I only spent about 3 weeks Peru, which just wasn’t enough! I gorged myself on ceviche in Lima and started 2015 by seeing the sun come up over Machu Picchu, which was every bit as amazing as it sounds. I also enjoyed a week in Cusco, getting to know the town and relaxing a bit before moving on to Bolivia.
Map of Peru
Things to do in Peru
- Lima – I was excited for the culinary scene in Lima, based on my friend Jay’s recommendations from his time spent there. Basically, my itinerary for this coastal city included eating as much ceviche as possible. While I didn’t make it to the historic center, I did manage to wander the mercados in Surquillo and all around the waterfront in the Miraflores area. Foodies will love Lima.
- Cusco – the Boleto Touristico grants you access to a variety of sites in and around Cusco for 130 soles, valid for a period of 10 days. I purchased one since I needed it for some of the sites on my Sacred Valley tour as well as a city tour and some of the sites are only accessible with this pass. However, some you can visit on your own or if you are only interested in a few, partial passes are available. The link above goes to a TripAdvisor forum with more info. Be sure to spend some time admiring the mix of architecture in the historic center and grab a bite the way the locals do at stalls in and around the Mercado San Pedro. For something different, try a cooking class by Cusco Culinary – you can read my review here.
- Machu Picchu – I decided on a 2 day/1 night tour of the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu including the train to/from Ollantaytambo and overnight in Aguas Calientes, but if you are considering trekking, I’d highly recommend checking out this Beginner’s Guide to Machu Picchu from the Borderless Project. I booked my tour with Rolando of Willka Travel – their office is right in Cusco’s main square.
Things to Eat (and Drink!) in Peru
- Ceviche – for upscale, get the mixto at Cebicheria La Mar in Lima, but I also loved the ceviche from small vendors on the street or in the mercados, like Cevicheria Bam Bam in Surquillo, where we had excellent Leche de Tigre. If you’re in the highlands, stick to locally available fish like trout.
- Cuy – roasted (asado) guinea pig – in Cusco, a friend recommended La Cusquenita, although many restaurants serve it. (Read my post about trying cuy chactado here.)
- Lomo saltado – beef stir fry
- Causa relleno
- Aji de Gallina
- Arroz con Mariscos – rice with mixed seafood, ceviche, jalea
- Chilcano de pescado – seafood soup
- Chifa cuisine – Peruvian-Chinese food
- Nikkei cuisine – Peruvian-Japanese food
- Anticuchos – skewered/grilled meat, often sold as a street food. The classic is beef heart (corazon) but you can also get chicken, sausage or regular beef.
- Pisco – I loved sitting at the bar at the Museo del Pisco in Cusco, where the knowledgeable barmen can guide you through a tasting or direct you to your new favorite pisco cocktail. In Lima: Huaringas Bar, Ayahuasca, Bar Ingles del Country Club
- Chicha morada
- Chicharrones – for a fun culinary field trip outside of Cusco, head to the town of Saylla, famous for their chicharrones
- Cuzco Eats – a great food blog about all things culinary in Cuzco and beyond
- Visit Peru
- Peru’s Gastronomy
- The Borderless Project – detailed posts on things to do in Peru, fantastic storytelling
A special mahalo to those who helped with tips…
Christy, Jay @ Open Mind, Empty Stomach, Kim @ Kim on a Whim, Angie & Jeremy @ Living the Dream RTW, Henry @ The Borderless Project, Patricia O., Molly M., Camille C.