Travelling to Peru gives you a chance to experience adventure, nature, culinary variation, budget accommodation, luxury stay all at a single place.
You can stay at one of the numerous backpacker hostels, which by the way is a big culture in Peru or have a luxurious stay at a boutique hotel such as the Inkaterra Resorts.
Here are a few tips we have gathered from our visit to Peru:
1) Perfectly OK to not plan 100% of this trip in advance
If you are not travelling during the peak season; May-Sept you don’t have to plan 100% of the trip in advance. Yes you read that right!! We met so many travelers on that trip who didn’t know where they would be going 24 hours later. If you read our itinerary you will know we booked accommodation for about 3 nights on the fly which wasn’t a big deal! Even bus tickets were easily available. And while we are there let me emphasize on how convenient the buses in Peru are – we took 1 overnight bus (Cruz del sur) from Cuzco to Puno that was hassle-free and enjoyable.
2) Haggle Haggle Haggle
Remember this mantra for any and everything in this country. Be it taxi service, hiring tour guide, booking day tours or buying sweaters/souvenirs, make sure you haggle.
For instance a mototaxi in Urubamba will only charge 3 soles (1 USD) to go anywhere in this town however our driver initially quoted us 10 soles.
One of the fellow travelers we met in Cuzco was pretty excited that she had bargained with her cab driver to drive her from airport to hotel for 25 soles. We found it hard to break the news that actual cost was mere 10 soles!!
3) Carry sufficient cash
Credit card not accepted at a lot of places so carry enough cash. You would be surprised how many hotels and restaurants say they accept credit card but when you actually pay they insist you to pay cash.
It could be any reason – machine out of order, no electricity or simply “no cardo” 🙂
4) Try local delicacies
We were pleasantly surprised at the variety of local authentic dishes that Peru has to offer. Do try hot picarones and coca tea – on a chilly evening nothing feels better than this combination. Coca tea and coca leaves also help with altitude sickness.
There are several other local delicacies such as Alpaca meat, Ceviche (must try in Lima), Cuy (guinea pig) and quinoa soup.
5)Carry your own toilet rolls
While there is no scarcity of public toilets in Peru there is though of toilet paper! Make sure any place you go right from Lima to Sacred valley to Lake Titicaca you have your own roll in your bag!!
6)Have English to Spanish dictionary on you if you don’t speak Spanish
You will need to refer this more than your guideboook! A few times we felt the need to know Spanish, more than just hola and gracias 🙂
7) Strikes are part and parcel of Peru
You would be surprised to know how often there’s a strike in Peru and how casual the locals are to such strikes. It could be as serious as a violent strike in Amazon rainforest or a less serious like half day of public transport strike.
It happened with us, our Amazon rainforest tour was about to begin in 12 hours when we received an email about the whole town being shutdown as a result our resort had to cancel our tour at the last minute!