Peru tips from locals

Peru is hot. And so is Lima. On the culinary department of the bookstores, books of Lima’s top chefs tower high above the others. But the country offers more. We are invited by a local who lost his heart to a Peruvian and shows us how to be Indiana Jones again.

Peru  After completing his studies in Journalism, Rik Duijm traveled for the first time to Latin America. He spent a month in Cusco, where he studied Spanish. Then he traveled on his own by bus through southern Peru, Bolivia and to the far south of Argentina. He now has been living so long in Peru that his Peru tips could easily be more than the five asked by us.

Peru tips from locals

In the three years after that first trip. He worked as an editor for several magazines in the Netherlands. He then traveled again to South America – this time to Peru and Chile – and decided to quit his second study Languages and cultures of Latin America.

Instead of continuing his studies, he decided to work half a year in a different culture. That half a year is now more than seven years ago. Now married, he and his Peruvian wife Mundo Antiguo, started a company that focuses on individual travels in Peru en Spanish classes in Cuzco. Here you find his Peru tips:

1. For gourmands

Best Peru tips? Let’s start with the food. Peruvian cuisine is hip! You can’t read a magzine or watch a tv channel for gourmands without seeing lyrical tales on the colorful and fragrant Peruvian cuisine. Rightly so, of course. The birthplace of the potato – Peru has more than 3,800 potato varieties – has so much more to offer than that. And many chefs come from Lima.

Try the ceviche (raw fish “cooked” in lemon juice ) or a chupe de camarones on the coast, a rocoto releno (stuffed pepper) in Arequipa, or anticucho (delicious meat skewer) in Cusco. Peru, a destination for gourmands!

2. De Amazon & Cusco

When mentioning the Amazon everyone immediately thinks of Brazil. A similar thing happens with Cusco. Everybody automatically mentions Machu Picchu. But did you know that within a 40 minutes flight you also end up in the middle of the Amazon? From Puerto Maldonado you can take direct tours to one of the most remote jungle lodges in the world: Tamopata Research Center.

Just a few steps away is the largest known parrots gathering place in the Amazon. And few people know of yet another “Lost City of the Incas”, about 50 kilometers from the Machu Picchu area. New species are still being discovered.

Like this little spider, it builts a fake spider 5 times its size in order to  deter predators.

3. Indiana Jones in the Andes

Machu Picchu, the name has already been mentioned above. But few people know of a lost city of the Incas, 50 kilometers away from Machu Pichu. Choquequirao has only been dug up for 30%, the rest of the city is still overrun by the surrounding jungle.

Here only 10 visitors a day find their way because you can only come here after a multi-day trek. Only here you wander through mysterious ruins, deep in the jungle, while condors are circling overhead. Do it while you can!

Funicular to Choquequirao

The Peruvian government wants to open a cable car to Choquequirao, which could carry up to 400 people per hour. The aim is to reduce the pressure of tourists at Machu Picchu. The disadvantage is that you can never be Indiana Jones in the Andes no longer.

4. Learn Spanish

Everyone is looking for it and hardly anybody finds it: contact with locals. Tourists often put a lot of money down for “community based tourism” without realizing that such initiatives often lead to a rapid degradation of community based.

In addition, commercial tourism kills the spontaneity of contacts.

But then…how to get in touch with the local population? Simple: speak to them. You don’t speak Spanish? Take a course before you travel. Economically priced, it will make you richer .

5. Colca Canyon

It is myth that it is the deepest canyon in the world. That one is just around the corner, but hardly ever visited. That it is deeper than the Grand Canyon is a fact. Moreover, the Colca Canyon is the best place in the world to observe closely the condor in the wild.

The almost largest flying bird – wingspan of 3.20 meters in length to 1.30 meters. It weighs up to 15 kilos – sail here from a distance of several meters over your head. Incidentally, this monogamous bird can reach a very respectable age: 100 years in captivity.

Beeld: Shutterstock

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