Everyone knows they need the quintessential llama shot (or alpaca – whatever comes first, right – as long as it’s cute and fuzzy.), but it’s sometimes best to settle in and not be so excited to get one right off the bat, like I was. I saw at least 2 other people make the same mistake as me too…it’s like those little Peruvian women know who’s just gotten off the plane. They catch you when you’re most unprepared – when you’ve just stepped out of your hotel/hostel for the first time, and haven’t yet changed your money. When they see you, they push the cute little baby llama into your arms, and you melt away with an, “awwwwwww”, and that’s when they’ve got you. “Some photos lady?” You take a few pictures real quick, then they slam you with the “Twenty soles lady”.
“Twenty soles?!?!” Wait, you think, that’s more than I was expecting, and I don’t even have soles yet, “Can I give you $5.00?” And then the real issue begins, your $5.00 is always going to be wrinkled, torn, or worn and not really worthy of using as currency here (it’s not like Turkey where they’ll take anything that has a value). So then you end up giving the woman a few extra singles (also crusty) because you feel bad for not having pristine American dollars – and have quickly spent almost $10.00 for a photo.
My best advice is to not get over-excited. There will be more llama ladies, just wait until you have soles to take this necessary Peru pic – you’ll probably have a better chance of bargaining that twenty soles down too.