Adventures in Peru

by donna lynn (United States of America)

A decision that pushed me to the edge Peru


Great value. On a students budget I toured two weeks in Peru; spent less than $2000. Flew into Lima; stayed at a Miraflores beach hostel. Considered renting a car or taking public transport to Cusco, where I was headed for the Inti Raymi Festival & to climb Machu Picchu -- a decision that pushed me to the edge. Peru Hop bus tour stopped at all the places I wanted to visit for the same price as a flight from Lima to Cusco ($159). In Paracas, took a boat tour to see the penguins, seals & marine life on the Ballestas Islands. Enjoyed happy hour, dinner, shopping, beach yoga & the Paracas History Museum of 'alleged' alien skulls. In Ica, took a free tasting tour of how Peruvians make their national alcoholic beverage: the Pisco Sour. Stayed in Huacachina, where we 4x4 raced in the sandy red mountains & rode sand boards (like snowboarding). Climbed a tower to see the Nazca lines. The elevation is high; prepare to acclimate. Wanted to hike Colca Canyon (11,500 ft), to see the Condors, but crunching time to get to Cusco (11,152′) & Machu Picchu (7,972′) for the June 21st solstice. Three days in Cusco, three days in Aguas Calientes & two days in Machu Picchu. In Cusco, hiked with locals in caves where my head almost got stuck. Laid on the ground where the ancients rested; we prayed, meditated & felt Pachamama (earth mother). The Machu Picchu tour bus picked me up at 6 a.m. Our 4-day hike on an alternative Inca trail included a 6-hour bike ride around mountain roads with waterfalls, then a 3-hour river rafting excursion on the Urubamba River, then we climbed a steep mountain for hours in the dark (wearing backpacks) to our cabins where we had dinner, beers, did hand laundry & slept soundly. After breakfast & a presentation on the 3800 varieties of Peruvian potatoes, coffee beans, cocoa, coca & many local grown crops, we continued hiking for three more days. The most unusual thing I ever ate was a termite on a twig from a tree; why, because everyone else tried it. OMG! Machu Picchu is spectacular! Bring your passport for a Machu Picchu stamp. Back to Cusco! The festival lasts nine days. People dress in costumes, masks, walk on stilts & dance in the streets. It's very crowded. On the last day people rush to grab a chair facing the Plaza de Armas where the parade marches through. Took a bus to Puno; visited the floating islands of Uros on Lake Titicaca. Rode a horse uphill drinking a beer to watch sunset. Visit Peru! Have the time of your life.