Friends, family, and those who follow me on social media are probably all aware that Em and I recently spent a chunk of time in Peru. In short, it was an incredible two week trip filled with amazing people, fantastic food, and tons of memorable adventures and experiences. The plan is to document some of those memories here on the old blog, along with some additional tips and info for those who may be interested. There will be plenty of pictures as well (I actually took enough pictures that my phone wouldn’t work until I cleared some space!). Be sure to check out our video at the bottom!
Yes, we were actually here and took this picture! So amazing, and the picture doesn’t even do it justice…
Why Peru? The Long Story:
I spent a semester abroad (~5months) in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2007. I absolutely loved everything about my experience while there – from the people (my norteamericanos that I traveled with as well as the locals I met down there), the food, the culture, the history, and all of my other adventures. Near the end of my time in Argentina, I was able to take a short jaunt through Peru – about 10-12 days, where a buddy and I stopped in several different small towns and absolutely loved it. A Peruvian friend, Marita, (that I met in Argentina) helped us plan our trip. We saw a lot, but definitely not everything!
Crew from 2007 in Argentina!
I met my wife at college the semester I returned from Argentina. Fresh off my travels, I was constantly talking about South America – specifically Argentina and Peru, of course. Again, the food, the people, the sights, and everything else that came with it. I must have talked it up enough that I got her relatively excited about South America as well. We always talked about going down and making some memories for the two of us in South America.
Flash forward about 6-7 years – I asked her to marry me, and she said yes. One of my wedding responsibilities was deciding on and planning the honeymoon location (pending honey’s approval). South America wasn’t really a consideration for the honeymoon – we knew that we wanted to relax and enjoy leisurely fun in the sun with cocktails. But we also knew that we wanted to make it to South America before kids were on the table at all. So we started putting a little money away each month – our “Honey Money” – to take cover both our island honeymoon trip and the trip to South America that we knew we were going to attempt before even thinking about kids.
When it came down to deciding where in South America – we knew that we were between Argentina and Peru. I knew both of these places relatively well – a substantial amount of time spent in Argentina, and a trip through Peru with a friend in Lima who I knew would be a great resource and help to us. I also knew that both are quite safe to travel in (of course, you always need to be careful and a savvy traveler regardless of your location), and both had plenty to see and do. In the end, there were several reasons we ended up choosing Peru over Argentina.
Cost/expense (one of the most important): We were able to get round trip airfare from Ft. Lauderdale to Lima for $400 / person. That was literally half the price of the airfare from Ft. Lauderdale to Buenos Aires. [Note: We saw some prices as low as $350 round trip, but for different dates than we needed.] In addition, the US dollar is strong right now in comparison to the Peruvian sol ($1US = ~ 3.25 soles), which means you get a lot of bang for your buck once down there. And you can – and should – think in terms of soles (Peruvian) while there…you can get a very tasty steak dinner for 20-30 soles (about $6-10 US), so it truly is a good exchange rate that is hugely beneficial for us.
Things to see / do and location: There is so much to see and down in Peru (I will be telling you all about some of these places and things!) and most are all within a reasonable distance that can be traveled within a reasonable time frame. Argentina has plenty to see and do, but it is also more spread out – you will lose a handful of days to travel and it will be quite expensive if you try to make it to Buenos Aires, Patagonia, Bariloche, Iguazu Falls, Mendoza, and Cordoba (all very cool places in Argentina – but all spaced quite far apart – you would likely have to fly from place to place). However, in Peru, we were able to hit several cities – each with its own history, feel, and sites to see – without losing much, if any, time travelling and without spending a ton of extra money flying from location to location to location. You can see city, small town South America, ocean, cliff, countryside, mountains, desert, and jungle, all with easy, affordable bus trips from city to city. We were able to see a lot, on a reasonable budget, without losing days to travel and flights.
People: I mentioned a dear friend of mine who lived in Lima and was happy to host us while in Lima as well as help plan certain sections of the trip and give recommendations. She was absolutely fantastic and we can’t thank Marita enough for everything she did! When I mention people, I also mean Peruvian people in general; they tend to be very kind and welcoming – es una gente muy carinosa!
Friends in Lima. We look like the grandparents surrounded by our family!
Food: It’s all about the food, and the food in Peru is amazing! Argentina has a wide-reaching reputation of great wine and food, particularly steak. I will say that the food in Argentina was good, though it may not have fully lived up to its reputation. I remember being more impressed with the food in Peru during my travels in 2007, and this trip absolutely solidified this assessment. The cuisine is so flavorful with lots of vibrant tastes and dishes – don’t worry, I will be sure to recap some of our favorite meals we had while there!
One of our best meals of the trip – “La Trilogia” at Zig Zag restaurant in Arequipa. Three meats – alpaca, beef, and lamb,
along with delicious dipping sauces and quinoa.
So check out our video recap below (while it is a pretty cool video with some amazing footage, it’s just not possible to describe and capture the actual experience of being there – seeing, tasting, and hearing everything in person!). And be sure to stay tuned for more posts on some of our adventures in Peru! Such an awesome trip with so many great experiences.