20 Sep Ultimate travel guide: All you have to know before packing your staff for Peru
Peru is considered the richest country in the world, but not because of its economy. It’s because of all the incredible memories you can make in there and the cultural diversity you get to experience through its folklore. Peruvians can look for their ancestors in Africa, Europe and Asia.
Half of the country is covered by the Amazon – the world’s largest rainforest, in which you can find animals and plants that don’t exist in other parts of the world. There are even some speculations that the Amazon serves as home to some Indian tribes, that have never left it and seen the outside world.
Peru is a very specific country. That’s why if you go there, you have to prepare yourself, for example, for temperature variation. Here is the ultimate travel guide, AKA all you need to know before going to Peru.
Start with the basics
The currency used in Peru is called the Peruvian Nuevo Sol. 1 US dollar is equivalent to around 3.30 sol, and 1 euro is worth more or less 3,68 sol. You can try to pay with the American currency, as the more touristic places accept it. However, it is seen as disrespectful to the locals, so it’s better to have at least a few local banknotes on you. And you can always withdraw more from the ATM as it is not hard to find them in bigger cities.
The language of Peru is Spanish. It is not common for Peruvians to speak English, apart from people interacting with tourists such as staff on touristic treks or tour guides, so you might want to learn at least the basics before departure. You can sign up to a language school, or just buy an audio course in a bookstore. You can also bring a small phrasebook, in case you will need it.
To climb the famous Inca Trail, you’ll need a permit. Permits are put on sale only once a year, so you have to buy them now, even if you are planning your trip for next year. You can check their availability on websites like kandooadventures.com to make sure that there are still some left for your time in Peru, as once they sold out new ones will not be added.
While hiking the Inca Trail, remember to take a few things with yourself. Firstly, you need your passport – you will need to show it at the beginning of the trek. Next, you have to have proper hiking attire, and that includes footwear. Take backup underwear and socks, as these are the things that will get dirty the fastest. During the hiking, you also cannot forget your sleeping bag as it will where you will rest. Some other essentials include toiletries, water, snacks, first-aid kit and power bank, as there will be no other way for you to charge your phone.
The Inca Trail, that lasts for four days, will lead you to Machu Picchu, also known as the “Lost City of the Incas” – one of the most famous tourist attractions in Peru. Every day, hundreds of people come to explore this mysterious wonder. Built almost 500 years ago, it still raises confusion and questions.
Food and drinks
Peruvian cuisine is said to be one of the best in the world and is as diverse as Peru’s history. It consists of mostly spicy dishes, but also include rice, potatoes, beans and fish. Peru’s most popular dish is called ceviche. It’s a raw fish marinated in lime or lemon juice, hot chillies and onion. Because of the limes, the dish is said to be of Spanish influence. Some dishes include organs of animals that you didn’t think were possible to eat, like a heart or stomach.
To drink in Peru you have to be 18 years old. Pisco sour is the most common drink – it’s so sweet that you might not realize how strong it actually is. It’s made with brandy (Pisco), syrup, egg whites, lemon juice and ice. Beer and wine are produced locally.
Remember to NEVER drink the tap water in Peru. The only way to do it is if you boil it before drinking. Though you will not die from it, it can give you a very strong stomach aches.
When it comes to soft drinks, almost iconic is Inca Kola – a fizzy drink that in the 1990s made more profit than Coca-Cola. Its taste is often described as bubblegum in a bottle. The product can be found in some parts of North America, South America and Europe in special Latin American shops.
Peru, thanks to its history, is a very diverse country. The diversity is visible, for example, in the fantastic cuisine that includes ingredients from all around the world. Don’t forget to learn some Spanish before going or take a phrasebook with you. If you want to hike Inca Trail, don’t wait until the last moment – you have to buy the permit now. And most importantly – enjoy everything the country has to offer.
All is left to say is Buen Viaje!