Almost 5 months in Peru and I already want to go back there. I have the impression to have fully enjoyed it and to have discovered so much, and yet, to have seen such a small part of it. And indeed, if I explored a lot the south of the country, I know almost nothing of the north.
From costa, sierra y selva – sea, mountains and jungle –, Peru is a country with a fascinating history, infinite ruins, welcoming and lovely inhabitants, delicious fruits, vegetables and seeds, and landscapes as incredible as unforgettable.
From these so different ecosystems, I mainly explored the sierra. You won’t change me; mountains are definitely where I feel the best and what fascinates me the most!
I then left the country already convinced that I would go back. With the desire to continue the exploration of the regions that I felt in love with and a thirst for adventure in all the ones that I don’t know yet…
I then spent one month in Tacna, completing a volunteering in equitherapy.
After a short stay in Lima, I came back to France for one month on the occasion of my brother’s wedding.
Back to Peru in October, I directly went to Cuzco, a region in which I stayed for almost two months. It’s the least I needed to visit the Sacred Valley, do the trek of Salkantay, Machu Picchu and Choquequirao and finish with the Rainbow Mountain and the Red Valley!
The tops & flops
Once again, hard to make a choice among all the wonders I have discovered in Peru, but if I had to make a selection…
The sublime Cotahuasi Canyon
Significantly less known and visited than its neighbour the Colca Canyon, Cotahuasi is the deepest canyon in the world. A region that amazed me for its wild, diverse and stunning landscapes, the kindness of its inhabitants and its remoteness, far from any tourist.
The trek and ruins of Choquequirao
Choquequirao ruins, far less famous than the ones of Machu Picchu – but no less captivating – are only accessible after minimum two hiking days. These two sites can be connected to each other during a challenging trek, always going always up and down, but with amazing landscapes. Staying four days in Choquequirao ruins also made the experience even more unique and unforgettable.
The region of Cuzco and its treasures
Cuzco is one of the most touristic places in Peru (be it for national tourists or strangers) and one can easily understand why. It’s not that hard to avoid mass tourism though, by visiting the ruins and doing the treks on its own instead of ruining your budget with agencies. And it’s worth the effort, these places being so captivating!
Marcahuasi Bosque de Piedras
A real treasure that is quite unknown – or mainly by the Peruvians – located 4h east of Lima. This huge plateau 4 000 meters above sea level is made of impressive and inspiring geological formations.
These amazing falls more than 770 m high didn’t mark me only for the falls themselves but also for the beauty of the whole park and the richness of its fauna and flora. I also had the chance to see some Gallitos de las Rocas – Peru’s national bird – which is a moment that will stay forever in my memory!
The city of Lima
I definitely didn’t like the country’s capital. Its region is full of treasures and the historical centre as well as the hipster district of Barranco are admittedly pleasant, but the terrible traffic, the never-ending noise, the prices that tend to be higher than in the rest of the country, the perpetually grey sky and the general chaos of this city didn’t make me want to stay at all!
The aggressive dogs
Dogs are a problem that I’ve encountered since the beginning of my trip in South America. Many stray dogs in the streets or in nature that bark on you and can be more or less dangerous. And the dogs that still have owners are not necessarily better!
Very often they are not well educated and never taken out for the ones living in the cities (they are then always barking on the roofs of their house), and very aggressive for the ones in the countryside. Apparently some farmers give them chilli to make them even more offensive. One then always should bring some stones in the pocket to keep them away, and be very careful (I had my first – and hopefully last – dog bite close to Ollantaytambo).
The non-management of waste and pollution
There’s a critical topic that I had already mentioned in my conclusion about Bolivia and that I unfortunately found again in Peru: pollution and the excessive use of plastic. The situation is particularly critical, plastic being used for every little thing and the population throwing away all their wastes in the street, through the window of their cars / bus, in nature…
As a result, there are many places that became rubbish tips, and it looks like the few cities that pretend to do waste sorting with different kind of bins in their centre, do finally put all the rubbish together in the end.
I talked a lot about it with Peruvians and there is a real lack of education and investment from the government, which doesn’t look worried about it at all.
The cumbia chicha
Again, something I couldn’t bear in Bolivia… and that I unfortunately found again in Peru! They always put this music out loud in the buses and in the villages. It is so repetitive and horrible that it put me in crises more than once! I let you understand why:
Budget final en presque cinq mois (155 jours) : 1 032,37€
Final budget in almost five months (155 days) : 1 032,37€
The two main expense items were food (25,8%) and transport (24%), followed by accommodation (19,3%). However it is possible to eat and sleep on a budget (about 1€ for a soup + a complete meal at lunch in the markets, from 2 to 3€ for hostels more than good).
Prices of buses vary depending on the kind of bus that one chooses, the company and the comfort than ones wants. I personally always chose the least expensive possible, even it cost me a few nights in uncomfortable bus!
Peru is then a country in which it’s possible to travel at low costs by avoiding the restaurants for tourists, the expensive hotels and the excursions with agencies 😉