From one of the seven wonders of the world, Machu Picchu to the Amazon Rainforest, every passport stamp collector has added ‘Peru’ to their must-see list of countries. Located on the coast of South America, bordering Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia and Chile, this lush and large destination offers a little bit of something for every traveler. Because of it’s central location, it’s a frequent hot stop for both hikers and culinary explorers, all looking for their next Instagram post or inexpensive dinner.
If you’re considering booking a trip to Peru, here are some unique facts that sets this South American country apart from the rest:
It’s fairly inexpensive
Though nomads of every age book trips to Peru on the daily, an ideal time to visit is in your 20s and 30s, when you’re still limber, full of energy and well, on a budget. Not only because you’ll be hiking and trekking through various terrains, but because Peru isn’t a costly experience. Caroline Morse from SmarterTravel.com explains that because of the exchange between the Peruvian Sol and the United States Dollar (1 sol = .30 cents), once you land, you’ll spend less than you would if you stayed at home.
It’s ideal for the adventurous
“Peru is best explored when you’re in prime physical state, there are lots of outdoor adventure challenges – like hiking Machu Picchu – that you’ll want to do while you’re still young and fit,” Morse says. And as long as you’re up for anything (and yes, will do anything for that Insta), there’s plenty to choose from, depending on what you want to experience while you’re in South America. You can ride a float or a boat down the Amazon, trek up that World Wonder or zip-line over Nazca Lines. When you touchdown on the Peruvian soil, check your fear at the gate, you’ll need to engage your brave bone on this trip!
It’s home to some amazing culinary creations
If a vacation isn’t a vacation unless you come home with your belly full and your palette challenged, then make sure to add Lima to your gotta-taste-this bucket list. According to Morse, Lima is considered one of the ‘hottest culinary destinations right now’ – and that’s not surprising, considering it’s home to three of the world’s best restaurants. Central came in at number four, Maido at number 13 and Astrid y Gaston at number 30. And while other cities that are home to ingenious creations from chefs like New York and London will run up your credit card bill, you can get a tasting menu at some of these renowned restaurants for as little as $100. (Just beware, Peru is known for eating guinea pig – so make sure to check for ‘cuy’ while you’re ordering!)
It’s known for corn production
Love corn as a side dish or ingredient in your meals? You’re in lucky – there are more than 55 varieties of corn (yep, who knew?) grown in Peru. And it’s not just the golden yellow kernel that you’re likely used to seeing, but Peruvian corn comes in a rainbow of colors, from purple and white to black and more.
Its country is 60 percent Amazon rainforest
While you’ll want to make sure you’re fully prepared and educated before heading into the Amazon, it’s pretty incredible for a country to be the majority rainforest, especially in an industrialized world. From a walking tour to one on ATVs, zip-lining and basically everything in between, you can explore this natural habitat in whatever way feels comfortable (and safe!) for you and your travel buddies.
It has pink dolphins in the Amazon river
As if you need another reason to book your ticket, here’s another one: you can see pink river dolphins in Peru’s Amazon River. Yep, no joke – it’s a species of toothed whale, and are only found in South America. Though some of have been caught for bait in Central Amazon, they are protected under the law and mostly not held in captivity.
Lindsay is an experienced, established wellness, lifestyle, travel and love writer, editor and content strategist in New York City. Her work has appeared on SELF, Prevention, AskMen, Refinery29 and dozens of other sites. When she's not writing, she's busy traveling when the mood strikes and always searching for the best steak and glass of red wine.