I traveled to Peru in the beginning of February this past year. This was my first time in South America, so I had no idea what to expect. I traveled to Cusco for 7 days and to Lima for 3 days, which I believe was the perfect amount of time. Here are some things I believe everyone should be aware of before traveling to Peru. (This post mainly applies to the cities, Cusco and Lima).
1. Make sure you go to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Lima, Machu Picchu, Inca trail to Machu Picchu, Plaza de Armas, Qorikancha (Temple of the Sun), Sacsayhuaman, and the Inca Museum.
2. Try to travel during dry season, which is from May to October, to avoid the rain. I went during rainy season and I was very lucky that it rained only twice during the week that I was there. It also did not rain at all while I was in Macchu Pichu. There were very little tourists (since I was there during rainy season) and it was a beautiful day.
3. Take a raincoat. Even though it gets hot, it can start raining like crazy when you least expect it.
4. Eat the ceviche. It is one Peru’s most famous dish and it is so delicious. Try to eat it earlier in the day because it will likely be more fresh.
5. Do not eat their sushi. Yes, they had sushi. Why? I have no idea. I went to a buffet that was serving different types of sushi and for some reason I decided to try it. I’m always hesitant to try foods that are not native to the country I am in and I should’ve acted upon my hesitation because the sushi was not great. Don’t do it.
6. Try the Inca Kola. It is one of Peru’s most famous drinks and it tastes like cream soda.
7. Make sure to have enough cash (sol) before you get there. A lot of places do not take cards and if they do, they will charge you an extra fee to use it.
8. Take running or hiking shoes. The Inca trails all require a lot of walking. And if you go to Machu Picchu then you definitely need some hiking shoes.
9. Book your tour of Macchu Pichu or any other tour you are planning to take before you go to Peru. A couple I met on the trip was ripped off by a travel agency in Cusco by making them spend a lot of money for a short and non-informative tour. If you do decide to buy a tour while you are there, make sure to do your research and ask your hotel staff for guidance.
10. Make sure to take mosquito repellant.
11. The altitude is very high in Cusco, so you might experience light headedness or dizziness when you first arrive. Most people do not have any severe symptoms. I didn’t have any symptoms at all, yet my mom became very sick the last few days we were there, so it all depends. If you start feeling sick, take some Diamox (they sell it at the local pharmacies) and drink a lot of water and coco tea.
12. Make sure to constantly apply sunscreen and wear a hat. The UV rays are very strong in Peru. I have been sunburnt once in my life and I ended up coming back from Macchu Pichu with a red nose and red shoulders.
13. Peru is a relatively safe country, but that doesn’t mean you can be less careful with your possessions. Make sure you keep your purse or bag in front of you at all times and do NOT wear expensive jewelry.
14. Haggle excessively. When you go shopping, the people working at the stores will probably try to charge you more when they see that you are foreign. Give them the lowest price and work from there. You can purchase items for a very low price.
15. Make sure to take some tissues with you. A lot of the bathrooms do not have toilet paper.
16. Purchase pink Peruvian salt. It is cheap and you can’t find it anywhere else in the states.
Peru is an absolutely beautiful country that is great for exploring. If you are looking for an adventerous trip to take, then you should start planning a trip to Peru. I truly enjoyed my stay there as well as the hospitality of the people. Peru has a rich culture and beautiful historical landscapes.
What else do you think people should know before traveling to Peru? Let me know! Click here to read 11 things to know before traveling to Istanbul, Turkey!