My first trip to Peru was amazing. We spent the first night near Lima, at a friend’s house close to the beach in the La Perla area.
We walked to the beach and ate barbecued beef hearts and stuffed mashed potatoes on a street corner. Sounds tasty, right? Well, it really was. They didn't tell me what I was eating until I mentioned that it was a different barbecue than we get at home. I was then told it was beef hearts marinated in chili, lime and sauces, sliced thin and then barbecued. Delicious.
The following day we took a flight to Cusco and then a train to Machu Picchu. The train was an exceptional experience. They served a drink called a pisco sour, made with lime juice, whipped egg whites and pisco, a Peruvian grape brandy. Everyone — tourists and all — was so friendly (probably because everyone was drinking the happy drink).
After the train ride to the top of Machu Picchu, we took a half-hour tour-bus ride up a narrow road with an amazing view of the small city below. When we arrived, we saw children in their native dress and llamas roaming and eating the green grass. It was an amazing sight.
Flights are relatively cheap if you buy three to four months in advance, and Cusco and Machu Picchu are safe to travel to — so be spontaneous and go! The Peruvian people are so friendly, the shopping is fantastic, the food delicious, and the dollar goes a long, long way. You'll want to return for more food, fun and hospitality. Winter is an ideal time to visit, when it's Peru’s summer.