Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Peru: Do's and Don'ts!


Peru completely exceeded my expectations and then some...I'm probably a little biased as the country hosts some of the most spectacular archaeological sites in the world, which is always enough to make me happy, but the diverse landscape and exciting range of activities on offer add even more to its charm. Here are the must-do's and please don'ts!

Do's

- Hit Machu Picchu as early as possible. If not on the Inca trail then jump on the first bus available - until around 9am the site was relatively quiet, but soon after thousands descended and some of the magic was lost.

- Bring some anti-nausea tablets/wristbands for the Nazca flight – nearly everyone we spoke to felt ill, and it’s not surprising – who knew a tiny plane could flip so much in just over half an hour…?!

- Shop around for a good guide for the major sites. It’s definitely worth the money having one, but walking around Machu Picchu I heard a couple of guides telling their groups what I know to be incorrect information. A good, passionate guide can make or break a visit, and we were very lucky with all of ours.

- Go sandboarding. Some of the best fun I’ve had, the sand is warm and soft and the descents steep and fast – a great combination!

- Try the local delicacies. Llama, Alpaca and Guinea pig are all common and cheap in restaurants and all worth a try – especially the delicious and tender Alpaca.

- Help the environment. We were appalled by the amount of litter we found along the Inca trail and at some of the major sights. It was really upsetting, and by the end of one day alone, we had picked up 10 large plastic bottles, not to mention the numerous wrappers and plastic bags we found tossed aside.

Don'ts

- Scrimp on time in Cusco. There is so much to do and explore that a few days just isn’t really enough – I wish we had been able to spend some more time there.

- Forget the mozzie repellent. The Inca trail was probably the worst as I kept forgetting to top up, but the Amazon, Machu Picchu and around the sacred valley all added to the ever-increasing itchiness covering my body.

- Say to any Peruvian: ‘I thought Chile was the birthplace of Pisco?’ Just don’t...

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