“Peru? Why Peru?”
This was the most common reaction I received when I informed family members and friends of my intentions to visit Peru during the summer of 2019. My answer was that Peru has been on my bucket list, especially due to the lost city of Machu Picchu—one of the new Seven Wonders of the World and the most visited attraction in Peru. Machu Picchu, which was declared a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site in 1983, is believed to have been a scared religious site for the Inca royalty. However, Peru, as I now know, is much more than just a country of historical and spiritual significance.
Exploring a New Culture
The rich Catholic traditions and the beautiful colonial architectural influence on buildings and churches in old Lima, Arequipa, and other locations were so impressive. The diversity of the land was breathtaking—from the Colca Canyon and the magnificent Andean Condors, who extend their wings up to 10 feet from tip to tip while gliding above you, to the incredible landscape views of the volcanoes surrounding Arequipa city.
The natives and their humble attitude, and the ethnic minorities of Japanese and Chinese, contributed to the felling of hospitality and cosmopolitan Peru. The country has 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites—eight of which are cultural sites, two that are natural sites, and two that are mixed sites.
Recommendations for Travelers
If you are a tourist who loves water, there plenty of sites that would interest you. Uros Floating Islands (man-made floating islands), Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, are just a few. If you can’t get enough of the water, go and visit the National Reserve of the Ballestas Island. There are huge colonies of sea lions, Humboldt penguins, and many other marine animals.
A must stop in Peru is the Nazca Lines and its large geoglyphs formation. The lines that were imbedded into the landscape are one of the biggest unresolved mysteries in the world. Who created these shapes? Why? When? When you fly above them, the lines are revealed and they turn to be shapes of a spider, monkey, and triangles, etc. You can only view these interesting shapes from above.
If food is your calling, then the country’s capital, Lima, is for you! According to travel experts, Lima is known as the culinary capital of all South America. While ceviche originated in Peru, cuy al hormo (roasted guinea pig), lomo saltado (fried beef, chicken, or alpaca meat), and rocoto relleno (filled pepper) are the favorites for many tourists. I, a seafood lover, had the most scrumptious, fresh, and best meals of old favorites and new sea creatures. I loved each meal there.
The short time I spent in Peru this summer was not long enough to unlock the many wonders and mysteries of the country, but it did provide me with a different answer to the question the inquiring minds asked me when I told them about my travel plans.
¡Bienvenido a Peru!
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