South America

Peru and the secrets of Machu Picchu

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Our tour was composed with two amazing destinations: Peru and Colombia. We had this experience with our very good friends and it was organized by Ionut & Anda, owners of Travelship. Peruvian culture is amazing, the country is safe, developed and locals are incredible sweet and kind people.

*Matchu Pitchu

Lima

After Cairo, this metropolis is the second-driest world capital. Lima is so sophisticated, with civilization that dates back millennia. Museums with sublime pottery, galleries with incredible collections of art and crowded nightclubs with tropical beats. No traveler can miss the capital’s gastronomic place with a history of more than 400 years.

This is Lima. Don’t even think of missing it.

* Plaza de Armas

Useful information:

  • Cheapest way to travel from airport to the city: Airport Express Lima (blue bus. that costs 7 EUR/person to Miraflores (you can pay directly in the bus). Departing from hour to hour, and the trip to Barranco takes between 45-60 minutes.
  • Transportation in Lima – Uber is way cheaper than taxis and are the best way to get around a city. Currently, Uber is available in Lima, Cusco, and Arequipa.

Where to stay & what to visit:

The Barranco District has a lot of clubs and bars, that always guarantees a good time. Barranco is the perfect place for anyone who loves to have a good night out. Our accommodation was: Montreal Hostel. It’s a nice place to stay especially if you are a big group.

Attractions:

  • Plaza de Armas – Also called Plaza Mayor, the historical center of Lima and the most logical starting point for sightseeing. Plaza de Armas is the bronze fountain in the center and today is part of UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • You can walk from Plaza de Armas to Plaza San Martin. There are La Merced church, with a Baroque colonial façade, and Casa de Aliaga.
  • Santo Domingo Church: is one of the oldest and most historic in Lima. Don’t miss the green garden inside.
  • Convento de San Francisco: Are most famous for their catacombs containing the bones of about 10,000 people interred here when this was Lima’s first cemetery. Below the church is a maze of narrow hallways, each lined on both sides with bones.
  • Miraflores: On cliffs above the ocean, Miraflores is a neighborhood of modern and commercial buildings mixed with some fine old colonial homes. Here is where you’ll find restaurants that serves the “New Peruvian” cuisine that’s drawing worldwide attention in culinary world.
  • At the Fuente de la Fantasia, you can see a laser show synchronized to music. Location is in Parque del Reserva and they are better than Dubai fountains, I promise you that. 🙂

Peru Hop On – Hop Off

It’s the best way to travel in the whole country. Hop On – Hop Off offers an incredible bus system that not only gets you from point A to B, but goes hidden gems that would be impossible to get to without a help of a local. We reserved our tour via the official website. Here is our itinerary:

Paracas

We took the bus for 3 hours. Our accommodation was: Hotel Brisas de la Bahia

  • Hacienda San Jose dinChincha – 17 km of tunnels used to traffic slaves in 17th Century. This is the place where I found out that I am claustrophobic. In those tunnels I felt like I have no air so I returned to the main house and garden, drinking 2 L of water to calm down.
  • Paracas – The town is the launch point for the uninhabited Ballestas Islands. We had a small boat trip to see sea lions, pelicans and Humboldt penguins. But I am sorry to tell you – don’t do this mistake as we already ruined the natural habitat of the animals.
*Paracas Bay
  • The old city – it easy to get around by foot as the city is pretty small. You will find anything you need from ATM to luxury hotels here. You can also rent motorbikes and travel to desert, or just rent a buggy as we did 🙂

Huacachina

From Paracas – Huacachina we traveled with Peru Hop On – Hop Off bus for in around one hour. Our accommodation was at: Desert Nights Ecocamp and I thank to my friend a lot as he picked the best pool resort in the town. It was lovely.

Huacachina is South America’s ONLY natural desert Oasis and it has the largest sand dunes in South America.

Dune Buggy si Sandboarding – and that was the moment when I felt the real and the biggest adrenaline in my blood. A real roller-coaster ride up and down on the massive sand dunes that made us all scream. We also dis the sand boarding. It was the best desert experience, we all had a lot of fun and the sunset at the end of the day was incredible.

Climb up the dunes on foot or catch the sunset at the end of a dune buggy tour. Huacachina Lagoon, with all the beautiful palm trees around it’s believed to have therapeutic properties. Just take a walk and enjoy a cocktail on the Lagoon.

Nazca Arequipa

To Nazca we took the Hop On – Hop Off night trip, we booked the VIP chairs and we had a good sleep. The bus are equipped with air condition, TV and bathroom at the first floor.

  • We had a little stop in Pisco, to taste the local traditional drinks and visiting an amazing 130 year old pisco vineyard.
  • Our next stop was to see the Nazca lines from a tower. It was nothing that impressing but if you have budget to spend, you can try to rent a helicopter for a better view of the lines. These lines mysterious to both historians and tourists and were officially made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994.
  • Driving to Titicaca was so amazing, you can check below video and just be amazed that this view actually exists.

Titicaca – Puno

Our accomodation was Quelqatani Hotel, in Puno. The Hotel is in the city center so we didn’t need a taxi. Becaose of the high elevation and with no time to acclimatize ourselves, a lot of us were sick. I personally got a nose bleed and a terrible headache all the time. It was crazy.

Puno is located at the base of Lake Titicaca. It was considered a trade (and contraband) hub between Peru and Bolivia, the city is commercial and forward-looking. Puno is also the “folkloric capital,” because it host traditional festivals. Lake Titicaca is the world’s highest navigable body of water at elevation of 3,827 m and I totally recommend you to take a boat trip to see the locals how they live on the hand-made islands.

Cusco

We travelled for about 6 hours with Peru bus.

Our accommodation: Hotel Monasterio San Pedro and I totally recommend you this one. It’s like an old castle, close to the city center and they offer a beautiful garden inside the hotel.

Cuzco is a city of contradictions: cathedrals over Inca temples. The city of the Inca Empire is now the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city. It’s the gateway to Machu Picchu. Known for its indigenous population- (you can see them on the streets in traditional clothing).

Sacred Valley tour is composed of Chincheros (market), Salt Mines, Maras & Moray. It will take you for few hours to a cultural experience of Inca traditions.

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Iconic ruins, 15th-century Inca city that feature numerous structures & terraces that was discovered less than 100 years ago.

We chose the two-day trail for Machu Picchu and if you are not a sporty person, I advise you to do the same. Be careful as you have to book the tour at least 5 months in advanced as the Machu Picchu experience is controlled by Peruvian govern and they allow only a precise number of visitors per day. You will have your own guide (one guide per 10 pers.) that will speak English.

For Inca Trail you will need:

  • Small backpack with rain shelter (30 or 40 litters is well enough).
  • Clothing for warm and cold climate like a waterproof jacket.
  • Trekking shoes.
  • Long- and short-sleeved polo’s/T-Shirts.
  • Rain poncho and a hat.
  • Sunscreen, insect repellent, disinfecting alcohol and gel and toilet paper.
  • Original passport (you will need to enter Machu Picchu), and extra money in soles.

The Royal Inca Trail begins with a hike to Chachabamba ( 2270m) – archeological site. After that, we will walk to Wiñayhuayna (2650m), the most important archaeological site besides Machu Picchu and the last stop will be at Sun Gate “Inti Punku”, viewpoint from which we can enjoy the nightfall on Machu Picchu (2400m). We slept in Aguas Calientes, the nearest city. Accomodation was included in the tour.

Chachabamba
* Sun Gate

The next day, we left our hotel at 6 in the morning and start the expedition to Matchu Pitchu itself. This time we took the bus to the main entrance and I start to enjoy the “moment of my life” 🙂 Our tour included a lot of explanations about how they found the place (20th century) and what Inca actually means. It was beautiful, like a love story.

Machu Pichu

And that was the end of our expedition in Peru. We took the train to Cusco and a plane to Bogota, Colombia.

I am sure I missed a lot to share a lot of amazing experiences from Peru but, the experience I have from traveling to this amazing country was speechless. You cannot love it, they have everything: the desert, the nature, the sea and the best of the best – Machu Picchu <3

My name is Oanka and my biggest passion in life is traveling I've visited over 54 countries and I have tons of stories and experience to share. Welcome to my blog! Check out the "About me" section to find out more about me!

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