Peru was on the top of my Central/South America travel list. Mainly because I’ve been wanting to visit the Machu Picchu for years! And see a lot of alpacas of course.. This was also our first trip after moving from Amsterdam to Curacao and we couldn’t have a better introduction to South America than Peru!
How to travel in Peru?
We first made a shortlist of the locations we wanted to see during the two weeks that we were there. After deciding that Peru Hop was going to be our main transportation method, we altered our list according to their routes and booked a ticket! Peru Hop is a hop-on / hop-off private bus system that tours through Peru. We booked the ‘Get to Cusco quick’ ticket, which is perfect for people who want to see a lot in a short time. Not only are the busses comfortable and luxe, the staff is awesome! Peru Hop also offers to book you hostel in the bus, while you’re on your way. This is one of the reasons Peru Hop is very popular amongst backpackers!
Lima is the capital of Peru and of one the biggest cities in South America. Being located on the coast, the city has a scenic view of the Pacific Ocean. It was de starting point of our trip and we spend one full day here before being picked up by Peru Hop.
What to do in Lima?
The best ceviche we’ve ever had was in Lima. We had no expectations beforehand, but we’re pleasantly surprised. This applies for all the food in Peru by the way. What a culinary destination!
Walk through Miraflores
Miraflores is located on the coast side of Lima and is one of the popular areas in the city. We spend our whole afternoon on the boardwalk, enjoying the view, did some shopping and had lunch with the most serene view over the ocean!
Visit the Historic Center
Lima is a big modern city but it also has a Historic Center, which is an UNESCO World Heritage. You can’t visit Lima without seeing these colonial buildings and churches.
Ever wanted to stay at an oasis in the desert? Huacachina is the place to be! Although there’s not much to do in the town itself, we came mostly for the buggy riding and the desert! So spending one full day here should be enough. We stayed at Banana’s Adventure Hostel and booked a private room. This is a hostel with a lot of travellers from all over the world (which makes it extra fun!). You can get a €15,- discount on your stay with the code E0TANA81 if you book via Booking.com.
When I saw pictures from Arequipa online, I knew I couldn’t skip this town! The historic buildings combined with the palm trees make this town dreamy. It’s the second largest city in Peru and at an altitude of 2325 meters. Hands down, this was the nicest city in Peru (sorry Lima & Cusco)!
From Arquipa, we booked a day trip to visit the Colca Canyon. The tour started really early in the morning but was worth all the beautiful photos we got to take during sunrise! We started with a local breakfast in one of the villages in the canyon. Healthy and fresh of course, just like everything in Peru. We stopped at multiple jaw dropping viewpoints before arriving at the canyon to spot the Andean birds.
Cusco meant being one step closer to the Machu Picchu! Walking down the streets of Cusco, you immediately understand why this lively city is an Unesco World Heritage Site. The Inca and Spanish influences really make you feel you stepped back in time.
What to do in Cusco?
Visit the San Pedro Market
You can literally spend hours at this market! Not only is it full of stands who sell homemade clothes, rugs, bags etcetera. They also sell fresh juices, meat and chicken soups. The funny part, you’ll find around 10 chicken soup stands next to each other that all look the same. Talking about competition!
Discover the town
There is so much to see in this historic town. The cobbled streets, Plaza de Armas, alpacas on the street, churches..
Still think it’s a funny name, I can only read sexy-human here.. This Inca ruin is part of Cusco so it’s really nearby.
We wanted to arrive at the Machu Picchu as early as possible. So we decided to take the train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes and spend a night there. All the buses that go to the Machu Picchu leave from this cute little town. And when I say little, I mean really little. You can see most of this town in 2 hours. But, there’s a nice trail (next to the train rails) that leads up to a waterfall that’s worth your time!
The grand finale and one of the 7 world wonders! We woke up at 4 AM to catch one of the first busses to Machu Picchu. We weren’t the only ones with that brilliant idea, because it was already crowded when we arrived at the bus stop. We started our day at the Machu Picchu with a tour guide and I would recommend everyone to do this. Otherwise, you’ll be walking on one of the most fascinating sites of the world and wouldn’t even know what you’re looking at. All the information about the city and it’s architecture is so interesting!
There are two mountains surrounding the Machu Picchu: The Machu Picchu Mountain and Huyana Picchu. We decided to climb the Huayna Picchu after our tour, because the Machu Picchu mountain was already full (you have to buy a ticket beforehand to clim this mountain). Why climb one of these mountains? It gives you a better view of the Machu Picchu. However, it’s a steep climb and extra difficult because of the the altitude. I only managed to climb it half way, but still got a great shot of the Machu Picchu!