Perú, I’ve left you.

Dear Perú,

I’ve left you. You’re beautiful and interesting and you taught me a lot, but you’re too reckless for me. Besides, I’m not convinced you’re working on yourself as you really ought to be.




(of a person or their actions) without thinking or caring about the consequences of an action.


In retrospect I enjoyed the far north of Peru best. Between San Ignacio and Cajamarca/Huamachuco there’s asphalt all the way, albeit in a variable state. Kuélap is wonderful and Cajamarca was my favourite Peruvian city.

After Cajamarca, Huamachuco to Huaraz was tough going, especially on road tyres. I was exhausted by the constant honking and questioning about my solo status.

I didn’t love Huaraz itself, but the Huascaran National Park is splendiferous and two of its passes are asphalted.

The Peru Divide route was an unforgettable experience in so many ways. Incredibly tough, but I’m really glad I did it.

I couldn’t face more being honked and driven at (Peruvian driving is some of the worst I’ve experienced anywhere, perhaps barring Indonesia and Cambodia) so I took buses Huancavelica-Ayacucho-Cusco-Puno.

Cusco is overrun with gringos and people trying to sell things to gringos. All the other cities I visited were nicer, especially Cajamarca and Ayacucho. Stumbling upon LGBTQ Pride in Cusco was a highlight. The Sacred Valley too is incredibly touristy, though I suppose it made me appreciate other parts of the country more.

Riding from Puno (via Amantaní island) round the east side of Lake Titicaca was a nice way to exit Peru and enter Bolivia, with the flat terrain providing a stark contrast to the rest of my time in Peru. I didn’t go anywhere near the coast where most of the large cities (and the worst of the traffic) are to be found.

Overall the driving/honking were as bad as expected and I was run at by loose (pet) dogs multiple times every day, which I find completely unacceptable.

Peru taught me that:

  • I am most interested in countries (like Colombia) where the collective drive for national (or at least urban) social improvement is palpable.
  • Recklessness (as exemplified by appalling driving, out of control pet dogs and littering) is a dealbreaker for me.
  • I may not be as much of an anarchist as I thought I was.

To understand Peru’s social history in context I’m glad I read the second edition of “Forgotten Continent” by Michael Reid of The Economist.

I’m very much looking forward to Argentina now. But first, Bolivia…