The year-round temperate climate in Peru produces some of the ripest fruit you will ever taste. To fuel up for a full day of exploring, you can start by ordering some decadently rich espresso. If you are looking to try some delicious local dishes, you should consider the lomo saltado or some fresh ceviche.
For those of you with a sweet tooth, the churros are absolutely life changing. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can order the “cuy” (guinea pig), which is considered a delicacy here.
You will find plenty of excitement among the diverse landscapes of Peru. You can take surfing lessons or simply rent a board yourself and catch some waves on the dazzling Pacific. If you want to see wildlife (such as penguins or sea lions) I would recommend taking a boat tour of the beautiful coastal town of Paracas. If you’re in the mood for some dry heat, you should check out the dunes in Huacachina. In this oasis town, you can book a dune-buggying tour or try some dune-boarding. And of course, there’s Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail, but those require a post of their own.
The nightlife is quite lively in Peru. Take note: the locals do not go out until 1:00 or 2:00 A.M. Seriously. If you go to a discoteca at midnight you will be unfashionably early. Oh, and get ready to dance! Salsa dancing is very popular in the discotecas. Don’t worry if you don’t know how – a local will likely sweep you up, spin you around, and show you the steps. Just go with it, experience the culture and have a blast.
- You cannot flush toilet paper. Anywhere. Whether you are in a youth hostel or an expensive restaurant. There are bins next to toilets in which you throw away your used paper. You’ll get used to it.
- It is not recommended that you drink the water in Peru. However, this isn’t a huge inconvenience because you can purchase water almost anywhere for incredibly low prices. (Note: cold water from a refrigerator will cost you more than water from the shelves).
- Bartering is common here. In fact, it is expected that you negotiate prices at street shops.
- You may feel some altitude sickness if you are staying in areas at a high altitude. The locals drink “coca tea” to ease some of the symptoms. You can purchase tea bags, fresh leaves, coca candy, or powdered cocoa to help. I found that these alleviated my altitude sickness.
- Lastly, do yourself a favor and buy an alpaca sweater or blanket. They are incredibly soft and cozy. Plus, they will be very snuggly on your long flight home.
Interested in visiting Peru? Now through February 28 we are offering 15% off Central and South America tours departing before December 15, 2015.
(All photos were taken during my volunteer trip to Peru in January 2015)