Once a backpacker haven of delightful roughness, Peru has matured into a rewarding and all-encompassing destination, attracting the over-50s like never before. Read on to discover why!
For many years, Peru was the travelling domain of the young and restless, its distinct ‘roughness’ suiting a younger demographic and attracting hordes of intrepid backpackers rather than older explorers. Yet the swift evolution of the South American hot-spot over the last decade or so is the reason so many over-50s are now packing their bags and heading to Peru – the enticement of its blossoming gastronomic scene and fantastic tourist infrastructure facilitating travel for those who crave a little more comfort.
Mind you, there’s still plenty of adventure to be had in the land of llamas and ceviche, because if there’s one thing that Peru has always had is, well, everything.
Why is Peru so appealing?
Drenched in fascinating history and boasting a sensational array of landscapes, archaeological sites, architecture and a colourful and welcoming culture, Peru is inarguably one of the most rewarding travel destinations in South America, one that now offers an irresistible allure for anyone of any age. The over-50s have the advantage here: they’re usually able to be able to tour more extensively in comfort and can splurge on some of Peru’s most exquisite treats: from Michelin-starred restaurants to small-ship cruising in the Amazon, luxury train rides to Machu Picchu, sightseeing flights over the Nazca Lines and luxury lodging in some of the most glorious spots in the entire continent. Yes, even in Machu Picchu.
If you were to ask us, we’d say Peru is tailor-made for the over-50s. Today, you can soak up the very best of the country without having to put up with the discomfort of backpacker budget travel.
Here are a few more reasons why the over-50s are packing their bags and heading to Peru:
Lima is booming!
Lima has always been the most convenient entry-point into the country (and South America, in general) yet just a decade ago this was the kind of city that didn’t elicit a longer layover. Many tourists, especially older ones, choosing to move on in a jiffy. Yet if there’s one city in South America that’s enjoyed a revival-de-force, Lima would have to be it: this vibrant, eclectic, delicious and enticing city is nowadays reason enough to visit Peru. Every travel agent in the know will attest to this being a perfect intro into Peru and if they don’t recommend you stay a few days to explore it thoroughly, they’re doing you, and Lima, a great disservice.
From its cutting-edge culinary scene to the gentrification of its seaside hood, the resurgence of its trendiest and most bohemian suburbs and a clean-up of its amazing historic core, Lima is considered one of Peru’s very best highlights, something the over-50s are swiftly realising.
There’s now a luxury train that can take you to Machu Picchu in comfort & style
Tacking the multi-day Inca Trail to the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu is certainly a rewarding endeavour but it isn’t for everyone. Taking the luxury train option, however, most certainly is! Ride in style whilst soaking up the spectacle of high Andean peaks and glorious verdant valleys and the whole Machu Picchu experience gains a brand-new perspective. There are still plenty of hiking opportunities around Machu Picchu (and the rest of the country) yet having this option has certainly made the historic citadel all the more appealing.
But there’s nothing stopping you from hiking to Machu Picchu if you wish
There’s very little that prevents the over-50s from tackling the Inca Trail and this is especially true if it’s been a lifelong dream held at bay by commitments and growing families. Many of our guests over 50 years of age hold understandable hesitations regarding a 4-day hike along the trail in the high-altitude Andes yet with a plan of action and some sensible precautions, there’s no reason anyone with a decent level of fitness can’t complete it successfully. We’ve had 70-year-old guests take it on like champions! High altitude hiking is quite a unique endeavour, one that isn’t necessarily determined by age: take it easy, walk slowly and take as many rest-stops as you need, and you can bag this bad-boy like you’ve always dreamed. We handpick local guides and agencies to offer the very best in comfort, safety and care – make sure you’re in the best hands possible and you will have the absolute experience of a lifetime. And that’s what makes Peru so enticing – the sheer array of options and alternatives abound, no matter your age. There’s a ton of hiking options in the Cordillera Blanca north of Lima and an absolute hive of exceptional archaeological sites in the northern, lesser-visited region.
Been to Peru before or not obsessed with bucket-lists? There’s a whole other side of the country to discover!
The young Instagram crowd may be obsessed with that perfect selfie in front of a world-renowned site yet travellers over the age of 50 tend to be less consumed with the ‘musts’ and more interested in the unknowns. When it comes to hidden alternatives, Peru is the real deal. For every celebrated site there are a dozen more that fly way off the tourist radar: archaeological sites barely mentioned in guide books, charming villages not featured in postcards and sensational natural treasures just itching to be discovered. Those over 50 who have travelled extensively also have an added advantage – for many, this is a return visit to Peru and given they may have ticked the most popular sites off their list years ago, are now interested in discovering what else Peru has to offer. It may be one of the most visited countries in the continent yet there is a lot of Peru that’s yet to become mainstream news.
The Peruvian portion of the Amazon is undoubtedly its most hidden of treasures
Think of the Amazon Rainforest and you’ll probably only think of Brazil but, unbeknownst to so many, Peru offers some of the best Amazonian experiences of all for the over-50s. Peru may be home to only 17% of the majestic jungle yet said jungle makes up almost half of its entire landmass. The Amazon here is unspoilt, wild and bursting with unique flora and fauna yet easy to access and offers a wealth of luxury experiences for those who wish for more comfort. The Tambopata Reserve is home to stunning luxury lodges and, over in the Pacaya-Samiria reserve, you can indulge in a 5* gastronomic cruising experience that’ll knock your socks off. When discerning explorers start researching the most comfortable and indulgent way to experience the Amazon, they invariably land on Peru’s doorstep and there’s no blaming them for that! Just check out all the amazing Amazon adventures you can have in Peru.
Peru Offers Unrivalled Value-for-Money
Travellers over the age of 50 may well have more disposable travel funds but that doesn’t mean they’re no longer worried about value-for-money. On the contrary: given the extra time on their hands to wish to travel longer and that means value-for-money destinations become even more important. In this regard alone, Peru is perhaps the ideal country in South America: it is only marginally more expensive than Bolivia and Ecuador but boasts an infrastructure that’s more comparable with Chile and Argentina, which are more expensive to visit. Given that South America is arguably the best value-for-money continent in the world, you really can’t go wrong no matter where you travel, yet in Peru, the odds are heavily in your (financial) favour.
Just one more reason travellers aged 50 are packing their bags and heading right over.
At Chimu Adventures, we specialise in South America travel for the over-50s and offer an array of adventurous yet luxurious itineraries to suit your interests. We even have a dedicated Luxury Collection for those once-in-a-lifetime visits. Check out our Peru Archive for travel inspiration, see our extensive Peru Tour ideas and contact us to know how we can customise any itinerary to your personal tastes.
Author: Laura Pattara
“Laura Pattara is a modern nomad who’s been vagabonding around the world, non-stop, for the past 15 years. She’s tour-guided overland trips through South America and Africa, travelled independently through the Middle East and has completed a 6-year motorbike trip from Europe to Australia. What ticks her fancy most? Animal encounters in remote wilderness, authentic experiences off the beaten trail and spectacular Autumn colours in Patagonia.”