Peru is considered a developing nation and as a result tourists visiting Peru from developed nations may find themselves shell-shocked and inadvertently offending Peru and Peruvian culture. Below, we share a few tips for navigating the cultural differences you’ll run into during your Peru vacation. Following these guidelines will help you to further connect and engage with Peruvian culture and the locals during your visit to Peru.
1. Counteract the tendency to size up every person or situation according to your pre-conceived notions.
Remember that your lifestyle is the stuff of Hollywood and TV for many of the locals here in Peru, especially if you head to any one of the traditional villages beyond the major cities. If you do have the chance to experience the traditional lifestyle of Andean campesinos, go into the experience with an open and humble mind and a willingness to explore their customs and traditions, including digging into a plate of cuy al horno (roasted guinea pig) if the opportunity presents itself.
2. Although everyone loves a good bargain, it’s not necessary to bargain everyone down to their last penny.
It’s fine to haggle the price down a couple of soles, but be careful not to press your advantage. What may be only a few cents to you could be an entire day’s wage to the Peruvian vendor in the marketplace. It’s better to walk away with both of you smiling than to get the lowest possible price.
3. Try not judge people by their level of education.
In many of the remote Andean villages of Peru, education is a luxury that many youth don’t have access to. For them, herding alpaca and maintaining the family farm is a more valuable use of their time. Instead, focus on what you can learn from the locals during your visit to Peru, like how to grow potatoes or how to make rocoto relleno. After all, everyone is an expert at something at the end of the day.
4. If there is a way you can contribute to preserving Peruvian culture and tradition, whether with your money or your time, by all means do so.
One of the best ways you can respect Peruvian culture during your travel in Peru is by supporting it. This means, buying your souvenirs directly from the local artisan who has crafted it or by donating and volunteering with some of the organizations actively preserving Peruvian culture and tradition. If this is of interest to you during your Peruvian vacation, speak to your Kuoda Travel Guide for some further insight into how you can support Peruvian culture with your dollar or time while here.
5. Do your best to be humble and to learn.
This is perhaps the most important tip to keep in mind during your visit to Peru. You are a guest in another person’s home. Take the opportunity to explore Peruvian culture with eyes and minds wide open. In doing so, you’ll return home with more than just a few souvenirs, but a new perspective on life.
Considering a vacation in Peru this 2017? Speak to a Kuoda Travel Designer to begin exploring your private and personalized travel options.