I recently asked 10 Travel Bloggers who had been to Peru to tell me what they loved best about Peru. What was the first memory or experience that came to mind when they thought of their time in the country. I figured it was time to hear how great Peru is from other people rather than just here me rant and rave about Peru all the time. You can see from these lovely bloggers that Peru really is great.
At first Lima wasn’t my favorite city on earth to be honest, I found it rather sprawling, smoggy, congested and dare I say intimidating. However everything changed when I stepped inside through the doors of the cool, calm Monastery of San Fransisco. Dating from 1673 and now a UNESCO world heritage site the monastery is an incredibly beautiful building. It’s the perfect place to escape the crowded city, learn a little about Lima and Peru in general and take a moment to breathe and reflect.
The huge catacombs are a popular attraction, and well worth a visit if you are brave enough but the best bit was the convent library! For anyone who loves books and history this room was a slice of heaven. Containing over 25,000 ancient texts including the first Spanish dictionary(!) the library is justifiably world famous.
My visit to the monastery was probably a turning point for my visit to Peru, from that moment on I had a wonderful, fascinating time. Peru really is a country full of juxtapositions but I’m certain everyone will find something that speaks to them.
Heather Simon of Well Planned Travel
I did not know what to expect when I went to Peru for a summer and halfway expected that I would be eating cuy, which is guinea pig and is a food staple in rural Peru. While I did eat cuy – it was very chewy, the food in Peru was amazing.
It is believed that the potato is originally from Peru. There are hundreds of types of potatoes to be found in Peru. The fries were amazing, the best I have ever had. Another potato dish is Papa Rellena which is potato croquets filled with meat and spices.
Peru has amazing Chinese food called Chifa. It is true fusion because there is a large population of Chinese in Peru and they use local ingredients to make the Chinese food. My favorite was Lomo Saltada which is a stir fried beef dish topped with potatoes.
A Peruvian specialty is Pollo a la Brasa, a Peruvian roasted chicken which is amazing, they usually serve it with amazing fries. It is supposed to be a secret recipe, but I asked a local and they said one of the things they marinate it in is coca cola. Not sure if that is true, or my Spanish was off, but it is really good.
There are great desserts in Peru, but if you are in Lima get some ice cream. The ice cream there is in the Italian Gelato style and it is the best ice cream I have ever had. Lastly, there is only one drink to be had in Peru and it is Inca Cola. The local soda, it is very sweet and has a bubblegum taste and is quite good. While it was quite unexpected, I fell in love with the Peru and the food and I hope to go back.
Jessica Janoski of The Bohemian Diaries
What I loved best about Peru was the authenticity of its people and culture. I was very impressed by how genuine Peruvians are and how their actions reflect their humble and kind nature. It was in Peru that I made the most connections with locals while backpacking through Central and South America and I was accepted into various communities with much ease.
For example, in northern Peru near the town and ruins of Chachapoyas, my boyfriend and I went exploring around the countryside and came upon a small village. Within minutes we were called over by a couple of families to join their kids in playing soccer and to beat the heat with ice cream and sodas. Before long I was trying my hand at weaving with the some of the elder women who marveled at teaching me their ways with a loom.
It was also quite an experience to visit communities that have benefited from responsible and sustainable tourism. To witness groups of indigenous women who, as little as only thirty years ago, have emerged from secluded Quechua communities and have since established successful economic opportunities for themselves–that simultaneously preserve their traditional culture–was a very rewarding experience for me. Peru is a great place to emerge yourself into a new culture and learn from the locals!
Kiara Gallop of Gallop Around The Globe
If you asked me to describe Peru in two words, I’d say “diverse” and “colourful”, and probably to a larger degree than any other country I’ve visited.
From the expanse of jungle that covers Peru’s northeastern corner, to the snow-capped peaks of mount Huascaran in the Andean mountain range, Peru’s stunning landscapes are just one of the many ways in which the country demonstrates its diversity.
At one end of the scale the stifling humidity, dusty streets, and colourful mototaxis of Iquitos reminded me so much of my time in Southeast Asia, whereas at the opposite end my breathtaking (literally!) hike up to Pastoruri Glacier took me back to the west coast of New Zealand.
Peru is the country where you’ll find the deepest canyon in the world and the highest navigable lake. You’ll also find volcanoes, sand dunes, centuries-old citadels, grand colonial architecture and villages that still use horse-drawn carts as one of their main forms of transport.
Colour can also be found everywhere, from the traditional dress worn by locals to the vibrant and unusual market produce. What’s more, Peru seems to host a festival almost every week of the year. Costumes are elaborate and full of colour, people are joyful and the energy is infectious.
Peru’s diversity and colour never failed to surprise and delight me through the entire length of my three-month stay.
Diane of Wife With Baggage
Peru holds a special place in my heart for two reasons. It was one of my first passport stamps and where my husband, Michael, and I spent 7 of our 11 honeymoon days. Like most people, we flew over night and over mountains to wander through the remnants of the famed Machu Picchu. Meandering through rocks is more interesting than it sounds, but the highlight of our time in Peru was hiking Wayna Picchu.
Our day started with watching the sunrise at the top of Machu Picchu (magical!) and continued with a strenuous hike up Wayna Picchu (painfully fun!). We were such rookies that we wore denim pants to hike, but we still had a blast sweating our way to the top. Our reward at the peak of Wayna Picchu was a bird’s eye view of the ruins and the revelation of just how smart and creative the Inca people were/are with their creation of a city in the shape of a condor. Seriously? Think about it. They built a city, thousands of years ago, on top of a mountain that is shaped like a large flying bird. Who does that?
The crown jewel of ruins in Peru is Machu Picchu and the best view of Machu Picchu is from way up high. Only 400 people per day get to see Machu Picchu from Wayna Picchu; we count ourselves lucky!
Brock and Tanj from A Travelogue
What we loved best about Peru is its incredible ruins back dropped with an awe-inspiring landscape. Yes, we are talking about Machu Picchu. We had a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit this magnificent place and there we are fortunate to witness the most spectacular sunrise.
We got up at 4 in the morning to catch the earliest bus to go to the to the park entrance. This was our favorite day of our trip in Peru, we saw something worthy of the word epic. We are fortunate enough to go on this trip with great weather and during off-peak season. The sun slowly rising from the East over one of the world’s greatest wonder is an image that probably we would remember for the rest of our lives. Sometimes, we need to be reminded that a sunrise last but a few minutes. This moment and beauty will burn in our hearts eternally.
Rhoni Speed of Living Our Life
From Lima we went to Cusco. Cusco the city of the Incas with over 250,000 people living there. Initially, that was a shock. We loved it. The people are so friendly and fun. We took an apartment and lived like a local. We had our specific ladies that we would go to at the market for our fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts. Whenever we saw them they would give us hugs and ask what we doing. If it had been awhile, they would comment on the growth of my son. We always ended up getting a little extra thrown into our bags, or a piece of fruit, or extra nuts would be given to my son and I to eat right away.
My son would always buy from the “papa” ladies (ladies selling boiled potatoes and eggs). He cannot eat the eggs, but loved the “verde picante”, which always amused the lady in the square. When she saw us coming and knew that we were coming to her, she would start preparing the papas just as my son liked and he would pay for them, which always got a smile on their faces.
Our faces became a norm for the area, to the point when we visited the inside of one of the churches in the Plaza des Armes and a lady was concerned that we were over charged because we lived here. Again, it was a surprise to us, as we obviously do not look like the peruvians. To not be viewed as a tourist, was incredibly heartwarming.
To have the local people accept you so readily, left us with very fond memories and the strong desire to return.
Georgie of Travel With Georgie
Once I landed in Chiclayo and left the airport, I immediately noticed a sign that said: “Welcome to Chiclayo, the capital of friendship”. I immediately knew that if this was true, I came to the right place.
Over the next two months, I got to meet many Peruvian people and whether they were strangers or my friends, they became the thing I loved best about Peru. Every day, I learned about their creativity, I tried new delicious meals, I got some lectures on the country, and I learned more about their slang.
Although, sometimes it felt too much, they just wanted me to love their country and leave with the best experience possible. Sometimes the Peruvians would ask many questions including some that in my culture would be quite personal.
They were very curious and would notice the little details about me (the colours of my eyes, being left-handed, etc.). I won’t lie. There have been times when I felt fed up with these people. I also had to be careful about who I chose to trust.
But still, they are the reason I want to come back. And they are still my faithful friends and whenever I need any help concerning Peru or the language, they are the first ones helping me.
Alejandra of Lales Wanderlust
What I loved best about Peru was how awfully uncharted the Amazonas Region is. I spent a month hiking throughout the region and I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of foreigners I stumbled upon with on every single hike. I found myself hiking through pristine lush green forests leading to shimmering waterfalls, bushwhacking my way through thick overgrowth, wandering across a paradisiacal valley inhabited only by horses, cows and a meandering river that flows lazily through it.
I was able to explore a mountain cliff where a group of sarcophagi were recently discovered, I was invited by a local woman to spend the day working with her on the field, and I was able to immerse and learn about the local culture outside of the tourist trap.
There are very few people in the Amazonas region that speak English, which could be cumbersome for some but if you speak a bit of Spanish and like offbeat places I would highly recommend visiting. My favorite places were a town called Cuispes nestled among stunning mountains, the Yumbilla Waterfall, Sarcophagi in Cerro del Tigre, Huaylla Belen Valley.