Why a trip to Peru is different with Rickshaw
Machu Picchu is of course the star attraction, though Peru is anything but a one-trick llama! It’s such a beautiful country with so many amazing discoveries to make. For the best Peru experience I think it’s key to see Machu Picchu the right way, but also to look beyond it and ensure you have an authentic Peru experience.
Rickshaw makes this easy as our trips let you see the full breadth of what this country has to offer. You’ll avoid some of the tourist crowds while getting a proper taste of Peru’s diverse landscapes and fascinating culture.
I’ve spent several years travelling the world and Peru is one of my favourite countries. I recently joined the team at Rickshaw largely because of our focus on meaningful travel, which is a travel philosophy I really believe in. In this post I’ll share some of my experiences in Peru and how Rickshaw can help you unlock all that it has to offer.
In the shadow of Machu Picchu
Mention Peru and most people immediately think of Machu Picchu. And it makes sense why it’s at the top of so many people’s lists.
These ancient Inca ruins can be a magical place to visit, though much depends on how and when you go there. I happened to be there at just the right time, and so seeing Machu Picchu ranks as one of my favourite travel moments.
I stayed in Aguas Calientes, the small town at the base of the mountain, and got up early to catch the first bus. I’m not a morning person so I was in a pretty grumpy mood. But my grumpiness washed away instantly when the first rays of light appeared over the mountain peaks, revealing all of Machu Picchu glistening in the sun, with its base draped in a thin layer of morning mist. It was a majestic sight that left me genuinely teary-eyed. For the next hour I spoke with my friend only in hushed tones, almost not wanting to disturb this sacred site.
But… a few hours later and the first big tour groups started to arrive. By mid-day the site looked like a human ant hill, taking away from the site’s mystique and atmosphere.
If you want to go to Machu Picchu the right way, it’s best to go in the morning. Rickshaw’s trips avoid the big crowds—so whether you plan to trek to Machu Picchu or take the bus (as I did), you’ll always get there at the best time.
If you’re thinking of hiking the Inca Trail leading to Machu Picchu, be sure to read our Peru specialist Ross’ blog on some of the alternative Inca treks. The Inca Trail is the most famous, though other trails are just as amazing and see fewer tourists.
Of course, as incredible as Machu Picchu is, such a world-famous heritage site can also easily overshadow everything else Peru has to offer. There’s a lot more to dive into…
Authentic and memorable trips
What surprised me most about Peru was just how diverse its landscapes are. Colours range from the Earthy deserts to lush green jungles. From Lake Titicaca (the world’s highest navigable lake) to the snowy peaks of the Cordillera Blanca or the sand dunes of Huacachina, there is a lot to take in.
I also love the cultural aspects of Peru. Besides seeing the tourist sights, it’s fun to get a taste of what life is like in Peru. A great way to do this is to go cooking at someone’s home. I did this just across the border in Bolivia, though with Rickshaw you can do this in the Peruvian city of Arequipa. You’ll visit a local market to pick the ingredients, then chat with a local family while cooking a traditional dish. It’s a great way to add something fun and unique to your itinerary.
It’s often the little travel moments that stay in my memory much more vividly than the big moments that I already read about in Top 10 lists.
For example, when I went to Colca Canyon I loved seeing this huge ravine which is said to be deeper than the Grand Canyon, but I also fondly remember just looking at the condors flying overhead, or meeting locals in a nearby town. By chance we met a woman who was looking after a couple of baby alpacas, so we got to pet them and feed them. It was a wonderful encounter that would have been quite unlikely in any of the more touristy towns. Rickshaw’s Colca Canyon trip takes you away from the tour buses for a more authentic experience.
Sometimes it’s nice to break up a trekking or sightseeing trip with some culture or cuisine. For example, if you decide to hike the Inca Trail you can break up this journey a bit with a chocolate making workshop in Ollantaytambo. Not many people know that Peru’s cocoa is highly prized and sought after by the world’s best pastry chefs, so it’s the perfect place to make yourself some chocolate treats and learn a new skill!
For more trip inspiration, I recommend checking out our other blog post: How to get off the beaten track in Peru & Bolivia.
Experiencing the full variety of Peru
I think having a mix of different experiences is key to any good journey, and in Peru you’re simply spoiled for choice.
Based on my travels in Peru and knowing first-hand how passionate everyone at Rickshaw is about creating meaningful and authentic trips, I know you’ll be in very good hands. Not a day goes by that we don’t get a heart-warming trip report from one of our customers (a.k.a. the “Rickshaw ramblers”) who just love our travel style.
You can piece together any of our 2 or 3-day trips into one itinerary that combines the best of Peru. Our friendly Travel Specialists can help you in finding just those sights and activities that you’ll love.