Peru

Etymology

The name of the country may be derived from Birú, the name of a local ruler who lived near the Bay of San Miguel, Panama, in the early 16th century. When his possessions were visited by Spanish explorers in 1522, they were the southernmost part of the New World yet known to Europeans. Thus, when Francisco Pizarro explored the regions farther south, they came to be designated Birú or Perú. [wikipedia]

Places to Meet People

Places to Meet People

1-on-1 Conversations Arequipa – This group is for all those who want to practice and improve their English through one-to-one conversations. In our meetings you will talk to a different person every 10 minutes. Not only can you improve your English by talking with people of wide experience, but also helping other people who are still learning to speak fluently. [meetup]

Citas Rápidas en Lima Meetup – This is a group for people interested in expanding their circle of friendship with the possibility of meeting single and single for a possible partner. People are known through 5-minute face-to-face mini-citations with each participant performed in unique and safe places. [meetup]

Data Science Lima – Community on data science, data mining and machine learning. All are invited from people who are only interested in the practice as in the theoretical part. [meetup]

Foodie dinning – I’m a peruvian chef with international experiencies just based in Cusco. Looking for people to hang out, dine out and explore the gastronomic options of the city! [meetup]

Golang Cusco – Come for drinks, share stories, and create awesome things using golang! [meetup]

Lab San Isidro – Welcome to Lab San Isidro, an initiative of the Innovation and Open Government Program of the Municipality of San Isidro. Our goal is to promote open innovation, contribute to the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem and show the world the great talent we have in Peru in the various communities of developers and creative. [meetup]

How to Find a Date

How to Find a Date

Badoo – Badoo is really only worth your time if you have run out of options. It just doesn’t have the same quality as Latin American Cupid, which is why I would not focus on it as a starting point for your search. Badoo works on the “freemium” model, which means that it is free to sign up, but you have to pay for upgraded features. The site operates in over 180 countries, and is popular in Latin America and Europe. [visa hunter]

Latin American Cupid – Latin American Cupid is pretty good for Peru and, in my book, is the best site to use.  A search for women living in Peru between 21 and 35 years old who have been active on the site within the last 3 months turns up more than 1000 profiles. [visa hunter]

Tagged – Tagged is probably Badoo’s largest competitor in that they offer a product that is very similar. I like to leave no stone unturned in the dating search, so I recommend you sign up and give it a try after you’ve exhausted the other options above.  I must say that the Tagged interface is not nearly as clean as the interface of Latin American Cupid and is a bit confusing for my tastes. Also, not all of the profiles seem to be real, meaning that you have to weed through a lot of garbage in order to find the hidden gems. [visa hunter]

Walking Tours

Walking Tours

Free Walking Tour Peru – People always wonder if we are part of a governamental organisation or if the service we provide is part of a local municipality, the answer is always NO- we are not any of the above. We are a group of travellers and tour guides that decided to share our knowledge with people from all around the world. [fwt peru]

Free Walking Tours Peru – You have a very nice warm welcome to Free Walking Tours Peru – FTF, powered by the best walking tour companies on Tripadvisor, Facebook and Google Plus, NO SHOPS, We do genuine walking tours by showcasing our cities history and culture. [free walking tours peru]

Free Things to Do

Free Things to Do

Bird Watch at the Colca Canyon – Southern Peru is home to the Colca Canyon, one of the country’s more popular tourism spots that nonetheless you’ve probably never heard of! Many people are surprised to learn that the Colca Canyon is more than twice as deep as the world-famous Grand Canyon in the United States, though its walls are not as steep and as such it’s not quite as visually striking. The Colca Canyon is also home to the Andean Condor, one of the largest birds in the world with a wingspan reaching up to 3.2 meters. [inca trail]

Buy All the Clothing You’ll Ever Need in Gamarra – By far the most “off the beaten path” of our Lima suggestions, the city’s Gamarra district certainly isn’t for everyone–it’s noisy, incredibly crowded, and home to the largest clothing and textile market in Latin America. It’s been estimated that there are over 20,000 shops here, selling everything from t-shirts and jeans to tuxedos and bridal gowns to designer knockoffs to traditional Peruvian garments. [inca trail]

Climb the Misti Volcano – Without a doubt Peru has a wide, and we mean wiiide variety of hiking, trekking, and climbing options. You should know by now that we’re big fans of both the Inca and Lares Trails, but if you’re looking for something different then southern Peru’s Misti Volcano might be more your speed. Let’s be clear: this is by no means an easy climb. [inca trail]

Discover Chan Chan, the Largest Pre-Columbian City in South America – Though eclipsed in popularity by some other ruins sites including Machu Picchu, this ruins complex near the modern-day city of Trujillo should be a mandatory stop for anyone visiting Peru. Chan Chan was the capital city of the Chimu Empire and was quite large even by today’s standards, the urban center covered approximately six square kilometers while the city continued to stretch less densely much further still. [inca trail]

Do Some Shopping at a Peruvian Marketplace – Peru, especially the Andean region, is famous around the world for its colorful marketplaces catering to tourists and locals alike. If you’re looking to buy a keepsake for yourself or some souvenirs for friends and family back home, skip the brick and mortar stores and check out the market stalls first! The Andean highlands are home to a number of major marketplaces (check out a description of Cusco’s largest in an article by a fellow site contributor at this link), but the most famous is without a doubt located in the small town of Písac. [inca trail]

Enter the Walled Fortress of Kuelap – If you’re getting bored with the archaeological sites, this is the last one–we promise. But seriously, look at this place! Located in northern Peru, Kuelap was a massive walled city home to over 400 buildings constructed by the Chachapoya culture, sometimes referred to as “the Warriors of the Clouds.” Though the ruins within the fortress are certainly very impressive, nothing matches the sheer size and scope of its walls, which reach up to some 19 meters in height. [inca trail]

Examine Pre-Columbian Erotic Pottery at the Larco Museum – No, your eyes are not deceiving you. This private Lima museum is one of the country’s finest, despite the fact that its numerous galleries showcasing works from over 4,000 years of Peruvian history are generally overshadowed by its one gallery showcasing nothing more than erotic pre-Columbian ceramics. [inca trail]

Experience the Magic Water Tour at the Park of the Reserve – Your gut reaction to our having included a fountain tour through a public park on our list might simply be a bewildered, “what?” But please trust us–this place really is something special. Inaugurated in 2007, the newly remodeled Parque de la Reserva is home to El Circuito Mágico del Agua, now officially the largest fountain complex found anywhere in the world. [inca trail]

Explore the Peruvian Amazon – When most people think of the Amazon Rainforest, their minds immediately jump to Brazil–and although South America’s largest country does contain the lion’s share of the Amazon, one could actually make the argument that it’s not the best place to visit the rainforest! In fact, many would contend that that specific honor should go to Peru. [inca trail]

Fly Over the Nazca Lines – If you’ve never heard of the Nazca Lines before, there’s a good chance that you’re quite confused by the image above, which is fine! The Nazca Lines, to put it succinctly, are a series of hundreds of massive designs dug into the ground by the Nazca culture well over a millennium ago. They range from simple geometric shapes to highly-stylized images primarily depicting plants and animals from the natural world. [inca trail]

Get Bohemian in the Barranco District – Head south from Miraflores and you’ll arrive in Barranco, undoubtedly Lima’s “hippest” neighborhood home to artists, squatters, and increasingly the nouveau rich. The district has a back story similar to those of many up-and-coming neighborhoods around the world. To put it shortly, the rich people fled as the expanding city encroached, poor artists and creative types moved in and made it cool, and now they’re slowly being pushed out again as a different kind of rich people buy up the property once more. [inca trail]

Get Some Perspective in the Belén District – On the outskirts of Iquitos, on the floodplain of a major Amazon River tributary, sits the Belén District, often referred to as the “Venice of the Amazon.” But frankly, the similarities end with the water. The residents of this notoriously impoverished area have built floating homes out of necessity, mostly because no one else wanted to live in an area that experienced such terrible annual flooding. [inca trail]

Indulge Your Appetite in Lima’s Culinary Scene – Any savvy readers who have already done a bit of research on Peru may be wondering about the total lack of Lima on our list so far. How could it be that the country’s capital and largest city hasn’t yet been mentioned? Well, we’ve basically decided to save all of our Lima entries for the end of our list. It’s no longer any secret that Lima is home to one of the most innovative, exciting, and simply delicious culinary scenes in all of Latin America. [inca trail]

Sandboard or Take a Buggy Ride in Huacachina – As much as this might look like a scene straight out of the Sahara Desert, trust us–Huacachina is very much in Peru. Located in the same southwestern Peruvian province as the Nazca Lines, this tiny oasis village in an otherwise parched dry desert has been attracting tourists for a while. Though nowadays additional water is pumped to the oasis from the nearby city of Ica, it’s still undoubtedly a cool place. [inca trail]

See the Otherworldly Maras Salt Ponds – A slightly lesser-known historic and cultural site not far outside of Cusco, the town of Maras makes for a fine day trip. Or, if we’re being more specific, an area just a kilometer or so outside of the town makes for a fine day trip–the town itself, to be frank, is pretty slow. But we digress… The bizarre scene you can see above is just a small section of the massive terraced salt ponds from which many Maras residents derive their livelihood. [inca trail]

Surf or Just Relax in Máncora – If you’re planning a trip to Peru, spending some time relaxing on the beach probably isn’t on your to-do list. If you’re on a tight schedule, we totally understand this, but if you’ve got the time, then why not? If a few days of sand, surf, and sun sounds right up your alley, then the laid-back surfing town of Máncora is perhaps your best option in Peru. [inca trail]

Take a Boat Tour of the Islas Ballestas – This small group of equally small islands has recently become one of the world’s most widely-recognized biodiversity hot spots. From birds such as blue-footed boobies and Humboldt penguins to seals and sea lions, many of the world’s most charming and beautiful animals call the Islas Belletas home–or they would if they could, you know, talk. [inca trail]

Take a Stroll on the Malecón in Miraflores – Of all of Lima’s upscale neighborhoods, Miraflores is probably the most well known. Perhaps this is due to its striking coastal location that makes for some truly stunning photographs? If you’re looking for a place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of the city without really leaving it at all, Miraflores is the place. [inca trail]

Visit the Floating Islands of Lake Titicaca – Lake Titicaca is famous for a number of reasons: it’s the largest lake in South America, the highest navigable lake in the world, and it has an admittedly funny name (for English speakers, at least). It’s also the home of the pre-Incan Uru people, an indigenous group that still lives in the most incredible of ways–on floating islands built and rebuilt out of dried reeds, drifting over the surface of the lake. [inca trail]

Wander Túcume, Peru’s Valley of Pyramids – This valley is bone dry, abandoned, and home to the ruins of some 26 major pyramids and mound structures built over the course of some 800 years. It’s also a source of fear and apprehension for local people–many still believe this valley to be cursed and refer to it by the Spanish word for “purgatory.” But you don’t believe in any of that stuff… right? [inca trail]

Festivals

Festivals

El Señor de los Milagros – This highly religious procession features tens of thousands of participants all clad in bright purple. The Lord of Miracles, the largest procession in South America, lasts a full 24 hours. It venerates a miraculous painting of Jesus Christ, which was created by an Angolan slave and survived the devastating 1746 earthquake, even though almost everything around it was felled. [frommers]

Fiesta de la Cruz – The Festival of the Cross isn’t as solemnly Catholic as it might sound. Best in Lima, Cusco, and Ica, the festival does feature cross processions (although the decorated crosses are vibrant), but it also displays a surfeit of folk music and dance, the highlight being the daring “scissors dancers,” who once performed on top of churches. [frommers]

Inti Raymi – The Festival of the Sun, one of the greatest pageants in South America, celebrates the winter solstice and honors the Inca sun god with a bounty of colorful Andean parades, music, and dance. It takes over Cusco and transforms the Sacsayhuamán ruins overlooking the city into a majestic stage. [frommers]

Puno Week – Puno, the fiesta capital of Peru, rises to the occasion for a full week every November to mark its Amerindian roots. A huge procession from Lake Titicaca into town remembers the legend of the first Inca emperor, who emerged from the world’s highest navigable lake to establish the Inca Empire. The procession deviates into dance, music, and oblivion. Day of the Dead, early in the week, is a joyous celebration that prompts picnics at cemeteries. [frommers]

Virgen de la Candelaria – Puno, perhaps the epicenter of Peruvian folklore, imbues its festivals with a unique vibrancy. Candlemas (or Virgen de la Candelaria), which is spread over 2 weeks, is one of the greatest folk religious festivals in South America, with an explosion of music, dance, and some of the most fantastic costumes and masks seen anywhere. [frommers]

Virgen del Carmen – The tiny, remote Andean colonial village of Paucartambo is about 4 hours from Cusco, but it hosts one of Peru’s wildest festivals. Three days of dancing, drinking, and outlandish, scary costumes pack in thousands who camp all over town (there’s almost nowhere to stay) and then wind up (temporarily) at the cemetery. [frommers]

Public Transit

Public Transit

Boat – Large passenger ferries and small lanchas (motorboats) take care of all terrestrial traffic in the Amazon region. Port towns such as Yurimaguas and Pucallpa are, quite literally, the end of the road. Travel by passenger boat is adventurous and scenic, but you’ll need stamina and patience for the voyage (it takes three days to get to Iquitos from most large port towns). Pack enough supplies for the trip, as only basic meals are available onboard. [about travel]

Bus – Buses are the main form of long-distance public transport in Peru. If you want to travel on a shoestring, buses are the way to go. Don’t try to go too cheap, however, as the cheapest companies are neither safe nor reliable. Stick with companies such as Cruz del Sur, Ormeño, Oltursa and Movil Tours, all of which have modern fleets and good safety records. [about travel]

Minibus – Love them or hate them, minibuses are an incredibly cheap way to get around Peru’s big cities. There are two types: the combi (normally an old Nissan or Toyota minivan) and the larger micro (typically an antiquated Toyota or Mitsubishi minibus). Combis are everywhere in Lima, their drivers rocketing around the city while the ticket collector hangs out the side door shouting out the destinations. If you can stand the chaos, a combi can take you half way across Lima for about $0.50. [about travel]

Mototaxi – If you’ve been to India, you are probably familiar with rickshaws, the small, three-wheeled contraptions with a bench seat in the back. Peruvian rickshaws, known as mototaxis or trimovils, dominate the roads in many provincial towns, providing a quick and easy way to get from place to place. As with taxis, you’ll need to set the price in advance — and be prepared to haggle. [about travel]

Pickup Truck – Pickup trucks (camionetas) ferry rural workers from towns to the countryside. It’s arguably the most basic form of public transport in Peru, and not one that many tourists will experience. Passengers sit or stand in the cargo area, generally hanging on for dear life. You should avoid camionetas, especially over long distances, unless there really is no other option. [about travel]

Shared Taxi – Shared taxis, known as colectivos, are similar to regular taxis but follow a set route with set fees. They carry up to four passengers (legally, at least) and will pick you up from anywhere along the route. Routes range from inner-city circuits to long distance trips along rural roads not served by major bus companies. Prices are low within towns and cities, but much higher for longer trips (the better the company, the higher the price). [about travel]

Taxi – Taxis are everywhere in Peru’s larger cities, but be careful when flagging one down. Only use registered, modern-looking taxis, as some unlicensed drivers are far from trustworthy and potentially dangerous. Remember to set the price in advance, as Peruvian taxis do not run on meters. Smaller taxis, commonly known as ticos, serve the same purpose as their larger cousins. [about travel]

Train – Train travel is a rarity in Peru. Three companies operate trains to Machu Picchu, with further services from Cusco to Puno. The Ferrocarril Central Andino is the country’s most spectacular train trip, running from Lima over the Andes until it reaches Huancayo. This is the highest standard-gauge train track in the world, so a big draw for train buffs. The train leaves only twice a month, so plan in advance. Another train crosses the Peru-Chile border from Tacna to Arica. [about travel]

Professional Groups & Events

Professional Groups & Events

Agile Perú – Agile Peru is the community of followers of agile methodologies in Peru. It is made up of students and professionals interested in spreading new ways of developing software. [meetup]

Docker Lima – Meet other developers and ops engineers using Docker. Docker is an open platform for developers and sysadmins to build, ship, and run distributed applications. Consisting of Docker Engine, a portable, lightweight runtime and packaging tool, and Docker Hub, a cloud service for sharing applications and automating workflows, Docker enables apps to be quickly assembled from components and eliminates the friction between development, QA, and production environments. [meetup]

GDG Cusco [Google Developer Group] – GDG Cusco is a community that seeks to share and disseminate knowledge of Google technologies in the areas of software and web development. [meetup]

Lima NodeJS Meetup – Calling all Javascript software developers. Meet with your contemporaries, learn about new technologies and have fun at our NodeJS events. [meetup]

Lima Startup Founder 101 – At Startup Founder 101, aspiring and early-stage startup founders meet once a month to hear candid talks by successful local entrepreneurs. Learn the best practices, strategies, and mistakes to avoid from those who have been there, done that. Then, if you’d like, you can share your ideas and plans in a relaxed setting to get personal and professional feedback. [meetup]

Startup Grind Arequipa – Startup Grind is a global startup community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs. We host monthly events in 200 cities and 85 countries featuring successful local founders, innovators, & investors. [meetup]

WordPress Cusco – We are the WordPress community in Cusco. We bring developers, designers, entrepreneurs, marketers and anyone who uses WordPress in order to share knowledge and experiences, and meet other people with the same interests. This community is open to all who love WordPress. [meetup]

Language Exchange

Language Exchange

English and French – Hi all, this group has been created for anyone interested in speaking English or French in Lima, it is Free to join, and for people like you. We can meet in coffee shops or restaurants. Perhaps you recently have lived abroad or moved to Peru and you want to talk to someone in your language or would like to hold your English or French skills, so this group is right for you and here you could share great personal experiences. We looking forward to meeting you! [meetup]

Lima Spanish and English Language Exchange Meetup – Hello everyone, Welcome to this activity organized by Blue Studies International designed to support people who want to practice their English and help foreigners improve their Spanish. We invite you to join this event if you are interested in making new friends from other cultures and benefit from this wonderful exchange of languages, practice your English with native speakers in English or meet foreigners who live in Lima or are out for a walk and want to practice their Spanish. [meetup]

Mundo Lingo Lima Free Language Exchange Meetup – Mundo Lingo is a sociable and completely free new way to practice another language in Lima and make local friends as much locals as tourists. [meetup]

LGBT Groups

LGBT Groups

Outfest Peru – The OUTFESTPERU Festival has been taking place since 2004 and aims to make the lgbt theme visible through the cinema. We are committed to the seventh art as a tool of social change. Visibilize and activate viewers beyond the closet of their lives or minds. [outfest peru]

Resources

Resources

Places in Peru

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