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.
And then of course on one of our days in the Sacred Valley, we’ll be taking the train to this obscure place…
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.
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.
So there you have it, my Peru plans. How do they sound to you? Anything you’d recommend?