Overall, we loved Peru. The food was delicious, the people were super friendly, and the scenery was amazing. With the Peruvian Nuevo Sol about 3:1 USD, it wasn’t the cheapest country (so far it’s still Mexico), but it was still very budget-friendly. After 34 days in Peru, here are some final random observations we had:
- We saw a ton of amazing ruins here - and not just Incan! Most people only think of Machu Picchu, but it was cool to learn about all the pre-Incan cultures as well.
- Chinese food restaurants are everywhere in Peru. They are called “chifas,” which we learned from the locals in Trujillo means “come eat” in Chinese. Supposedly when Chinese immigrants moved here and opened restaurants, they would stand outside and yell, “Chifa! Chifa!” which the locals thought was the name of the restaurant - thus all of these establishments now are called chifas. They serve both Chinese-Peruvian fusion dishes and what we would consider American-style Chinese food.
- From the cooking class in Lima, we learned that we should only buy fish and not any other meat at markets. Our chef does not trust the sanitation of the pork, chicken, or beef vendors. We also observed that it’s almost always cheaper to buy fruits and veggies from the market rather than the grocery store.
- Surprisingly, it was often cheaper for us to eat our meals at restaurants with “economy menus,” where from $1-4 per person you could get a set meal of a soup, an entree, and sometimes a dessert. We think it was cheaper to eat out because 70% of the meal was rice, plus when we shop for our meals we go crazy on fruits, veggies, and quality meat to make up for the less nutritious food served at restaurants. Gotta get all those vitamins!
- While we wouldn’t consider ourselves coffee connoisseurs, we do appreciate a cup or two of coffee in the morning. Unfortunately, as we mentioned before, almost all the places we stayed either had really bad instant coffee or none at all. We spoiled ourselves in Lima where we could brew our own coffee and drink as many cups as we wanted every day for over a week. We jumped for joy when both our hostels in Copacabana and La Paz served delicious real coffee. Bolivia is off to a good start!
- Arequipa’s trash trucks play music like in Baños, with their favorite song being “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid.
- We took eight buses in Peru, and for the most part all of our experiences have been great. They were all coach buses with movies, meals, and bathrooms - although attempting to pee while the bus rocks back and forth is not always so easy. We hear the quality of buses is definitely not the same in Bolivia. Our first two trips from Puno to Copacabana and Copacabana to La Paz weren’t bad, but the quality of bus is definitely not as good.
- The only negative bus experience we had was that our waterproof camera and Vesper’s Nintendo DS went missing after the bus ride from Lima to Ica. At least it’s less weight to carry now?