Some Notes from Peru
I really enjoyed traveling through Peru. Here were a few places and notes from my travels there.
I started in Cusco since I wanted to go to Macchu Picchu. So I flew to Cusco through Lima — since the Cusco airport is quite small. I stayed in Cusco a couple of nights to adjust to the altitude. It seems the best wisdom I found was drink a lot of water and drink coca tea (which is everywhere). Even so I think it got to me a bit the first night.
There are a few nice plazas to walk around Cusco, and it seems every shop there is a restaurant very aggressively recruiting you to come eat with them, or a place to book tours to Macchu Picchu.
I did a cooking class in Cusco — really fun. They took us on a tour of one of the markets which was also really interesting. And we made ceviche, corn, potato, arroz con leche, and pisco sour. It seems to me ceviche and lomo saltado were two of the dishes I saw everywhere, and the ceviche we made really did look like what I saw in the restaurants.
Macchu Picchu / Aguas Calientes
So there are many ways to get to Macchu Picchu from Cusco. Many people I met were doing a trek, which I did not do. You could take a bus or a train — I took the train. But the train was really a bus and train because the train couldn’t run all the way to Cusco at this time of the year due to weather. There was Peru Rail and Inca Rail, I took Inca Rail. It took about 5 hours to get there.
So Aguas Calientes is the little town right next to Macchu Picchu. It is really Macchu Picchu town. There is a river through the middle and really nice views. I took a bus up to Macchu Picchu. I was supposed to have one guide (Rebecca), then another guide (Franco), but my guide ended up being Jose.
Macchu Picchu really did have some nice views and was fun to walk around. Lots of photo ops.
I spent a bit of time in Lima as well. I stayed in the Miraflores area, which seemed to be a very trendy part of town. There were a few park areas, the Miraflores Central Park and Kennedy Park nearby. And in so many cities I’ve been in recently there is a McDonalds Postres shop — just McDonalds desserts and ice cream which I find very entertaining.
Went to Huaca Pucllana, an ancient Lima pyramid. Walked around a few of the markets and parks.
There was a nice view over the ocean at Salazar Park. Then we made our way down to the Barranco neighborhood. I had a ceviche dish there which looked exactly like the one we had made in Cusco. We walked over to the beach, and found this one beach with zero tourists, that was absolutely packed.
Visited the Gamarra Market, which was bustling and dirty and fascinating. We were looking for the witch market section, which I’m not sure if we found the main part, but I definitely saw many stands selling snake skins and alligator heads and other bizarre items.
Huacachina / Ica
I also made a short stop in Huacachina and Ica. I took a bus from Lima, which was about four hours. This is a complete desert. Ica is the larger town and Huacachina is much smaller. There are massive sand dunes. The big things I did there were the dune buggy ride and sandboarding which were pretty great. Also just the sand dunes there were really unique and stunning view.