Two important and basic needs any backpacker in Peru has, are something affordable and nice to eat and a good place to party hardy from time to time. Peru excels in both aspects in many ways, with a lively party scene at night and culinary highlights throughout the day.
As we also have been travelling around a lot and know Peru inside out, we give you some pointers to look out for to take a good pick in all options available. In all cases, especially while travelling for the first time, try avoiding looking like the typical tourist by walking around with guidebooks. This always makes people a more likely target or be more open for unsolicited approaches. Also, make sure you spread your valuables out over your bags, clothing, money belt and the like, so not one single bag gets lost with your entire life in it….which unfortunately is still seen way too much in all backpack destinations.
Food and drinks
Peru has a wide variety of food and flavours to offer and therefore also comes with some general warnings when buying food and drinks on the streets.
When buying drinks on the streets from a local vendor, make sure the bottle caps are properly closed and not screwed loose before. On the other hand, for buying street food generally goes; when in doubt, don’t put it in your mouth. There is plenty of great street food around, so just stroll around until you find a stand you like.
We also have posted a great article with some practical food safety tips for eating in Lima, for some more detailed advice.
When you plan to travel, make sure you do not eat too much “surprising” fresh food that your stomach might encounter a problem with. Bus trips can be long and depending on the bus company you choose, the toilet might not be that attractive…
If you plan to be adventurous by going up in altitude (hiking), keep in mind that you shouldn’t eat too much greasy food on the first day. Instead, it is highly recommended you eat some chicken soup on the first day, avoid extreme activities in the first few days to come out fresh and fruity on the mountain tops. Also, you might want to take some altitude pills along, from a local pharmacy (no subscription needed), to make sure you take all precautions and enjoy the hikes!
Peru’s nightlife is something a lot of backpackers experience as modern, awesome and never ending. Especially the big cities can show you a great time, as we posted in our article about 5 great party clubs in Lima’s nightlife.
The nightlife can be fun, but also attracts people with other intentions. In this aspect be careful for international and local people approaching you, offering or asking you favours. Do not be led away in darker unprotected zones away from the bars and clubs.
Inside, keep an eye at all times on your drink and do not accept drinks from strangers as people might add unwanted substances to it.
When you go back towards your hostel using a local taxi, make sure you don’t go alone or let others go alone when intoxicated. In most cases the driver will drop you off at the required location anyway, but there are people who do abuse this situation and try to rob you when falling asleep or try overcharging you.
Finally, keep in mind you are in a different culture with different customs. Therefore treat everybody with respect to keep that positive backpack vibe alive during a great nightlife in Peru!
And for the rest….
As Peru has a very diverse country and climate, also the flora and fauna are different from place to place. Make sure you always are up-to-date weather conditions, like the rain season and on vaccinations when travelling in another environment, like the jungle or when crossing into another country. For Peru you do not need a special vaccination.
The rainforest forms a big part of Peru’s surface and so do the animals that live in these magnificent forests. Do not go into random unfamiliar environments if you do not know the risks it brings along. Most important is to be well informed about the local flora, fauna and options for exploring, like organized and guided tours or going on a wonder yourself.
But all-by-all, do enjoy it! These pointers are only meant to guide your backpack experiences in Peru, so take them as guidelines along in your mental luggage and venture and explore through Peru’s unbelievable natural wonders.