First Visit: October 2012
Number of Times Visited: 1
Cities Visited: Lima, Puerto Maldonado, Cusco, Aguas Calientes, Puno
Peru is probably the most geographically diverse country I have visited, at least for such a small land area (1.3 Million square kilometers). From the coastal region to the sweltering Amazon Jungle and up to the chilly Andean Highlands, you can see and experience it all in Peru, all within a few short flights.
Favorite Memory: Walking through the Sun Gate and arriving at the fabled ruins of Machu Picchu. We did the four day, three night trek along the ancient Inca Trail to get to Machu Picchu, and it was very satisfying to arrive at the site and take it in from such a vantage point. I had caught a stomach bug the day before, so I was also rather relieved to be back at civilization. We spent two days touring the ruins and it was definitely worth it, especially the climb up Huayna Picchu.
- Enjoying an afternoon lunch in Larcomar, a shoping/dining area set on some cliffs overlooking the coast in the Miraflores district of Lima. We had lunch at a table with a view of the ocean below which was really cool. There are lots of people who hang glide and parasail along the cliffs, which was fun to watch.
- Touring the ruins of Huaca Pucllana, which is an ancient clay pyramid right in the middle of Miraflores. It is in varying states of decay, but a lot of the original structure is there, and you can walk through it and see some very old ruins.
- We spent three nights at an Amazon Jungle lodge just outside of Puerto Maldonado called the Sandoval Lake Lodge. I’ve never sweat so much in my life, but the wildlife we saw in the lake and in the jungle was incredible. From giant Caimans, to small monkeys and colourful birds to tarantulas, we saw a lot!
- Sacsayhuaman is a large Incan site just above Cuzco which is a must see I would say. The structures were made of giant boulders, with many larger than small cars, all carefully carved to fit perfectly together. It is just amazing to see what the Incans did centuries ago, all with human/animal power, and this is a perfect display. Plus it is extremely well preserved.
- At about 3,800m (12,500 feet), Lake Titicaca is the highest, commercially navigable body of water in the world, and it straddles the border of Peru and Bolivia. We did a one day boat cruise on the lake, which was awesome and let us see the highlights which included:
Uros Islands – Are floating islands made of reeds. The locals still live on the islands without any electricity or running water, or many other modern amenities. It is pretty touristy for sure as they live off of selling their wares to tourists, but it is still really cool to see.
Isla Taquile – Is an island in the lake where the locals still live a pretty traditional lifestyle. To me the scenery felt very Mediterranean, even though it was at such a high altitude. The locals run on a collectivism system and are very friendly I found. Just a cool cultural experience.