Throughout this trip, my focus has been visiting off-the-beaten path communities and getting their information so I can publish it on Keteka. As such, most of my days have been spent traveling to or within rural Peruvian communities which few tourists visit. Along the way, however, I did take some side trips (on personal money) to more conventional tourist destinations. Because honestly, for all the saturated, annoying tourist traps out there, most tourist destinations are touristy precisely because they’re worth visiting. Following are my top five favorite conventional trips that I took on this trip.
Top Five Conventional Tourist Trips in Peru:
- Sandboarding: An classic tourist thing to do in Peru, I did my sandboarding in Huacachina, just outside of the city of Ica. I paid for a one hour excursion on a dune buggy, whose driver absolutely whipped it around those dunes, which was a major part of the outing (too major in my opinion, but the other tourists enjoyed it). We stopped several times on consecutively higher dunes and bombed it face-first down the hills. Rarely do I do an activity that gets me involuntarily whooping as loud as I can, but that’s exactly what happened during sandboarding.
- Huaraz: This is a hub city that feeds many famous treks (including Laguna 69, listed below), not a tourist trip, but I’m including because I had so much fun staying there. There is abundant good food in Huaraz, as well as a chill vibe and TWO mirco-breweries (which is essentially unheard of in Latin America, in my experience). Needless to say, I spent many a night drinking locally brewed beer at both breweries and even saw a live Peruvian funk-rock band, who absolutely ripped it (they’re called Big Pollo (check em out on YouTube).
- Laguna 69: The hike to this Laguna was one of my favorite in the country – and I did quite a few hikes. It is challenging, the scenery changes and includes a valley, waterfalls, ponds, and epic views. The Laguna makes for a great destination point, since it’s just below a snow-capped peak, and its water is the most intense blue-green I’ve ever seen.
- Gocta: This is the third biggest waterfall in the world and I love waterfalls. The hike there is fun and scenic and I’ll never forget standing in the blast zone under Gocta, getting slammed in the face with water ricocheting off the rocks below the falls. Read my blog post about it here.
- Machu Picchu: I was tempted to not put MP first, just to be controversial, but that would be a lie. As I stated in my blog about it, Machu Picchu deserves the hype and I was certifiably blown away by it. It’s a shame that so many tourists come to Peru and only really see Machu Picchu and Cusco, but then if you have limited time, it’s hard to argue against visiting MP.
I’m not a conventional traveler, but these conventional destinations greatly enhanced my trip to Peru and I’m glad I got to experience them.