These expert Peru travel tips were given by our Peruvian Expedition Leader, Jorge Salas-Guevara. Expedition Leader Jorge is a favorite among International Expeditions guests, having led expeditions to the Amazon and Papua New Guinea. Jorge's "expertise" on all things Peruvian is beyond refute — his research and photography has been published in history books, and he has worked extensively with the Smithsonian, World Wildlife Fund and National Wildlife Federation.
- When visiting Cusco, Peru, find free time to stroll through the streets of the San Blas District. This is where the artisans have made their homes, which have mostly been turned into workshops, classrooms and shops. Here, the older generation of artists share their knowledge and teach their children and grandchildren the handicrafts of Cusco in order to keep the traditions of their art alive. Treasures abound and one can always find that special handicraft that will truly remind them of their magical journey through the land of the Inca.
- Don’t Miss: T’anta Restaurant in Lima, Peru. Located in the San Isidro district, T’anta is one of Peruvian culinary star Gaston Acurio’s moderately priced, café offerings. With delicious, freshly juiced drinks and inventive soups, pastas and a variety of options from a New Andean cooking style, Tanta’s sidewalk cafe is a great lunch spot in this trendy Lima neighborhood. (Editor's Note: I recommend sticking to the appetizers so you can leave plenty of room for dessert!)
- Lima is recognized as the culinary capital of South America and is full of really great restaurants. Add a few days in Lima to your next visit to enjoy some of them. Don't miss ceviche at La Mar Restaurant, a chita a la sal at Costanera 700 Restaurant and a pulpo a la oliva in any seafood restaurants. For dinners you can't go wrong with Rafael, Central, Fusion and Astrid y Gaston.
- When visiting Peru is almost mandatory to enjoy a Pisco Sour, the national cocktail made with pisco, a local brandy. One of the best experiences while in Lima is to enjoy one at La Huaca Restaurant located right in front of a pre-Inca temple. Enjoy a 45-minute tour of the archeological remain and crown it with the local beverage at the restaurant overlooking the remains just when it is illuminated after sunset. (Get traditional Pisco Sour recipe here.)
- Shopping in Peru is very good and the main products to look for include alpaca, pima cotton, Andean textiles, silver, pottery, music, coffee and chocolates. While in Lima, there are two places where you can find these products. Both are located in the Miraflores district. The first is the handicraft or Indian Market, an outdoor market with vendors from the whole country. The prices are fair and the offer is wide, but double-check the quality as it is variable. Bargaining is expected here and credit cards are not widely accepted. The second is Larco Mar, a mall that overlooking the bay of Lima, with good restaurants and cafes. Here you will find top-quality stores, all of which accept the main credit cards and where bargaining is not expected but superb quality is guaranteed. As a note, Larco Mar is the second most visited destination in the country, after Machu Picchu.
And one last tip from Kim Guth, our Peru Custom Travel Planner.
- A bit of France in Machu Picchu — who knew! Indio Feliz Bistro in Aguas Calientes came recommended to me as the best restaurant in town... although from the outside it seemed just like another basic place with bland food. Talk about not judging a book by its cover: this place was amazing! Each of the eight tables downstairs was immaculately set with crisp linens, attractive dinnerware and a vase of lilies, hibiscus and other beautiful flowers. In one corner was a working fireplace. Everything I sampled would not be out of place in a fine Paris restaurant — minus the prices and attitude. The meal was a dream. The fresh bread and red wine from Chile rounded out the experience.