Nothing is lacking for comfort: Peru travel tips
About the author
Iya Zaitseva is a Romance philologist, a Russian-speaking coach and consultant of a Canadian school of Lise Bourbeau Listen To Your Body personal growth center, an organizer of tours to holy places.
Your own heaven on earth
Being engaged into the sphere of harmonious development of personality and emotional health, I often think that following our accelerating pace of life, average people hardly have time and opportunity to just stop and realize who we really are, where and why we are moving, what our real desires are, and what makes us happy. Experience has proven it, that the best time to think about such matters is not at home being surrounded by daily routines and distractions, but while you are having a journey, so I love travelling.
One day, my teacher Lise Bourbeau suggested me to join her trip to Peru, accompanied by a spiritual guide. At that time I did not even know much about where this country is, have heard nothing about the mysterious monuments of past civilizations, its traditions and inhabitants. However, Lise’s idea intrigued me and I did not hesitate to make a decision: I'm going! Since then, I have visited the country three times and found there my own earthy heaven. There I like everything: weather, people, nature, food, air and deep sky.
Having gained some experience and explored Peru, I would like to share my tourist tips that will make your trip even better and more comfortable, since this direction is not as popular as Brazil or Argentina. We are talking about another continent where everything, even the season, is different: while we have winter, they enjoy summer. Thus, useful information will not be amiss.
In Peru, everyone will find something to his or her liking: a beach holiday by the ocean with surfing memorable for a lifetime; extreme canyons and volcanoes; gigantic natural parks and reserves, jungles, excavated constructions of ancient civilizations; the majestic Andes, and, of course, divine cuisine.
In Peru they have their own concept of service, quite specific. Familiar to us 3* may not be what we expect. Take, for instance, such an important thing as expensive electricity. The hotels, most often, provide room heaters, but be prepared to sleep under many warm and heavy blankets. At the same time, the local inhabitants have very kind and open hearts, they offer services demonstrating their burning desire to help as much as possible.
Travelling round the country, it is impossible to resist visiting mountainous areas with their amazing towns and villages. However, we have to remember that it is a serious stress the body, as the average height there is 3000 meters above sea level. The journey will be much easier if during 3-5 months before the planned trip you start taking Omega 3 capsules and Ginkgo biloba leaf extract, which regulate vascular tone. Mountain sickness will be mild (or will not come at all), and impressions of the trip remain unspoiled. If, however, you happen to be knocked down by illness in the highlands, ask your guide for wild mint drops, which the locals know under the name muña, they work wonders, and return to life even in the most critical cases.
Despite a strong Spanish influence, local customs and traditions are very unusual for the Europeans. Even something as simple as gestures, can make a fresh tourist stiffen with astonishment. Real life example: Peruvians often twist finger at the temple, but in the language of the locals this is not a sign of insult, but quite the contrary - means that the person is thinking intensely.
In this country they honour their sacred animals; puma, snake and condor. They have been depicted in many coats of arms, emblems and sacred images. You are unlikely to see pumas and snakes in modern places frequented by tourists, but the flight of a condor can be admired in the canyon of the Colca River. It's really an incredible show.
Peru has a very developed shamanism and sorcery with various traditions. They are used at every given opportunity: illness, birth, death, to bless and to drink a healing herbal ayahuasca brew. Curanderos often use guinea pigs to diagnose diseases. The animal is tied to the patient, left there for some time, and after death they cut a guinea pig to determine which organ is sick. The same organ is healed in human body. Shamans are treated seriously and respectfully, so even if some rituals seem ridiculous for a traveller, it is better not to declare it loudly, so as not to offend the locals.
New Year's holiday is celebrated in some areas twice a year. The first according to a calendar under the European tradition, the second, by tradition of the Andes inhabitants in the 20th days of June. The Peruvians arrange colourful festivities and carnival, block the city centre for a few days allowing every company, institution and generally everyone to walk on the central square in national costumes. The key event of the festivities is the celebration of Inti Raymi, which will be describe further. By the way, do not be surprised by the traditional gift in this country that it yellow panties given as a present to each other. It is believed that this particular item of clothing is sure to bring good luck.
The state officially adopted three languages: Spanish, Quechua and Aymara, but to the east of the Andes in the Amazon jungle natives speak another 13 different dialects.
Participation in the elections is necessary. If 18-year-old citizen did not vote, he would not be given a passport.
Instead of magnets and figurines from Peru, be sure to bring clothes and blankets made of wool of llamas and alpacas, silverware, coca tea, coffee and local grape vodka pisco, which is very good in cocktails. As for gifts to local residents, it is best to rejoice them with chocolate and strong liquor. Though the country if full of cacao, the Peruvians love to try European chocolate, and they like it most of all. Overseas alcohol drink is always interesting to taste.
In the next article, Iya Zaitseva will share with OUTLOOK readers even more interesting information about the country! Do you want to learn about Peruvian places of power, sacred animals of the Inca, or the gastronomic features of this exotic territory? Follow us!