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Return to Peru

Explore's Americas Product Executive, Rachel Britton, recently travelled to Peru for the second time, 12 years later. Here’s why she recommends a return trip.

I have the opportunity to travel to so many countries, but never somewhere twice, so I was intrigued and eager to see how Peru had changed, and it didn’t disappoint. It was great to see that places hadn’t altered vastly, but have improved to accommodate more tourism and give people an insight into Peruvian life.
Both times that I’ve travelled were low seasons, which meant many sights were quieter, so there wasn’t as much hustle and bustle. I visited a number of museums that I’d seen previously and the Peruvian Government has invested money into these, which is a really positive change.

The biggest difference was the size of the cities that we visited – Lima, Cusco and Puno have all grown considerably but haven’t lost their Peruvian feel. While looking out the window of the hotel in Puno, I was surprised to see that many dwellings are getting built up in the mountains and my guide said this is happening countrywide.

Eating wasn’t a highlight last time but in the last five years Peru has won tourism awards for the best food, and this has definitely changed – every meal that I had was amazing – cerviche, lomo saltado and picarones.

When travelling, I love to interact with the local people and there are always opportunities to do this, whether in the Plaza De Armas in Cusco, Playa Mayor in Lima or small village houses in Ollantaytambo. I had a great experience in Ollantaytambo where we visited a local house, with guinea pigs running around, and tried on ponchos in the garden while drinking tea.

The highlight of my trip was undoubtedly Machu Picchu – on my previous visit, there was a landslide that prevented me from travelling there. This time, I journeyed from Ollantaytambo by train, took a bus from Aguas Callientes and walked the last part, which built up my anticipation for the incredible sight that greeted me. I was overwhelmed by my first sighting of Machu Picchu and enjoyed spending time wandering around the site. Although it was my first time there, our agent said he had been over 20 times and every time was different; there is always something new to see and a changed atmosphere depending on the time of year, weather and people you are with.  
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