Peru safe to Visit during Coronavirus in mainland China

Updated: April 02th, 2020
(Updated Daily)

Current snapshot of COVID-19 cases in Peru

Confirmed infections1323
Recovered cases
Deaths47

*The state of national emergency —declared by President Martin Vizcarra was extended until April 13th.

Attraction News: A number of festivals and events in Peru have been cancelled or postponed in alignment with the government’s directive to avoid public gatherings.

Stay informed on the following (as of Mar. 18th, 2020) with links to their Peru travel advisory pages.

Peru Travel Restrictions & Safety Precautions

A few of the safety travel restrictions in place in Peru:

  • All flights and travel to Peru from Europe and Asia has been banned. The measure will be effective for 30 days to be extended based on the evolution of the virus in the country.
  • Travelers that have been coming in from France, Italy, Spain and China will be quarantined for two weeks.
  • Classes at schools and universities in the country have been suspended until March 30, 2020.
  • The government has also asked people to avoid public spaces as much as possible, and the Municipality of Lima has postponed for 90 days all spectacles that gather more than 300 people.

Peruvian Corn

This is a type of field corn with kernels almost five times larger than those of sweet corn. It is Andean corn that is consumed in several parts of North and South America, including Peru, Colombia, and Bolivia, among others. The appearance and taste of the Peruvian corn are almost the same as those of hominy – a food made from dried maize kernels combined with an alkali. In industrialized communities, this type of corn is considered safe for human consumption only after going through commercial pre-processing.

Peruvian Corn Varieties

Maiz Blanco – these are large round and soft corn. They come with a floury feel, and are used in cooking Pozole soup since the times of Aztec.

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Maiz Morado – its cob is purple, and it is mostly grown along the Peruvian coast. It is used by the locals mostly to make a popular unfermented drink known as chicha Morada. The corn is also used in making a well-fermented, sweet, but strong beer. Additionally, people use Morado in making mazamorra, a fruit-based dessert that looks like pudding.

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Maiz Chullpi – Due to its soft interior, plus the shell, majority of people consume it as a toasted snack, commonly referred to as cancha. It tastes sweet, and its spikes are conical in shape. The corn’s grains are narrow, thin, and long. They can be roasted to be consumed only, or with goat cheese.

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Where is Peruvian Corn Found?

Peruvian corn is also known as Cusco corn, implying that it originates from Cusco, the Incas’ capital city. It is mostly grown in Peru since 1200BC, along with other types of corn that make Peru famous. Ancient farmers in Peru used sophisticated methods to select and create corn varieties. That is why Peru boasts of corn types that adapt to various climates and terrains, which comes in different colors.

Cusco, Sacred Valley

Cusco is a town in Peru, and it is the capital city of the Incas. The Sacred Valley also referred to as the Urubamba Valley, is found 20kilometers north of Cusco.

Inca symbols and meanings

The importance of spiritual symbols, in Peruvian history, as well as others, is paramount to the understanding of the tradition itself. These three animals, the condor, the puma and the snake; have a spiritual significance and a practical, artistic value to the Inca people, which when understood can bring a new level of experience to your trip. Understanding the cultural and deeper significance of these animals, also known as the ‘Inca Cross’, will bring a new layer of enjoyment to your journey. These three creatures were known to the Inca as the ‘trilogy’, or the Chankana.

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The Condor

The majestic condor sails through the air of the Andes, revered by the Inca as the most sacred of all birds. It’s huge wingspan, and ability to soar make it the messenger of the gods, like Hermes in the Greek tradition. Shamans are said to be able to communicate with this divine oracle and bring back the messages of the gods to the people on earth. The Inca believed that when you died you were carried to the afterlife on the wings of this sacred bird.

The Puma

The beautiful yet dangerous puma is said to be the symbol of power on earth. The puma stakes this world with deadly force and being one of the best adapted predators, and therefore something to look up to, the Inca built Cusco in the shape of the puma. The puma also represents spiritual strength, and the need to hunt for the truth in the vast cosmos of time, and so it retains its symbolic significance even today among shaman and other new age spiritualists.

The Snake.

The snake is an incredibly interesting symbol which to the Inca, as well as the ancient Egyptians, represented the underworld. The snake is often seen ‘biting its own tail’ which is designed as such to show the nature of the existence. The snake, and the underworld, represents the passage into the next life, and so the snake also has connotations of wisdom. The Inca believed that life goes on after death, and it was through knowledge, strength of character and wisdom that one could best navigate the passage between lives.

If you want Further explanations about the “Inca trilogy”: the snake, the puma and the condor, visit Machu Picchu

5 Souvenirs to buy in Peru

Peru is a country in western South America with the best cultural, historical, and natural handcrafts. The country is manifested with fabulous traditional riches that are unique, beautiful and functional to suit anyone’s preference.

Peru is a basket of traditional artisan craft best for shoppers who love very beautiful, affordable and unique souvenirs to buy for themselves and take back home to their families and friends.

These are among the unique and distinct pieces from Peru to buy as gift

Chullo Hat

Chullo hat is a warm winter cap woven from brightly colored alpaca, vicuna and wool from sheep.

The hat comes with straps that are tied underneath the chin to increase warmth, decorated using Andeas cross (Chakana) with stunning designs.

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Pucara Bulls

These are curious ceramic bull born that most Peru people put on the rooftop of their houses as a symbol of protection, fertility, prosperity, happiness and luck.

They are wedding presents for Peruvian couples and also used during the celebration.

Pucaras bull is categorized according to colors white symbolizes peace, yellow for money, red for love and romance, and black symbolizes wisdom and spiritually.

This is the perfect and unique gift for newlywed couples to wish them to luck in their marriage and new homeowners.

Peruvian Retabols

These are brightly colored, beautiful and portable wooden boxes that originate from the Ayacucho region. They come in different sizes and shapes, also depicts historical and religious events.

Inside the house opening door, there are scenes with miniature figures that depict the everyday life of people from Peruvian such as weddings and festive markets and others from bibles.

Alpaca Clothing

Alpaca clothing is lightweight, high quality and affordable clothing that does not itch. They consist of hats, sweaters. Scarves, ponchos and blankets made from sheep wool, alpaca and vicuna to provide warmth.

They are available in all sizes and styles are dyed in different to keeps you warm when on a journey through Peru and also suitable for cold seasons, especially in cold countries.

Backpacks /Bags

These are colorful backpacks and bags handcrafted from traditional textiles with durable webbing straps perfect for all your goods from Peru trip.

They are the best for outdoor funs such as picnic, hiking and carrying of books, toys and other goods.

If you are planning a holiday trip that you will enjoy and come back with unique and perfect souvenirs that will give you a lifetime memory, Peru should be your number one choice on the list.

The place has a market full of colorful and unique designs gift for both shopping lovers and haters to bring back home.

Things to Do in the Sacred Valley

Best Things to Do in the Sacred Valley

The Sacred Valley is an area found in the Southern Sierra, Peru. It is part of the Inca Empire, which also included the nearby Cusco town and Manchu Pichu ancient city. The valley was named “Sacred” because its land was among the best in the region. Additionally, it was Emperor Inca’s property, and not part of the empire. There are several exciting things to do while in this valley. Some of them include visiting places such as:

Maras

This is a small town that is famous for the salt mines, also known as the Salineras. Visitors pay a small entrance fee that goes to the families in the area, who double as the owners of the salt mines. The locals have used the salt ponds since the era of Inca.

Ollantaytambo

Also known as Ollanta, it is home to two of the most significant Inca ruins. People have resided in Ollanta’s narrow cobblestone streets since the 13th century. Visitors can enjoy excellent biking and hiking in this place.

Pisac

This town is strategically constructed on the banks of River Urubamba. It is the best market in the region for local produce and crafts. The Inca ruins are located 20 minutes’ drive up from Pisac town, and they consist of military, religious, and agricultural constructions. The entrance fee is US$10.

Huayna Picchu

This is the large mountain found directly behind Machu Picchu city. It is also where River Urubamba bends. People can enjoy hiking on this mountain, as the trails loop around its top most part, where architectural relics, such as tunnels, altars, and narrow staircases are found. After giving your passport number and name at the warden’s shed, you must walk on an undulating path for about 20 minutes before the track breaks into the short and full trails.

Urubamba

This is a small town found near Urubamba River, characterized by countryside paths and snowy peaks. Its low altitude, great weather, and the closeness to Machu Picchu make Urubamba a perfect destination. While visiting the place, you’ll discover high-end hotels and amazing tour packages, all which makes the visit worthwhile.

Any other sights in the Sacred Valley you would recommend?

Peru is already a huge draw for travellers – and it’s likely to get bigger

Peru’s popularity will only grow as the country continues to invest in key tourism sites like Lake Titicaca.

Peru is a hugely popular tourist destination – and one of the finest places to visit in South America. Whether you’re after a little hustle and bustle in the country’s capital Lima or a trekking expedition in the mountains – Peru has it all.

Then there’s the culture, history and beauty – which adventure holidays travellers are constantly reminded of.

But, Peru also has the disarming ability to throw surprises your way. Take Lake Titicaca for instance. It’s the highest navigable lake in the world and stands 3,856 metres above sea level. It’s bigger than Switzerland and has beautiful beach-like shores and a number of secluded island hideaways. It’s also home to Peru’s oldest people – the Aymaras and Quechuas.

As we said before history, culture and beauty are around every corner. But Lake Titicaca also has that surprise-factor we referred to earlier. It’s home to a floating bed and breakfast housed in an old British gunboat. How old? Well, not Mayan empire old, but 150 years, which isn’t bad for a waterborne B&B. And it’s these quirky little eccentricities that make Peru one of the most memorable trekking destinations.

Peru isn’t just an off-the-beaten track oddity with communities living on manmade islands constructed of reeds, however. It’s a tourism giant that offers more than you might expect. And the situation is only going to improve.

The country’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism has announced that it is going to invest more than £100 million in eight of Peru’s finest tourism spots to make them even more attractive to would-be travellers. Peru’s northern beaches, the Piura and Tumbes regions, the Moche Route between Lambayeque and La Libertad and the Amazon River in Lorento are all set for improvement.

Of course Lake Titicaca is on the list, as is the world renowned Paracas-Nasca in Ica. Lima and Cusco will also benefit. So, it looks like Peru could achieve its goal of becoming the tourism hub for South America, drawing adventure holidays aficionados from even further afield.

Everything You Need to Know About the Capital City of Peru, Lima

Lima the Capital of Peru

Lima is the largest city in Peru and consequently the capital city.  Lima known as well as “the City of Kings” La Ciudad de los Reyes , As viceroys representing the King of Spain ruled all over Perú from here. Lima is located in the valleys of three rivers i.e. Rimac, Chillon and Lurin and along the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Most parts of Lima city are located on a flat terrain making the elevation of the city to increase as you head away from the coastline. The city covers an area of approximately 2,672 square kilometers but the Lima Metropolitan Area (comprises of Lima city and the seaport of Callao) has a total area of 2,819 square kilometers. With a population of about 12 million, Lima is the third-largest city in South America after Sao Paulo and Mexico City.

What is the history of Lima?

Initially, Lima was occupied by different indigenous South American peoples and by the 15th century, the entire region was ruled by the Inca Empire. However, in 1532, the Inca ruler (Atahualpa) was defeated by the Spanish. When the Spanish took over the kingdom, Francisco Pizzaro established the city of Lima on 18th January 1535. As the city grew, numerous people occupied the city and it became one of the important cities in the region. After a while, Lima was designated as the capital of Viceroyalty of Peru. After Peru gained its independence on 28th July 1821, Lima was named as the capital city.

As the capital city of Peru, Lima is the seat of the government. The Government Palace which is located at Plaza Mayor serves as the main executive branch of the government and other ministries. Also, the legislative and the judicial branches operate from the Legislative Palace and the Palace of Justice in Lima city respectively. Besides being the seat of the government, Lima is also a commercial, educational, economic and cultural hub of the nation.

Lima language

Although Peru is a multilingual nation, Spanish is the dominant language although there are other indigenous languages. About 84% of the Peruvian population speak Spanish also known as Espanol or Castellano. As a result, Espanol is the principal language used in the media, education system and the Peruvian government. It is important to note that other Spanish travelers or from other nations can detect slight variations in the Espanol spoke in Peru.

Quechua is the native language that’s spoken in the country and Lima city. This makes Quechua the second most common language in Peru because it is spoken by about 13% of the population. Quechua was Inca’s language and it is mainly dominant in central and highland regions of Peru.

Finally, Aymara is spoken by about 1.7% of the population and it is the third most spoken language in the country. Normally, Aymara speakers occupy the southern region near the Bolivia border and around Lake Titicaca.

Lima predominant religion

Christianity is the dominant religion in Peru with the Roman Catholic being the main religion. There are other religions in Peru and Lima city because of diversification. Other religions in Peru include Buddhism, Islam, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, indigenous Peruvians have blended their traditional beliefs with Catholicism.

Lima Currency

The Nuevo Sol is the official currency of Peru.

Lima Climate

Lima is pleasantly warm throughout the year with humidity and little rainfall.

Lima Main Attractions

Historic Center of Lima
Larco Museum
Magic Water Circuit

Other Attraction in Lima

Caral
Miraflores
Larcomar
Church of San Francisco

Related Content:

Peru Travel Planning

In just one week we will be on our way to Peru! I have been doing our Peru travel planning by getting tips from friends, reading several books and searching many sites to feel as prepared as I can be. Now you know what I have been doing with all my spare time- training, reading and shopping! Our new gear is spread out across our room and there are only a few additional items left to pick up. We certainly could not leave without a few extra pairs of hiking socks and headlamp batteries! A packing list for a one week trip to Peru including the 4 day Inca Trail will be coming soon!

Books

Cuzco & the Inca Heartland -This is a comprehensive guidebook providing history and planning information on Peru.
Turn Right at Machu Picchu – An adventure writer follows the footsteps of Hiram Bingham III who “discovered” Machu Picchu.

Websites

Tripadvisor– Hostel and Hotel research was done through looking at reviews on this site and reservations were made directly. 
Hipmunk– An easy way to plan your travel. Flight search across hundreds of sites to find the best price.
Gogobot – A great tool in looking for restaurants and things to do; I created a trip plan for Cusco
Afar– Unique travel experiences posted by fellow travelers. Check out my Wanderlist!
Ever In Transit – I met Cassie at a Travel Massive event and she told me all about Pisac Market on Sunday’s. I’ve added it to my to-do list!
Travel Insurance – This is my first time purchasing travel insurance!
 
 

Eating Guinea Pig (Cuy) in Peru

You’ve seen them, you petted them at your local pet store, and some of you might have even had them as pets yourself. But did you know in Peru, guinea pigs aren’t bred as pets, but as livestock meant to be eaten?!

Considered a delicacy and usually only meant to be eaten on special occasions. You may be able to find them in restaurants located around Cusco for curious tourists such as yourself. Though make sure not to say call it guinea pig. That won’t get you anywhere.

“Cuy”, pronounced “COO-ee”, is the proper word for it.

With my history of trying exotic foods, from the spiky rimmed, stinky fruit durian, to alligator, and even balut; better known as duck embryo, there isn’t nearly a thing I haven’t tried. Nearly. So, when my travels landed me in Cusco, you should already know what my first thought was.

“Where can a crazy tourist such as myself get a plate full of cuy?!”

History of Cuy

Whether you wanted to know it or not, the guinea pig started in Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. Shortly after it was found, the natives started breeding it to eat. It was only much later they became the furry pets we know and love today as they were shipped to Europe. Their purpose changing drastically.

At this point you might be wondering what is different and special about cuy. While smaller in size, perfect for a single person with a big appetite, cuy is higher in protein and lower in cholesterol than the big three main meat staples. Chicken, beef and pork.

In Cusco, there I was lucky enough to meet a girl who volunteers with a program that raises the aforementioned animal. Who do they serve exactly? Cancer patients. Their meat being a healthier option for them in many cases.

Some more cool facts for you to enjoy:

Cuy is actually deeply admired by certain peoples native to Peru.

And in a Cathedral located in the main square of Cusco you can find some cuy. However, no matter what, you shouldn’t try to eat this one. It being a part of a painting. In a Quechua painter’s rendition of a famous “The Last Supper” a healthy serving of the dish can be spotted!

Ways to Cook Cuy

Like many other dishes throughout the world, there are many different ways you can cook cuy. In Peru, there are two such dishes.

Baked Cuy – Cuy Al Horno

Out of the two dishes, this one would be the one I would recommend. It being the more “unique” option of the two. Stuffed with herbs; similar to a turkey on an American thanksgiving, it is put on a split, cooked over a fire and given to you whole.

You won’t regret ordering this option.

Fried Cuy – Cuy Chactado

The more standard option when one thinks of cuy. While still being a great choice, I found it hard to find in Cusco. Only being able to find it once in my travels across the city.

Where Can You Try Cuy For Yourself?

The best thing to do in any of your travels is ask a native where to go. They will always know the best places to see, and the best places to eat. I was able to find a nice sit in establishment on the eastern end of Cusco. For a small cost of roughly $18 USD, it was well worth the price for a great meal.

Both as a one-time thing, or as something you eat during special occasions.

What Does Cuy Taste Like?

The simplest answer anyone can give you is it’s like a dark meat chicken or duck. There are some people that describe its flavor as being close to pork. There wasn’t a “gamey” taste unlike what you would expect. Not nearly as bad as the meal looks or sounds, it is just another meat. While there isn’t much meat on its bones, there is plenty on its hind legs.

How to Eat Cuy

Use your hands!

I’m serious. Don’t be dainty and sophisticated when you have a childhood pet snarling on your plate. Dig in with your fingers like a feral beast you are! Or for a much less messy alternative, you are able to ask your waiter to precut the dish for you. They know what they are doing, so leave it to the professionals. My second time going in I did this, and the clean up was a lot less.

5 Adorable Animals of Peru

Biodiversity is one of Peru’s most essential features. There is so much life all around that country, especially in the wild. From sea life to land critters, Peru has it all, and the amount of species is so vast. Come with me on a journey where we can meet a few of these wonderful, exotic animals in their natural habitats.

South American Fur Seal

As a marine biologist, the South American Fur Seal is my must see animal. This cute and pudgy seal finds its breeding grounds on the coasts of Peru and many other South American countries. All of the seals are grayish in color, the males being entirely so whereas the females have a lighter gray or tan coloring. Like sea lions, they have external ear flaps and rotatable flippers to get around on land. But here’s a word of caution. They are wild animals which may see you as a threat if you get too close, and they can move on the beach much faster than you’d expect. If you see them, you can admire them, but please remember to keep your distance!

Vicuña

The vicuña is another interesting mammal. It looks like it is the cross between a llama and a camel. This furry friend is the ancestor to the llama and alpaca, and it is also Peru’s national animal. Talk about impressive! They produce extremely fine wool in small amounts, and it is highly expensive. At one time, vicuña wool was reserved only for royalty. This soft and fuzzy critter is beautiful to see.

Chinchilla 

This loveable little rodent are nocturnal creatures. Most likely, you won’t be seeing this one out in the wild. The reason this little guy is a night owl is due to the fact that their bodies can overheat. They need a cool, dry environment with low humidity. Chinchillas have the softest fur in the rodent family. Sadly, their population has decreased drastically over the years.

Spectacled Bears

The spectacled bear, often called the Andean short-faced bear, is a cute yet dangerous animal. It is largest carnivore of the land, though it is less belligerent than your average bear. They are a surprisingly peaceful bunch, though you won’t want to see what a mother bear will do to protect their cubs. Once again, keep your distance, but enjoy the furry sight.

Suddenly you can find a spectacled bear in Machu Picchu, but you have to be very lucky.

Andean Mountain Cats 

This cats are smaller than you would expect. As their name states, they live in the mountains of Peru, though there have been some sightings in the Mendoza province of Argentina at lower altitudes. It is an endangered species due to the destruction of its habitat. Not very much is known about these kitties considering their antisocial nature. Still, if you visit the Andes Mountains, keep your eyes open for ashen gray fur. You might just spot one.

Bon Voyage!

 These are but a few of the wildlife you may see in the Peruvian country, but there are so many other species you can’t even imagine. So, if you’re taking a trip to Peru, be sure to keep an eye out for those adorable animals. Just don’t get too close!