Relatively unknown only a few years ago, Peruvian gastronomy has since been recognized as one of the most refined and exquisite cuisines in the world. Travelers to Peru cannot miss out on some of the hundreds of dishes which comprise Peruvian food. There are many specialties, some more common than other: from to roast goat to guinea pig, don't be afraid to try and you will without a doubt be surprised. Learn about this country's marvelous culinary traditions, and don't worry about the pound or two you will gain; it's worth it!
Gastronomes will revel in the myriad excellent dishes available throughout the country. If you want to learn more about Peruvian cuisine, and eat as much as you can before you have to go home to your hamburgers and chips, why not take a culinary tour around the country? Each major regions of Peru boasts its own specialties.
In the North, favorites include pato a la naranja en almibar (honey-glazed duck in orange sauce) and cabrito al horno (roast goat). The Arequipeña cuisine is celebrated in the entire country, with specialties such as ocopa arequipeña (boiled potato slices in a slightly spicy cheese sauce), and rocoto relleno (stuffed bell peppers).Mountain cities such as Ayacucho and Huancayo are renowned for their hearty stews and creative dishes made from animal organs. Cuy (guinea pig) is largely confined to the Andes. Don't forget to try Chifa, a fusion cuisine combining Peruvian and Chinese influences.
Once you try this excellent cuisine, you will want more. Make sure to bring back some cooking books, and try to master the rocoto relleno or the lomo saltado receipes at home. The best way to do that would be to take some cooking lessons with true Peruvian chefs that will show you the unique techniques they use to create these amazing dishes and ravish your taste buds. Even if you don't have much time in Peru, you will not regretting taking the time to learn how to cook some of the best meals you will ever have. And this is probably one of the greatest ways to gain insight into the fascinating Peruvian culture. The ways of the stomach always tell what people's way of life really is like.
Peru boasts a particularly rich culture which has been formed over centuries under influences from various civilizations which originated as early as 1,200 BC. The first building culture of Peru, one of the earliest and most influential in the country was the Chavin culture, which developed in the northern Andes between 1,200 and 400 BC. Although not much remains from this fascinating culture, a few archeological sites have been uncovered, featuring impressive architectural techniques as well as human forms and geometric shapes on their potteries, which have greatly influenced artists all over the world, such as Pablo Picasso.
The Moche people appear among the earlier civilizations of Peru, flourishing over a long period between 100 BC and AD 850. Although they ruled over a relatively small territory in northern Peru, their mastery or art techniques and tremendous cultural contributions made them one of the most influential civilizations in the history of Peru. Among their fantastic heritage are some impressive pyramids, rich jewelry, and sumptuous ceramics. They are particularly famous for their refined erotic pottery.
Of course, the Inca is the most renowned civilization of Peru with countless remnants of this glorious empire which conquered most of Peru in the 15th century. The Incas are most famous for their architectural heritage which features some truly amazing characteristics, and extremely evolved techniques, some of which still remain a mystery today. The most famous Inca site is the majestic citadel of Machu Picchu, recognized among the World's New 7 Wonders. However, the Incas were surprisingly relatively unimaginative artists, and they relied on former the motifs and methods of former societies that they conquered.
The colonial conquest by the Spanish brought an entirely new cultural influence to Peru, which is one of the most common all around the country. In virtually every city, colonial buildings and art stand as remainders of these times. The combination between European and indigenous artistic traditions resulted in a unique Peruvian art that is found nowhere else in the world. The most famous art movement under the colonial conquest is known as the Escueala Cusqueña (Cusco School), predominantly European and catholic but with strong traditional Andean influences.
If you're planning on visiting Peru, you're probably thinking of all the amazing historical sites you can see. From the capital city of Lima, to the ancient Incan capital of Cuzco, to Machu Picchu, you will have lots of fun things to do. Before you travel to Peru, consider these must not miss sites and things to do.
Traveling to Peru
LAN Airlines offers a wide variety of flights to Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport. The airport offers many direct flights from U.S. and Canadian cities. If you're trying to travel from an international US destination always think LAN Airlines.
Things to Do In Lima
One of the best things to do in Lima is eat. The locals love their food and it shows in the many restaurants you'll find throughout the city. In between meals, though, consider visiting the Aliaga House. This is the oldest house throughout the entire Americas. Eighteen generations of the Aliaga family have lived in the house, though the current generation lives in a modern annex. If you're interested in taking a tour of the home, be prepared because they aren't exactly cheap. Visitors need to book tours at least 24 hours in advance, so realize this isn't something you can just drop into.
If historic churches are more your style, consider visiting the Church of San Francisco. The church was built in the 1600s and is known for its catacombs. The catacombs reportedly house 75,000 bodies and many of them have exposed remains so a tour is not for those who are easily queasy.
Visiting Cuzco and Machu Picchu
Cuzco is a fast-growing city in Peru. It's also a big tourist destination, thanks to the efforts of a former mayor. Many people visiting Cuzco take a day trip to Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu is only about 50 miles northwest of Cuzco and was recently named as one of the 'New Seven Wonders of the World.' Visitors to Machu Picchu can visit the historic buildings to see what they originally looked like back in the 1400s. Although restoration isn't complete, visitors can get an idea of what life was like when the city was abandoned in the 1500s.
Other things to do in Cuzco include hiking through the ruins at Sacsayhuaman, visiting the town's cathedral and exploring the Inca Museum.
These are only a few of the things you can explore if you have the opportunity to travel to Peru. If you're interested in making your dream a reality, get out that passport and start looking into flights.