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5 things to do to prepare for your next trip to Peru!

You can’t travel to Peru right now. You can’t enjoy a delicious ceviche while sipping from a Pisco Sour in Peru right now. You can’t wander the street of Cusco and you can’t fish for piranhas in the Amazon. You also can’t take one of our tours in Lima or meet one of the amazing locals we work with. But you will be able to do all of those things (hopefully) soon! What we all need now and always is something to look forward to. So, why don’t you start preparing for your (next) trip to Peru? There are many fun things you can do right now!

1. Learn Spanish

If you want to improve your experience of a future visit to Peru, learning (some) Spanish will do that for sure. Even if you learn only a few phrases, Peruvians are very social and they love having a chat with visitors. I do have to warn that once they know you speak (a few words of) Spanish, they won’t stop talking (very fast) and asking questions.

The BBC has a great page with video tutorials, Spanish phrases for holidays, word lists with audio pronunciation, Spanish for children and links to Spanish news, TV and radio.

Fluent In 3 Months lists many resources to learn Spanish for free, including videos, podcasts, learning materials, audio lessons etc.

Caution! Peruvians will not accept you if you speak the wrong kind of Spanish (mainly that of Spain). That’s why it is highly recommended to also learn some Peruvian slang.

2. Watch Peruvian movies

A great way to learn more about a country is to watch movies made in and about it. There are many Peruvian movies that can be rented online but you can also see several great movies for free and even with English subtitles.  

Which ones do we recommend? Fabrizio Aguilar’s movies are fiction but they tell the viewer so much about Peruvian culture through compelling stories. Norte is a family drama about an archaeologist from Lima who travels to Canada where his family migrated to years ago. It is his first time back in two decades and his arrival arouses mixed feelings and drama. Paloma de Papel, Lima 13 and Tarata are three other recommended movies by the same director.

The documentary Sembradoras de la vida (English title: Mothers of the Land) accompanies five women from the Andean highlands in their daily struggle to maintain a traditional and organic way of working the land.

Fans of more arty type of movies might like Rio Verde: El tiempo de los Yakurunas (Green River: The Time of the Yakurunas), a poetic journey into the depths of the Peruvian Amazon. It explores the perception of time in three small villages that have a very close relationship with the river. It describes a landscape inhabited by shamans and indigenous cultures that have been ravaged by the rubber industry.

For other genres, check out the extensive list of Cinencuentro.

3. Listen to Peruvian music

Peru equals diversity. Not only for food, landscape, people or climate but also music. It’s impossible to give a complete overview but we can get you started with some tips.

One of the most popular groups in Peru is Corazón Serrano, they play a popular music genre originating in the Andes named Chicha. Another group playing Andean-style music is Los Apus. Lately, more and more young artists sing in the indigenous language of the Andes, Quechua. One of the first (and best according to us) that you definitely have to check out is Renata Flores.

But Peru is more than just the Andes. Afro-Peruvian singer and composer Eva Ayllón is an absolute legend and has been nominated several times for a Latin Grammy Award. Do you want to really escape your living room and pretend you’re in the jungle? Check out the Amazonian-style Cumbia of for instance Los Wemblers.

In Lima and coastal Peru, Vals Criollo and Peruvian Cumbia are traditionally very popular. Grupo 5 and Cumbia All Stars are not only stars in Peru but all over the Latin world. Have you taken a salsa dance course and would like to practice with Peruvian salsa? Check out this mix.

But like everywhere else, Peruvian artists are also influenced by music from other parts of the world. You can find all kinds of musical genres in Peru, such as electronic music by Dengue Dengue Dengue, reggae by Laguna Pai, Latin pop by Gian Marco, urban music by Daske Gaitán and rap/hiphop by Django.

4. Learn a Peruvian dance

Peru equals diversity. Not only for food, landscape, people or climate but also music. It’s impossible to give a complete overview but we can get you started with some tips.

We need to keep exercising, even in quarantine time, to stay healthy. But exercising at home can be quite boring. We recommend a more fun kind of work-out: learn a Peruvian dance! First of all, again, there are many different traditional dances so you’ll have to pick the one that works best for you. Check out this article by The Culture Trip to learn more about 7 Peruvian dances. If you have the time (and we know you do) try a dance every day from a different Peruvian region. You’ll get a great workout trying to copy the energetic steps of Amazonian Dances. Do you want it a bit (but really just a bit) slower, try Huaylarsh, a traditional Andean dance. The most beautiful dance according to many Peruvians is Marinera Norteña. The organization of Marinera Dance Academies has excellent video tutorials where you can learn the different steps for women and men.

After trying it out yourself, check the professional dancers who performed the different Peruvian folkloric dances at an international festival in Mexico. Practice makes perfect!

5. Learn to cook a Peruvian dish

Peru equals diversity. Not only for food, landscape, people or climate but also music. It’s impossible to give a complete overview but we can get you started with some tips.

If there’s one thing Peruvians are most proud of, it’s definitely their food. Peruvian cuisine is extremely diverse and can be divided into different cuisines: Andean, Amazonian, Creole (of the coast), Chinese-Peruvian. Because Peru has many products that cannot be easily found somewhere else, most, if not all, dishes are very difficult to cook exactly according to the recipe if you’re not in Peru. If you live in a large city, you might find some Peruvian ingredients in specialized shops.

There are a few dishes you could try making yourself, if needed with an adapted recipe. Lomo Saltado is a stir fry with beef, potato, onion and tomato. Causa is layered potato and chicken (or tuna or avocado if you prefer). Ají de gallina is a kind of Peruvian chili chicken, but not the spicy kind! And of course Peru’s national dish: ceviche!

When you make it to Peru in the future, you’ll not only get to taste the real deal but you’ll also be able to brag that you’re familiar already with causa or lomo saltado and that you’ve even cooked it yourself once.

Next step: Start planning your trip to Peru.