Hey everyone! Today I have another travel post for you all! I always enjoy writing these posts because it gives me a chance to relive my trips through photos and videos! I like to look back in order to remember certain events and to simply reminisce on wonderful experiences! Today, I am going to be sharing my trip to Peru with you all! (All photos in this post were either taken by me, or a family member.)
In June of 2018, my family and I went on a trip to Peru! This was quite the surprise, and I was thrilled because I knew I was going to be doing more exploring, and that by going on this trip, I would be able to check another item off of my bucket list! None of us had ever traveled to South America before, so we were really looking forward to it. Of course, before I travel anywhere new, I really like to do some research on the country, the culture, the people, the food, etc. Doing this makes me more knowledgeable, and I also feel that it is respectful to learn as much as you can before going to new places (you never want to make others uncomfortable or do something that can be seen as disrespectful). I was able to learn so much, and I even shared the information with my family. For example, I learned that due to the elevation in Cusco, some people who travel there may feel a bit nauseous or out of breath for some time. Also, it was important to keep in mind that when it is summer in North America, it is winter in South America, so even though we went in June, we had to pack some warm clothes!
For those of you who do not know, my grandma is from Spain, so my mother’s side of the family is bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish. This was very helpful for us while we were away. Even though you do not necessarily have to speak a certain language in order to travel to a different country, I feel that people should at least learn the basics (hello, goodbye, thank you etc.) in order to be respectful. The locals in Peru mostly spoke Spanish, however they did speak some English in the areas with a lot of tourists. For those of us who don’t speak Spanish, we were still able to communicate somewhat easily.
We soon arrived in Peru, and our first stop was Cusco. We arrived at our gorgeous hotel called Niños Hotel Meloc. Although we were all feeling pretty tired and jet lagged, we were ready to do some exploring! In order to beat any altitude sickness, the hotel staff gave us all coca leaf tea. Luckily, we all felt fine, however this is not the case for many visitors.
I fell in love with this beautiful city! It was vibrant, exciting, and there was so much history surrounding us. The people were amazing, and there always seemed to be some sort of event or celebration going on, and the locals were wearing colorful, traditional clothing. I loved walking down the streets of Cusco and seeing the incredible Spanish colonial architecture. I really loved walking through the Plaza de Armas! Nightlife in Peru was unique to anything I had ever seen before. Many young people would be out dancing in the streets, all in sync with one another. We stopped to watch and I remember in these moments, I just felt really grateful to be able to experience a new culture. That night, we all went out for ice cream at a place called Qucharitas ice cream shoppe, and we all agreed that we needed to go back for more before we left Cusco (it was that good)! One moment that stood out me while in Cusco, was when we found ourselves walking through an open-air market. It was interesting to see because it was not something that I was used to, and we were able to see how the locals lived their everyday lives.
The next day, we were able to go see the statue of Christ (or Cristo Blanco) standing tall on top of a mountain, guarding the city. The view from this spot was breathtaking, and I although you can see the statue from many different spots in Cusco, I feel that it’s worth it to get up close. The statue also glows at night, which I thought was really beautiful. After, we went back to the Plaza de Armas to see if any events were taking place, and to take some more photos. We saw the Statue of Pachacuti, who was the ninth ruler of Cusco, and later on, the Emperor of the Inca Empire. He is a very important figure in the history of Peru, so we sat on the steps for a photo.
Throughout our time in Peru, we saw many alpacas walking around, which I absolutely loved! I thought they were so adorable, and we even stopped to take a couple photos holding the baby alpacas! Next, we decided to stop by the Qorikancha museum, which I found so interesting. The architecture was absolutely beautiful as well. Once again, we were able to get a gorgeous view of the city from here!
The day after, our driver took us to multiple locations where we were able to see some of the Incan ruins of Peru. This was a truly incredible experience, and we really enjoyed traveling around to see the stunning views and ruins. At one point on our tour, while we were in the car, a herd of sheep stood in our way in the middle of the road! We had to slow down and let them pass, and I thought they were just adorable! We were able to see the Pisac Ruins in the Sacred Valley, and being there felt so unreal. It was so beautiful and peaceful, and I could have sat there admiring the view all day long. We also stopped to see the Maras Salt Mines. These ancient salt pans have been around for over 500 years, and I thought it was so cool to learn about. This day-long tour ended with our driver taking us to our next stop, which was a town called Ollantaytambo.
We spent a couple nights in the small village, and we also traveled up the hillside to walk along the Ollantaytambo ruins. It was here that we were all given pisco sours to try at a restaurant in the town. This is a classic Peruvian cocktail, and these are given out at many restaurants throughout the country. Although I don’t really drink alcohol, I actually enjoyed this!
After, we made our way to a town called Aguas Calientes, which is where tourists stay in order to see Machu Picchu! I was so excited because this was something that I had been wanting to see for a long time. We all woke up around 4 in the morning so that we could see the sun rise over the famous Inca ruins. Our hotel was giving out breakfast to-go, so we took our food and stood in a long line of tourists, eager to get to Machu Picchu. We were on the bus for a little while, but soon enough we arrived! I couldn’t believe what was standing right in front of me. We decided to explore the ruins on our own, which was amazing, and then a few of my family members decided to hike Huayna Picchu. I decided not to, due to my fear of heights. Later on, those family members told us that there were steep and narrow steps toward the top of the mountain called the “Stairs of Death”, so I personally think that I made the right decision. If this doesn’t scare or intimidate you, then you should definitely try this hike. The view at the top looked amazing.
Afterward, we went out to eat. Before arriving to Peru, I was not sure that I would enjoy the food, however I was pleasantly surprised. The food in Peru was so delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed most of my meals! Aguas Calientes really caters to tourists because the town is full of restaurants and gift shops (this is most likely because many people have to stay there to see Machu Picchu). The restaurants in this town definitely seemed a bit fancier, and the presentation of each dish was really unique and pretty! I found myself trying certain foods that I would normally avoid, and I thought it was all so tasty!
For the second week of our trip, we went to Máncora, which is a resort town right near the border of Peru and Ecuador. The reason it wasn’t cold in this location is because we were right by the equator, where it’s warm all year long. We stayed at a gorgeous resort called Máncora Beach Bungalows. We spent the entire week out on the beach and in the pool, soaking up the sun and relaxing in our bungalows. We also did some exploring in the town. It didn’t seem to be a very busy time of year, so things were pretty quiet, however we heard that nightlife in Máncora is pretty big during their busier months. Once again, we really enjoyed the food in this town, and almost every night, we would watch the sunset, when the sky would turn beautiful shades of pink and orange.
For our final day, we went back to Lima, the capitol of Peru, to explore the city. It was pretty different compared to the other cities we went to. It was more modern, however there were some buildings that were much older. I really loved walking around the Plaza de Armas de Lima (or Plaza Mayor), and we stopped to take a look at the Government Palace and the Catedral de Lima. We also decided to go inside the Basílica y Convento de San Francisco de Lima, which was in walking distance from the Plaza. The inside of the cathedral was very unique to anything I had ever seen before. I always love walking into ancient cathedrals because I get to admire the architecture and it makes me think about how many people have walked by or inside since it was first built. Also, underneath the cathedral, we saw the catacombs, which was really cool. Lima was a very lively city, and we spent most of our last day taking it all in and reflecting on our favorite moments throughout our trip. This concluded our summer vacation, and the next morning, we were up and ready to head over to the airport so we could go home!
I was and am so very grateful that I was able to travel to Peru. Out of all of the places I have ever been, I think that Peru was the most different from my home country. It was unlike my life in the US, and I found so much beauty in this wonderful country. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommended traveling to Peru. It is such an incredible feeling to step outside of your own bubble, to see how other people live their lives, and to immerse yourself into new cultures. I will never forget this experience.
I hope you all enjoyed reading about my trip to Peru! I am finally all caught up on my travel posts, however I am hoping to share more travel related content very soon! My family and I have plans to do some more traveling this year (safely, of course), so I am looking forward to sharing that with you all! Thank you for reading!