Peru is at the top of many traveler’s bucket lists, and yet not all of those who visit the Andean nation do so with responsible tourism in mind. Providing our travelers with tips for practicing respectful travel to Peru is vital for Kuoda as we are sure it will be a life-changing experience. While traveling in Peru, you will come across unique cultures, ancient sites, and even indigenous languages– all of which are worth preserving and respecting.
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. Learning Through Travel
Before traveling to Peru, it’s a good idea to read up on what to expect in terms of culture, traditions, and customs. You can also ask your Kuoda travel designer about any doubts or concerns you may have when it comes to language, clothes to pack, and even dietary concerns.
That said, nothing can really prepare you for the unique beauty that is Peruvian culture and traditions. To practice respectful travel in Peru means to open yourself up to being a student of life. There are countless lessons that one can learn through travel, and Peru and its people make for great teachers.
With its vast biodiversity, incredible gastronomy, rich history, and countless artisanal talents, Peru has so much to offer for curious travelers. Ask your travel designer to tell you more about immersive experiences offered by Kuoda, such as workshops and homestays.
And don’t forget: Peruvians are generally warm and very proud of their country, so spark up a conversation, be it with a potato producer on his Andean farm or with a top chef.
2. Let go of preconceived notions
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 your eyes and mind wide open. In doing so, you’ll return home with more than just a few souvenirs, but a new perspective on life.
Remember as well that your lifestyle may appear new or curious to Peruvians, 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 or artisans in the Amazon, go into the experience with a humble attitude and a willingness to explore their customs and traditions and share your own if asked.
3. Haggle ethically
You may have heard from friends or family who have traveled to Peru that bartering is a common practice with Peruvian vendors. 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. As a point of reference, the U.S. dollar is typically worth 3 to 4 Peruvian Soles.
It’s also incredibly important to remember the time and effort that goes into each product. High-quality textiles, for example, are typically hand dyed and woven and therefore require a great investment of time and skill. You can also check with your Kuoda tour guide for reassurance of whether the asking price is fair or not.
4. Preserve Peruvian Culture And Tradition
One of the best ways you can respect Peruvian culture during your responsible travel in Peru is by supporting it. This means, buying your souvenirs directly from the local artisan who has crafted them 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.
You may even consider learning a few key phrases in the indigenous Quechua language. While Spanish is the official language of Peru, you will likely hear Quechua spoken while you travel to Cusco and other highland areas. Taking the time and interest to learn even just a few words in this ancient language can be a big sign of respect for Peruvians.
5. Don’t judge, just eat!
Peru is the gastronomic capital of the Americas and you will no doubt be blown away by the fantastic offerings at any of the handful of world-renowned restaurants in Lima, Peru. As you travel further away from the metropolitan capital, however, the food becomes more traditional and perhaps more foreign to a Western traveler.
Traditionally, Peruvian dishes utilize every bit of the food product so as not to create waste. (Think corn husks for wrapping tamales and humitas or beef brain sauteed into a Spanish-style tortilla.) And there will be countless food items that you’ve never tasted or even heard of before. But tasting authentic Peruvian cooking is one of the best ways to really experience this vibrant nation.
If you have dietary restrictions, by all means, check with the chef or host if the dish offered has any ingredients that would put your health at risk.
Respectful Travel to Peru With Kuoda
Considering respectful travel to Peru? This Andean nation is one of our favorite destinations to send travelers who seek an enriching and unforgettable travel experience. Whether you are looking for an immersive experience to learn more about a specific subject (i.e. textiles or agriculture) or want to see as much of Peru as possible, there is so much to take away from this incredible South American destination. Speak to a Kuoda Travel Designer to begin exploring your private and personalized travel options.