After spending three months fundraising for Peruvian Hearts, an all-girls orphanage in Cusco, my friend and I embarked on an epic adventure to Peru to visit the orphanage and explore the beautiful country. We also went to play with a Slot Machine. We spent four days trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu which was a major bucket list trip for me. Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is one of the biggest attractions for tourists around the world.
This unique and fascinating country stands out from the crowd with its different cultural and natural treasures. Peru is also home to natural wonders like the Amazon, Lake Titicaca, and Rainbow Mountain as well as the beautiful coastal city of Lima. It’s a diverse country with countless destinations to discover! If you want to know more about Peru, just click here: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/18/world/americas/peru-president-vizcarra-impeachment.html
WHAT TO EXPECT
Language: Peru has three official languages. Spanish is the most widely spoken, followed by Quechua and Aymara.
Currency: The currency of Peru is the nuevo sol . 1 USD is equivalent to about 3.31 PEN.
Credit Cards and ATMs: In Peru’s main cities, you’ll easily find ATM’s that accept Visa cards for cash withdrawals. While there are ones that take Cirrus/MasterCard, they aren’t as common. Visa is also the most widely accepted card in Peru for purchases at shops and restaurants.
Plugs: The plugs in Peru are Type A and C. The standard voltage is 220 V, and the standard frequency is 60Hz. I recommend buying a universal adapter (make sure it has surge protection) and using a converter for hair dryers and hot tools.
Safety: While Peru used to have a bad reputation for crime in its major cities, the situation has improved in recent years. Today, it’s a relatively safe country to travel around, but you’ll need to keep your eye on your belongings as petty theft is still common.
BEST TIME TO Visit
Peru is a massive country and deciding when to visit greatly depends on what you want to see and do. The best time to conquer the country’s famous Inca Trail is in the winter. From June to August, the weather is dry and the days are warm.
For trips to the Amazon, June to November is a favorite among travelers. There’s less rainfall which means you won’t have to worry about trails closing or the cold, wet season temperatures.
But if you’re traveling to Peru on a budget, the winter months are the most expensive. Save money on airfare and hotels by braving the rainstorms and exploring the country’s top sights with fewer crowds.
Cusco is one of my favorite cities in South America! It’s home to delicious food, a fascinating history, herds of adorable alpacas and a whole lot of adventure.
I first traveled to Cusco in 2013 as part of my volunteering trip with Peruvian Hearts. We raised over $5,500 for the charity, and all our fundraising efforts went towards the education of 13 young girls.
In between exploring the city, we hiked the Inca Trail, I spent Christmas with a local family and got to see Cusco through the eyes of the locals.
You can get to Cusco by bus, train or plane. The Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport is a small airport that only receives international flights from La Paz, Bolivia.
If you’re flying in, it’s best to land in Lima and take a connecting domestic flight to the city.
But if you have the time and want to save money, take the local bus or train. The bus routes run all over the country and are a great way to travel like a local if you don’t mind sitting for long periods.
For something more luxurious, take the first-class train ride into Cusco from Puno. The service only runs a couple of days a week, and the journey takes around 10 hours.
If you’re looking for a super luxury stay in Cusco, check into the Belmond Monasterio or the Belmond Palacio. Both properties are five-star hotels and are excellent options if you’re looking for some pampering while in Peru. Besides their uber-luxe accommodation, Belmond also operates a luxury train to take guests from Cusco to Aguas Calientes to visit Machu Picchu. If you’re planning on staying in the area for a night or two, check out their hotel Belmond Sanctuary Lodge.
Samana Inn & Spa
If you’re looking for an upscale and romantic experience in Cusco, the Samana Inn and Spa is truly magical. With floor to ceiling windows in the bedrooms, you’ll have a stunning view of the mountains in the distance.;
Hotel Cusi Wasi
With rooms starting at $50 a night, Hotel Cusi Wasi is an affordable option for travelers that are looking for an excellent mid-range option. Included in your nightly rate is a private room with hot water, a delicious breakfast, free pickup from the airport and as much coca tea as you want.
Have Breakfast at San Pedro Market
Shopping at the San Pedro Market is an excellent place to try authentic Peruvian food. Located only 10-minutes from the Plaza de Armas (the city’s main square), you can spend an hour or two wandering around and sampling all the delicious meals for sale.
Don’t forget to pick up some quinoa, Camu Camu (a cherry-like fruit), and maca (a pungent root). Whatever you do, make sure you try to haggle! Prices are always negotiable.
Book a Tour at the Choco Museum
Peru ranks in the top 10 largest cacao producers in the world. If you’re a chocolate addict like me, you don’t want to miss out on a tour of the Choco Museum!
You can book a mini chocolate workshop and learn how to turn a bean into a bar of chocolate. Other options include attending a cooking class, going on a plantation tour or a chocolate, coffee, Pisco and beer tasting.
Grab Lunch at Plaza de Armas
Plaza de Armas is the main square of Cusco and is the top tourist attraction in the city. It’s an excellent spot for foodies who want to enjoy a traditional Peruvian meal.
Grab something to eat on the go and wander past the city’s ancient Cusco Cathedral and the Church La Compañía de Jesús.