After Visiting Peru: I Wasn’t Completely Right About You

A real man has to admit when he is wrong and well, I may have been a bit wrong about my expectations of Peru.  I recently wrote a post titled Dear Peru: I Really Don’t Want To Get To Know You where I talked about how I didn’t want to get to know Peru that well.  The culprit you ask? I honestly didn’t find it very unique or interesting.

 I also had the understanding that it was one of the “backwards countries” that South America has been known to produce.  After living in Africa for roughly 5 months and experiencing some problems living in Brazil, I was in no mood to deal with charming inefficiencies.

Luckily, Peru was none of the above, I was expecting some chaos and it turns out that Peru has turned over a new leaf.  As for the inefficiencies, everything wasn’t perfect when I visited the country but when you travel nothing never is.

Plaza De Armas in Cusco

Plaza De Armas in Cusco

The first taxi I jumped in after arriving at the airport had the license plate number written on the head rests of all the seats. I immediately thought to myself the danger and crimes that must occur at night if taxi drivers place that on their headrests.  Luckily, that was the only one.

As of roughly 10 years ago the terrorism stopped in the country and Peruvians began a new direction.  Tourism began to flourish and you can even withdraw dollars out of any ATM machine in the country.

It was interesting to hear the comments from taxi drivers and locals when they would tell me about how different things are.  It was very intriguing to see how many countries in Latin America are beginning to change.

One of the things that I am going to start talking about on this blog is investing overseas as well as day trading eminis while I travel. Peru has peaked my interest as both a possible country to invest in as well as a future tourism destination.

People of Peru

People of Peru

I wouldn’t go as far to say that Peru is unique because it is very similar to other countries in the region such as Bolivia, northern Chile, and southern Ecuador.  While we can make a claim that both Peru & Bolivia are unique in their own right, they both have very high numbers of indigenous people in their populations.

There also are similar tourist sites to see in each country.  I still stand behind my statement when I mentioned that there is nothing unique to see in Peru outside of Machu Picchu.

The lake region of Peru shares a border with Bolivia, the supposed unique Nazca lines can also be found in Chile, and the Amazon can be found in other countries in South America.  There is another tourist attraction in Peru that I was able to find that is unique, the deepest canyon in the world just outside the city of Arequipa.

I will be very interested in knowing how Peru will continue to run its economy and see if the country will continue to flourish.

Streets of Cusco

Streets of Cusco

I found everything in Lima to be extremely interesting, everything from the old center all the way to the buzzing nightlife as well as the other cities on the tourist trail.  One thing I found extremely overrated was the Nazca lines, more information on that soon.  One of the things that I know about the countries in South America is that they are run like relationships.

You meet a new person that you really like, a new president, and things are great in the beginning.  After a few years things aren’t going as well anymore, you start to fight, corruption ensues, and the relationship isn’t what it used to be.

Most South American countries have been in the bad relationship phase for quite a while and some are just now finding new mates.  Chile has long been the most stable economy in the region with Colombia now joining its ranks as the Colombian people are tired of corruption and want to make money.  Peru is still in the honey moon phase, very early in the relationship.  Let’s see if it can stand the test of time.


  1. I have been to Peru twice now, heading off there again this October, and I was really surprised and impressed with their infrastructure during my first visit. I guess after all those years they had no choice but to step it up if they are going to accommodate millions of travelers each year just to see Macchu Picchu. The fancy shmancy restaurants in Lima are seriously up to par with the ones out here in NYC, only cheaper and more delicious foods! But Ive got to say, the people from other remote corners of the country are friendlier and happier than the ones in Lima.

    1. Couldn’t have said it better myself Antoinette! Lets see if it keeps up.. will def be interesting keeping an eye on Peru to see if they continue to advance

  2. Peru, here I come. I will be going there soon . A friend has said a lot about Peru and I guess it will be good to have a good experience since it is still in the honey moon phase.

  3. Hi marcello you chaleng me that as i live peru, but why you not write about their religious also tradetion ? Because here in my country you will listeo about God and saints work.

  4. Ok I have to disagree, I lived in Peru for a year back in 2003 and I think the country is unique in many ways. Not just the amazon, nazca lines, Macchu Pichu, Lake Titicaca which it’s famous for. What about the people, traditions and culture? Where do you find music like Peruvian music, from the Afro Peruvian singers to the Huayno? Or the communal drinking, where else have you had to share a glass with 20 other people just to drink beer? The diversity of the people that has influenced the culture was strikingly unique. I don’t know if you got a chance to visit the northern coastal areas or check out Cajamarca. Many of the places in Peru are interesting if you like the history of the cultures that lived there, like the Incas. Anyways I think it’s more unique then you give it credit for.

    1. Jessica… all those are not unique, many of the characteristics of their culture, the people, and traditions are found in many other Latin American countries. In regards to the tourist attractions the ones I mentioned are unique but the people themselves are not unique compared to other regions like Bolivia and certain parts of Chile & Ecuador.

      Peruvian music can be found throughout Latin America and specifically: Bolivia. Huayno is very common in Bolivia.
      Communal drinking: experienced it in Bolivia & Paraguay
      Same diversity of people can be found throughout Latin America with the most similar being found in Bolivia

      I like that you have a lot of passion for the country, its culture, and people, but Peru isn’t that unique. The only country in South America that I would say is unique is Suriname. Colombia is exactly like Venezuela, Uruguay & Argentina are the same, Paraguay is a mix of Brazil & Argentina, Ecuador is similar to both Colombia, Venezuela, and Peru, and Peru & Bolivia are very similar. Brazil I would say is different because they do have unique things about their culture that you can’t find anywhere else other than Brazil, their music, food, and people.

      1. You’re complaining that a country does not have it’s own completely 100% unique identity? We live in such a global society, plus with geographical proximity and history past cultures, of course countries are going to share a lot of the same culture.

  5. Okay, I’ll have to vehemently agree with Vanessa here. I lived in Peru last year, spent an entire year based out of Lima. I spent quality time in Cusco, with locals, and HIKED the Inca Trail for four days to Machu Pichu, ariving at 3am for the sun to peak over the ancient ruins. I understand that you are a trader, sorry about that, and that you don’t have time, sorry about that too, but in order to judge or understand a culture fully, you must spend time in each city, not just one or two great tourist destinations, you must integrate with the locals, and speak the language, all of which I did. Not to mention, eat the street food and go where the locals go.

    I absolutely loved my year in Peru and I’ve been to Equador, Argentina, Chile and Bolivia, and on my way to Brazil this year. I DO believe that Peru is very special in its unique food, traditions, people, ancient history, architecture, and family values. Spend more than a few months there and you will have a more accurate point of view and this blog post would read differently. It seems like you analyze countries and cultures like you analyze your stocks and bonds….

    1. Morgan.. thanks for the comments. I didn’t mean to say that it isn’t worth it to spend time in Peru and get to know the culture but the culture isn’t unique. There isn’t overly different about Peru other than a handful of tourist attractions. I would rather spend more time in Bolivia considering that it does have more things to see. I grew up with Peruvians and while they love their culture they agree that its similar to others.. I may spend more time in Peru for investment purposes but thats it. You can find great food anywhere, Peruvian traditions can be found in other latin countries especially Bolivia, the people are similar as well, in addition to the history and architecture.

    2. Try living in lima for more than a year and live outside of miraflores.i speak spanish and had a business and live in an area with dirt roads poor people and deliquients.in business there is a lot of dishonest people,no one trusts each other,domestic violence is out of control a lot of people have no respect for society in general and crime is out of control.none of this is seen by the passing tourist who justs sees miraflores and all other tourists parts of peru.the difference between the rich and poor is enormous and socially peru has many problems that will take decades if ever to change.mentally here needs to change which will be hard as its engrained into their culture.peru has a very long way to go.once you push past all the smoke and mirrors you truly see it for what it is when you live here for long enough

  6. I am not sure about its uniqueness compared to other South American countries but I have heard about many beautiful places to visit, and the food is a delicious eclectic mix of the Chineses, Japanese, Spanish influence with the native Peruvian.

    As to the terrorism in the country, it was an interesting experience visiting a museum in Lima that showcased photos and videos of all the bombings. What made it so close to home was when my wife said that she remembers all those things happenening and some of them were near here home when she was a child. It kind of pulled me out of the museum mode and made me realize how very recent and very real all the turmoil was.

  7. THERE ARE NO NAZCA LINES IN CHILE!!! Hence NAZCA as in, “it’s located in NAZCA, PERU!”. And I do hope you enjoy your stay in Peru 🙂

    1. Ariana, the Nazca lines are what everyone calls them just because they are not located in Nazca does not mean that Chile does not have them. Chile actually does have similar lines in northern Chile.

  8. Dear Marcello:

    I was going to answer you on your previous blog entry, but I prefer to do it in this one.

    I find really nice the fact that you liked Peru much more than expected, though I’d like to take some time to clarify some things that may not be as true as depicted in your blog, specially when you are Venezuelan are you are no stranger to the neighborhood.

    First of all, Peru was not the 4th least country in South America in 2011, not even in 2010 and not in 2012 and the upcoming year. As a matter fact Peru was the 5th most visited country in South America, without including the Guyanas as you did. Today Peru is the 4th most visited country and getting very close to Chile (both with more than 3 million international visitors) and in 2013 Peru had the largest international tourist arrival growth in South America and the 2nd largest in the whole continent. This data comes from the UNWTO, I believe the same source that you used for your analysis (http://www.e-unwto.org/content/r13521/fulltext.pdf). I guess that nowdays you will no longer consider Argentina and Brazil as countries that are “not in chaos”, regarding your statement about Peru being one of the least visited countries not in chaos. Nor did I understand that internet in Peru is suspect (?).

    Secondly, it is not true that terrorism finished roughly 10 years ago. Terrorism in Peru pretty much finished in 1992, with the capture of the main terrorist organization’s leader, since your post is from 2012, it’s roughly 20 years now.

    About your thoughts about crime, the taxi driver had the license plates even on the seats because it is mandatory by the Peruvian law to have the license plates exposed more than clearly on taxis, combining also that fact with the Peruvian “chicha” culture, the kitsch popular expression of art from the internal migrants to Lima. As a matter fact, although there are some issues in terms of security, Peru is considered to be the 5th safest country in South America (After Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Suriname) and the 17th in the whole continent, considering The Caribbean and all its little Islands and the Antilles. Source: https://www.unodc.org/gsh/en/index.html

    It is nice to read that you changed your mind and now you consider Peru for an invest opportunity as well as for tourism, though I disagree when you speak about economic stability. If you look in the ECLAC website, you will get a surprise when you’ll discover which country was leading the economic growth in the region within the last 15 years. Moreover, Peru is considered as the 2nd most open economy in the Latin American region only after Chile. Peru is also among the countries with the largest inflows of net foreign investments, and now looks even more promision considering the massive diversion from Chile due to the shift on its tax policy by the leftist government of President Bachelet. I don’t think that a country in the honeymoon has such macroeconomic profile, I’d say it is more likely due to the long scope policies applied in the country after the 1st government of Alan García. I’m not saying that there are no problems in Peru of course, but I think that the this country deserves some credit by having those numbers and after beating two sick terrorist groups and one of the highest hyperinflation rates in the history of mankind in the latter part of the 80’s, not to mention the fact the poverty rate went from 60% in 2004 to 24% in 2013.

    What actually caught my attention is the fact that you didn’t mention anything about Peruvian food, considering that that’s our best performance, being the top gastronomic destination in the world for 3 years on a row on the World Travel Awards.

    I certainly hope that Peru is in your map again, and do please go to http://www.peru.travel and take some time to review all the destinations that you have out there. The magic of Peru is the fact that is the summary of the world in one country, you have beaches, mountains, the amazon river, the rainforest, deserts, you name it. As our country brand (one of the strongest in the continent as per the FutureBrands Country Brand Index), there is a Peru for each and everyone.

    1. Oye ¿que tú eres tonto o que? respeta su decisión no le gusto Perú ¿que tiene de malo?,
      Ademas que el lo visitó en 2012 como le vienes a dar datos de 2015 , estás mal de la cabeza parece.

  9. I just came back from Peru and the following is my opinion: my expectations were higher except for Machu Picchu and the cultural traditions that are still mantained. I gave my self time to talk to the people and learn from them. Now, the food I won’t said is bad or good. I found that whether it was a 5* restaurant or a psp and mam place, The menu was always the same. At the end everyone ended up with ceviche. The best dishes were the”fusion” dishes.
    To really enjoy and understand Peru, you must first learn a little bit of history. I will recomend this to everyone or you won’t appreciate what Peru has to offer remember this was a “Virreynato”. Point apart and being from Latin America, I can tell you there are many other countries in Latin America that will offer many many beautiful places. Examples: you can seat in a house balcony in Chile And see the “Andes nevados”, you can go yo Central America and enjoy the beautiful beaches. PERU is history but if the country doesn’t take care of it, I don’t think there will be much left.

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