bills that are not in a 100% good state, do never accept them.

When taking out money, ALWAYS TAKE OUT MONEY OUT OF AN ATM INSIDE A BANK. Never use ATM’s that are outside of a bank as these are sometimes fake or compromised and other people may be watching over your shoulder. When in a bank make sure that there is enough space between you and the person behind you and ALWAYS COVER YOUR HAND WHEN ENTERING YOUR PIN NUMBER. Do not accept any assistance and if there is a problem find a person inside the bank that has clear identification. Finally, in tourists cities you will often find those yellow ATM\'s’in shops, these are safe to use, but they do charge an additional percentage for the transactions so it is better to walk to a bank and get your money from an ATM in the bank.

Most major credit cards are widely accepted in South America. They are accepted to make payments in the more upscale restaurants and hotels and some stores. ATM machines in South America recognize most international credit cards to redraw money. Please keep in mind that your bank charges a fee to withdraw money and make credit card payments.
 Debit cards can be sometimes a bit more problematic. Some debit cards are accepted but others are not. Furthermore this still varies a lot between countries.

 Therefore if you are planning to travel only with a debit card, we strongly advise you to pass by your bank to obtain the latest information regarding the working of your debit card in the destination you will be visiting. In any case this is advisable even for credit card holder to get clarity regarding withdrawal limits and other possible restrictions.

For more information about money in Peru, please see the following link; http://www.bcrp.gob.pe/banknotes-and-coins.html

For all other questions regarding credit cards and debit cards, please contact your bank.

Travel Insurance


Travel insurance is highly recommended for travels to South America Some Credit card offer some kind of insurance that you get the services you paid for but does in general not cover issues with flights, bad weather or illness Feel free to ask your Travel Representative more about travel insurances


Everyone knows that travel is full of variables and there is always a risk, however small, that something might go wrong before or during your trip. Something as minor as a flight delay can have a significant financial impact, as can illness, bad weather or luggage delays.
 In 2010 for instance, travelers to Latin America had their plans disrupted by various events including flooding near Machu Picchu, an earthquake in Chile, and a volcanic ash cloud grounding flights from Europe. Events like these, despite being unpredictable and rare, can ruin entire vacations if you are not properly insured. Therefore we at Peru Travels Online STRONGLY recommend taking out travel insurance before travelling.


We do not provide any travel insurance but nevertheless following is some information about the different types of travel insurance. The general travel insurance policies are;

Trip cancellation coverage; This travel insurance covers you in case you or any of the insured people will have to cancel their holiday on the last minute due to illness or other unforeseen reasons.

Medical coverage; this type of coverage normally covers you for unforeseen medical costs while abroad. Before you depart, contact your insurance provider and ask if you are covered when travelling abroad. Before travelling, find out what limitations your policy has and get specific. Ask about emergency treatment, hospitalization, the possibility of long-term care -- and determine what limits or exclusions apply. Regardless of where you are from, if treated for an emergency in another country, keep receipts for your medical expenses for reimbursement when you return.

Evacuation / Repatriation Coverage; another type of health-related insurance covers the cost of medical evacuation, which can reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you are injured or become severely ill abroad, this type of policy will pay for the high cost of taking an air ambulance back to your home country, or to a nearby country with better health care than the one you are in. These can be included in the other policies but confirm this before departure.

 For more information about travel insurance and in order to compare the different kinds of companies and policies offered, a good website to start with is squaremouth.com

Visas


The following information is only valid for Peru (valid on day of publication). For more and the most up to date information about Visas, please visit the website of your country’s government. 

If you are travelling from a Western European country, North or South America, Canada, Australia or New Zealand to Peru you will only require a valid passport with at least 6 months left on the passport from the day you enter Peru.

When you enter the country by airport or border crossing you will need to fill in the tourist card giving details of how you got there your purpose etc. You will normally get a 90 day stay in Peru but sometimes you will only get a 30 day pass for the country depending on the mood of the immigration official.

We recommend that it is better to ask them for 90 days upfront if that’s what you need rather than them stamping your passport and then asking them to redo it. So both your passport and your tourist card will get the stamp. Keep your tourist card safe at all times as if you lose it you will have to pay a fine and also have to go through a lot more hassle. For the latest information about visa requirements for your country, please check the website of your government or embassy. 

Why Peru?

Overview

  • Peru is one of the most diverse countries in the world having 6 out of 8 climates zones
  • When it comes to biodiversity, Peru is one of the top three countries in the world
  • Peru has a long coast line on the west, the Andes in the centre and the Amazon Rainforest in the east of the country
  • Peru was home to several ancient cultures among which the Caral, the oldest civilization known in the Americas
  • Peru has a great diversity of outdoor activities, hiking, rafting, cycling, etc...


sacredThis may seem a bit of a stupid question, but as many peoples main reason to visit Peru is to see Machu Picchu we do feel the need to expose some of the wonderful experiences one can expect when visiting this amazing and fascinating country outside of the world wonder. 

 

sacredBeing such a diverse country Peru provides you with dry deserts, snowcapped mountains and some of the deepest forests in the world all in one country. Even more; top this off with some of the most fascinating history of the Americas and some real mysteries and you truly have a once in a lifetime travel destination.

Discover Ancient Cultures


discoverMachu Picchu is indisputably the biggest tourist attraction in Peru and the most emblematic historic site in South America. The site of Machu Picchu was built by the Inca but these are not the only ancient civilizations that have roamed Peru and left behind impressive constructions. As Peru is one of the oldest inhabited areas in South America, you can find impressive sites from different civilizations all over Peru. In the north one can find the ruins of Chan Chan, the biggest adobe city in the world or visit the Temple of the Sun and the Moon, the biggest pyramids ever found in South America. Closer to Lima you can find Caral, the oldest city ever found in the Americas. South of Lima one can visit the Nazca Lines, which still present us with the mystery of how they have been designed. From here we enter Southern Peru or the original Inca Territory as this where the Inca rose and have left most of their impressive constructions such as Machu Picchu, Cusco, Ollantaytambo and Pisac.

Hiking


discoverqeWithout doubt, one of the main Peru tourist attractions would be the awesome hiking and trekking this country offers. Being home to the largest mountain range in the world, the Andes, Peru is a mecca for all who look for high altitude adrenaline and flabbergasting mountain views. The number of hikes is endlessly and the levels of difficulty vary a lot. You can hike ancient Inca Trails, climb “top of the world” mountains, and hike down to the Amazon basin or even do it all in one. The most famous hike is without doubt the Inca Trail taking you via the ancient route to Machu Picchu.


discoverqeqThis popular hike does sell out quickly, but no worries the options are plenty; the Salkantay or Lares treks take you through the true Peruvian highlands also ending in Machu Picchu, or what about Choquequirao or Espiritu Pampa, two lesser known important Inca sites, the latter being the last refuge of the Inca’s after the fall of Cusco. In the north of Peru we find the famous Cordillera Blanca and the Huascaran, the highest mountain of Peru. The nice thing about the treks in northern Peru is the fact that the starting points are relatively accessible from Lima. Finally in southern Peru we find another extreme, the two deepest canyons in the world, both twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the USA, and located at 3 hours from Arequipa, the Cotohuasi Canyon; the deepest in the world and only challenged in beauty by the nearby Colca Canyon, only 150 meters less profound and home to the famous condors. Together with the Misti Volcano, without doubt some of the best hiking possibilities in South West Peru. No matter what type of hiking you may be looking for, we are positive that Peru can offer it all.

Shopping


Peru is known Peru is known for its artisanal products, for its wool, gold & silver and its ceramics. All these products can be found easily, cheap and of great quality in Peru. You would not be the first visitor not being able to resist the colorful jumpers and hats being offered here. For shopping the bigger cities are maybe your best choice; Lima, Cusco, Arequipa, they all have large artisanal markets close to the city center were you can find almost anything you would imagine from a Peru artisanal market. Nevertheless, one of the main Peru attractions when it comes to shopping is without a doubt the market of Pisac. This market covering several blocks of this small town is famous for all the artisanal products you can find here in a typical Andean atmosphere.

Rainforest Beauty


Off course this Off course this list wouldn’t be complete without including the largest part of Peru, the Amazon Rainforest. This Peru tourist attraction is full of amazing discoveries and adventures. National parks such as Manu and Tambopata hold some of the most pristine and untouched Rainforest on the continent. Head down on some of the many waterways through this dense forest in a canoe, walk over a canopy walkway through the forest treetops, fish for piranhas, evening walks, these are all experiences part of a jungle stay. Of course there are other activities such as visiting indigenous villages and doing overnight camping trips. For the more luxury seekers, from Iquitos you can embark one of the luxury cruise boats doing multiple day cruises on the Amazon River.

Surfing


Agreed, Peru Agreed, Peru may not be the first destination that comes to mind when thinking about surfing, but nothing is lesser true. Surf culture always has been big in Peru and the last couple of years this is starting to pay off. With the organization of the Women’s World Championship in 2008 in Mancora, Peru recently won the world title for teams, it is safe to say that surfing is the next big thing in Peru. Having good waves all over the north coast from Lima to the border with Ecuador, especially Lima and Mancora are known for its surfing beaches. As Lima weather only allows one to enjoy the waves a couple of months a year, we would recommend going to the beaches at Mancora and combining a couple of days relaxing with surfing classes. For the advanced surfers, in Chicama you will find the longest wave in the world. Besides the surfing on waves there is another type of surf Peru has to offer;


Agreed, Peru Sand boarding. This is done on a surf board greased up with wax and then sliding you down some of the highest sand dunes in the world. A buggy will take you into the desert and drive you up these gigantic dunes for a slide full of adrenaline down to the foot of the dune. The best sand boarding you can find in the Huacachina Oasis or in Nazca.