One of the gems of South America is the country of Peru. Sharing its borders with Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, and Chile, Peru offers a veritable feast for your senses as it boasts of a colorful culture and a rich history of ancient civilizations that are sure to capture any avid traveler’s imagination.
The people of Peru have a heady mix of different ancestries that can be traced back to European, Asian, African, and Amerindian roots. No wonder this multi-ethnic country has a vivid culture with a vast array of arts, cuisines, and music.
Where to Go in Peru
Lima is the capital city of Peru, and it is considered as a World Heritage site because of such destinations as Caral, which is the most ancient civilization in America, and the Archaeological Complex of Pachacamac, where the Temple of Urpiwachak and the Juncture of Adobitos are located.
Lima Plaza Mayor is also the home of different interesting sites to visit, such as the Lima Cathedral, the San Francisco Church and Convent, Government Palace, and the Provincial Municipal Authority of Lima.
If you are a foodie who are up for a gastronomic blast to the past, drop by the Gastronomy House, a museum that cover 500 years of history related to flavors and foreign influences to Peruvian cuisine.
For lovers of history and culture, the region of Cusco has a lot to offer. Its villages showcase fine architecture fused with Inca stonemasonry, as seen in Choquequirao, Saysayhuamán, Q’enko, Tambomachay, Ollantaytambo, and Machu Picchu.
Other sites worth visiting in the city of Cusco are the Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral, and the Temple of La Compañía de Jesús, among many others. (Read: Cusco in One Day)
Nature adventurers and bird watchers would do well to visit Madre de Dios. Puerto Maldonado serves as a take-off point for beautiful destinations along the rivers of Tambopata and Piedras.
Travelers can reach Colpa de Guacamayos de Colorado, Bahuaja-Sonene National, and Tambopata National Reserve from the port of Maldonado.
When to Go in Peru
When traveling to Peru, or to anywhere else for that matter, it is important to check the season. You might see yourself doing a lot of hiking, but when you go during the rainy season, it wouldn’t be enjoyable.
In Peru, the question of when to go is complicated because the country has both highlands and lowlands. It depends then on where you want to go.
If you want to travel the coast of Peru, summer is from December to March, which can be really hot and sunny. In the Andes, where you might want to go trekking, it is rainy season from December to March and dry from June to September.
The best time to go, therefore, if you want to trek to Machu Picchu, is during the summer, around March to September. Note that it is peak season and there will be a lot of tourists going as well.
If you want to stay by the coast, go in January.
What to Bring When Traveling to Peru
When you are planning your packing list to Peru, you should first think about:
- What you want to do in Peru. Do you want to go trekking, swimming, just walking around in the cities?
- When to go.
These two steps will determine what you should bring to Peru. If you want to go trekking, for example, you should bring sturdy shoes, and quite possibly, camping gear and equipment. No worries if you don’t have them; a lot of travel agencies rent them out to hikers.
Weather will also play a big part in determining your packing list. The high altitude of the Andes means it can get quite cold there and you would need to bring jackets.
For a complete packing list for your Peru travel, read: Tips on What to Pack for Peru.
Important Precautions When Traveling to Peru
Despite the beauty of Peru, the truth is that there are certain precautions that you have to take to ensure that you have a stress-free experience while visiting the country.
Take note that you should beware of altitude sickness if you plan to visit Cusco. Some of the most common symptoms include nausea, headache, and even stomach problems.
Many people advise taking coca tea or, for the more adventurous, chewing coca leaves to keep the symptoms at bay. There are medications as well in case the natural remedies don’t work. Just go to any drugstore and ask for “Sorochi pills” (spelled “Sorojchi”). You won’t need a prescription for that.
To prevent it, take it easy in the first few days. Avoid overexertion.
Also make sure to wear sunscreen every time you go out. Due to the altitude, the effect of sunlight is heightened. You don’t want to get burned (or worse) when you’re walking around the cities.
Another reason why adventurers are drawn to Peru is because it houses part of the Amazon Jungle. If you are planning to visit the Amazon (or when you do any trekking, for that matter), make sure you cover yourself and use insect repellent. The insects can be vicious, and if you wear shorts, your legs would soon be covered in nasty, itchy bites.
Also make sure that your vaccines are updated. A yellow fever vaccine is highly recommended for trips to the Amazon. The American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention likewise advises that travelers to the jungle regions take antimalarial drugs at least 1 week before arriving in the jungle, during their stay in the jungle, and for a minimum of four weeks after leaving.
Other vaccines that you would do well to have updated are those for hepatitis A and B, typhoid fever, tetanus, diphtheria, and measles. (Read: Should You Get Vaccinated Before Traveling To Peru?)
Visiting Peru is definitely one of the things that a traveler has to have in his or her bucket list. With its fusion of cultures, enchanting languages, colorful history, and scenic destinations, Peru has a lot to offer.
A visit to Peru can enrich you in varied and numerous ways, so why not pack your bags and embark on an adventure that you will definitely remember for a lifetime?