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Peru Sneak Peek


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Mia Starling



Welcome to Peru, a country that is rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. Located in South America, Peru is a diverse and captivating destination that offers a wealth of experiences for travelers. From ancient archaeological sites to picturesque landscapes, this country has something for everyone.


Peru is known for its fascinating history, dating back thousands of years. It was once the heart of the Inca Empire, with iconic sites like Machu Picchu showcasing the architectural brilliance of this ancient civilization. The country also has a rich colonial heritage, evident in the beautifully preserved buildings and churches in cities like Lima and Cusco.


Peruvian culture is a vibrant blend of indigenous traditions and Spanish influences. The people of Peru are proud of their heritage and have managed to preserve their ancestral customs and practices. Traditional festivals, colorful costumes, and lively music and dance performances are integral parts of Peruvian culture.


Geographically, Peru offers a diverse landscape that ranges from the arid deserts of the Pacific coast to the majestic Andes Mountains and the lush Amazon rainforest. The country’s varied topography provides a host of outdoor activities, from hiking to surfing, and wildlife enthusiasts will be delighted by the incredible biodiversity found within the country.


In this article, we will take you on a virtual tour of Peru, exploring its history, culture, geography, and main attractions. We will delve into the bustling capital city of Lima, uncover the mysteries of Machu Picchu, venture into the untamed Amazon rainforest, and discover the charm of Cusco, the gateway to the Andes. We will also tantalize your taste buds with the flavors of Peruvian cuisine and introduce you to the joyous celebrations and festivals that are an integral part of the Peruvian way of life.


So, sit back, relax, and get ready to embark on a captivating journey through the enchanting land of Peru!


History of Peru

The history of Peru is a tapestry woven with ancient civilizations, colonial influences, and the journey towards independence. The roots of Peru’s history can be traced back thousands of years, with evidence of human habitation dating back to around 9,000 BC.


One of the most significant civilizations in Peru’s history is the Inca Empire, which flourished from the 13th to the 16th century. The Incas created an impressive empire, spanning a vast territory that encompassed modern-day Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and parts of Colombia and Chile. Their capital city of Cusco served as the center of political, economic, and religious power.


The Incas are renowned for their engineering marvels, particularly the awe-inspiring city of Machu Picchu. This ancient citadel was built in the 15th century and remained hidden from the outside world until its rediscovery in 1911. Today, it stands as a testament to the ingenuity and architectural prowess of the Inca civilization.


However, the Inca Empire was not the first civilization to flourish in Peru. Prior to the Incas, various indigenous cultures left their mark on the country’s history. The coastal region was home to the Norte Chico civilization, considered one of the oldest in the Americas, dating back to around 3,000 BC. The Moche civilization, known for its intricate pottery and impressive adobe pyramids, thrived from the 1st to the 8th century AD.


Arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century marked a significant turning point in Peru’s history. Led by Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish conquest led to the downfall of the Inca Empire and the subjugation of the indigenous populations. The Spanish established the Viceroyalty of Peru, making Lima the political and administrative capital of their South American colonies.


The colonial period, which lasted for almost 300 years, left an indelible imprint on Peru’s culture and architecture. Magnificent churches, palaces, and mansions were built, blending Spanish Baroque with indigenous elements. Some of Peru’s most iconic landmarks, such as the Plaza de Armas in Lima and the Cathedral of Cusco, are remnants of this colonial heritage.


Peru gained independence from Spanish rule in 1821, led by liberator José de San Martín and later Simón Bolívar. However, political instability and conflicts continued throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. In recent years, Peru has experienced significant economic growth and stability, emerging as one of the fastest-growing economies in Latin America.


Today, Peru’s history is celebrated and preserved through its archaeological sites, museums, and cultural festivals. Exploring the remnants of ancient civilizations and learning about the struggles of the past provides a deep appreciation for the rich heritage that makes Peru a truly remarkable destination.


Culture and Traditions

Peru is a country with a rich and diverse culture, shaped by its indigenous roots, Spanish colonial influence, and modern-day innovations. The cultural heritage of Peru is celebrated through its traditions, festivals, music, dance, and culinary delights.


At the core of Peruvian culture is a deep connection to its indigenous roots. Throughout the country, you can find traces of ancient civilizations that have left a lasting impact on the culture and traditions of Peru. From the Inca Empire to the Moche and Nazca civilizations, the indigenous heritage is proudly celebrated and preserved by the Peruvian people.


The Quechua and Aymara peoples, who are descendants of the Inca civilization, have managed to maintain their traditions and way of life despite centuries of cultural assimilation. Notably, the Quechuan language is still widely spoken in the Andean highlands, adding to the cultural richness of the country.


One of the most vibrant aspects of Peruvian culture is its traditional festivals. These colorful celebrations are a blend of both indigenous rituals and Catholic influences brought by the Spanish. Festivals such as Inti Raymi, the Festival of the Sun, and Qoyllur Rit’i, the Snow Star Festival, showcase the unique customs, music, dance, and costumes of different regions in Peru.


The music of Peru is diverse, reflecting the country’s multicultural heritage. Traditional Andean music, characterized by the use of panpipes, flutes, and drums, resonates throughout the highlands. On the coast, Afro-Peruvian music rhythms blend with Spanish influences to create lively and soulful tunes. In cities like Lima, you can find vibrant music scenes spanning various genres, from rock and pop to traditional Afro-Peruvian fusion.


Peruvian dance is also a prominent part of the country’s cultural fabric. Each region has distinct dance styles that reflect their unique histories and traditions. In the highlands, the Marinera and Huayno are popular dances, while the Afro-Peruvian Festejo and the coastal marinera are well-known in the coastal regions.


Peruvian cuisine is renowned worldwide for its diverse flavors and culinary innovation. The country’s cuisine combines indigenous ingredients, such as quinoa, potatoes, and corn, with Spanish, African, and Asian influences. From ceviche, a refreshing seafood dish, to lomo saltado, a savory stir-fry, and the world-famous pisco sour, Peruvian cuisine is a delectable blend of tastes and textures.


Peruvian craftsmanship is another integral aspect of the country’s culture. Skilled artisans create intricate textiles, pottery, and silver jewelry using traditional techniques passed down through generations. The vibrant textiles, in particular, showcase the incredible artistry and symbolism that permeates Peruvian culture.


Peru’s culture and traditions are an integral part of daily life and are meticulously preserved and celebrated across the country. Visitors to Peru have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the lively festivals, taste the flavors of Peruvian cuisine, witness traditional dances, and appreciate the craftsmanship that is emblematic of this captivating culture.


Geography and Climate

Peru is a country of remarkable geographical diversity, boasting breathtaking landscapes that range from arid deserts to towering mountain peaks and dense rainforests. Its unique geography contributes to the country’s rich biodiversity and offers visitors a multitude of outdoor adventures.


Peru is located on the western coast of South America, bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west. Its topography is shaped by the Andes mountain range, which runs north to south through the center of the country. The Andes are home to some of the highest peaks in the world, including Huascarán, which stands at an impressive 6,768 meters (22,205 feet) above sea level.


On the western side of the Andes lies the coastal region, a narrow strip of land that stretches for approximately 2,400 kilometers (1,500 miles). The coastal area is characterized by its arid desert landscape, with sandy dunes and rugged cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Cities like Lima, the capital, and Trujillo, known for its archaeological sites, are found along this coastal stretch.


Traveling eastward from the coast, you will encounter the central highlands, also known as the Sierra. This region is marked by the towering peaks of the Andes, deep valleys, and picturesque mountain towns. Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire, is located in the highlands and serves as a gateway to the world-famous Machu Picchu.


Continuing further east, you enter the vast Amazon rainforest, which covers a significant portion of Peru’s territory. This dense tropical jungle is home to an incredible array of plant and animal species, making it one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. The Amazon River, the largest river by volume in the world, flows through the heart of the rainforest, providing vital water resources.


Due to its geographical diversity, Peru experiences a wide range of climates. The coastal region has a desert climate, with hot and dry summers and mild winters. The highlands have a temperate climate, with distinct wet and dry seasons. The Amazon rainforest, on the other hand, has a hot and humid tropical climate, with significant rainfall throughout the year.


It is important to note that Peru’s climate varies depending on the region and altitude. When planning a trip to Peru, it is advisable to consider the climate and pack accordingly. Whether you are seeking an archeological adventure in the highlands, a sun-soaked beach vacation on the coast, or a wildlife exploration in the Amazon, Peru’s diverse geography and climate offer something for every traveler.


Lima: The Capital City

Lima, the capital city of Peru, is a bustling metropolis that showcases a blend of ancient history and modernity. Located on the country’s central coast, Lima is not only the political and economic center of Peru but also a vibrant cultural hub.


Founded in 1535 by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, Lima has a rich colonial heritage that is evident in its architecture and historic sites. The city’s historic center, known as the Historic Center of Lima, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and boasts stunning colonial buildings, churches, and squares.


One of the most remarkable landmarks in Lima is the Plaza de Armas, also known as the Main Square. Surrounded by grand buildings such as the Government Palace, the Cathedral of Lima, and the Archbishop’s Palace, the plaza is a symbol of Lima’s historical significance.


The historic district of Lima is also home to the Monastery of San Francisco, a magnificent example of Spanish Baroque architecture. The monastery is known for its catacombs, where the remains of thousands of people are buried, providing insight into Lima’s colonial past.


While Lima is steeped in history, it is also a modern and cosmopolitan city. Miraflores and Barranco, two of Lima’s districts, are known for their vibrant atmosphere, trendy restaurants, and lively nightlife. These neighborhoods offer stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and are popular destinations for both locals and tourists.


Lima is also a culinary mecca, known for its diverse and delicious cuisine. From the world-famous ceviche, a dish of raw fish marinated in citrus juices, to the savory anticuchos, skewered and grilled beef heart, Lima offers a plethora of flavors that cater to every taste bud. The city boasts numerous award-winning restaurants, many helmed by internationally renowned chefs.


For art enthusiasts, Lima is home to a variety of museums and galleries. The Larco Museum houses an extensive collection of pre-Columbian art, while the Museo de Arte de Lima showcases both contemporary and traditional Peruvian artwork. The city also hosts festivals and cultural events throughout the year, providing a platform for artists and performers from around the country.


With its mix of history, gastronomy, art, and culture, Lima offers a unique and captivating experience for visitors. Whether you explore the historical landmarks, savor the delectable Peruvian cuisine, or immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, Lima is sure to leave a lasting impression.


Machu Picchu: The Lost City of the Incas

Machu Picchu, often referred to as the “Lost City of the Incas,” is one of the most iconic archaeological sites in the world. Nestled high in the Andes Mountains of Peru, this ancient city is a testament to the ingenuity and advanced engineering skills of the Inca civilization.


Believed to have been built around the 15th century, Machu Picchu remained hidden from the outside world until its rediscovery in 1911 by American explorer Hiram Bingham. The site is located on a mountain ridge at an altitude of approximately 2,430 meters (7,970 feet) and offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding Andean landscape.


Upon arrival at Machu Picchu, visitors are immediately struck by the impressive stonework and architectural marvels that abound. The city was constructed using a technique known as “ashlar,” where the stones were meticulously cut and perfectly fitted together without the use of mortar. The precision of the construction has allowed Machu Picchu to withstand the test of time and remain intact despite its high-altitude location.


The purpose of Machu Picchu still remains a mystery, but it is believed to have served as a ceremonial, administrative, and residential site for the Inca rulers. The city is divided into different sectors, including agricultural terraces, residential areas, and temples, each showcasing the remarkable urban planning and engineering skills of the Incas.


One of the most breathtaking features of Machu Picchu is Intihuatana, a carved stone pillar that served as a solar observatory. The Intihuatana stone was used by the Incas to measure the passage of time, predict solstices, and symbolize their connection to the celestial world.


Exploring Machu Picchu is like stepping back in time, evoking a sense of wonder and awe. Walking through its narrow stone pathways, visitors can imagine what life was like for the Inca inhabitants and appreciate the harmonious integration of the city with its natural surroundings.


To reach Machu Picchu, visitors typically embark on the famous Inca Trail, a multi-day trek that winds through stunning landscapes, including cloud forests, mountain passes, and Inca ruins. This trek is a truly immersive experience, allowing hikers to fully appreciate the journey taken by the ancient Incas to reach this sacred city.


Machu Picchu is not only a UNESCO World Heritage site but also one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, attracting thousands of visitors from around the globe. It is advisable to plan ahead and secure permits, as there is a daily limit on the number of visitors allowed to enter the site.


Visiting Machu Picchu is an extraordinary experience that transports you to a time when the Incas ruled the Andes. Whether you are a history enthusiast, an avid hiker, or simply seeking a profound connection with ancient civilizations, Machu Picchu is a destination that will leave an indelible mark on your soul.


Amazon Rainforest: Exploring Peru’s Biodiversity

The Amazon rainforest, spread across nine countries in South America, is home to the most diverse and vast array of flora and fauna on Earth. In Peru alone, the Amazon rainforest covers a significant portion of the country, offering visitors a chance to immerse themselves in a truly unique and untouched natural environment.


Exploring the Amazon rainforest in Peru is an opportunity to witness nature in all its glory. Rich in biodiversity, this tropical paradise is teeming with wildlife, including thousands of plant species, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. It is estimated that the Amazon rainforest in Peru is home to over 2,000 species of birds, more than 1,000 species of fish, and a vast number of plant species, many of which have yet to be discovered.


One of the best ways to experience the Amazon rainforest is by embarking on a guided tour or expedition. Knowledgeable guides will lead you deep into the jungle, sharing their expertise about the plants, animals, and intricate ecosystems that make this region so extraordinary.


During your time in the Amazon, you may have the opportunity to spot iconic wildlife such as jaguars, giant river otters, capybaras, and vibrant birds like macaws and parrots. You can also witness incredible natural phenomena, including the annual migration of butterflies, unique nocturnal creatures, and the fascinating symbiotic relationships between different species.


Exploring the Amazon rainforest involves various activities, such as jungle treks, riverboat rides, and even canoeing through narrow tributaries. These adventures allow you to discover hidden lagoons, observe giant lily pads, and listen to the symphony of sounds emanating from the forest.


It is important to note that the Amazon rainforest is facing environmental challenges, such as deforestation and climate change. Responsible tourism and conservation efforts are crucial to preserving this valuable ecosystem for future generations to enjoy.


When visiting the Amazon, it is recommended to choose eco-friendly accommodations and tour operators that prioritize sustainability and support local communities. By doing so, you can contribute to the conservation of this incredible natural wonder while also enhancing the well-being of the local people.


Exploring the Amazon rainforest in Peru is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will leave you in awe of nature’s wonders. The sheer beauty, biodiversity, and raw power of this pristine ecosystem offer a unique perspective on the interconnectedness of all living things and serve as a reminder of the importance of protecting our planet’s most valuable resources.


Cusco: The Gateway to the Andes

Cusco, nestled high in the Andes Mountains of Peru, is a captivating city that serves as the gateway to the ancient wonders of the Inca Empire. With its rich history, remarkable architecture, and breathtaking landscapes, Cusco attracts visitors from around the world who are eager to explore its cultural and natural treasures.


Once the capital city of the mighty Inca Empire, Cusco is steeped in history and showcases a fusion of indigenous and Spanish colonial influences. The city’s historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets, charming plazas, and beautifully preserved colonial buildings.


The most iconic landmark in Cusco is the Plaza de Armas, the city’s main square. This bustling plaza is lined with magnificent buildings, including Cusco Cathedral and the Church of La Compañia de Jesus, both of which exhibit stunning examples of Spanish Baroque architecture.


The archaeological site of Sacsayhuaman, located just outside Cusco, is a testament to the advanced engineering skills of the Incas. This site features massive stone walls constructed with remarkable precision, some of which weigh over 200 tons. Sacsayhuaman offers panoramic views of Cusco and its surrounding landscapes.


Cusco is also the starting point for those embarking on the world-famous Inca Trail, a multi-day trek that culminates in the breathtaking citadel of Machu Picchu. This trek is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, taking travelers through stunning mountain scenery, cloud forests, and ancient Inca ruins.


For those seeking a deeper understanding of Inca history and culture, Cusco is home to several impressive museums. The Museo de Arte Precolombino showcases pre-Columbian art and artifacts, providing insight into the ancient civilizations that once thrived in the region. The Museo Inka offers exhibits that delve into the history and achievements of the Inca Empire.


Cusco is also renowned for its vibrant traditional festivals, which blend indigenous customs with Catholic influences brought by the Spanish. The most famous festival is Inti Raymi, the Festival of the Sun, held annually in June. This colorful celebration recreates ancient Inca rituals and attracts visitors from far and wide.


Visitors to Cusco can immerse themselves in the local culture by exploring the San Pedro Market, where vendors sell a variety of traditional foods, handicrafts, and medicinal plants. The market is a vibrant hub of activity and offers a glimpse into the everyday life of the Cusqueños.


With its historical significance, architectural beauty, and proximity to renowned archaeological sites, Cusco is a must-visit destination for any traveler to Peru. Whether you are trekking the Inca Trail, reveling in the rich cultural heritage, or simply soaking in the stunning mountain scenery, Cusco is sure to leave an indelible mark on your journey through the Andes.


Peruvian Cuisine: A Culinary Adventure

Peruvian cuisine has gained worldwide recognition for its diverse flavors, unique fusion of culinary influences, and exquisite presentation. Embarking on a culinary adventure in Peru means indulging in a rich tapestry of tastes that reflect the country’s multicultural heritage and bountiful natural resources.


At the heart of Peruvian cuisine is a harmonious blend of indigenous ingredients and techniques, Spanish flavors brought by the colonialists, and influences from African, Asian, and other immigrant communities. This fusion has resulted in a vibrant and distinctive culinary landscape that tantalizes the taste buds.


Ceviche, Peru’s most famous dish, is a must-try for seafood lovers. This refreshing and colorful dish consists of raw fish or seafood marinated in citrus juice, such as lime or lemon, and seasoned with aji (Peruvian chili), onions, and cilantro. The acidity of the citrus “cooks” the fish, resulting in a zesty and flavorsome dish that captures the essence of Peru’s coastal bounty.


Another beloved dish is lomo saltado, a tantalizing stir-fry that combines strips of tender beef, sautéed onions, tomatoes, and spices. This Chinese-inspired dish reflects Peru’s immigrant history and the influence of Cantonese cuisine brought by Chinese immigrants in the late 19th century.


Aji de gallina is a traditional Peruvian chicken dish that showcases the nation’s love for flavorful sauces. Shredded chicken is cooked in a creamy sauce made from yellow aji peppers, cheese, walnuts, and evaporated milk. The result is a rich and comforting dish that embodies the richness of Peruvian comfort food.


No culinary adventure in Peru is complete without trying the national spirit, pisco. Pisco is a grape brandy that forms the base for Peru’s signature cocktail, the pisco sour. This tangy and refreshing drink combines pisco, lime juice, simple syrup, and egg white, resulting in a frothy and vibrant concoction that perfectly complements the flavors of Peruvian cuisine.


Peru’s culinary exploration extends beyond its traditional dishes. From the cevicherias of Lima to the street food stalls of Cusco, there is an abundance of culinary experiences waiting to be discovered. You can sample anticuchos (marinated and grilled beef heart), chifa (Peruvian-Chinese fusion cuisine), or even explore the wide variety of potatoes, which are native to the Andes and come in an array of colors and flavors.


Peruvian cuisine has garnered international acclaim, with Lima earning the title of “World’s Leading Culinary Destination” multiple times. Numerous world-renowned chefs, such as Gastón Acurio and Virgilio Martinez, have put Peruvian cuisine on the culinary map, elevating traditional flavors with innovative techniques and presentations.


Whether you savor the flavors of Peruvian cuisine in high-end restaurants or embark on a street food adventure, the journey through Peru’s gastronomic landscape is a true culinary delight. Each dish tells a story that embodies the country’s history, cultural diversity, and the passion of its people for good food.


Traditional Festivals and Celebrations

Peru is a land of vibrant celebrations and colorful festivities, where ancient traditions blend seamlessly with modern influences. Throughout the year, various traditional festivals take place in different regions of the country, providing an opportunity for locals and visitors alike to revel in the rich cultural heritage that defines Peru.


One of the most important and spectacular festivals in Peru is Inti Raymi, the Festival of the Sun. Held annually in Cusco on June 24th, Inti Raymi recreates the ancient Inca rituals and pays homage to the sun god, Inti. The festival involves colorful processions, traditional music and dance performances, and culminates in a grand ceremony at the historic site of Sacsayhuaman.


The Paucartambo Festival, held in the town of Paucartambo in July, is an enchanting celebration that combines ancient Inca traditions with Spanish colonial influences. The festival is held in honor of the Virgin del Carmen and includes parades, masked dancers, and the lively music of brass bands. The highlight of the festival is the colorful procession, where locals dress in vibrant costumes and carry the statue of the Virgin through the streets.


In January, the city of Puno comes alive with the vibrant festivities of the Feast of the Virgen de la Candelaria. Considered one of the largest and most impressive religious festivals in South America, this celebration features elaborate costumes, traditional dances, and music that fills the air. The entire city becomes a stage for cultural performances, drawing thousands of dancers and musicians from various Andean communities.


Another notable celebration is the Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Ayacucho, which takes place in the week leading up to Easter Sunday. The city is transformed into a hub of religious activities and processions, with thousands of pilgrims and spectators flocking to witness the elaborate reenactments of Christ’s Passion. The combination of indigenous rituals with Catholic traditions makes this celebration a unique cultural experience.


In addition to these major festivals, Peru is also known for its vibrant regional celebrations. The Marinera Festival in Trujillo showcases the elegant national dance of Peru, while the Festival de la Vendimia celebrates the grape harvest in the wine-producing regions of Ica and Arequipa. The Qoyllur Rit’i festival, held in the Ausangate mountain region, brings together thousands of indigenous pilgrims who pay tribute to the mountain gods.


Attending these traditional festivals allows you to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and heritage of Peru. It is a chance to witness the fusion of indigenous traditions, Spanish colonial influences, and the pride of the Peruvian people in preserving their cultural identity. The sights, sounds, and tastes of these celebrations create lasting memories and provide a deeper understanding of the country’s cultural tapestry.



Peru is a country that captivates the hearts and imaginations of travelers from around the world. With its rich history, diverse culture, breathtaking landscapes, and mouthwatering cuisine, Peru offers a truly immersive and unforgettable experience.


From the ancient ruins of the Inca Empire to the colorful traditional festivals, Peru is a treasure trove of cultural heritage. Exploring the archaeological wonders of Machu Picchu and marveling at the precision of Inca stonework in Cusco are journeys through time that reveal the ingenuity and mastery of the ancient civilizations that once thrived in this land.


The cultural tapestry of Peru is woven with indigenous traditions, Spanish colonial influences, and the vibrant energy of modern-day life. From the bustling streets of Lima to the tranquil villages of the Andean highlands, the warmth and hospitality of the Peruvian people create an inviting and welcoming atmosphere.


Nature lovers are spoiled for choice in Peru. Whether it’s hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, exploring the Amazon rainforest’s biodiversity, or enjoying the breathtaking vistas of the Andes Mountains, Peru offers unparalleled opportunities for outdoor adventures and breathtaking natural beauty.


And let’s not forget about the culinary delights that await in Peru. From devouring ceviche at a seafood stall in Lima to savoring traditional dishes like lomo saltado or aji de gallina, the vibrant flavors and unique fusion of culinary influences make every meal in Peru a delightful discovery.


Peru is a country that encompasses the essence of adventure, history, culture, and gastronomy. It is a destination that offers something for everyone, from the intrepid explorer seeking ancient wonders to the food enthusiast eager to indulge their taste buds. The vibrant festivals, breathtaking landscapes, and warm hospitality of the Peruvian people leave a lasting impression on all who visit.


So, whether you’re strolling through the historic streets of Cusco, trekking through the Andes, or experiencing the pulsating energy of a traditional festival, Peru will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime. Prepare to be enchanted by this enchanting land of hidden treasures and unforgettable experiences.