An Enchanting Tour of South Peru - Epilogue



Amongst all my oversea travels, the tour of south Peru can be considered as the most enjoyable and pleasant one. It involves not only traveling from one place to another to enjoy the varied and enchanting sceneries but also visiting various enigmatic archaeological sites all along the way. Added to this is trekking part of the ancient Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, which combines natural beauty, history and mystery with various ruins along the way.

The ever-changing scenery from the striking barren landscape of the Pacific coast to the picturesque abyss of the Colca Canyon is so breathtaking that one will be so enchanted that he/she will lose the capacity to give it an adequate description.

The Nasca Lines is a mystery infused with incomprehensibility and spirituality that will mesmerize visitors for eternity.

The ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Uros Indians in using the simplest form of material called reeds to build the floating islands in Lake Titicaca more than 500 years ago is most laudable. It is a pity that through inter-marriages, there is no true-blooded Uros left, just like the great Incas.

Last but not least, the grandeur of the remains of Inca monuments and cities is immense and awesome. Their enigmas are too many and too great for any simple mind to solve.



The above story cannot just abruptly end without doing justice to many special local food and drinks that I enjoyed while in Peru.

Drinks: Beers, wines and spirits

In Peru, beers are called Cerveza. Cristal and Cuzquena are the most popular brands and they are good.

Peru also produces wines but they are not as good as those in Chile and Argentina.

As for spirits, Peru is famous for Pisco, a white grape brandy with a unique and palatable flavor. It is normally made into a cocktail with syrup, lemon juice, and egg white and blended in a blender with ice cubes. The resultant cocktail is called Pisco Sour and is a traditional drink most popular in Peru. This is also my favorite drink before meals.

The root of Pisco tradition goes back to the 1500's and stems from colonial rule. The Spaniards brought the grapes from Europe but the king of Spain banned wine in the 17th century, forcing Peruvians to concoct a different kind of alcohol from the grapes.


Drink: Coca Tea

Coca is traditionally cultivated in the lower altitude of the eastern slopes of the Andes. Since ancient times, its leaves have been used as a stimulant by the indigenous people of South America.

But the cultivation of coca has become controversial because it is also used for the manufacture of cocaine!

The dried coca leaves have a strong tea-like odour; when chewed they produce a pleasant and pungent taste.

The dried leaves can be brewed in a cup or pot. The consumption of coca tea is common in Peru. On the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, we were served with coca tea in every meal because it is widely believed that it can alleviate the symptom of high altitude sickness.

I chewed the leaves and drank the tea for over a week in Peru. But I never felt high or got addicted to them.


Food: Ceviche & Cuy

Ceviche is considered to be the national dish of Peru. It can be served as a starter or a main dish in restaurants.

It is traditionally made with raw fish, which is marinated in lemon together with chilies (Loboto in Quechua), onions and garlic. It is normally served with slices of cold sweet potatoes or corn-on-the-cob or salad.


Cuy or grilled guinea pig is another traditional Peruvian dish. It is normally served as a main dish in many restaurants in Peru.


Fruit: Tuna

Tuna is not a fish in Peru, but rather a fruit. It is the fruit of the prickly pear cactus.

The cactuses are grown wild on the eastern slopes of the Andes. They are also cultivated in farms. They are similar to our dragon fruits in taste.


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