4.5 месеца в Перу / 4.5 months in Peru

Заедно с американската травел блогърка Di Michelle приготвихме тази публикяция, в която тя разказзва за престоя си от 4 месеца и половина в Перу, както и дава всичките си съвети при пътуване до земята на инките.

Статията е авторска и е на английски език.

Name: Di Michelle
Description: Freelance writer and travel blogger
Visited places: Cusco, Arequipa, Huaraz, and Lima in Peru

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Trip Duration:
4.5 months from July to November 2017

My husband, Daniel, and I both have the luxury of being location independent. Because of that, we can travel very slowly through every country we visit while still working and making money.

After spending 6 months in Colombia we decided to go explore more of South America in Peru. Mostly, I wanted to travel below the equator and into the southern hemisphere for the first time, and Daniel wanted to see Machu Picchu.

However, both of us discovered that Peru is one of the most beautiful countries on the planet! It has beaches, lakes, mountains, beautiful cities (Cusco looks and feels totally European) and of course both the nightlife and gastronomy games in Lima are next level.

Are you convinced yet? If you’ve decided you need to visit and Peru to see it for yourself, the next step is to plan the itinerary!

Huaraz

I’ll start with my favorite place first, and no, it wasn’t Machu Picchu. Instead, I fell head over heels in love with the northern mountain town of Huaraz. It’s nestled among the peaks of the Cordillera Blanca mountain range and affectionately called the Switzerland of Peru.

Why should you visit? I can answer that in three simple words: Huascaran National Park. If you are into hiking or camping at all, this is the place for you.

We stayed in an Airbnb for one month and even though the town is pretty boring, the nature at your doorstep here makes it a must-see stop in Peru. While in Huaraz, the main attractions are:

The 4-Day Santa Cruz Trek
You can book this trek through the mountains with an all-inclusive tour group or tackle it on your own with my guide. We rented our gear, packed some food, and set off into the wilderness for four days of peaceful relaxation and mountain views away from the real world.

Laguna 69
I think the photo really speaks for itself. This one-day trip to Laguna 69 from Huaraz will transport you to paradise… for only $10!

Nevado Mateo
Have you ever thought about ice-climbing? Me either, until I convinced Daniel that this half-day adventure up Nevado Mateo was the perfect birthday present to give ourselves. We had so much fun and the views were unbelievable. Even better, it’s totally suitable for beginners!

Wilcacocha Lake
You know somewhere is amazing when a hike as beautiful as this isn’t even a tourist destination. It’s just kind of sitting there on the outskirts of Huaraz, waiting for you to bring a picnic and try an acclimatization hike before taking on the big boys. Oh, and did I mention that a day trip to Wilcacocha Lake will only cost you $1?

Cusco

Next up on the Peru itinerary is Cusco. The most famous city in Peru is the jumping off point for Machu Picchu, but also so much more than that if you’re willing to stay and see more. I spent two months in this high-altitude city (yep, Cusco sits at 3,400 meters) and these are my favorite excursions!

5-day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu
Lakes, alpacas, mountain passes, camping, jungles, and more. The five-day Salkantay hike finishes at Machu Picchu and the tourist destination was even better than I ever could have imagined.

Huchuy Qosqo
There are so many ruins around Cusco that the Huchuy Qosqo ruins are virtually deserted. Use my guide to hike along the Imperial Inca Road to the summer home of an Incan King… or what’s left of it that is. Bring a tent and you can even camp overnight at the sacred site!

Rainbow Mountain
Just like Laguna 69, Mount Vinicunca really has to be seen to be believed. This one-day trek is easy to do from Cusco and only costs $20 per person. Just make sure you’re ready to hike because this exhausting climb will take you up to 5,200 meters.

Arequipa

Arequipa is nicknamed “The White City” because the center was built with white stones. It’s the second biggest city in Peru and some of the main tourist destinations are…

Lake Titicaca
This is the highest navigable lake in the world. It sits on the border of Peru and Bolivia so if you go, bring your passport to visit the Lake Titicaca islands on both sides.

Colca Canyon
Did you know that Peru has the second deepest canyon in the world? Hiking in Colca Canyon is an easy two-day trip from Arequipa and you can easily purchase a guided tour from the many offices in the city. At the bottom of Colca Canyon, you’ll find an oasis to swim and relax in, the clearest and most beautiful night sky you’ve ever seen, and a landscape unlike any other.

Misti Volcano
Misti Volcano is 5,822 meters tall and dominates the skyline behind Arequipa. Most people choose to enjoy it from afar, but Daniel and I actually climbed it. It took two days and was easily the most difficult hike I’ve ever done. However, standing at the summit with the smoking crater is an experience I’ll never forget.

Lima

Oh, Lima. What can I say? This is one of the biggest cities in the world and she surely shows it. Lima is crowded, dirty, polluted, and not a typical vacation destination. If you want to try the food that Peru is famous for, though, a stop in Lima is a must. Likewise, it has good shopping and great nightlife, and the beaches are nice in the summer (which is December and January down in the southern hemisphere.)

If you decide to spend some extra time in Lima when you fly in and out of Peru, check out these places.

The Barranco Neighborhood
Hipster. Artsy. Amazing food, cool markets, and interesting nightlife. If any of these things sound appealing to you, a day wandering the Barranco neighborhood in Lima will be time well spent.

Huacachina Oasis
When I said Peru has it all, I meant it. It even has a desert oasis outside of Lima! Take a bus to Ica to spend a couple days riding dune buggies, going sand boarding, and even visiting the oldest winery in the Americas at the Huacachina Oasis.

What to Eat When You Visit Peru

If you’re a foodie, make a reservation at Central Restaurante. It was named one of the best restaurants in the world in 2017 and reservations book out months in advance. I didn’t have the budget to stop by at the time, but if I ever go back I definitely won’t miss it. Otherwise, some essential dishes to eat in Peru are ceviche (raw fish “cooked” in lemon juice), alpaca meat, and guinea pig, a celebratory food often saved for special occasions.

How To Travel Around Peru

One thing to keep in mind when you plan your vacation is that Peru is HUGE. Be careful with your itinerary so you don’t spend all week cramped onto buses. If you have it in the budget, splurge on the Cruz del Sur bus line. It’s the most comfortable and they even serve food. Plus, you can book the front seats on the second level for awesome panoramic views of the whole trip. Otherwise, flights between cities are more expensive but sometimes spending the extra money is worth it to skip a 20-hour trip.

Some things to know before you gо:

  • Although Spanish is common, most Peruvians’ native language is Quechua. The ancient Inca language has up to 11 million speakers in the world.
  • The water isn’t drinkable.
  • Taxis don’t have meters.
  • You’ll find stray dogs around every corner.
  • You’ll blow your entire budget on amazing sweaters, blankets, mittens, and more at the markets.
  • Suicide showers are common throughout the country.

Visit Peru!
If you can’t tell by now, I’m totally in love with this country.

I could keep writing for days but it’s time to bring this article to a close. Book the flight, visit Peru, and discover this beautiful part of the world for yourself. I promise, you won’t regret it!

Di Michelle is a freelance writer and travel blogger. She lives out of a backpack and moves to a new city every month with her husband.

Visit Slight North to learn how to become location independent and follow along with her worldwide adventures!

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