By: Guillermo Diaz
Hello community, I want to share the story of a trip that resulted from a change due to the cancellations of the pandemic, where destiny changed, but also gave us one of the most wonderful adventures we have ever had. An unexpected trip to Peru.
It was the first months of 2020 where my wife and I had a trip scheduled for our anniversary; Everything was already scheduled and purchased, but we did not imagine that a global pandemic was coming that would change our agenda and destiny; We learned what it is to apply endless guarantees and refunds, as well as the desire to discover new destinations.
We had to wait 18 months and 2 vaccinations to be able to reactivate our accounts and see where we could travel with the new restrictions, including the opportunity to travel to Peru in December.
We investigated the destinations we wanted to visit where we relied on different videos including Alan’s to have a context, so we decided to do the tour of the Sacred Valley, Cusco, Puerto Maldonado and end up in Lima.
We start our trip taking a flight in the afternoon to Lima, and the next morning we take the flight to Cusco. Arriving at the Cusco airport, we negotiated with a taxi so that it would take us to our hotel in 40 minutes.
The Sacred Valley offers a very beautiful landscape, it is located between the town of Urubamba and Ollantaytambo (the latter a Magical Town type), we decided to stay at the “Tierra Viva” and I think it was the best choice, the hotel is beautiful, Super comfortable and offers to be in the center of the Valley.
It is possible to get to know the different attractions by taxi (negotiating with the driver), you can get a fair rate where you rent per day and you can spend the time you decide within the archaeological zones such as Moray, Chinchero and the salt mines; this is to consider; We saw that the tours that come from Cusco first have to get to the Sacred Valley and then they usually only allow them to go down, take the photo, 5-10 min and leave for the next destination, a situation for which we prefer to go at our own time. It should be remembered that to enter this area, you buy a ticket that includes the different areas and you have 2 weeks to visit them, which is worth it.
The next day we had set aside going to the main attraction… Machu Picchu… to get to the town of Aguascalientes (Machu Picchu town) it can only be reached by train or on foot, so we decided to take the train from Ollantaytambo where the journey takes hour and half.
We arrived at the town and now how to go up, where there are 2 options, bus or walking; in our case it was the second, we decided for another hour to start an unforgettable experience.
Previously we had bought the tickets for Machu Picchu + Waynapicchu, it is the tour of the traditional archaeological zone in addition to climbing the mountain that is behind where you can find more buildings; be careful to do this route that was completely on foot, it is quite heavy because it is all uphill, it should also be considered that the time we went is rainy and the area is jungle, so you must bring water and fruit, which would be charging during the tour.
When we got off, we went to eat at a restaurant called “Indio Feliz” highly…highly recommended, the best way to end the day before taking the train back.
Our last day we returned to Ollantaytambo to tour its ruins where we were amazed by the magnificent drainage system that continues to work, being an inhabited town; then our last stop was Pisac before arriving in Cusco.
Once you arrive, you understand the reason for the nickname “The Rome of America”, from the moment you walk through its streets you feel the history that surrounds you, especially when you visit the Qorikancha.
The city has different neighborhoods and places to visit, such as the San Blas neighborhood. We use it as a base for our tours to the Humantay lagoon and Vinicunca or also better known as rainbow mountain.
We start the tour to the Humantay lagoon at 3:30 am, if it is very early in the morning, but it is due to the distance it is in and for the duration of the tour, the guides take you to have breakfast in a nearby community, for later start the tour around 8:30am. At the base you can see how the groups are divided since it is also the beginning of the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, for us the climb to our lagoon is a bit heavy, it is not that steep, but you are around 4200mts and It’s too long; We hurried past and managed to get there after 1 hour, we arrived and so much effort paid off, because we had the lagoon to ourselves for about 15 minutes, where we tried to catch our breath, but the beauty of the place kept stealing it from you.
The return is calmer where the tour includes lunch before returning to Cusco.
We recover energy for the next day to take the tour to the mountain of colors, which has the same dynamics, after breakfast you arrive at the base and begin to marvel at the mountains. As it is almost the rainy season, the valley is covered in snow and the route is long and less steep compared to the lagoon. Due to the snow, the climb is also heavier, adding up to 5200m in height. Once you reach the top, the view is incomparable and unlike many on the internet, nature gave us an image with half of the mountain covered in snow.
The next day we toured Cusco, where you lack time because it is completely a museum in all directions, a little rest and we prepare for the next point, Puerto Maldonado.
This small city is located on the side of the Madre de Dios River and is surrounded by the Amazon jungle.
We resorted to a hotel/hostel, with a fairly modest budget but which offered us some tours with incredible landscapes. We do piranha fishing (sports, since you return them to the lake) in a lake that has dead palm trees and that serve as nests for hundreds of birds, so the tours are done at the time of the return of the birds, which makes a 360° show.
The next day we went to Lake Sandoval; To get there you have to take a short walk through the reserve and also taking a rowing boat, the guide took us through the undergrowth where there is a fantastic opening to enter the lake; there we observe different types of monkeys, birds, reptiles and with luck sea otters.
Other activities were the walking tours of the lodge where you can observe different spiders and reptiles, as well as a series of zip lines through the trees, which makes it super interesting. The next day we returned to Lima.
Back in the capital, we decided to stay in the Miraflores neighborhood, rent bicycles and begin to discover, we tried its amazing cuisine, ceviches, loins, sandwiches… etc… the best! We also went to the center, where we looked for the free tours (where tips are given), they took us through the most central buildings and we were able to enter the catacombs, a tour that is worth it.
I believe that Peru is one of those places that once you visit, breathe and taste it always returns a satisfied smile and great memories. It will always be a place we want to return to.