Peru: an adventure worth taking (in 14days)
Updated: Feb 14, 2020
WOW, what can I say to justify the immensity of Peru. It was a trip of mixed emotions, early rises, overnight coach rides. Lots of pictures, pisco sours, llamas and Lombardo Saltado!
We met our friends on the first night, who had been travelling around the world for the past year (lucky them!) check them out: @offthehooktravel
We opted for a PeruHop ticket which was about £199 each. Included travel in hotspots and some meals and tours free. Book in advance, although ours wasn't full.
Things to 100% plan in advance - Machu Picchu entrance & the train which takes you to the town from Cusco!!!!!!!
Day 1 - Lima
We arrived in Lima around 9 pm, too knackered to do anything. We had booked a transfer with Peru Hop to our first hostel. The bus stand had been in the area just before you come out of baggage but we missed it, and so we spent a good half an hour trying to figure out what we where meant to do. The journey was easy enough and once arrived, reunited with our long travelled besties, we slept for 5hours!
Lima Hostel: Casa Hualpa, you get what you pay for!
Day 2 - Lima to Paracas
A 6:20 am pick up from the hostel by PeruHop who were over 1hour late.
The PeruHop included a breakfast stop which consisted of so much bread and jam, bread and jam and plenty more bread and jam!!
2nd stop of the day was the ruins of Tambo Colorado which PeruHop included a guided tour, very insightful to the history and cultural background.
We arrived in Paracas around 2 pm which gave us plenty of time to explore the charming town, coffee by the sea and dinner in the most colourful, coolest restaurant and the food was to die for!!! We had a mixture of a prawn soup and Lombardo Saltado.
Paracas Hostel: Backpackers House, great little hostel, with en suite and reasonably priced
Paracas Coffee shop: Cafe Paracas
Paracas Dinner stop: Pukasoncco Arte
Day 3 - Paracas to Huacachina
A more relaxed wake up on day 3, as we walked over to the harbour where we were taken on a tour of the Ballestas Islands. We saw cute little penguins, sea lions and other animals in their natural habitat which was incredible and worth a 'sea'. Take a rain jacket, some people get soaked!
PeruHop pick up from the hostel took us around Paracas National reserve which was beautiful, it is one of South America's biggest protected desert reserves!!
We then embarked on a 2-hour journey to Huacachina, which is incredible. It is the only desert oasis in South America and you cannot miss it!!!!
Throwing ourselves into the deep end, we took a Dunebuggy/Sandboarding Tour, Sandboard down the biggest dunes in South America. It. Was. Incredible. So much fun and a huge MUST if you come here!!!
Huacachina Hostel: Wild Olive Guest House, such lovely accommodation and the food is also good in their restaurant. We had dinner here for ease and was such a lush evening. Plenty of pisco sours so a few sore heads the next day!
Day 4 - Huacachina to Nazca & overnight on the PeruHop
After an interesting breakfast at the Wild Olive Guest House,7 pm we departed around lunchtime with PeruHop pick up from a hostel down the road.
We stopped at a Pisco Vineyard where we got to try a few samples of Pisco, the national drink of Peru.
A couple of hours later PeruHop took us to the Nazca Lines Viewing Tower, where we were able to see 3 of the Nazca Lines from a small tower located dead in the middle.
We spent a very short time in Nazca for dinner and departed swiftly at 7 pm for an overnight ride to Arequipa.
Day 5 - Arequipa
We arrived in Arequipa for around 6 am and checked into the Dragonfly who let us have an early breakfast whilst we waited for our rooms. The city is beautiful and so-called "Ciudad Blanca" or white city. We spent the day getting lost, shopping and eating in the city and stumbled in and out of some free tours that took our fancy. Hidden treasures everywhere, make sure to explore well!!
Arequipa accommodation - Dragonfly
Lunch - Dimas, Lush but expensive for Peru
Dinner - Kao Thai and Peruvian Cuisine, a mix of Peruvian and Thai food, some dishes were nice, others not so much
Arequipa Hostel - Dragonfly, lovely rooms, not en suite, great hanging out areas
Day 6 - Arequipa to Colca Canyon
Having opted for a 3day optional hike we were up very early for a PeruHop pick up from the Dragonfly Hostel. As we had to pack bare minimum for the trek (as you trekked with all your luggage) we left our main bags in the storage room and embarked with our smaller backpacks were with essentials.
Once arrived we were introduced to our guide who took us on a tour of the local village on the top of the Canyon, where we met his family and had a good substantial lunch. We then took a very long hike down the canyon which was challenging and tiring but beautiful and stunning views made it very special. Not a walk for the faint-hearted, and you have to be relatively fit!
We then took a small climb to our accommodation for evening whee we had got a little lost as our guide left us to stay with the slower walkers.
Once arrived however all was forgotten and we plonked ourselves in our four-bed rustic hut which was an interesting little place, very pretty and the food was average at best but included so not much choice. There was a shop on site where we filled ourselves with a few treats!
Day 7 - Colca Canyon
The second day of hikes, similar to the first where a range of high and low climbs up and down the Colca Canyon, guided by the same guy as the day before. We tasted some awesome fruit en route and stopped for lunch in a local town which was very well received by all!
Our last night was a tiny oasis, the place was stunning and the rooms where rustic huts which were cosy and yes, very rustic. There was a pool we plunged into as soon as we arrived which was so soothing! Food was again, pretty average but free so we didn't complain and we had an early night as the next morning was an early one!
Day 8 - Colca Canyon to Arequipa
The last day hike was by far the hardest. A 5 am start - 3 hours continuous uphill climb, and the one which many of the slow walkers had to get donkeys to carry them. I would not book this tour if you are not at a good level of fitness for this one reason, it's hard! BUT so worth it once finished. The climb was beautiful once the sun rises mid-walk and final views were just stunning.
We were taken back to our accommodation in Arequipa where we collected ou,r luggage and spent another afternoon/evening in the Dragonfly.
Day 9 - Arequipa to Puno
A 9:30 depart from Arequipa, with PeruHop pick up. We stopped at the Lagunillas Mirador Viewpoint which oversaw a stunning lake with four small islands at 4.174 m above sea level. This was such an amazing experience and the views where incredible, the Miradors are magnificent!!!
We arrived in Puno around lunchtime and we took a short boat trip to the floating islands, otherwise known as Lake Titicaca, the gateway to the highest navigable lake in the world
These man-made islands are home to the Uros tribe and one of the most breathtaking experiences of my life, we were submerged into the families who live on the islands who explained how the islands are made to stay afloat and the science behind it. They went above and beyond. The homemade souvenirs also made for lots of memories we were able to bring home with us.
We had another overnight travel with PeruHop as we opted out of staying in Puno, departing after dinner which we went into a little Peruvian inspired pizzeria.
Dinner: Remix Pizzeria, great value for money and a lovely place to sit for a few hours
Day 10 - Cusco to Aguas Calientas
Arrived in Cusco at 5 am and we slowly realised that we should have booked our train tickets in advance, after quite some time walking around and asking numerous people, we had to take a taxi to the station which was quite a way away and wait a couple of hours for the next available train to Aguas Calientas. We arrived around lunchtime, the train was amazing, great views, quite expensive by worth it.
At this point my partner was sick and turned out he had food poisoning so that wrote the day off in terms of sightseeing, we were so exhausted that we didn't mind so much :)
The town was adorable and we walked around the markets for an hour or so and had dinner in a lovely little restaurant next to our accommodation.
Aguas Calientas Hostel: Kaypi, well priced, beautiful views however the service wasn't particularly good and although advertised shuttle to Macchu Picchu, this was not included
Dinner: Mapacho Craft Beer & Peruvian Cuisine, divine! Brilliant service and great food and views.
Day 11 - Aguas Calientas
As my partner was ill and we were all very tired, we decided to take a rest day on this day. Me and our friend had a nice massage and foot spa in the afternoon which was well needed as we were still feeling the ache for the Canyon trek! The evening was spent in the market again which we loved looking around, we got most of our souvenirs here as they where well priced and the stuff was of good quality.
Lunch: Restaurant Centenarco
Aguas Calientas Hostel: Kaypi
Day 12 - Macchu Picchu!!!!!!
This was the main event. The one reason I always wanted to do and it did not disappoint! We got up super early, too early (6 amGoodbye), for our shuttle so got sent back to the hostel where we had a nap and came back around 8 am for our travel slot. The journey was a 20minutes ride to the site, and it was just AMAZING. everything about it, the history, the sites, the stroll. you can pay for a guide but we didn't need to as one of our friends learnt the entire history the night before watching a YouTube video, genius!!!!
We also had purchased a ticket for the Huayna Picchu, which was another uphill hike up the mountain attached to Machu Picchu, therefore overlooking it. AND where my partner PROPOSED!!!!!!!!! :D
SO the best day of my life for 2 reasons :)
That evening we celebrated in a lovely restaurant, and they gave us free drinks and dessert for our news!
Dinner: Full House Craft
Aguas Calientas Hostel: Kaypi
Day 13 - Aguas Calientas to Cusco
We hopped onto the train to go back to Cusco and stopped off along the way in a lovely little town of Ollantaytambo, where wandered the beautiful streets and admired the gorgeous scenery. We stopped at a really nice restaurant which was one of our favourite on the trip and stunning views of the steps.
Ollantaytambo lunch: Blue Magic
Cusco Hostel: Kokopelli, great pod-style dorms (shared)
Day 14 - Lima
Lunch: Restaurant Cesar, food wasn't bad
Dinner: Bar Restaurant Cordano, great food, great staff
Cusco Hostel: Hotel Espana, a very funky hostel with cute rooms and terraces
Day 15 - Lima the home :(
A brief walk around the city and then we made our way to the airport to go home - sad times. Good bye Peru, one day we’ll be back to visit your Amazon!
Lunch: Cevichería Mar Limón y Sabor