Let’s do some math: If you go to Peru for 12 days and visit 4 vastly ecologically diverse cities (while factoring in travel time in between), how long can you spend in each place?
Answer: Not very effing long.
But what is the alternative when you have limited vacation time and Peru has so many amazing experiences to snatch up faster than you can grab the last slice at a work pizza lunch?
During our abbreviated stay in Peru, Janelle and I would wake up at 5am and our heads wouldn’t hit the pillows in our crammed hostel dorms until midnight at the earliest. Despite suffering insomnia and mild stomach issues (her) and debilitating altitude sickness (me) we soldiered through a handful of days each in Lima, Puerto Maldonado, Cusco, and Huacachina – drinking in everything from sights of the majestic rainforest and the mysterious ruins of Machu Picchu, to tumblers of Pisco at a winery near a desert oasis.
Not only did I get to trap the Sam to my Frodo on a twelve day adventure with me, but we collected some pretty noteworthy experiences in between laughing ourselves sick over photos of ex-paramours.
Here are 10 THINGS I MISS ABOUT PERU:
Exploring the local art scene in Lima, especially Museo Mario Testino – a non-profit institute highlighting the work by one of my favourite fashion photographers.
Savouring the gustatory delights of Peruvian cuisine, particularly at the innovative Gaston Acurio establishments from ceviche – so fresh you can practically taste the saltwater – to roasted guinea pig, a local delicacy.
Exploring the elaborate Spanish Baroque architecture of the Monastery of San Francisco in Lima and cracking skulls in underground catacombs.
Falling asleep in our amazing open-air room to the dubious sounds of scurrying critters in the Peruvian rainforest in Puerto Maldonado.
Perusing the markets in Cusco for all the things made with alpaca wool and/or had llamas depicted on them.
Drinking in the historic views of the Pisac Ruins from underneath a straw Panama hat procured from the nearby Pisac Market. Now known as my favourite travel hat.
Petting gentle llamas running rampant around Sacred Valley and engaging in a serious discussion of how alpacas are just fancy llamas.
Marvelling at the technical precision and majesty of the mystical Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Pulling up to a party blasting Latin music at a pisco tavern, reminiscent of a scene from Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights and throwing back tumblers of the local brandy with new friends.
Hurtling down seemingly endless golden dunes on sand boards as the sun sets in deep, dusty shades of violet and rose over the desert oasis of Huacachina.