Peru is a wonderfully diverse country with lots to offer. Great cuisine, friendly locals, exciting destinations and amazing cultural experiences. However, it can also provide many surprises to first-time visitors on so many levels. Here are some things you need to know before travelling to Peru.
There is more to see in Peru than Machu Picchu: While Machu Picchu is often the draw card, research what else Peru has to offer during your holiday. Perhaps you would like to visit the Amazon jungle, Rainbow Mountain or tour the city of Lima? Or maybe you would like to wander off the beaten track to visit Gocta Falls in Northern Peru, explore Santa Catalina monastery in Arequipa, or see the Uros islands on Lake Titicaca. Quite often travellers to Peru find out that the time they have to explore is not enough.
There is a wet and dry season: Peru does not have the traditional four seasons that many other countries experience. There is a wet season and a dry season so be aware before you book your trip. May to October is the dry season and December to March is the wettest time of the year.
Be ready for all kinds of weather: Destinations like Machu Picchu and Cusco are located at a high altitude, so once the sun goes down it can get cold. Be prepared to experience summer and winter in the course of one day. And during the wet season don’t forget to bring enough clothing to shelter from the rain.
Take good hiking shoes: Peru is a wonderful haven for all kinds of fantastic walks and adventures and having good quality hiking shoes or boots is important. Apart from Machu Picchu, the country offers many opportunities for exploration. From Colca Canyon to Salkantay, the views in each every direction are breath-taking. And travellers will also enjoy breath-taking views in many wonderful spots, from the Colca Canyon to Salkantay.
The locals eat guinea pig: Known as cuy, Peruvians enjoy dining on guinea pig quite frequently. It can be disconcerting particularly as they are often served whole and many people are put off by the little critter staring them in the face. It is a local delicacy so try it if you feel brave enough.
Adjusting to high altitude can be difficult: The altitude in Peru affects everyone differently regardless of your fitness level. You may find that you struggle to walk uphill and cannot breathe as soon as you start to do any exercise. Or you may suffer from headaches and feel dehydrated and overtired. Anything is possible. Bring some prescription medication if necessary and visit a clinic in Peru at the first sign of any trouble.
Don’t flush toilet paper: Like many other South American and Central American destinations, the sewer system is unable to cope with toilet paper. Generally, there are little bins next to the toilet to dispose of loo paper. This may take some time to get used to.
It’s okay to haggle: Shopping in Peru is a lot of fun, and you can take home plenty of beautiful souvenirs to remind you of your trip. However, the asking price will be over and above the regular price so be ready to haggle in the marketplace. Sellers will expect that from you. After a bit of practice, you may find you start to enjoy the shopping process.
Try the ceviche at least once: Ceviche is a delicious traditional dish and needs to be eaten at least once on your visit. Ceviche is made with fresh raw fish, onions, corn and potatoes. There may be slight variations but it is highly thought of and delicious.
Travelling in Peru is extremely rewarding and memorable. If you would like more information on travel or personalized tours to Peru, contact Peru InsideOut. They specialize in trips to Machu Picchu, the Inca Trail, the Peruvian Amazon and tailor made experiences covering both the north and south of Peru.