South America is a beautiful destination, candid and colourful, but many South American countries are still working towards economic stability and equality. Drained by conflicts over the last few hundred years, these countries struggle to establish basic standards of living for their citizens. And even in the more prosperous areas there will be those that slip through the cracks, like in the favelas of Rio or shantytowns of Peru.
It may come as a shock that cheerful, marmalade-loving, wellington-wearing Paddington Bear – a UK icon as English as rain or understatement – comes not from London, but from ‘darkest Peru’.
Popular in coastal regions of the Americas, ceviche is essentially raw fish cured in lemon or lime juice. It’s usually spiced with some kind of chilli and toppings such as onions, salt and cilantro aren’t uncommon. It goes rather splendidly with side dishes such as corn, avocado, plantain and sweet potato. Yummo.
Studies suggest that the world’s 300 million indigenous people – living in mainly rural areas across 70 countries – experience greater degrees of deprivation and poverty than non-indigenous people.
As expected, my Classic Peru trip with Intrepid was a phenomenal mix of culture – including Lima, the food mecca of Latin America; Cuzco, the ancient Inka capital of South America; and the islands of Lake Titicaca, which seemed to me a blast from the past as they really have not adopted much of our modern world.
Some of my favorite stops along the way included:
Hiking to the ruins at Machu Picchu was an experience I could never describe. Being able to spend the whole day letting my imagination run wild as I envisioned life among Inca royalty was, at the time, sure to be the pinnacle of my holiday.
Little did I know that in only a few days I would soon have one of my most amazing travel experiences.
Peru might not have officially qualified for the World Cup in 2014, but you’d never know it in this small village high in the Andes.
At 9840 feet (3000 metres) above sea level, the stage was set for a tough international battle – Intrepid Travel Guests vs. Locals. Both teams were a bit rusty – but soon the competitive World Cup spirit overcame their stiffness!
Ask travellers what we love most about exploring new places and the majority of us will tell you it’s meeting local people.
We are curious to know more about their lives, we want to share a laugh or two and enjoy authentic experiences. This isn’t easy to do when your stuck in touristy hotels, so the best way to make this happen is to spend the night with someone.
South America has long been a bucket-list destination for me and in just 4 days I’ll be heading there myself for the first time. It’s so close I can literally taste the Pisco Sour.
So what’s so exciting about a holiday to South America anyway? Well, for anyone unfamiliar with this epic continent, here’s a round-up of some of the things I’m looking forward to most when I explore Peru. And if there’s some stuff that I definitely shouldn’t miss, make sure you let me know in the comments below.