PERU. Home of the forever roaming alpaca, pisco sours and infamous new wonder of the world, Machu Picchu.
Once a passing thought, my dream of venturing to this South American country became a reality last week…
Despite suffering from heavy altitude sickness, my girlfriend losing her passport, crazy taxi rides and a continuous battle in my head over whether I should eat guinea pig or not, my week-long Peru adventure rocked my world.
Naturally, a large motive behind my desire to travel to Peru was to trek the majestic yet mysterious Machu Picchu ruins. I was left speechless by the fluffy, cloud-scattered Technicolor skies and the never-ending Andes mountains.
Grazing llama on the hills of Machu Picchu. They were such peaceful animals but I stayed my distance to avoid getting spit on!
I am always down for a good hike with a view but I was completely unaware that these two strenuous hiking trails were awaiting us at Machu Picchu. Lets just say I was SO thankful for my comfy Nikes I wore that day. The unpredictable weather also made for an interesting challenge… summer showers and hot Amazon sun! Thank God I packed sunscreen and a rain poncho…
The hikes were both well worth the struggle, amazing panoramic views awaited us at the peaks! Here sits Machu Picchu Mountain, 10,000 feet above sea level and swarming with huge monarch butterflies!
After an intense hike of never-ending stairs, humid Amazonian jungle and feeling on the verge of collapse, we conquered Machu Picchu Mountain!
One thing we all looked forward to every night after a long day of excursions was sampling the colorful variety of Peruvian beers and drinks. Little did we know that we were visiting Peru during its election period and no alcohol was to be served during this time. Somehow though, we still managed to find spots that secretly served to tourists and at $2 a beer, we were set.
Taking in the views of the Pisac ruins overlooking the Sacred Valley. This was one of my favorite ruins to visit. While you can’t see it in this picture, this site also featured an ancient astronomy temple at the top of the peak, as well as a cemetery tucked into the face of the mountain.
Low hanging clouds over Lake Titicaca, the largest lake in South America. Good thing we ended our trip here after we had all acclimated to the altitude; the lake sits at over 3800 meters above sea level!
Here is a view from our boat as we approached the Uros Floating Islands. The people of these islands use the rods that keep their islands afloat for a range of remedies, from chewing on the reeds to keep their teeth looking pearly white to placing strips of rod on their forehead to alleviate a fever.
At the recommendation of both friends and locals, we had lunch at Punto Azul, a beach side restaurant in the city of Miraflores. Here we enjoyed some of the best ceviche and octopus I have EVER tasted. While my friends enjoyed the Peruvian favorite, Pisco Sours, I opted for a drink called “Cholo Juice” which left me feeling real good!