Top 9 Peru Vacation Annoyances in a Light Hearted Way

Top 9 Peru Vacation Annoyances in a Light Hearted Way

Although most Peru Vacations go without a hitch there are a few annoying things that can get under your skin from time to time. I am not referring to safety as such, as on the whole Peru is actually very safe. I am talking about those smaller things which as a foreigner you don’t even consider might happen.

I have been living in Peru for a number of years now, and on the whole I really enjoy living here. Some cities and regions of Peru are more developed than others and some you might think are 20 years behind modern times.

Parts of Lima for example are really quite advanced. They have big modern shopping malls with designer outlets. There are supermarkets which have every type of food product available (even good quality British cheddar cheese!). Then there are some places which are very much the opposite. Overall the things which are annoying are probably cultural differences between what we are accustomed to, and what is the norm in Peru. But, I guess for most Peru Vacation trips you are probably looking for that authentic experience, not modern life as you know it.

Here are my top 9 Peru vacation annoyances, not in any particular order:

1) Street dogs

It’s not true for every city in Peru, but there is a real problem with dogs in the street. There are two types of street dogs out there. The first actually have owners and are roaming around freely, the second type are stray dogs. The primary reason for having a dog in Peru is to protect your property. No so much to fight off any potential intruders scaling your walls and trampling on your roses, but more to act as a kind of canine alarm system. It is quite acceptable to allow your dogs to roam the neighbourhood freely. Barking dogs, dogs eating the trash, making a mess and sometimes unfriendly dogs can be a real nuisance. Interestingly in the district of Miraflores in Lima (where most Peru vacation hotels are located) you will find not one street dog! There is hope!

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2) Bad Driving

This has to be my number one annoyance for a Peru Vacation. In Peru (and Latin America) in general you will see very few women drivers. This is because driving is a male thing. It seems that when a Peruvian guy gets behind the wheel of a car they take on a whole new level of confidence. Maybe this is a macho thing which seems less evident in western countries. This combined with bad and windy roads can, at times, often lead to some pretty appalling driving. The worst culprits of this are taxi drivers. They seem to be in a rush to get you to your final destination as quickly as possible; even a nanosecond quicker if it’s possible. Combi drivers (local buses) are also pretty awful too. Pulling out from a standing start into the middle lane of a busy road is perfectly normal, even if it causes all the cars behind to screech to a sudden halt. Of course I am a great driver in Peru, it’s just the rest of them that aren’t.

3) Street Vendors

An inevitable part of travelling to any great tourist destination is the onslaught of street vendors. Peru is no different. The colonial centre of Cusco is where the majority of the vendors congregate, waiting in anticipation of the next gullible tourist. Surely a small finger puppet is what you have always dreamed of buying on a cold street corner at 11.30pm. Or maybe that baby alpaca hat (which actually doesn’t have one single fibre of alpaca in it) is perfect to wear down the pub when you get home, so you can tell everyone that you have just got back from a Peru vacation. On a more serious note; street vendors are only trying to make a living. When you have gone home, there are thousands of other tourists to replace you, so they will carry on selling their products to whoever they can. So, be nice, and just say no thanks (potentially 7 times).

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4) Poor Service

Service is a western thing, which just hasn’t quite caught on in Peru. Even at the promise of a potential tip, service just doesn’t seem to get any better. Try not to set the bar too high for great service and you won’t be disappointed. It’s okay that in a restaurant your meals turn up one at a time, often with 10 minute gaps between them. Consider it okay to go into a bar and not get served, until you wave your arms around like an enraged orangutan. And don’t be disappointed when you ask for something in a shop and you just get a straight ‘NO’ followed by a blank look. This may seem a little harsh, but it happens. In successful restaurants and hotels etc., you will find that the staff have been trained in the art of service and are much better prepared to help you. But don’t get your hopes up – they can still have a bad day!

5) Blocked Credit / Debit Cards

Back home there is nothing worse than finding that the ATM has swallowed your card. It is even worse when this happens whilst you are on your Peru Vacation. Make sure that you tell your card provider before you travel that you are going to Peru, and that they should expect transactions from abroad. Getting your card back is possible, but make sure that you have an hour or so to spare as Peruvian banks are busier and more hectic than the freeway that runs around your home city.

6) Being Ripped Off

You have probably worked hard to save up for your Peru vacation, but in the eyes of local vendors you are rich! So it is commonly accepted that you will be overcharged for anything you buy. This could be said for a packet of cigarettes through to a woolly hat that you are buying from a street vendor. If you look foreign there is a good chance you are paying too much. The very first time that I arrived in Peru, I took a taxi ride from the airport to the hotel. It cost me 20 Soles. I later found out that the ride should have only cost me 3 soles. Shop around, ask several vendors for a price and don’t be afraid to haggle!

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7) Sun Burn

In Peru the sun can be very strong, especially in the Andes where the air is much thinner. Make sure that you are prepared with the necessary protection, like sun block and a sun hat to avoid looking like a ripe tomato. Remember that there is a mountain of pharmacies where you can buy sun block, and there is an even large mountain of street vendors waiting to sell you a hat!

8) Insect Bites

Make sure that you are prepared for your Peru vacation with some good quality insect repellent. In the highlands (like Cusco and Puno) you won’t need to use insect repellent as the bugs don’t like the climate. But for your day at Machu Picchu, make sure that you are fully protected, as the insect bites are really quite common. Take a look at the thread in Trip Advisor about Machu Picchu insect bites. This is probably the most commented on topic of any topic, ever.

9) Petty Crime

Finally on a more serious note I want to mention petty crime. This advice is no more relevant in Peru than it is in your home country, it is just more important as you don’t want to ruin your Peru vacation. Remember that Peru is a safe country, probably the best of any central and South American country. However from time to time, things do happen. Take care when walking about late at night, when withdrawing money and when using taxis.