Peru is the third largest country in South America. It borders Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, and the Pacific Ocean. The country has mountains, volcanoes, beaches, deserts, and rainforests, so you'll love this destination if you're an adventure seeker!
Are you more of a history buff? Well, you'll also find many things you'll love to do in this exciting country. Humans have inhabited what we now call Peru for nearly 15,000 years, and visiting certain areas is like stepping back in time. Historical sites like Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley make Peru an extraordinary place to experience.
Today, most of Peru's population lives along the coast or in the capital city of Lima—a must-visit destination for tourists.
When you visit a place as unique as Peru, you'll want to sample the local produce and bring back a few souvenirs. So I've written this post to help you decide what to buy when you're in the magical country of Peru!
What Should I Buy on My Trip to Peru?
A trip to Peru is undoubtedly unforgettable. But souvenirs make a trip more memorable and make great gifts for friends and family. Here are my top picks for the best souvenirs to buy in Peru.
Used for transport, food, and clothing, Alpacas have always been an essential part of Peru's history and culture. Alpaca wool is hugely versatile, and you'll find Alpaca items for sale all over Peru. Sweaters, scarves, blankets, hats, and gloves—the choice is yours!
If you're shopping for souvenirs in Cusco, the non-profit collective Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco is the perfect place to find sustainable Alpaca products.
Peru is very well known for its textiles. This includes rugs, blankets, wall hangings, tablecloths, and runners. All great souvenirs to take home! Peruvian textiles come in bright colors and usually depict scenes of native animals and people or detailed geometric patterns.
You'll find textiles in almost all of Peru's local markets. Still, one of the biggest markets can be found in Miraflora at Mercado Indio.
Traditional Chullo Hats
Worn by Peruvians during the harsh winter, these distinctive hats have ear flaps and can be tied under the chin. They are typically made from vicuña, alpaca, llama, or sheep's wool.
You can find this hat style at any of the local markets and from street vendors.
Peruvian artwork is a beautiful way to commemorate your trip. You'll find artwork in all kinds of media while traveling through Peru.
Some galleries and museums sell artwork to buy as eye-catching Peruvian souvenirs. Local markets and street vendors are also great places to find unique Peruvian artwork.
One of Peru's most recognizable symbols is the Chakana or Inca Cross. It represents the three levels of existence in the Incan religion.
You will see this cross everywhere. You can find necklaces, bracelets, earrings, anklets, and more at markets. These items are easy to carry and make the perfect souvenir for your trip to Peru.
The Pisco Sour is Peru's national cocktail, and taking home a bottle of Pisco liquor is a great souvenir. It's the perfect addition to any home bar!
Pisco is a high-proof spirit made from fermented grapes.
There are four types:
- Puro: made from only one variety of pisco grape
- Aromático: made from Muscat, Albilla, Italia, or Torontel variety grapes
- Mosto Verde: made from unripe, green grapes
- Acholado: made from mixed varieties of grapes
Peru is a huge producer and exporter of coffee, and much of its organic coffee is grown and produced by co-ops. That makes local organic coffee the ideal sustainable souvenir to buy in Peru.
You can get Coati coffee if you're a real coffee connoisseur or have tons of money to spare. This specialty coffee is made from the dung of a cute critter, Coati. These creatures are only found in Central and South America, and just 2 lbs of this coffee can cost nearly $1500!
These intricately carved gourds are synonymous with the Peruvian Inca culture, but their use dates back even earlier. They were initially used for both ceremonial and practical applications.
Today, mates burilados are used more for decoration. Hand-carved with geometric patterns or landscape scenes, mates burilados make evocative souvenirs of any trip to Peru.
What is Peru Known For?
Now that you know what you should bring home with you, what about while traveling through Peru?
Peru is known for so many cool things that knowing where to start is challenging. There's such a wide variety of things to do and see in Peru... there really is something to appeal to everyone.
If you still need to plan some of your trip, I have some worthwhile ideas!
The area we now call Peru is famous for the civilization known as the Incas. The Incas ruled between c. 1400 and 1533 CE and controlled much of South America. At the time, it was the largest empire in the world.
Today, you can see remnants of the past all over Peru. There are burial sites, ancient ruins, and pyramids to explore. Many people claim to experience spiritual awakenings or connections while visiting these sites. You can also visit museums and galleries for more in-depth information.
If you're a thrill-seeker or outdoorsy, Peru might be your new favorite destination. A stunning natural playground, Peru offers endless opportunities for adventures and excursions like surfing, hiking, rafting, climbing, snowboarding, and backpacking.
As Peru becomes more popular with tourists, many unique tours and excursions are popping up. Why not explore the breathtaking Rainbow Mountain and the surrounding area on a guided hiking tour? Or see the mysterious Nazca Lines from the best possible angle?
Peruvian food is famous for its flavor. Traditional meals come from generations of multicultural influences. Some of the top dishes to try in Peru include:
- Lomo Saltado (Stir Fried Beef)
- Aji de Gallina (Creamy Chicken)
- Papas a la Huancaina (Potatoes in Spicy Cheese Sauce)
- Cuy (Guinea Pig)
- Anticuchos de Corazón (Grilled Heart)
- Arroz con Pato (Rice With Duck)
The culture in Peru is vibrant and thriving. While the bigger cities have a modern vibe, much of Peru still has strong ties to its ancient ancestors. Spanish is the most commonly spoken language in Peru, but several native languages are still spoken today. Bright colors, high-energy music, and strong ancestral ties are huge parts of Peruvian culture.
Where Should I Visit In Peru?
That depends on what you're looking for! There are so many different things to see and do. At the same time, everyone who visits Peru will find something intriguing about this beautiful country.
Looking for somewhere to stay in Peru? Take advantage of these awesome hostels.
Top Tourist Spots:
Of course, some places in Peru are touted as attractions you can't miss. These places draw big crowds:
To get away from the tourists, try visiting some lesser-known areas:
- Punta Sal
- Museo Larco
- Chachapoyas Trek
If you're staying in the capital city, grab this guide to things to do in Lima before you go!
Plan Your Peruvian Adventure With Pilot
Now you know a little more about where to go, what to see and what to buy in Peru, it's time to get planning! Why not let Pilot help?