Peru Travel Tips

Fun facts and tips when travelling in Peru!

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Some things I wish I knew before going to Peru

  • The main language spoken in Peru is Spanish and normally it is the only language spoken in the smaller towns so Google Translate is your friend.
  • Its generally a good idea to download an offline map of the city your in with Google Maps to navigate, this works even if your phone doesn’t have wifi.
  • Its best to bring USD to exchange to Peruvian currency. Don’t exchange too much as Peruvian Pesos are useless outside of Peru.
  • As heavy as coins get, its best to keep a few coins with you as many public toilets and amenities require you to pay to use.
  • Peru is a country which doesn’t enforce but expects tipping, so this is another reason to keep coins.
  • If you do plan on doing casual hiking in Peru and unless you plan on doing a trek which lasts longer than 5 days, its best not to book your hiking tour online as it will cost so much more. I spent around $1000USD on a 10 day hiking tour but it only costed about $250USD for a 5 day hiking tour.
  • Its best not to bring bug repellant from your home country as they are basically useless against the mosquitos of Peru.
  • Although there isn’t malaria in the highlands of Cusco, its still a good idea to get immunised against it and yellow fever( this is necessary if you are Australian).
  • Instead of paying alot of money for branded hiking gear in your own country, you can get knockoff gear from the many market places in Cusco for alot less.
  • Bargaining is a common practice around Cusco and in small rural towns, however, if you do plan to buy souvenirs, Cusco offers better prices compared to Aguas Caliente.
  • Peruvian cuisine commonly consists of roasting and frying meat as well as Italian dishes. Lima has one or two sushi restaurants and Chifas as well as a variety of major fast food franchises and their own Pardo’s Chicken which is great. But in Cusco, besides the Peruvian restaurants which practically offer the same menu, other restaurants only have fried food. As a Chinese, the local Chifas taste horrible ( sweet and sour pork and lemon chicken basically tasted the same and was just sweet except for the different coloured sauce).
  • There are some sushi restaurants in Cusco if you need a change of appetite although they do not really offer fish sushi. Kintaro was one that I frequented a few times during my stay and it was quite nice there.
  • My stay in Peru was around 3 weeks but quite frankly I wasted alot of time staying in the hotel as cities and towns are rather small, so it only takes one or two days to explore. Cusco for example would only really take two days tops to see its entirety.
  • ¬†Although Peruvian people are really very friendly, many shops will try to scam tourists and lead you to believe that only they supply a certain item. For example, as rare and expensive as Kopi Luwak beans are, they are actually quite a common grocery item in Peru.
  • In Cusco it is very easy to get around with all the taxis going around and they only cost a few pesos per ride however, its best to confirm the price with the driver beforehand as some try to charge more based on the number of passengers.
  • When trekking into the mountains, its common to be in pitch darkness at night thus a torch is necessary but its better to bring a torch with a warmer light than an led white light as the warmer light gives better illumination.
  • If you do feel sick while in Cusco, hotels come with oxygen tanks but they only let you use them for around 5 minutes after which you have to pay.
  • In most hotels of Cusco, they offer free coca leaves and hot water which supposedly helps relieves symptoms of altitude sickness, thus its recommended to drink as frequently as possible.
  • Since Cusco is in higher altitudes, its best to apply sunscreen and always wear sunglasses with uv protection, however, fake branded sunglasses are easily obtainable there, although I don’t know how effective they are.
  • According to the people in Cusco and from what I have seen, the weather there is generally sunny and very rarely rain, but it can get quite cold early in the morning and at night so its best bring some long sleeved clothing.
  • If Machu Picchu is your reason for going to Peru, I would advise on not visiting some of the other ruins as they are quite similar.
  • Besides the more touristy places in Peru, amenities are generally not very well maintained thus I would recommend bringing hand sanitiser and toilet paper.
  • Some dishes unique to Peru is the crispy guinea pig which tastes very similar to crispy pigeon in chinese restaurants, and alpaca steak which actually is more coarse compared to beef steak. Limonada, pisco sours and inca cola are several beverages that are worthy of trying but.

 

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