5 thoughts on “Have Any Tips on Peru?

  • January 4, 2012 at 11:16 am

    I regret not having more time exploring Arequipa and the surrounding region. My Amazon adventure in Manu Park was the most memorable part of my South American trip and recommend it to everyone. Be sure to check out the local market in Cusco, and a cruise on Lake Titicaca was surprisingly relaxing and worthwhile. I posted my daily experiences of my trip to Peru at http://DestinationMike.blogspot.com if you’re looking for more details 🙂

  • March 20, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Hi Mike and Anne,
    I will give you my declaimer first: I am an architect and therefore bias towards the built environment. So a lot of my recommendations will involve some architecture.
    Ok, having said that. I highly recommend Arequipa for the Santa Catalina Convent. This is one of the most amazing and beautiful space/ architecture experiences I have ever had.  And I have travelled quite a bit. The convent alone covers a whole city block if not more. The spaces are just beautiful, the light, the shadows, the colors… It is hard to explain! Sometime as an architect I get caught up on the tectonics of a building (materials, details…); but there are moments when I experience a real space that is more about the void that is left than the walls and it just feels good to be there. This is one of those such places for me.

    • March 31, 2012 at 10:25 pm

      sheila, thanks for this amazing recommendation. we are definitely going to check out Arequipa. the way you describe it sounds amazing!!!!!!!!

  • September 4, 2012 at 12:13 pm


    “I dug up an email I sent to a friend going to Peru – sounds like you’ll only be there for a week, which means you’ll probably just do Lima and Cusco – but in case you stay longer, I included all of my thoughts on Peru. The biggest take away I have is to eat at Fallen Angel is Cusco.

    In Lima, I’d recommend staying in the Miraflores area. The guidebooks will tell you it’s a suburb, but it’s really where you want to be. The bus system is easy to navigate and you can walk to the ocean. I’m sure your hotel will offer surfing lessons there, but the waters kinda dirty, so I’d recommend staying out of it.

    Most guidebooks don’t mention it, but I recommend heading over to the Parque Reserva which has an amazing set of water fountains. The best time to go is dusk so you can see the park at night. It’s pretty easy to hop on a bus there. My friend Nicole went about 3 months after me and she noted that with the buses in Peru (as in most of SA), they don’t really stop, they just slow down – so you are literally hopping on and off. I like to tell the person who comes around and collects money from you (if you have no idea how much it costs, I just put a bunch of change in my hand and they’ll take the right amount) where I want to get off and they’re really good about getting you and giving you a gentle shove off the bus. As Nicole pointed out to me, you can also take a cab for like $1.50 US or so, which if you’re not as used to the bus system is probably the more ideal way to get around.


    Other than that I don’t have too many recommendations other than eat as much ceviche as you can. For me, Lima was the first major city I’d been to in about a month and a half so I reveled in the department store/chain restaurant aspect of it for a day or two (much to Jenny’s great horror). We spent a lot of time walking around Kennedy park, eating street food (definitely get the popcorn!) and we ate a lot of ice cream. I know you’re not really a dessert person, but I’m a big fan of the ice cream. Also drink a lot of pisco sours. The Peruvians and the Chileans argue over who invented pisco, and they both claim it as a national drink. The Peruvian version comes with whipped egg white on top – delicious! We went to some ridiculously awesome sushi place that I have no idea what the name of it was, but I think you can go to any nice sushi restaurant and get really high quality fish for a fraction of US prices.

    In Cusco i’d definitely recommend eating at Fallen Angel. Jenny and I loved it so much we ate there twice. The downtown area of Cusco is pretty much it’s valley and then it’s straight up to all of the neighborhoods – the closer you can stay to the main square the better. Since it’s at such a high altitude it gets chilly at night – but I’m sure I don’t have to tell you about altitude. The San Blas area has a lot of great shopping and is a fun place to hang out with lots of great restaurants as well. The Santa Catalina Convent and Museum is surprisingly interesting – it was built on top of an Inca place of worship and worthwhile checking out while you’re there.

    My favorite city in Peru, and arguably my favorite city in South America, is Arequipa. I’m pretty sure you can fly there and it is so totally amazing. While still not at sea level, it’s just warmer enough than Cusco to be a total delight when you head there after Cusco. The food there is A-MAZING with food from many different cultures (definitely hit up the crepe place – I had a llama crepe delicious!). The town is fairly small, and, per the SA usual, centered around the main square. We stayed at Bothy hostel, which I’d recommend as we became really good friends with the owner and they have a bar in the hostel which is the center for a pretty fun social scene. Once a week they usually do a cookout and most days have some “organized” activity which is actually awesome. Arequipa is also the center of a lot of outdoor activity – we went with Land Adventures http://www.landadventures.net/ to do a three day Colca Canyon trip and if you had time to do the Colca Canyon, I’d definitely recommend it. Three days is the way to go as you get more time to hike. I, of course, wanted to do the two day tour as it was described to me by Raul as the japanese version – mostly on a bus while hopping off to take pictures. I don’t think you would enjoy the two day version.

    We also went white water rafting which was a total blast. I ended up in the freezing cold water – and still it was a great time. If you only have time to do one activity in Arequipa – I recommend this!

    They also offer some biking tours that I know Jenny was considering pursuing. Instead I convinced her to have a day just hanging out in the city.

    I’d definitely recommend also eating at Tacos & Taquila which is not well marked but has amazing Sangria and also is super cheap. Arequipa is also the area known for guinea pig – we were lucky enough to be invited over to Raul’s and he home cooked it for us, but there are a lot of restaurants that serve it. There is also an amazing food market there that wasn’t mentioned in any of our tour books – ask your hotel staff and they’ll be able to point you to it.

    They have some amazing looking amazon tours that you can do. I declined due to an enormous fear of snakes and hatred of bugs.

    Depending on how your timing works out, I would also highly recommend a side trip from Lima to Huacachina. It’s an oasis in the middle of the dessert which is a 4 hour bus ride from Lima – don’t worry, they are far more pleasant buses than you would find in Asia. I’d recommend spending at least one night, I spent three nights as it was right before I was leaving and I found it to be way better than Lima. The big attraction there is that you can go sandboarding. There are probably at max 10 different hotels/hostels which team up to provide dusk sandboarding, but really what that ends up being is you take a ride in a dunebuggy through ridiculous “hills” of sand and then they take you to the top of progressively higher and steeper hills and you go down on a board face first sled style. I think it’s definitely worthwhile doing (it costs about $30 a person), but it won’t be the experience your expecting when you hear sandboarding. For like $5 you can rent a board yourself and head out sandboarding. I’m sure you’ll have much greater success than I did.

    One of the hostels also offers for I think about $30 a trip to a few pisco places. As far as I can tell no one really does this, but, of course, I did and it was awesome. You go to two pisco wineries and get a private tour and get to sample a whole bunch of pisco. And if you’re really lucky both your driver and the guys who work there will all hit on you because this is definitely not something white woman ever do alone.

    I was also up in Mancora which was amazing and went over to Puno which all the guidebooks call a dump and I had a total blast at – but I’m pretty sure both of those places are too far away for your timelines.

    I also fell prey to the age old – everybody does it, and went to Nazca to see the Nazca lines. They are enigmatic which means that I should have known better. Imagine an airplane ride in an 8 seater plane so bumpy they warn you not to eat anything before you go. Now imagine seeing a bunch of lines that make random animal drawings. This is a total miss in my book.

    Hope this helps – I am happy to talk at infinim about my experience!


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