If you're thinking about where to take your next trip, here's a few great reasons why you need to add Peru to the top of your list. Whether you plan to travel solo, with your partner, or a friend, this country has so much to offer.
1. The Amazon Rainforest
I had the opportunity to stay in an eco-lodge with G Adventures (also known as the Tambopata Eco Lodge), and this part of the trip ended up being one of the most memorable for me. Imagine for a moment, that you are in a real life version of the movie Avatar. The Peruvian Amazon is about as close to Pandora as can possibly exist on this planet. The Amazon jungle's signature ceiba tree is strikingly similar to the Tree of Life in the movie. Our guide took us through the rainforest explaining the different trees, as well as all the different leaves and plants and how Peruvians use them for medicinal purposes.
After putting some war-paint on our faces (created from the juices of a leaf) we set out through the rainforest to spot local wildlife. From monkeys to Caiman and even my most feared creatures like Tarantulas and Piranhas, I was simply blown away. The Amazon rainforest is like no other place on earth, and I highly recommend you experience it.
2. The Trek to Machu Picchu
Whether you chose to hike the Inca Trail, or take the train to Aguas Calientes, both methods offer breathtaking views of the Peruvian landscape. From lush rainforests, to ancient ruins, and stunning mountain ranges, getting from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu is a journey in itself.
3. No GMOs!
One of the things I loved about Peru was the fact that they launched a 10 year ban on GMO foods. The law is aimed at safeguarding the country’s agricultural diversity and preventing cross-pollination with non-GMO crops.
As a result you won't find any North American fast foods joints like McDonalds or KFC there. Instead you'll get to delve into local dishes like Ceviche, Anticuchos, Chocio, Picarones, and of course, the infamous Cuy (also known as Guinea Pig). Wash it all down with a Pisco Sour which is the country's local cocktail. Made out of grape wine, Pisco packs a serious punch at 40% (80 proof) so I would recommend drinking this later in the day as it will put you to bed in no time.
"Thousands of travellers pass through this region en route to Machu Picchu every year, about 15,000 of them with G Adventures alone. We at Planeterra knew this near-constant flow of travellers could provide a substantial amount of income to a village restaurant, and Huchuy Qosco was the perfect place to make it a reality." - The Planeterra Foundation
Companies like G Adventures and the Planeterra Foundation are actively doing their part to ensure that the tourists that they are bringing into the country, are spending their money in the right places that will directly benefit the local communities. Even small farming communities are benefiting from tourists by being offered grants to open up farm-to-table style restaurants and feeding travellers a delicious Peruvian meal. I had a chance to try out the community-run restaurant in the Sacred Valley called the Parwa Restaurant which opened in March 2014 in Huchuy Qosco ("Little Cusco" in Quechua). This area has traditionally lacked opportunity to benefit from sustainable tourism.
Looking for more information on travelling to Peru or with G Adventures? Contact a Flight Centre Travel Consultant by connecting with us online, visiting your closest Flight Centre store, or calling 1-877-967-5302