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Get in the Mood: What to Read and Watch Before Going to Peru

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Are you planning on visiting Lima, Cusco or the Machu Picchu soon? To get you started, here are some films, novels, and series set in Peru to get a better understanding of the culture, the landscapes and the history. Enjoy!

The Motorcycle Diaries

This groundbreaking film, starring a young Gael Garcia Bernal, tells the story of Che Guevara and Alberto Granado’s formative motorcycle journey in 1952, when the two men traveled across part of South America, including Peru. The film features Machu Picchu, Cusco and Iquitos, the most important city in the Peruvian Amazon. Scenery to dream about, and just the thing to book when travelling to Peru!

Turn Right at Machu Picchu

Mark Adams’ autobiographical account of leaving New York’s skyscrapers and his job as a travel editor to discover Machu Picchu. The author humorously recounts his fascinating journey through majestic and historic landscapes, including the ancient Inca capital Cusco, Vitcos ruins, and Vilcabamba.

Magical Andes

This Netflix docuseries travels through the Andes, exploring the rich tapestry of cultures and landscapes found in six countries, including Peru. The series set in Peru highlights the deep connection between the people and the majestic Andean landscapes, as well as the multifaceted nature of Peruvian culture, through stunning cinematography and scenery.

Street Food: Latin America

Ceviche, picarones, anticuchos; this episode of the Street Food travel series travels to South America, with an episode dedicated to the succulent gastronomy of Peru. Embark on a journey through the unique flavors of Lima’s delicious cuisine. Immerse yourself in the fascinating lives of the people who sell it on the streets. An episode that will leave you salivating and wanting to hop on the next flight to Lima!

The Big Blue

Luc Besson’s legendary film, starring Jean Reno and Rosanna Arquette, explores themes of love and rivalry against the backdrop of the risky sport of freediving. It features stunning footage from Peru’s La Reya Pass train station, a famous stop on Peru Rail en route to Machu Picchu.


This story by Diego Trelles Paz is the story of the merciless war between the state and the guerrillas in Lima in the 1980s. Based on the author’s own experiences, the story centers on Elsa, a young communist activist who is tortured by the military, and Bioy, a young corporal who is tetanized by this outbreak of violence.

Without Saying Goodbye

When a world-famous Spanish architect decides to travel to rural Peru to try his hand at building a hotel, he is initially surprised by the innocence of the locals. This romantic comedy highlights the landscapes of Peru, in particular those of Cusco and Puno, in the region of Ica.

Long Way Up

Starting in Patagonia, Ewan McGregor sets out to ride his electric motorcycle across America, ending in Los Angeles. The challenge proves to be more difficult than expected due to the road conditions, the weather and the lack of charging stations. Episode 7 stops in Peru to showcase the incredible beauty of the wondrous Machu Picchu.

Dora and the Lost City

Dora, who grew up exploring the jungles of Peru, now attends high school in Los Angeles with her cousin, Diego. When she is kidnapped during a road trip, she’s thrust into the search for a lost city of gold. The lush jungles of Tarapoto and the Mali Museum in Lima provide the backdrop for this adventure, in which the Quechua language is prominently featured. A delightful primer for kids on their visit to Peru!

Machu Picchu 101

This Youtube video from National Geographic provides an educational overview of Machu Picchu, the iconic Inca citadel in Peru. It delves into its history, architecture, and significance, providing travelers with essential knowledge about this ancient wonder. Did you know, for example, that it was “rediscovered” in 1911 by American historian Hiram Bingham and local hotelier Melchor Arteaga? Of course, local farmers knew of its existence. But the site remained largely unknown to the outside world until Bingham brought it to international attention.

Peru: Hidden Treasure

Peru is a country steeped in cultural traditions that span more than a millennium, but it is also a land of surprising natural riches. Offering a truly comprehensive view of the country’s essence, this documentary dives deep into Peru’s rich history. It showcases its archaeological wonders, diverse ecosystems and vibrant traditions. Truly one of the most profound, all-encompassing series set in Peru.

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