Over the summer I took a two week trip to Peru- I absolutely loved it! There is so much more to the country than just Machhu Picchu. A group of four of us flew into Lima and got a hostel for the night for about 10 bucks. Everything there is super cheap! Our taxi driver from the airport told us about Huacachina, an oasis town about four hours away. We decided to do a tour the very next morning with the driver, We woke up at the crack of dawn and the driver picked us up and drove us there. On the way there, the taxi driver didn’t have his registration up to date and got pulled over. He just bribed the cops to get out of the ticket and we were on our way again. Huacachina was super fun – we went sandboarding and dune bugging! Sandboarding was actually alot easier than I thought it would be. We got to swim in the oasis and had some tasty food. The next night we took a night bus to Huaraz. Our bus broke down in the middle of the night. After getting it fixed on the side of the road we proceeded on our journey. However, I kid you not, it broke down another four times. What took 6 hours by car took us 10 by this bus. In Huaraz we did a super difficult hike to Laguna 69, an absolutely gorgeous glacier lake at 14,000 ft altitude. Naturally, I decided to swim in the freezing cold water. It was very very cold, but there was a Peruvian who got in with me. It also started slightly snowing/sleeting a tad when I was swimming in the glacier water. Laguna 69 was definately top 10 of the most gorgeous places I have every been!!
The next day we hiked to Pasturori Glacier. My friend and I went off the path, which apparently was a no no we found out later. We were able to come face to face with it, I could touch it if I wanted to. Walking along the sheet of ice was a unique experience, I could hear the icicles dripping and the ice creaking.
The next day we hiked to laguna Churup which had really cool colored water. Afterwards we got a shuttle back to Lima. I have never been in a crazier ride!! This driver a) seemed like he was on some type of drug because he kept sniffling and acting kinda weird and b) definately liked making his tires squeel every turn. And believe me, this was a curvy road. It was definately on on-your-toes-let’s-hope-we-don’t-die trip but we made good timing. My friend in the back actually started tearing up because of this drive.
We met up with some friends at the Lima airport and spent the night at the airport, the ground was hard and it was cold but at least we could use our backpacks as pillows. We flew from Lima to Cusco and explored Cusco the first day. We found a tour operator for the Salkantay trek and bartered ourselves a good deal. The next morning we met at the town square at 6 in the morning and watched in horror as the stray dogs attacked each other in a random fight.
We did the Salkantay trek to Machu Pichu, a 5 day trek. The first day was easy and we hiked to another lagoon that was also freaking gorgeous. We slept in subzero rated sleeping bags becuase, well it was about 0 degrees at night. But I have never seen a better night sky than the first night of the Salkantay trek. The stars were just so splendid and the sky so clear. The second day of the hike was super hard becuase of the high altitude, steep grade, and we were wearing backpacks carrying everything. We reached the top of the Salkantay Pass which was like 16,000 ft and it was snowing, we didn’t stay long for pics or anything because everyone was wet and shivering. On the way down to the next campsite my friend slipped on a rock and cut his knee, twisting his ankle in the process. When we got to him we saw people wrapping it up in sweaters and using walking poles to hold it straight. The Peruvians came back with a make shift stretcher which was some thick sticks and a sheet of corrugated aluminum. They hoisted Kyle onto it and it took 6 people to carry him down the slope. But Kyle was too heavy so they had to find a horse because it would have taken forever to get him to the campsite in the stretcher. The nearest medic was four hours by horse and another two by van. I had to walk briskly following the horse, Kyle, and the guide to the next campsite. I was already exhausted after hiking up the pass for hours and missing lunch but I was needed as a translator because Kyle didn’t know Spanish. What was cool though was that after the pass the scenery turned into the jungle. So basically I hiked in the snow and in the jungle in the same day. Hours later we arrived at the medic, they stitched his knee up and gave him an ankle brace. The next day we got lunch across the street from the hospital and a little girl threw banana peels at us. We met up with our friends and I continued the hike with them. The fifth day we woke up at 3 in the morning to climb stairs to Machu Pichu. Macchu Picchu was dope, but I personally think the rest of Peru is more awesome.
We also climbed rainbow mountain, a short trip from Cusco. The mountain was striped with different colors of sediments and was also at high altitude and a hard hike. Our last day we spent in Lima, my friend and I learned how to surf. We got private lessons and rented gear for just $17! For some reason our surf instructor made us run around for 10 minutes in our wet suits and do exercises. Like Why. I thought there was some purpose to making us work out in a freaking wet suit but I really don’t think there was. Other than that surfing was cool and alot easier than I thought it would be! The surf instructors invited us to go out in Lima that night so we went. Since it was a Monday night it really wasn’t that great and my friend Morgan and I ended up running away from them. Like physically sprinting away for not really any reason, they weren’t creepy or anything. After running away we were lost in Lima at like 1 in the morning and found a police officer on a bike who ended up escorting us back to the hostel. I stayed up talking to the hostel receptionist till 3 in the morning when we had to leave for the airport. And then we flew back to the states.
Overall, Peru was hands down one of my favorite trips! It was gorgeous, had plenty to do, cheap, and just a really cool place. I would recommend IMG_1219 to anyone to go, (and not just for Machu Pichu).