Traveling to Peru and looking to get off-the-beaten tourist path? Luckily, that is a very easy thing to do in Peru.
The ruins at Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley, the historical complex of Cusco, and the beaches on the Pacific coastline – these are the sites which attract the regular tourist groups. However, there is much more to do in Peru other than visiting the usual sightseeing spots noted in a tourist guide.
In today’s post, we are going to guide you through some non-touristy ways of exploring this great South American country.
Visit the local markets at Cusco
Though millions of tourists throng the streets of Cusco every year, they mainly visit the famous historic center of the city which is a UNESCO world heritage site. However, if you want to get more intimate with this ancient city and understand the local flavors and rhythms, you must visit the vibrant markets of the city.
Take a short walk from the historic center to visit the local Wanchaq market. The colorful florist shops that sell many indigenous varieties of flowers are a real treat for anybody who wishes to experience the Peruvian life. The local food and the fresh fruit juices available in the market are really cheap and delicious. Other local markets like San Pedro or Molino also offer a rich experience of local sights and scents of Peru.
Take a tram ride through the historical streets
Most of the tourists who come to the city of Cusco prefer to commute in the sophisticated tourist buses. But there is a more fun way to explore this historical city. Take the local tram service that passes by the main tourist sites and through the oldest as well as relatively modern neighborhoods of the city. The ride starts at Plaza de Armas and lasts around 1.5 hours.
For the whole ride, you will be provided with a local guide who will explain the historical and cultural importance of the city and its major sites.
Taste some crunchy, roasted ants as a snack
As big as a cockroach and curvy as a pin-up, the big-bottom ants are a real delicacy in Peru. Soaked in salt water and then roasted, these ants are eaten by the Peruvians like peanuts. The flavor and the taste are unique – slightly bitter and earthy.
This favorite snack of the Peruvians is available in the local markets in the Amazonian region of Peru. If you are in Peru, do not miss the opportunity to experience this unique South American snack.
Eat your breakfast with locals
If you want to experience the local life in Peru and mingle with the people, there is no better way than sharing your food with them. Begin your day with a breakfast in the Lima markets near the
Taste some soupy rice and fried crullers known as yuquitas fritas in Spanish. ‘Sopa rachi’ is a favorite dish among the locals as well. This is a dish of plain rice porridge with beef tripe, bean sprouts, and scallion toppings.
Birdwatching at the Colca Canyon
While most of the tourists go for the trekking along the Inca route, there is yet another fascinating trekking route in Peru. The Colca Canyon in Southern Peru is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.
You have to hike the mountainous roads through the canyon to reach the home of one of the rarest birds of the world – the Andean Condor. To watch those spectacular, large birds flying over the rough topography of the canyon is truly an out-of-the-world experience.