Peru

Planning Peru

Back in March I had announced my mega travel plans which were that come August I would be journeying to Peru, a dream destination of mine. Since then I haven’t really talked about it all too much (well, I’ve made some mention of it over on my Facebook page), and so I thought a post update was in order.

Minus getting some recommended immunizations, I have just about everything booked and planned (all of which I’ve done myself). Although I know that going on a tour would have had numerous perks (travel details would be taken care of…not having to deal with the stress that was incurred when trying to purchase tickets to Machu Picchu), I want to go to Peru knowing that I’ll be able to immerse myself in the Spanish language. It’s hard to believe it but the last time I was in a Spanish speaking country was in 2008 (in Cancun of all places so still not the best place for immersion). In college I was a Spanish major and spent months living in Costa Rica, Spain, and Mexico so to go from that to sheer nada has been tough. Even though I’ll only be in Peru for a week, I really want to make an effort to awaken the language cells that have been slumbering inside my head for way too long now. I know that on a tour I most likely would have been surrounded by other English speakers and as past experiences showed me, when you’re with fellow language speakers, that’s the language you almost always end up speaking.

So, after arriving in the Peruvian capital of Lima, we’ll hop another plane to Cusco, one of the highest capital cities in the world and also gateway to the former Incan Empire. From there we’ll transfer over to the Sacred Valley where we’ll finally begin out Peruvian journey. Due to Cusco’s extremely high altitude (over 11,000 feet!), it’s recommended to stay a couple of days in a lower elevation which is where the Sacred Valley comes in. Where we’ll be staying is at around 9,000 feet…not that much lower but maybe at altitudes so high, even 2,000 feet does make a difference. While based in the Sacred Valley, I hope to visit key sights including the Pisac Market and the Salt Mines of Maras. I also discovered that there is a cooking school that offers half-day classes, something that I would love to do but this for the time being I’m playing by ear since I know that rest and taking it easy (as much as you can) during your first couple of days at such a high altitude is key to acclimatization. In short, I don’t want to overdo it.

salineras-pre-inca-salt

Image via tripadvisor.com

And then of course on one of our days in the Sacred Valley, we’ll be taking the train to this obscure place…

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Image via http://adventureblog.nationalgeographic.com/2012/06/11/oia-hiking-to-machu-picchu-following-ancient-footsteps-in-peru/

After our time in the Sacred Valley wraps up we’ll return to Cusco where we’ll spend a couple of days. Although I’ve been to some fantastic Spanish colonial cities in Mexico, I’m anxious to see how this former jewel of the Spanish Empire compares. We’ll also be staying at a swanky hotel there which I am ubber excited about. I just hope that altitude sickness never gets me so I can enjoy a pisco sour or two.

CuscoSacsa

Image via wondermondo.com

And then finally, we’ll make our way back to Lima where we’ll have a brief but hopefully worthwhile time. Lima seems to get a bad rap from travelers (people don’t like it at all or they think it’s just okay). I however, am greatly intrigued by it. Mexico City is one of my favorite places and even though it’s decidedly underrated by many travelers,  it’s a fantastic spot. I think I’m going to feel the same about Lima. The Peruvian capital is also considered to be the gastronomic capital of Latin America and being a foodie, so many of its restaurants and culinary shops sound amazing. I just hope I’ll have time to fit everything in along with the requisite touring of historical sights too.

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Image via 2001bottles.blogspot.com

So there you have it, my Peru plans. How do they sound to you? Anything you’d recommend?

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Jenn Turnbull
    June 25, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Impressive that you’ve organized your whole visit yourself. That definitely makes sense though if your goal is to get back into Spanish again. My husband and I are planning a trip to Peru and Machu Picchu for December. We don’t usually go with canned travel packages but are considering it for at least the Machu Picchu part as we’re thinking of doing the 4-day hike. Can’t wait to hear what you think after you get back. Cheers!

    • Reply
      Julie
      June 25, 2014 at 10:07 pm

      I figured that if I ever wanted to make it to Southeast Asia or something, I would need to be brave enough to do South America (where I do speak the language-well for most of the continent 🙂 That’s awesome you’re planning on going there yourselves! If you’re doing the hike, it definitely makes more sense to do something organized. I know a lot of people feel that if you don’t do the hike, you’re missing out. But between not having all the time in the world AND not being the biggest fan of sleeping outside lol, to me I’m pretty content with my decision. That and both my h and I love train rides and the one to MP looks pretty incredible!

  • Reply
    Bridget @ A Traveling B
    June 25, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Congratulations on organizing the whole trip yourself, it is quite the feat especially for a place as complicated as Machu Picchu. I know it can be daunting, I usually do the same thing and regret it somewhere in the middle, but then am happy with the end result. Cannot wait to hear how your trip is, I will be living vicariously through you! Machu Picchu has always been on the top of my bucket list!
    Bridget @ A Traveling B recently posted…Summer in Napa ValleyMy Profile

    • Reply
      Julie
      June 27, 2014 at 10:46 pm

      Once I got the Machu Picchu tickets, it felt like I had finally succeed in putting in the last piece of the puzzle 🙂 Tours definitely do have their benefits but it is a wonderful feeling being able to call the shots whether it’s for a particular hotel, restaurant, or time spent at an attraction.

      I’m hoping it lives up to all the hype 🙂

  • Reply
    Lance
    July 5, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    You’ll just love Peru! It’s one of the amazing places we’ve ever been (despite the fact that I almost died there – long story). We ate at some amazing restaurants in Cusco!
    Lance recently posted…Travel Addicts Annual Reader SurveyMy Profile

    • Reply
      Julie
      July 7, 2014 at 7:09 pm

      I’m really looking forward to it! It’s been on my bucket list for the longest time. I can’t wait to try out some of the awesome sounding restaurants I’ve read about.

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