Why you should visit Peru
Each place on Earth is fascinating and unique, but Peru is one of those countries that succeeds in rising above the average. This place has so many natural and cultural treasures that have fascinated people for hundreds of years, and continue to do so today. There are thousands of reasons to visit this great destination, here are just a few reasons to visit Peru.
- Archaeology, History and Culture: There is plenty of information about its history, easily accessible to any traveller. Be it visiting a museum, strolling through cities and/or villages, or taking an excursion to one of the archaeological ruins or fortresses, you will always be surrounded by the strong presence of history and its cultural influences. The ancient Inca citadels are considered the most beautiful and mysterious in the world. Among the most impressive are those of Pisac and Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, this last being best experienced by trekking the Inca Trail. But these sites aren’t the only ones; in the north of the country you can find even older civilisations like the city of Chan Chan (biggest mud brick city in the world), and Chachapoyas, whilst to the south you can find interesting evidence of the diverse ancient cultures around Lake Titicaca, and towards the coast the enigmatic Nazca lines.
- Cuisine: Peru has the best cuisine in America. Not only does it have a great variety of ethnic mixes, but also a variety of weather in its 28 individual climate zones. This mixture of cultures and variety of climates differs from one city to another, creating a varied cuisine across the country. Dishes like lomo saltado (stir fried beef), ceviche (marinated raw fish), mixed ceviche (with fish and seafood), empanadas (stuffed pastries) from every region, tiradito (similar to ceviche but with a mild chili sauce), butifarra (ham sandwich) and chicharron (deep fried pork) are just some of the ones you must try. If you are tempted to try an Andean delicacy you could try cuy (guinea pig), quinoa soup, corn with cheese, or chiri uchu, the typical dish from Cusco which dates from the time of the Incas. Peru has deserts like mazamorra morada made from purple corn, a variety of rice pudding, suspiro a la limeña and picarones. In Peru each dish is more delicious than the previous one. If you’re hungry just talking about Peruvian food, raise your expectations even further as we describe its drinks, you’ll soon be addicted to them. For example, wines from the Ica region, Pisco, Pisco sour, chilcano, emoliente, chicha morada, quinoa chicha, Cusqueña beer, which is one of the best in the world, and others will leave you more than satisfied.
- The Kindness and Hospitality of the Peruvian People: It’s always interesting to meet new people and experience new cultures, but the Peruvians make this experience even more interesting and pleasant. Many Peruvians still have a direct link with their ancestors the Incas (living culture), proudly conserving their culture, the quechua language, customs, mysticism, etc. Sharing stories with them is an interesting way to learn about the country and its history. In general Peruvians are very friendly, kind and courteous to tourists; you will feel at home. Besides, because of the ecological and geographical diversity that exists in Peru, there is a great cultural diversity between the people from the north, centre and south, just as there is between the coast, highlands and jungle areas.
- Artesanias: Many different crafts are produced in Peru, the craftsmen capturing the history, culture, art, nature, the Andean religion as well as their own exceptional abilities in their pieces. Some of the most famous handicrafts that you will find in any part of Peru are its textiles. You can find women weaving these exquisite patterns to make decorative wall hangings, scarves, jumpers, etc. Other great crafts take the form of instruments carved in wood, paintings, jewellery, goldsmiths and silversmiths, among others. These items are not only a great souvenir of your trip, but by buying these you are also helping to support entire families, as well as appreciating their traditions, customs and fascinating culture.
- Nature and Biodiversity: Peru has 28 individual climate zones. This creates a diverse ecosystem and natural variety within just one country. You can see snow in the Andes and not too far away watch sandboarding practised in the desert around the Huacachina Oasis. You can see penguins in the Ballestas Islands near the dry desert town of Paracas, or you can row gently in the rivers of the Amazon jungle. You can climb to the peaks of the Andes or descend into the deepest canyons in the world, the Colca and Cotahuasi Canyons. The variety and combination is unlimited. Peru is the perfect place for short trips on a budget that allows you to enjoy this natural variety, and also longer journeys like a cruise along the Amazon River, mountain climbing, or hikes that combine archaeology and nature like the Inca Trail, Salkantay trek, or the Choquequirao trek, that take longer.
- Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu: Machu Picchu is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. A historic sanctuary protected by the Peruvian government, it has an area of 35 thousand hectares and is located in the district of Machu Picchu in the Urubamba province of the Cusco department. There are two ways of getting to this site.
- Beaches: Peru is known for its beautiful beaches, it is no secret that it is a great place for both surfers and pleasure trips. The best places to surf are the beaches at Herradura, Costa Verde and Punta Rocas, all located to the south of Lima, the capital of Peru. For good weather, crystalline waters, sun and sand, you can go to the popular beaches like El Silencio, Punta Sal, Mancora, Punta Hermosa, Pucucsana and Santa Maria.
- By train from Cusco, either from Ollantaytambo station or from the station at Poroy, in 4 hours or less you arrive at Aguas Calientes, and with a further half hour bus journey you reach the site
- By trekking the Inca Trail, after 4 days walking on a trail that combines history, nature and archaeology you arrive at the citadel of Machu Picchu.