Lokal's Guide to Peru

By Lokal Team

Peru, The Land of The Incas

Peru is undoubtedly one of the richest countries all over the globe. From its northern beaches to archaeological pearls, and a blessed megadiversity in pristine areas of our Amazon Jungle, but not only that. The authenticity of its local communities with cultural values, our rich history, and a gastronomy that has incredibly come to delight the most demanding travelers. Once visitors are here, they really feel at home. Tour guides are not guides anymore, but local friends that show you around the best of our country. Here you have a chance to disconnect from everything and venture into an experience of a lifetime that will get you to the most iconic and why not to the less explored areas that we still have to offer.

Cultural Highlights

One of the things visitors usually say is “I loved the food”, “I loved Machu Picchu'', but Peru is definitely more than this amazing citadel! When exploring the country, you will get to immerse in the real local culture, learn about our rich history and our traditions. This is of course a bit of all the amazing things you will be about to see. Peru’s people are definitely th best representatives, and they will always welcome you with a big smile.

There are traditions still kept from ancient times, colorful customs that many people still wear so we have the chance to admire a living culture. Peru’s ancestors of the Inca culture left a vast heritage to feel proud of, which is worthy of admiration in these modern times.

For a taste of traditional Peru, head to a community in the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Cusco, where you will get to admire the natural landscapes as well as learn from the people and its local traditions. Enjoy a typical meal with them, and why not spend at least one night at a local homestay.

If you are enthusiastic about learning Spanish, venture into local markets or local communities and have a pleasant chat with the locals, as they will also expect to learn a bit of English. This is a very enjoyable intercultural experience. Apart from Spanish, guides or villagers will most likely be happy to share with you some quechua words, as this is one of their native languages.

A Nature Paradise

Most of the territory of Peru is covered by the dense Amazon rainforest. According to the Research Institute of the Peruvian Amazon. A great portion of Peruvian territory is biogeographical Amazon, which represents 13.05% of the total land mass of Peru.

The Amazon is one of Earth's last refuges for jaguars, harpy eagles, and pink river dolphins, and it is home to sloths, black spider monkeys, and poison dart frogs. It contains one in 10 known species on Earth, 40,000 plant species, 3,000 freshwater fish species, and more than 370 types of reptiles.

A rich area worth visiting, you will live outdoor experiences along with stays at rustic but enchanting lodges with all high quality services and nature experiences that allow visitors to get more immersed as well as share the values of a responsible trip. The Amazon Jungle is definitely a must, you might see a jaguar or caiman on the shores of the river, or admire the large variety of birds, and more!

Popular Destinations

From coast to coast, mountain top to splendorous valleys, cosmopolitan cities to rural villages, Peru is blessed with unique landscapes and cultural experiences. Visitors will be more than welcome to visit more than one of the many popular destinations while on the adventure of a lifetime.

The Central Coast is where you will find Lima, home to more than a quarter of Peru's roughly 30 million people. Lima has wonderful food, the beautiful Miraflores district (where you can drink while overlooking beaches lined with small rocks that form eye-catching patterns each time the tide rolls out) and great museums.

The southeast is probably one of the most desired areas to visit, as you will find Machu Picchu, a 15th-century Inca citadel located in the Cordillera, on a 2,430-metre (7,970 ft) mountain ridge. It is located in the Machupicchu District within Urubamba Province above the Sacred Valley, which is 80 kilometres northwest of Cusco. The Urubamba River flows past it, cutting through the Cordillera and creating a canyon with a tropical mountain climate.

In the coastal desert, southern Peru we can explore the Nazca Lines, which are a collection of giant geoglyphs which are designs or motifs etched into the ground located in the Peruvian coastal plain about 250 miles (400 kilometers) south of Lima. Created by the ancient Nazca culture in South America, and depicting various plants, animals, and shapes, the 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines can only be fully appreciated when viewed from the air given their massive size. Despite being studied for over 80 years, the geoglyphs—which were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994—are still a mystery to researchers.

In northern Peru , we will get to learn about The Moche Route, a tourist destination that begins in the Peruvian city of Trujillo in what once was the seat of power of the Moche culture known as 'The Temples of the Sun and the Moon' and then goes through a series of places that were part of the kingdoms Moche and Chimu. The route runs along northern Peru, mainly through the regions called La Libertad and Lambayeque. On this route, we find the major archaeological sites in this area, belonging to the Moche culture.

Experiencing the Best of Peru, The Lokal Way

Lokal connects travelers who crave awe-inspiring experiences with local tour operators who have a lifetime of knowledge about Peru and embody the spirit of conservation.

In partnership with local individuals, groups, and communities, we are committed to providing an amazing culturally immersive and sustainable trip. We choose partners that:

  • improve the wellbeing of local communities
  • preserve cultural traditions
  • conserve fragile environments

Whether you’re choosing from our reputable network of a-la-carte experiences or designing a more personalized travel experience with our custom trip planner, you can do it all with Lokal. But Lokal takes cultural connection one step further with our immersive community experiences.

In stark contrast to mass tourism, the emphasis of community tourism is social, economic, and environmental sustainability. This is a type of local-led tourism wherein individual entrepreneurs and small communities facilitate experiences that are part of their livelihoods, ultimately helping them develop alternative sources of income and a more sustainable future for themselves.

Take, for example, a community that has produced coffee as their primary source of income for generations. With coffee production stagnant in recent years, the community might facilitate coffee tours and set up a separate community lodge and restaurant, giving travelers the chance to actively participate in their daily lives. Engaging with these tourism projects provides the community an opportunity to continue to sustain themselves and even develop.

Community tourism is transforming an industry in which primarily big business and large development projects previously benefited, wherein environmental stewardship is more highly valued, and where travelers can have a positive impact.

On Lokal’s unique day and overnight trips, you’ll gain an understanding of rural and indigenous Peru in a way that few travelers do – and you’ll do it all while empowering local entrepreneurs and communities to maintain control over their land, livelihoods, and traditions.

Lokal’s Top 4 Excursions in Peru

With options that range from visiting a local community of immigrant artisans in Lima to venturing into a fascinating nature experience in the Amazon jungle, our goal is to make amazing sustainable adventures more accessible to travelers. Looking to get off-the-beaten-path immersive experience? Discover the soul of the country with Lokal’s top 4 excursions in Peru.

#1 Discovering Peru’s Wildlife & Nature
Join us on this fascinating adventure towards amazing destinations, Nor Yauyos-Cochas Landscape Reserve, Imperial city of Cusco and the Amazon Jungle, where you will get to admire beautiful landscapes with mountains, flora, fauna, as well as have big chances to meet up with local villagers and learn more about their traditions and lifestyle. Disconnect from modern life and soak in thousands of years of Andean culture! Expect the unexpected in this very new way of experiencing the more authentic side of Peru. Explore the Amazon jungle along with a large variety of activities that will allow you to immerse yourself in Tambopata, one of the most biodiverse areas all over the globe!

#2 Tasting a Little Bit of Everything
Explore Peru in a different way, tasting a bit of all the country has to offer. Learn about the culture, nature, history, and much more on this wonderful journey along with a great selection of places that we are sure will be unforgettable! Arrive in Lima, “America’s Gastronomical Capital” and participate in a culinary adventure that will take you to the most iconic sites for you to have a real feel of the city. Continue to the city of Cusco and the Amazon Jungle, where you will get to admire beautiful landscapes with mountains, flora, fauna, as well as have big chances to meet up with local villagers and learn more about their traditions and lifestyle. Disconnect from modern life and soak in thousands of years of Andean culture!

#3 Exploring Peru’s Highlights
You have probably heard of Peru’s southern highlights… but not like this… Join us on a journey of rediscovery. Connect Machu Picchu and Peru’s main highlights with the absolute best of the country’s hidden jewels. Lakes, forests, and sacred mountains - all together, all connected. Feel the warmth of the most authentic communities, disconnect from modern life and soak in thousands of years of Andean culture!

#4 Off-the-beaten-path Adventure in the Mountains
Venture into impressive and unforgettable experi ences that will allow you to discover the soul of our country. Admire impressive landscapes on board a bike, hike to along scenic mountains, learn about our culture, and much more in this wonderful journey along with a great selection of places that we are sure will make this a memorable trip! Arrive in Lima and wander around this city at your own pace. Continue to the city of Cusco and immerse yourself in the most impressive and enriching experiences, where you will get to admire beautiful sceneries with mountains as well as meet with local villagers from who you will get to learn a lot about their traditions and lifestyles. Disconnect from modern life and soak this off-the-beaten-path experience!

4 Reasons to Travel to Peru During Rainy Season

Many people decide to travel to Peru in the dry season - between April and October. Although weather conditions in these months are indeed more predictable, the rainy season in Peru offers unexpected surprises. Here we share 5 advantages of traveling to Peru during the rainy season.

#1 You can get the best sunsets in Lima
Although it doesn’t sound logical, sunsets in Lima during the rainy season are the best ones! Why? The rainy season is summertime in Peru (and in all the Southern hemisphere). Since Lima is not affected by the rain, from December to April, you can observe some of the most beautiful orange-purple afternoon skies you’ve ever seen. The best way to enjoy them is by walking through Miraflores promenade while eating a refreshing ice cream.

#2 You can avoid the crowds in Machu Picchu
As one of the 7 Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu can get very crowded sometimes. Machu Picchu landscapes and mysticism are worth it, but it’s not for everyone. For the ones that love quiet and peaceful places but want to get to know Machu Picchu at least once in their lifetime, the rainy season might be a good option. It might just be a handful of tranquil travelers, just like you.

#3 You can take part in authentic celebrations
Some incredible local celebrations in Peru occur during the rainy season. Virgen de la Candelaria festivity takes place in Puno (Southern Andes of Peru) every February and gathers more than 100 thousand dancers and 10 thousand musicians. This authentic festivity must be enjoyed by anyone who likes learning about new cultures. It might get rainy, so put on your raincoat and keep celebrating!

#4 You can still visit the lodges in the jungle
The Amazon jungle is one of the highlights of Peru. Many people visit this part of the country during the dry season, but the truth is that you can also do it in the rainy season. If you are thinking of visiting Tambopata, you should know the pros of going during the rainy season. Macaws are more active on the clay licks, and they are nesting. Between December and February, the nesting season is at its highest. Remember to bring your raincoat and some bug spray, because mosquitoes can be active during these months.

Safety

Peru is the third biggest country in South America and is also one of the most diverse in the world. It is home to ancestral traditions, culture, and nature. When visiting Peru, you’ll see how diverse each region is, not only regarding nature but also culturally. Nevertheless, when traveling, even to the most stunning destination, we’d like you to feel safe.

Like many other countries in developing destinations, the region’s beauty and uniqueness are countered by inequality and lack of investment. This has led to crime rates (mainly theft and scams) not being uncommon in the larger cities. We know this doesn’t sound very attractive, but it’s important to mention it regardless. Most experienced and well-traveled visitors will understand this well and not be too concerned. However, having said this, it is our duty to take care of you during your visit. That’s why we present you here with a few recommendations to be extra safe:

Avoid walking alone at night on empty streets. Even though our hotels are well located in excellent areas of our cities, we’d recommend you not wander alone too carelessly in the late evening. If you decide to go for drinks, don't do it by yourself.

Don’t flaunt valuables! If going for a walk or going on public transport, be sensible and avoid showing off expensive items such as expensive watches and jewelry.

Be careful of pickpockets! Don’t leave your bags anywhere that doesn’t look safe, and make sure to take them with you.

Is it safe for families?
In general, Peru is a safe country to travel with your kids. People are kind, the landscapes are truly unique, and the learning experiences are enriching. We have had many families travel with us, some more adventurous than others, and they have always had a great time. However, there are few things to consider. For example, we’d recommend you to talk to your doctor before taking children under 2 years old into altitude regions, and make sure that all activities you book are kid friendly.

How safe are water and food in Peru?
In some countries, if you feel like having glass of water, you just drink it from the tap. Unfortunately, this is not an option in Peru. Make sure to boil the tap water before drinking it at for at least 1 minute in rural areas, and we recommend bringing a refillable water bottle so that you could refill it at the water stations available at many hotels.

Peruvian food is famous for good reason! It is delicious! You will see many cafés, restaurants, bars and street food which at some point might be tempted to try. Even though it could look fantastic, be wary, especially of uncooked foods. For most Peruvians, street food is no problem, but visitors are not used to it; therefore, eating untreated street snacks could lead to unwanted stomach issues. The best way to experience Peruvian Cuisine is to ask for recommendations from your local guides, friends, or travel specialists. If you know you have stomach problems while traveling or have a sensitive stomach, only order raw food or fresh salads in well-established restaurants.

Is it necessary to get travel insurance?
Life has taught us that unexpected things can happen. These could be either good, great, or sometimes bad. There are indeed some things you cannot control when traveling, but there are others that you can. Opting for good travel insurance is the responsible thing to do regardless of where you are going. It will be extremely helpful not only if accidents happen but also if you lose something of value or if you have issues with flights.

Are there any unsafe destinations in Peru?
If you are visiting big cities such as Lima, Cusco, or Arequipa, you should pay extra attention in crowded places as they are a popular spot for pickpockets or scammers offering services.

In case you are visiting the Amazon, we always recommend booking your stay at a lodge which is the safest experience. We suggest you avoid being on your own and going without planning, particularly if traveling to Iquitos or Puerto Maldonado.

To sum up, yes, Peru is a safe and fascinating place to visit! Whether it is with your kids, alone, or with a group of family and friends. Always follow your guide’s recommendations, and don’t fear asking about everything to clear all the doubts you might have before traveling.

Lokal Team

From the entire Lokal Team.

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