I feel like my trip to Peru deserves a prequel of its own, because I don’t think it is very characteristic of me to embark on such a journey. The idea of going of going to Peru first started over a year ago when Adrienne and I were trying to plan a vacation together. It has always been a life goal of hers to do the Inca Trail and visit Machu Picchu. At that time, I was kind of impartial. The catalyst that made me change my mind was when she had told me that her parents also wanted to visit Machu Picchu but were unable to do the physical hike any more due to age and body concerns. At that moment, I had realized that this was a trip I should go on despite its difficulty because it is very hard to find a travelling partner who has the same ideal destination and has a matching vacation schedule. I didn’t want to lose out on this opportunity and be unable to do it in the future.
We had tried to book it for October 2014, but unfortunately, all the permits were fully sold out. Since then I had been determined to accomplish the Inca Trail as I had set my mind on it. Luckily, I managed to rope Alicia in with me and we booked it in March 2015 (for September 2015).
After a half year wait, our trip had finally come!
One of my biggest fears about going to Peru was not the hike, or the dirty water, or potential food contaminations, but it was the horror stories of taxis where people get kidnapped or robbed. The whole week prior to our departure date I read many good and bad taxi reviews and tips on how to “stay safe / choose the right taxi” (I’ll spare you guys the details as I am probably overly paranoid). Thankfully all our taxi rides were all safe although we probably never sat in any of the suggested “official” taxis.
For anyone interested the trip we had booked was Inca Discovery through G Adventures. We spent the first day touring Lima on our own as it was not included within the tour activities itself.
To be completely honest I knew next to nothing about Peru prior to going on this trip, and I still feel like there is lots I need to read about to understand more, especially its history. I planned out some activities purely through using the app Tripomatic and browsing TripAdvisor online.
We started our first day of the trip in Lima, bright and early in Historical Centre of Lima where their main square (Plaza de Armas de Lima) was located. All the main architectural attractions such as the Government Palace, Cathedral of Lima, and Archbishop’s Palace surround the square. Nearby was also the main cathedral, Monastery of San Francisco.
For lunch we headed towards Surquillo Market which I had read on Tripomatic, and I quote that it is “A new hotspot for foodie tourists”. From that, I was expecting something very up and coming and hipster, but it turned out to be simplay a local food/groceries market. Since we were already there, we decided to just eat lunch there anyway. Unfortunately the restaurants there were not tourist friendly and their entire menu was in Spanish only. I basically just ordered the macaroni and soup that everyone seemed to have (turns out it is an appetizer) and Alicia ordered a dish that was in an image on the wall. Hands down the cheapest meal ever (only 7 PEN which is about $3 CAD for the both of us). We also got this weird complementary drink that was extremely unappetizing visually as it reminded me of piss, especially since it was in a measuring cup : S It tasted like some sort of lemon medicine and licorice.
After lunch we headed to the clay pyramid ruins of Huaca Pucllana. We were lucky to be able to join an English guided tour there. Although we spent most of our time taking funny photographs and messing around more than anything. One thing that I had read about prior to going to Peru was that there were some places that will refuse to provide change. It was a huge shock that out of all places, the one that we had experienced this at was at Huaca Pucllana…..a major tourist attraction. The front desk staff refused to let us pretend to be students and also refused to give us change. In the end he gave us a “bargain” deal and put us as one adult and one student…and potentially pocketed the difference himself.
Before attending the first official briefing with our G Adventures group and Lima CEO in the evening, we also went to the beaches in Miraflores where Alicia went paragliding. I kind of regret not going just for the sake of it, but I’m quite afraid of heights so I had declined.
For dinner we headed out with some of our new friends within our tour group to try Peruvian cuisine. Here I got roped into trying a bit of deep fried guinea pig and the popular Peruvian drink – Pisco Sour!
Our day in Lima was quite long but we had successfully managed to accomplish pretty much everything that I had scheduled out 🙂