G’s Top Tips for Peru:
- There are no meters in taxis so you need to negotiate the price with the driver before you get in. Always haggle as they will quote you higher than it should be. Once you’ve agreed the price, repeat the number and add soles at the end, as some drivers have been known to suddenly claim the price was in dollars.
- For discounted long-distance bus tickets look on the BusPortal website. It compares prices between all the major bus companies and usually offers discounted prices.
- Keep your immigration card with your passport – you need it to be exempt from the hotel tax which is 18%.
- Food is cheap but drinks can be expensive – this includes soft drinks. Anything with sugar in it is generally extortionate.
- For those of you who like white amerianos/coffee with some milk in it, don’t ask for a ‘cafe con leche’ as this is actually a milky latte. It’s not normal to put milk in coffee in Peru, so there’s no set way to ask for it. I’ve tried “americano con poco de leche frio” (americano with a little cold milk), or “americano con poco de leche frio en porro” (americano with a little cold milk in a jug. This has worked most of the time, but sometimes they forget to bring you the milk. I’m now learning to like black americanos.
- Toiletries are expensive in most pharmacies and supermarkets – try the central market for anything you need.
- The Peruvian sales tactic is that whoever yells loudest and most frequently gets the sale, so be prepared to be yelled at. This applies to everyone, not just tourists.
- There is an issue with fake money in Peru, so make sure that there are no tears or marks on your bills, and be aware that all notes are checked. There is also some issue with 5 sole coins from 2015 (no idea what it is), and while most places will take them, some small vendors may refuse if you try to pay with one.
- ID is required for a lot of transactions, for example, changing money and buying a SIM card.
The attitude towards the LGBT community in Peru seems to be one of “we acknowledge it exists, but we don’t want to see it or talk about it,” which is very like Ireland and England about 20 or more years ago. In general Peruvian culture is hyper-masculine and hyper-heterosexual (the three large statues of a heterosexual couple along the coast of Chorrillos is testament to this), along with the country being very Catholic. However, when talking to individuals from Peru I have been told of LGBT family members, and the growing trend of LGBT couples travelling to Argentina to get married. I haven’t come across any spaces openly created specifically for the LGBT community, but nor have I encountered any out-right hostility towards the LGBT community. However, while Peruvian heterosexual couples are extremely affectionate with each other in public, the impression I get is that it would not be okay for LGBT couples to act in the same manner.
G’s Highlights of Peru:
Where To Go/What To See:
Visit the churches of every Peruvian town you find yourself in.
- Go on a walking tour of Arequipa
- Go rafting down the river Chili in Arequipa
- Visit Cumbemayo
- Visit the site of Huaca Rajada and it’s Museo de Sitio in Sipán
- Visit the Museo Reales Tumbas de Sipán in Lambayeque
- Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
- Visit the Inca Site of Ollantaytambo
- Visit the Inca Museum
- Ride the dune buggies and go sandboarding in Huacachina
- Visit the archaeological site of Chan Chan
- Lounge on the beach
- Take a day trip to Trujillo (not on Sundays!)
- Hike to the Pastoruri Glacier
- Hike to the Lago 69
Lima – Historic Centre, Miraflores and Barranco
- Watch the changing of the guards at the palace in the Historic Centre
- Visit the Magic Water Circuit in the Parque de la Reserva
- Hunt for street art in Miraflores and Barranco
- Walk the Malecon de la Reserva in Miraflores; visit the Parque de Amor; watch the paragliders from the clifftop
- Relax on the beach
- Go bodyboarding/surfing/kitesurfing
- Try lots of different food
Puno and Lake Titicaca
- Visit the floating islands of Lake Titicaca
- Visit the Saturday street market in Puno
Eating and Drinking:
- Chelawasi – Amazing burgers, great craft beers, plus check out the beer flow chart on the wall!
- Arequipa Beer Club – really nice chill-out rooftop garden, and a great selection of craft beers and ales in bottles with a changing selection on tap.
- The Red Lion – British Pub, and the murals and interior decoration show it! Friendly staff, selection of craft beers available.
- There is a tiny eatery that has no name on the corner of Ayacucho Street – just a woman with a pan cooking some of the best chaufa I’ve ever had
- Sanguchon – restaurant/bar that does amazing sandwiches and burgers. Great rock and roll vibe.
- Chez Maggy – excellent italian place – free basket of cheesy garlic bread for each table, and the pizzas and pastas are excellent.
- Paddy’s Irish Bar – all day jumbo breakfast is a must!
- La Casa de Bamboo – really nice bar and restaurant area – great drinks offers and food available.
- Surferburger – some of the best burgers I’ve ever tasted! Grab a burger, a beer and play a game of Jenga set up on one of the tables!
- Lighthouse – Everything is cooked on a barbeque just outside the seating area – chicken wings, meat/veg skewars and boneless chicken thighs.
- Coco Cafe – really cute cosy cafe. If you go for breakfast, get the fruit bowl with granola honey and natural yoghurt.
- El Horno – Excellent pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven. Pasta and meat lasagne are excellent, but vegetarian lasagne is to be avoided.
- Chilli Heaven – amazing indian curries and mexican food.
- California Cafe – brilliant place to hang out and chill – lots of comfy couches and large selection of books to read. Coffee is excellent and the food is tasty and decently priced.
Lima – Historic Centre, Miraflores and Barranco
- La Lucha, Miraflores – amazing smoked chicken sandwich
- Papacho’s, Miraflores – expensive but excellent burgers
- Vivanda Cafe, Miraflores – large variety of food both hot and cold, just fill up a plate and the price is calculated by weight
- Homemade Cafe, Miraflores – great coffee, excellent breakfast!
- Tarboush, Miraflores – Arabian food, the falafals and chicken swarma are particularly good.
- Sr. Saltado – great for big bowls of rice/noodles with your choice of meat and salt at a low cost.
- Barranco Beer Company, Barranco – mid to high price range, excellent place for craft beers, pizzas and the biggest club sandwich I have ever seen in my life!
- Burrito Bar, Barranco – excellent fish tacos and burritos, great value for money
- Chinatown – big plates of food at low costs, great place for wonton soup and chaufa.
- Green Eggs and Ham – excellent pancakes, good fruit salad and tasty sandwiches.
- Cafe Del Mundo – Go for the menu del dia – excellent food at a cheap price!
- Gordo Gorila – the sandwiches are MASSIVE and come with free juice.
- Monkey Cafe – really cosy space, excellent coffee and the chocolate brownie is a must.
Puno and Lake Titicaca
- La Hostena – really cute restaurant, tasty italian food.
- Inca Bar – excellent chicken stir fry, has a cool chill out space in the back