Things they don’t tell you about traveling to Perú

While I think I was pretty prepared for the trip luggage-wise, there were many elements of the trip that no one had mentioned or thought about before, information that would have been helpful to know before arriving…

  1. Perú is still a developing country. Which means they are relatively poorer… Just keep that in mind throughout your travels because despite the touristy places in the country, the country is still in its developing stages. I did not expect their standard of living to be so humble, but it was truly a remarkable experience.
  2. Bugs are everywhere in the Amazon. There are tons. Most are harmless, considering the millions of numbers of species present in the rainforest, but mosquitoes, spiders, and other little bugs are bound to bite. Bug spray is a must at all times. At night, we made sure to cover our bodies with a mixture of alcohol and Avon’s Skin So Soft bath oil because it not only makes our skin soft, but the smell is similar to that of bug repellent and will keep the bugs out at night. It’s an old military trick, and it works.
  3. High-Altitude Sickness can be a huge problem. Okay, so maybe you were warned about this one, but are you really prepared? Although my family had all taken the Diamox medicine, each of us suffered different effects–anything from tingling fingers and headaches to diarrhea and nausea. Make sure to do extra research about your personal health and possible effects in altitudes of 12,000 ft or higher.
  4. Be prepared for many flights. If your itinerary looks anything like mine, you should be prepared for many hours in flight. My 15-day trip consisted of 10 flights in total, including connecting flights to the country and transfers within. Due to the geography of the locations, the only way to travel from Lima to Cusco or Puerto Maldenado is by plane, unless one prefers to spend 24 hours or more on a bus.
  5. Always carry toilet paper with you at all times. Always. Hand-sanitizer as well. Bathroom conditions can differ drastically from place to place, so always bring some toilet paper in your day pack to keep yourself prepared for anything.
  6. Pure-blood Incas are still living among the country. While most are mixed with Spanish and other heritages, Incas are continuing to thrive although their population remains a minority. Be respectful of their beautiful, ancient culture and absorb it as much as you can while there.
  7. It will be a history lesson. A long one, but a very meaningful one. The Incas only dominated for about 95 years, but what they accomplished is stunning. While there, really pay attention to not only the beauty of the country, but also the valuable history lessons that can be learned.
  8. Lima has the world’s best restaurants. The capital city alone holds the 4th, 13th, and 30th best restaurants according to The World’s 50 Best, a prestigious honor. One must make a reservation to Central, #4, three months prior to the preferred dining date or it would be impossible to dine there.
  9. They love cuy. In other words, guinea pig is not an uncommon food. In fact, many local families raise them at home to eventually eat (they are huge!) instead of keeping them as pets. If you are brave enough, try it! I heard it tastes like chicken, but better..
  10. Traffic in Lima. It’s comparable to that of LA. Lima is not only the country’s capital, but home to 10 million people–that’s a third of the country’s population. With buses, minibuses, and personal cars everywhere, also expect much time on the road.
  11. Don’t stress!! While this list consists of things one might not be told before the trip, it does not mean they are bad. Honestly, I loved all the experiences this trip brought me because it was simply that: an experience. I have learned life skills that can definitely help me in the future and share my knowledge with others who I know will someday also see the same grand adventures as myself.

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