Rediscovering Myself in Peru
I made a reservation for this trip only about a month before the actual departure date. I had never been to South America before because I thought it was a rather difficult place to visit especially a solo woman traveler. All the things I heard about Peru and South America in general was rather negative (drugs, guerrillas etc.). I must admit I was rather ignorant about what is going on in South America but there were a few countries that I always wanted to visit – Peru and Argentina. A few weeks before Thanksgiving, I thought to myself, I should take a trip somewhere as it would be rather sad and pathetic to be stuck alone during the holidays. I researched many places including Italy, France and Peru. Europe is always a comfortable choice as they are western countries. But the main factor for me to pick a country to visit is the visa. To go anywhere in Europe, I would need to apply for a visa which requires me to appear in person at a embassy. No way, I thought, so South America was a perfect choice. Then I was looking at airfares here and there to see the price range. The flight from Seattle to Argentina is crazy expensive so that is out of the question. Traveling during American long holiday also does not help with the airfare. I looked around for a while from different port of departure and found a cheaper option to fly from Las Vegas to Lima. Las Vegas is near Seattle and the ticket is not that bad so this is the most logical choice. I looked at domestic and international flights separately and booked each leg separately at different website.
Tips: Enroll yourself on eBates.com to shop online and earn cash back. I opened the travel website (Kayak, Expedia, Orbitz etc.) via eBates.com. You basically get cash back at a certain percentage when you book on those websites. Each website also had its own loyalty program (some web includes air tickets and some only hotels and/or car rentals)
I planned my itinerary around the ticket availability to go up Huayna Picchu. There are only 400 slots each day (200 during 7-8 -am and 200 during 10-11 pm) to climb this mountain and they sell out fast. You need to purchase the ticket in advance from the Peru government website at www.machupicchu.gob.pe. This is the most legitimate and least expensive way to buy the ticket from abroad. However to get the ticket from this website is quite tricky, many people agonized over the process. I will write about it here soon.
There are many places to see in Peru, the major attractions are: the Mountains in the north(Huaraz), Lima the capital, the coastline and the desert – Paracas and Ica, the Amazon, Cusco, the sacred valley and Machu Picchu, Puno and Arequipa in the South. I am the kind of person to give some time to a place, so hopping to different places in a short period of time is not how I roll. I have about 12 days so I opted for two regions: The Sacred Valley and the Amazon and I am so glad I made this choice. I was immersed in these two regions and it was one of the best experiences of my life.
Following was my itinerary:
Day 1: Lima
I didn’t spend time in Lima at all. I was told it was not very interesting and the purpose of my visit is to see the countryside and the cultures of Peru. I arrived late at night from Copa Airlines.
Day 2: Lima – Cusco – Ollantaytambo
I bypassed Cusco to go to Ollantaytambo right away to get ready to Machu Picchu. Today I arranged a taxi from the hotel to take me around the sacred valley (Moray and Maras) before dropping me off at the hotel in Ollantaytambo. Click here to follow me to the land of the Incas.
Day 3-4: The big day to Machu Picchu
This is the day that people look forward to. Visiting Machu Picchu is something that people should do once in this life. It was more than I thought it would be, the experience was extraordinary.
Only one day is not really enough to see the Machu Picchu for a photographer like me
I am happy I decided to stay for the second day. You never know what the weather is like and it will be a bummer if you only do it for one day. I moved from Aguas Calientes to Urubamba today.
Day 5: Pisac and Chinchero
There were both and upside and the downside of doing things on Christmas Day. There was no usual big market at both towns but I got a chance to witness a traditional Christmas tradition at both places.
Day 6: The day to leave the Valley for Cusco
I did the Cusco tour all day today, starting from the ruins of Saqsayhuaman to San Blas, Plaza de Armas and souvenir shopping at Avenue del Sol. Cusco is my favorite town. It was really cultural and full of life.
Day 7: Day to depart the Sacred Valley and venture into another region of Peru – the Amazonia at the river
Days to follow are considered among the top days of my life.
Day 8-10: The adventure in the Amazon
There were a lot of activities- hiking, biking, rope climbing, kayaking – all super amazing.
Day 11: Depart from the jungle lodge with a cultural half-day in Puerto Maldonado
Puerto Maldonado is the base town for the Amazon Adventure. I did this on New Years Eve, it was awesome as I saw how the locals prepared to celebrate. I returned to Lima today to get ready for the flight.
Day 12: Leaving on the jet plane
Back to reality and start planning on the next trip 🙂
For a long while, I loved the idea of the comfort, of peace of mind and forgot who I really am and how I used to had this wanderlust. I owe Peru, she helped me rediscover myself.
Please feel free to browse through things as I post them, ask any questions regarding specific places, hotels, restaurants that I went. Use this as your resource on planning your trip to Peru or just enjoy the pictures I took. It really is a fantastic place that gave me an AMAZING experience. I would definitely go back.
I will work on the posts one by one and will update this page with a link for more pictures/stories so please stay tuned!