For many people, traveling to a new country brings a mixture of feelings. For me, I was a little anxious before going to Peru because I didn’t know what to expect. However, I went and asked one of my friends, who was an expert traveler to South America, for advice. His advice helped me very much, while I was there. Now that I’ve been to Peru and visited several locations, I thought of sharing some of my own advice. Here are some important things to know before going to Peru:
If this is your first time traveling to Peru, don’t worry! Peru is in general beautiful and safe. It has one of the nicest people we could meet, too! However, your safety should be your main priority regardless of where you’re traveling in South America. It is always a good thing to keep an eye on your personal items. Even though I’ve never encounter any unpleasing experiences, some of my group members did. It is suggested that you don’t bring any valuable items such as jewelries or expensive electronics unless you are willing to carry them with you almost the entire time. Also, you shouldn’t walk alone at night, specially if you’re a female; as it becomes dangerous to do so in some areas.
Yes, you read it correctly! In Peru, there are more than one language spoken by locals. People in big cities like Lima and Cusco speaks mostly Spanish, yet if you are traveling to inner cities, small villages or east, close to the Amazonian rain forest, you will most likely find some locals speaking Quechua. Quechua is one of the languages of the native tribes. It was the official language for people during the Incan state; and Peruvians still use it today.
As for religions, Peru is dominantly Catholic. However, there are some who believe in “Pachamama” or mother nature. The Pachamama belief is majorly practiced by the indigenous people who speaks Quechua. With that been said, you could find some who believes in both religions and speaks both languages at the same time. Therefor, It is very normal to see a natural object such as a rock inside a church in Peru. They pray to it for health and prosperity.
Peruvians are mainly conservatives. Thus, wearing modestly is encouraged when visiting Peru. Wearing too short shorts or dresses above the knee in areas other than the beach or hot springs may not sound a great idea. It is considered very short and you might grab locals attention there. But hey, some foreigners does it anyway! At the end, I think its a personal preference. For me, I preferred to stay respectful to the people and the culture when I was there.
Due to the geographical nature of Peru, Peru is known for its Coca tea. Coca tea is type of tea using dry or raw Coca leaves, a plant that is native to South American countries. People drink it to reduce sickness and dizziness effect, which is a result of high altitude. Moreover, locals grow verity of vegetables such as potatoes, beans and corn! Corn in specific in all its types, shapes and colors is consumed heavily. The most famous one is purple corn. They not only use it in their cuisine, they have purple corn beverages. With that been said, depending on where you’re at in Peru, people’s preferences of food differs from one city to another. For example, people overall eat seafood and meat in Lima. Whereas in Cusco, locals are more into vegetables such as potato, corn, quinoa and beans. Despite of that, there are no doubts, food is equally delicious in all locations.