With a mind-boggling number of bars, night clubs, casinos and live music venues, the nightlife in Lima is nothing if not varied, and whether you’re looking to chill out in an American-style bar, show off your dance moves at a salsa club or sample Peru’s National cocktail, the Pisco Sour, there are plenty of ways to while away the evening hours in the Peruvian capital.
With its whitewashed colonial architecture and the awe-inspiring Colca Canyon on its doorstep, the White City of Arequipa has plenty to offer visitors, and the UNESCO-listed city is also a top place to pick up some souvenirs. There’s a long history of traditional handicrafts in Arequipa and the city’s markets and souvenir stores are crammed with unique finds, most notably an array of goods crafted from super-soft alpaca wool. In fact, the region’s top quality, hand-shorn wools and vibrant weaving patterns are so famous, the city has a reputation for being the ‘World Capital of the Alpaca’, and you’ll see huge herds of the indigenous camelids roaming the highlands around the city.
Equally famous for its long history of witchcraft and its awe-inspiring archaeological sites, and flanked by windswept beaches to the west and vast desert sands to the east, Chiclayo is a city like no other and the reigning pearl of the north offers a fascinating introduction to Northern Peru. Founded by Spanish missionaries in the 16th century, Chiclayo has been growing ever since, metamorphosing from a rural outpost on the trade route, to a sprawling metropolis and Peru’s fourth largest city.
Whether you’re already adept at Spanish and looking to pick up some local lingo or a complete beginner, taking a few language classes offers an ideal introduction to local culture and learning Spanish in Lima has become a popular pastime for visitors to the capital.
One of Peru’s southernmost cities, perched on the banks of the vast Lake Titicaca and just a bus or boat ride from the Bolivian border, Puno is most often used as a starting point for exploring the natural reserve of Titicaca or traveling between the neighboring countries. With only one day in Puno, most visitors choose to spend their time cruising Lake Titicaca, but the city itself is also worth exploring, with its lively markets and folk festivals earning it the title of Peru’s folklore capital.
With fireworks displays, colorful parades and military salutes held on and around July 28th, the Fiestas Patrias (Independence Day) celebrations in Lima mark the city’s biggest and most patriotic festival, held in honor of José de San Martín’s 1821 declaration of Peru an independent state. With the entire country taking part in the festivities, this is one of the most atmospheric times of year to be in the capital and offers a unique opportunity to experience Peru’s diverse cultural and military traditions.