Without a doubt, Peru is one of the dopest countries I have ever been to. Why? Well they have these fluffy cloud looking animals called alpacas and honestly, just the fact that you’ll see them roaming around everywhere should be reason enough for you to go. Still not sold?
If you’re not as easy to convince as I am, then don’t worry, because Peru has significantly more to offer than just that.
The diversity of things to do in Peru is really what left me in complete awe of this country. I spent the majority of my time in Peru in three of their biggest cities, Lima the capital, Cusco, the kickoff point for most Machu Picchu visitors, and Arequipa, a city that was honestly just on my way back to Lima.
None of these cities felt like they were in the same country. The bustling metropolis of Lima felt like your typical South American urban area, ranging from its fancy neighborhoods to less developed ones. Cusco, on the other hand, felt like you were taking a step back in time. The city is one of the most beautiful I have ever visited, but the city isn’t even why people go. With incredible treks in every direction and ancient ruins inside and outside of the city, you really do feel like you’re taking a step into a time machine.
Originally for me, Arequipa was sort of an afterthought. I had spent a significant amount of time in Bolivia and was headed back to Lima to fly back home to America. I came to Arequipa not knowing what to expect, and it still surprised me. After the often chaotic hustle and bustle of Lima and Cusco, I was expecting basically the same thing out of Arequipa. Instead, I found myself in one of the cleanest, friendliest cities in South America. I even spent an entire afternoon inside a cool little convent sleeping off a hangover. I did spend most of my time in Arequipa near the main square, so it was cleaner and catered more towards tourists but it was still a pleasant surprise compared to the other cities I had been to in Peru. The architecture was also completely different than Lima and Cusco, with the gorgeous and pristine white buildings being made of white volcanic stone.
With those three cities alone, you can already deduce how incredibly diverse Peru is, but I’m not even scratching the surface.
From mountains that look like rainbows to an isolated oasis in the desert, from the floating islands in Lake Titicaca to the world wonder of Machu Picchu, Peru has something for everybody. I did not even manage to make it any further north than Lima, so just knowing that there is another half of the country waiting to be explored makes me ache to go back. I know I missed out on Mancora and Iquitos and a number of treks through the Peruvian Andes and Cordillera Blanca. It’s also a testament to like I said the wide variety of things for people to do in Peru.
If you’re into food, Lima has one of the best restaurant scenes in the entire world, believe it or not. It is widely considered to be one of the capitals of gastronomy, which is a fancy word for how food is integrated with the culture of a place.
Speaking of culture, no other place has made me feel as cultured as Peru. You’re interacting with locals and indigenous people on an almost daily basis. You won’t last an hour out in public without seeing one of the local Quechua or other indigenous women in their colored garb lugging a heavy sack of something around. Aside from that, you’ve always got the vibrant Latin-American culture which makes for some unbelievable nightlife, dancing the night away to reggaeton bangers or love ballads from Enrique Iglesias or Shakira’s latest anthem. I had some wild nights out in Arequipa, and Lima and Cusco, and even in the tiny oasis town of Huacachina. The nightlife in Peru is never really talked about, but trust me, it is incredible.
For the more adventurous traveler, there is no shortage of treks to choose from. You’ll be able to see one of the most beautiful countries in the world firsthand. From the snow-covered mountain peaks to the musky clouded jungles, and breathtaking valleys and Lagunas. Surfers can visit Lima or Mancora or any other number of surfer paradises. Beachgoers can nestle in right on the Pacific Ocean.
The best part of all is how affordable Peru is. You won’t believe how much you can see and do for your money. You can stay here for months if you want to, and have no problem affording it, and even better, no problem with running out of things to do. Peru is one of the more widely developed countries in South America, so comfortable bus travel makes it cheap and easy to go from city to city. You can pack a lot of adventure into your time at Peru, whether it’s for a week or a year.
In short, I love Peru and have no doubt that you will, too. It is one of the most beautiful, welcoming, safest, and affordable countries I have ever been to and one of the few that I am dying to go back to even after spending a significant amount of time there.
Check out my videos on Peru, including the incredible five-day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu and braving the vast sandy deserts of Huacachina to go sand boarding.