As someone who currently calls Peru home, picking a part of Peru to hold up on a pedestal and call my favorite is difficult. I love that I can travel a few hours outside of Lima and visit the oldest civilization in the Americas—dating back to 3,000 years BC!—and that I can take off from the second largest desert city in the world (Lima) and land in largest tropical rainforest in the world (the Amazon) and still be in the same country.
I love exploring known places, such as the Sacred Valley, and those off the beaten path, such as Canta. If I had to choose my favorite places in Peru, the Sacred Valley springs to mind. I had the most wonderful day hiking up to and around the Pisac ruins, even though I got caught in the rain; and was fascinated during a visit to Maras and Moray—one excursion I strongly believe requires a private guide to get the most out of the experience.
The Amazon Rainforest is also firmly planted in my mind. I’ve yet to visit Iquitos (that’s a few months away!) but my week in Tambopata outside of Puerto Maldonado was a shocking and seriously enjoyable experience. I’ve been to the jungle in Costa Rica and Mexico, but nothing compares to the dense and overpowering vegetation of the Amazon Rainforest.
From canoeing next to creepy caiman with their scaly heads resting on the water’s surface and their massive bodies and powerful tails visible just below; to attempting to quietly slosh through the mud to sneak up on a pack of peccaries, a type of wild pig with a super sense of smell; to listening to the distinctive squawk of colorful macaws as they fly overhead, always in pairs because they mate for life; the Amazon far exceeded my expectations.
But Peru is more than a place. It is a vibrant culture full of lovely and skilled people who welcome foreigners like you and I into their country, their life, their home. Peru has taught me how to cook quinoa, a super food that has the benefit of being delicious; how to embrace the chaos of a capital city undergoing a growth spurt; and how plan ahead for freezing Andean nights yet searing Andean days.
Luckily, I don’t have to pick just one favorite part. I left that to our guest contributors and destination experts. I asked my SA Expeditions team members to share one part of Peru they enjoy. And, because we’re not the only ones who love Peru, I asked for two guest contributions, one from an independent travel blogger and one from an expert on Peruvian cuisine (she runs a site full of Peruvian recipes, I strongly recommend a visit!).
I’ll be posting their articles throughout the next couple of weeks. The schedule and topics are as follows:
- 12/13 - by Morena Escardo, food blogger and cookbook author
- 12/15 - by Sadler Kirk, SA Expeditions finance team member
- 12/17 - by Kristina Rudge, SA Expeditions destination expert
- 12/20 - by Riva Bacquet, SA Expeditions destination manager
- 12/22 - by Robert Schrader, independent travel blogger
And finally, I don’t want to overlook the most important opinions: Yours! As a travel company, we have the pleasuring of bringing many people to Peru for the first time, and afterwards hearing about their positive experiences. Below are some of my favorite excerpts of testimonials and emails from our past clients about moments, places, and people who made their trip to Peru special:
Noorman & Kelvin from Singapore said: “There were also many special moments for this trip. While my dream was to be able to see Machu Picchu in person, and the site has certainly lived up to its hype, the highlight of our trip was our 3-night stay in Hotel Titilaka. Staying right next to Lake Titicaca 12,000 feet above sea level was an incredibly peaceful, calming, and humbling experience. We initially never planned to visit Lake Titicaca, but after your suggestion and taking into consideration our interests in nature and a “detox” from our hectic city life, it turned out to be the best part of our trip in Peru!”
Rohini from India said: “Once we reached Aguas Caliente....the hotel collected our bags at the station and we went straight to the Lost City of Machu Picchu. WOW!!! It was all that I had read and more....There's just something so magical...so energetic...so calming....it’s really amazing.”
Hilda and Holly from Canada said: “As for highlights it's difficult to say what I liked best. The Amazon trip was amazing and very educational because our guide Moises is so knowledgeable about the area. He also made the excursions very enjoyable with his friendliness. As for Macchu Picchu, in spite us both feeling the effects of the high altitude we were still able to climb Wayna Picchu and be so totally awestruck by the panorama at the top!”
Alan Offstein from the United States said: “This was one of the most fantastic trips that we have ever been on. We feel like were challenged during the day and pampered in the evening. The hiking was some of the most severe and exciting that we have ever done and the evenings at the lodges were five star…from massages and hot tubs to gourmet dining! We also had a fantastic international group that hopefully will be lifelong friends and the guides Juan and Helen were in the end friends and family”
Have we convinced you yet? Speak to a Destination Expert about curating a tailor made Peru itinerary just for you, or check out our most popular Machu Picchu & Peru tours here.
Thanks to Art DiNo for the title image of this blog.