Today I’m kicking off Peru week! A week of posts all about our recent trip to Peru. There’s just too much to pack it all into one post. To start off, our full trip report!
This summer hubby and I took off and visited Peru for a little over a week. 9 days to be exact but since we arrived super late on day zero and left at 1 am on day nine, let’s just call it Peru in 7 days. There is so much to see and do in Peru but for the sake of time, our trip was limited primarily to Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. We could have probably squeezed more in, but chose to really soak in the areas we did visit rather than touch on them…which justifies another trip to Peru in the future. 😉
Peru in 7 Days: Highlights
-Machu Picchu is the obvious highlight and my initial reaction surprised me. After hiking part of the Inca trail all day through demanding terrain and never-ending stone steps, when we reached the Sun Gate and saw Machu Picchu in the distance for the first time, I was overwhelmed with emotion and had to hold back tears. It was a feeling I will never forget.
-Aside from Machu Picchu, one of our favorite parts of the trip was the Pachamanca Lunch, which translates to “earth oven.” It is a Peruvian method of cooking food in the earth using hot stones. We watched as men layered potatoes and cuts of chicken, lamb and pork directly onto hot stones. The pile is then covered with wet canvas and dirt to seal in the moisture, and 15 minutes later a heap of deliciously cooked food awaits. It was fascinating to watch and even better to eat. 🙂
-Food and drink, in general, is a definite highlight for me. From the ceviche made from fresh trout pulled from the Urubamba river to the chicha morada (purple corn drink) and pisco cocktails, Peru’s cuisine game is strong. I was surprised to learn that Peru has thousands of types of potatoes and hundreds of types of quinoa.
-Alpacas, llamas and goats oh my! I fell in love with the alpacas, especially the babies. Local women walk their alpacas into town every day and allow giddy tourists like me to pose with them for photos. This is a source of income for them, and I had no problem paying to hold one a couple of times. OK, maybe three times. 😉
-I was touched by the spirit of the Peruvians. I learned so much from our tour guides and from listening to the locals. You can’t help but admire their kindness, peacefulness, and respect for Mother Earth (Pachamama), the Gods and the land. One of our tour guides explained that locals often meditate in the sacred temples in the freezing wee hours of the morning before the tourists arrive. They also keep a number of ancient ruins secret from outsiders in order to protect the sites and prevent them from being overrun like Machu Picchu. You can’t deny how amazing Machu Picchu is, but you can’t ignore the danger the site faces from erosion due to the number of visitors.
The golden pisco cocktail (on the left) is made by infusing the cocktail with smoky wood. The cocktail tastes of wood essence when you drink it. It’s the most unique cocktail experience we’ve ever had.
At Chinchero weaver’s villag, the local women demonstrated traditional methods for cleaning and dying fiber naturally using roots, plants and even insects.
The sweet artist who painted the adorable llama print that we brought home with us.
Peru in 7 Days: Itinerary
In case you’re wondering how we put the trip together, here’s our exact itinerary.
Day 0: Depart US, arrive Lima late. (Supposed to be midnight, but for us, it was around 3 am due to a delay.)
Day 1: Depart Lima, fly to Cusco. Explore Cusco city.
Day 2: Cusco. Outskirts tour.
Day 3: Depart Cusco to Sacred Valley with stops along the way at Chinchero Weaver’s market, Moray Ruins and Salineras de Mara (salt flats). Pachamanca lunch. Overnight Ollantaytambo.
Day 4: Full day hiking Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Overnight Aguas Calientes.
Day 5: Machu Picchu tour. Hike Huayna Picchu. Travel back to Cusco.
Day 6: Cusco.
Day 7: Depart Cusco to Lima. Evening food tour in Lima.
Day 8: Depart Lima to US 1 am.
Well there you have it, our Peru in 7 days trip report! I hope you enjoyed reading a little about our experience. Be sure to come back all week, I have a series of Peru posts planned!
Watercolor map by Scott Jessop