Eat to your heart’s content
With a remarkably original and varied cuisine, influenced by Italian, Chinese, African and Spanish traditions, combined with techniques and flavours of indigenous foods, Peru is truly heaven for the gourmand in all of us. From world class restaurants to authentic street food, Peru offers you umpteen opportunities to overindulge. Tempt your taste buds with traditional dishes such as anticuchos, beef-heart skewers (see below) originating from African-Peruvians, and wash it down with freshly made fruit juices from the street vendors.
Dine on delectable ceviches in one of Lima’s many swanky restaurants such as the renowned Astrid y Gastón and if you’re feeling brave, sample the local delicacy, cuy (that’s guinea pig to you and I).
Feel the rhythm
Get in Latino spirit and take some salsa lessons. Despite originating in New York, salsa has a distinctively Latino feel and Lima boasts a huge variety of discotecas where you can show off your moves late into the night. And those with two left feet need not worry – salsa is all about improvising and enjoying it.
Explore a desert oasis
Nestled between huge sand dunes lies the incredible oasis town of Huacachina (see below). Like something from a movie set, the tiny natural turquoise laguna lined with picturesque palms is a desert paradise. If the adventurer in you is still raring to go, the enormous sand dunes offer the unique opportunity to try out sandboarding. Or it’s that a little too much considering you’re recovering from your climb, you can rent a sand buggy to explore the out of this world landscape or just simply kayak or swim your way around the incredible emerald lake. With a myriad of hotels and restaurants catering to your every need and activities to keep your heart pumping, this desert oasis is certainly no mirage.
Take a step back in time
Whilst the lost city of the Incas is a must-see, Machu Picchu isn’t the only pre-Colombian ruin worth visiting. Just outside of the northern city of Trujillo lies the ancient city of Chan Chan (see below), the world’s largest pre-Hispanic mud brick citadel. With incredible rectangular architecture and intricately decorated walls, Chan Chan is a vast complex made up of many cities within a city and offers an entirely different take on ancient ruins than Machu Picchu.
Similarly, Lima itself has a large number of historical ruins. Known to locals as huacas, ancient temples litter the city. The Pucllana Temple, or Huaca Pucllana, is surprisingly located in the middle of the city’s upscale Miraflores district, and is an abode ceremonial centre, thought to have been built around 500 AD.
Take it easy
If all that climbing has got the better of you, the town of Máncora is the perfect place to unwind. Home to Peru’s best sandy beaches that stretch for several kilometres, Máncora is the beach resort you weren’t expecting (but very much appreciate) on your adventure holiday. Spend long, lazy days soaking up the sun, sampling fresh sea food and surfing smooth, rolling waves in this beautiful beach paradise.
By Bridie Taylor, 2 May 2014