We spent 5 months backpacking in South America. Although each of the countries we visited was as unique and different from one another as can be, we did notice a few universal truths about backpacking in South America… things nobody told us about before we left. In no particular order and in various degrees of usefulness, we’ve compiled our observations into this list of 30 things no one tells you about backpacking in South America!
Peru is full of picturesque places, from the iconic Machu Picchu to the towering El Misti volcano. Don’t miss out on the 5 most Instagrammed places in Peru!
Lima, Peru is the top foodie destination in the world , and it’s fortunately located in a continent – and a country – known for growing high quality coffee. Our list of the best third wave coffee shops in Lima, Peru is a labor of love (and many very jittery afternoons).
Ceviche and Pisco Sours: we have Peru to thank for these two iconic South American creations. So during our visit to Lima, we were thrilled to discover Lima Gourmet’s classic Ceviche and Pisco Sour cooking class. In one short hour, we went from boring average Americans to masters of Peruvian cooking! Lima Gourmet’s class is fun, easy, and affordable: we think it’s an absolute must-do when visiting Lima.
We’re sitting in a restaurant in Aguas Calientes. Around us are five couples, two solo travelers, and two tour guides. All fourteen of them are tired, dirty, and covered in dried sweat. They just finished the 4-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and experienced a life changing experience, one that brought them together as a family to experience a once in a lifetime physical and mental challenge. As we watch them drinking celebratory beer, retelling stories, and soaking it all in, I’m reminded: this was supposed to be us. But instead of having a spiritual pilgrimage to Machu Picchu, we had an expensive failure on the Inca Trail.
Jeremy and I are less than a week away from the biggest challenge of our entire trip: hiking the 4-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. It’s not just the lack of Netflix and Instagram for four days that scares us (although … shudder) but the incredibly difficult high-altitude hike. This morning I walked down the street in Cusco and it felt like walking through sand… on the moon. Yikes. We’ve been searching high and low for tips about visiting Machu Picchu that will help us to feel less terrified and more excited. And one of my amazing friends went above and beyond! Angela is a brilliant lawyer who also happens to be Peruvian, and she’s been visiting Peru regularly for years. Who could be better to get Machu Picchu tips from??