Lima, Peru

Lima, the Capitol of Peru was amazing. We flew from Cusco to Lima a direct flight was around $100 a ticket on Peruvian Air. We rented an apartment in Barranco though AirBnB. We loved the apartment it was in a great location with a wine bar on the first floor and a coffee shop next door. It was only a five minute walk to the ocean. You had access to a pool and gym overall the apartment was a perfect spot to explore the city.

Here’s the link https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/135640

In Miraflores we rented bikes a cruised all along the coast line and thru Miraflores.

The best ceviche we had was at Javier’s in Barranco.

The only problem we had in Lima was not getting to the airport at least 2 hours before our flight to Tacna. We got to the airport an hour before for a domestic flight and they would not let us check in or board the flight saying we needed to be there 2 hours before- which we had no problem from Cusco to Lima. The next flight was not until seven hours latter so we got to hang out in the airport.


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Machu Picchu, Peru

Cusco is the hub to Machu Picchu. There are only a few ways to reach these sacred ruins. Either by hiking the Inca trail, about a four day trek taking Peru Rail into Aguascalientes then a bus to Machu Picchu. There are no roads leading into Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu.
We took the train from Cusco to Aguascalientes and you can mike from the town to Machu Picchu about an hour hike but we wanted to conserve energy and opted for the first bus before sunrise. Well worth to get up to Machu Pichu before the rest of the world does best photo ops and stunning to watch the sun come up over the mountains and lite up the ruins- breathtaking
We were able to buy our train tickets on Peru Rail’s website, but our Machu Picchu tickets we could not buy online and were worried they would sell out for the day we wanted (Machu Picchu now regulates how many people are allowed into the site per day only 2,500 and only 400 can get passes to hike Huayna Picchu). Fortunately our hotel Rupa Wasi in Aguascalientes had our entrance tickets and passes to hike Huanya Picchu.
We stayed 2 nights in Aguascalientes which was perfect for us we were able to go back to our hotel after hiking the ruins all days shower and relax. We also got to meet up with friends in Aguascalientes.

Cusco, Peru

We arrived at the bust station in Cusco early in the morning. We took a cab into the main square and found Starbucks!!! Which has free wifi and was a perfect place to hang out until we cold check into our hotel. Our hotel Casita Inn was a 5min cab ride into the main square of Cusco and the cab ride was only a few dollars. Our Inn was owned and run by a local Peruvian family that were very warm, friendly and knowledgeable about Peru.

http://www.incasita.com

We enjoyed walking the streets of Cusco shopping the markets and drinking Pisco sours.
Our favorite restaurants were:
La Bodega 138- great pizza and wine not overly priced and great atmosphere
Jack’s Cafe- excellent lunch the sandwhiches are the best and defintely try the iced ginger tea. This place be busy but its worth the wait
Cicciolina- one word AMAZING food and wine! Usually need a reservation to sit in the main dining hall but we were able to sit at the bar with no reservations. This place is more upscale and romantic worth every penny.

Jackscafecusco.com, Cicciolinacuzco.com

From the plaza we walked up the hill to a church to see the views of Cusco. Some gentlemen convinced us to take a horse back ride to some Inca ruins right outside of Cusco it was beautiful and well worth it. I believe we only paid $20 for a two hour tour.

Colca Canyon, Peru

 

Colca Canyon is a canyon of the Colca River and is located about 100 miles from Arequipa. The canyon is more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States. The valley is still inhabited by the Collagua and the Cabana cultures. Their main language is Kechuan. The local people still maintain their ancestral traditions and continue to cultivate the pre-Inca stepped terraces.

For our adventure into the Colca Canyon we decided to do a guided two days one night with Carlitos Tours. It was very well organized. Carlos, the owner of Carlitos Tours met us at our hotel 2 days before to discuss the details of our trip. Carlos gave us excellent recommendations for things to see and do in Arequipa. He even met us the next afternoon to take us on a tour of the market and to an authentic Peruvian restaurant. Carlos also took us to the Cruz del Sur ticket office- not an easy place to find if Carlos had not taken us.
We were taking the over night bus from Arequipa to Cusco, which left the day we got back to Arequipa from the trek.
Carlos did all of this for us out of the kindness of his heart and his love for sharing his city and country with others. What a nice guy! The guide we had for the trek was very knowledgeable about the canyon and its inhabitants. He spoke both Spanish and English.
The trek was an incredible hike just absolutely beautiful and it felt good to get out doors. The hike itself is pretty intense but for those not up for hiking the whole duration can opt for a mule. We brought a camel backpack for water and it was plenty since once in the villages you can get more water and the tour provides you with lunch.
I highly recommend the two days one night trek it gives you the feel of the canyon and what life is like for those who live there. The trails can be done on your own but if it’s your first time into Colca Canyon I would recommend a guide, it makes the experience more special and stress free.
The stopping point for the evening was very humble. The highlight definitely was the pool! Who isn’t hot and sweaty after hiking all day. There is a bar but I guess ice is hard to come by because the drinks were warm.. Yuk
I am an outdoorsie person. I love to backpack in the mountains and rough it, but the room we slept in that night was definitely the most I have ever roughed it. Each room was an individual hut thus it was not insulated from the outside world like scorpions and huge black spiders which I made Jamie kill all before I could sleep (at least the ones I could see). At least a tent you are fully protected. I covered myself head to toe before getting in the bed and took a Benadryl to sleep.
I actually slept quit well and at 5am we were back on the trail! On the way back to Arequipa we stopped at a hot springs- felt amazing after two days of hiking and a village to eat lunch and shop the market

http://www.carlitostours.com/

We arrived back to Arequipa around 6pm just in time to catch the over night bus to Cusco- a 10hr bus ride get comfy

Arequipa, Peru

A very neat city with thriving culture, history and modernism. Students flock here for the campus life.
Arequipa is known as the white city and you will see why from its incredible architecture. 

In Arequipa we enjoyed walking around getting lost on the small side streets and people watching.
The main market was definitely worth the experience you can buy anything from remedy herbs to raw meats/fish to toys and clothes. 

Our hotel was centrally located and a major plus was you could brush your teeth with the water… in Peru you have to be careful with the water especially at restaurants if the place looks suspicious don’t eat raw vegetables including salad, ice or even coffee.

The ceviche is excellent in Arequipa!

High altitude sickness can be a problem for any people. My husband and I did not have any issues, but we also lived at a higher elevation in the States. One thing that is highly recommended by the locals is to drink lots of Colca tea- should help with the altitude

A link to our hotel Viva Tera
http://tierravivahoteles.com/hotels

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