SSoP Podcast Ep. 20 — Peru: Andes Adventures, Fusion Food, and Piles of Gold

SSoP Podcast Ep. 20 — Peru: Andes Adventures, Fusion Food, and Piles of Gold

Monday, 30 November, 2020

Peru is South America’s geographical triple-threat with beach-front desert on the Pacific coast, the Andes mountains (the second-highest range in the world), and dense Amazon rainforest. It’s also astonishingly beautiful with craggy peaks, lush greenery, lakes the color of aquamarines and sapphires, and so many very (very, very) cute llamas and alpacas.

The history and politics of Peru are as challenging as its rugged terrain. About 500 years ago, the Incas ruled a vast empire. But during a 36-year war, a group of just 168 conquistadors — lead by Francisco Pizarro — brought the Inca empire of about 10 million people to an end. Peru became a Spanish colony and, much later, finally won its independence, only to be bedeviled by presidents, coups, dictatorships, and internal terrorist attacks.

All of that aside, modern Peru is a mystical wonderland for travelers. There’s the aerie of Machu Picchu and the wonder of the Nazca Lines carved in the desert, plus night-time jungle excursions and tours on rope bridges amid the treetops of the Amazon. There’s also stunning architecture in the cosmopolitan cities of Lima, Cuzco, and Arequipa, where you can visit museums by day, then dine of world-class cuisine and sip pisco sours by night.

In this episode, we explore the history and culture of the country that naturalist Alexander von Humboldt called ‘a beggar, sitting on a bench of gold.’ And we recommend six books that capture the Peruvian magic: two memoirs that illuminate Peru’s enchanted landscapes, two cookbooks that explore the culture and fusion cuisine, a detailed account of Incas vs. conquistadors, and a gorgeous novel of friendship and adventure.

Books, Transcript, and More

For a complete roundup of all the books we recommend, plus a full transcript and the other cool stuff we talked about, visit the Episode 20 show notes.


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With adorable alpacas, astonishing Inca ruins, and irresistible cuisine, Peru is a wonderland for travelers. In this episode, we dig into history and culture, then recommend great books for your armchair travel.
This weekend, why not go exploring in the snow-capped mountains of Peru? You'll be swept up in local folklore, face your greatest fears, and find your truest friendship. You might also get caught up in a gunfight!
Forget corn chips and margaritas! We're about to upgrade your snack time with irresistibly crunchy-salty corn from Peru, washed down with a tangy, zingy pisco sour. This is snacking, Peruvian-style. Cheers to you!
Feast your eyes on Peru's colorful, vibrant fusion cuisine and the mind-boggling beauty of its scenery. From Pacific beaches to the tippy-top of the Andean mountains, Peru is a destination to fuel your imagination.
The stir-fry dish known as Lomo Saltado is the perfect representation of Peru's fusion cuisine where East meets West, a flavorful, savory recipe that combines Peruvian chile peppers and pisco with Chinese soy sauce.

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