Where can you find desert coastline, tropical rainforest, soaring mountains, and a rich archaeological history? Peru of course! Flight Centre’s Samantha Vazquez shares her experiences in this historical country:
Being Mexican, I am a big fan of travelling to ancient cultural locations in the world, so going to Peru to experience the Inca culture was a dream come true!
What better way to visit this magical country than being guided by Intrepid Travel? I have come to know through my Flight Centre career that this company is one of the best to experience a real culture. They have amazing Tour Leaders with extensive knowledge of the whole culture and not only that but they put so much effort into making our experience truly unique and unforgettable.
Our Tour Leader was Pepe, and I have no other words to describe his talent than absolutely outstanding! As a born and raised Peruvian, he truly showed us the real Peru with all its colours, magic and history in every corner of every site. We also had tour guides in every archaeological sites that had very specific knowledge about the whole area; I found they had guided tours by local people in several different languages; French, English, Russian, Mandarin, Japanese, among others, every one ready to show the world the beauty of Peru.
My visit was during the beginning of October so it was their Spring, cold weather and humid; you need to be prepared or purchase extra layers with beautiful designs made of alpaca wool mostly.
On the first morning we had breakfast together, and ventured out to explore, visiting lovely areas with craft markets and even had suggestions from locals to go to a really good restaurant nearby. After a whole day of exploring and shopping, we got back to the hotel for our welcome meeting with our Leader and the whole gang.
The next day we were up and ready to visit Lima; the downtown square and streets, as well as the San Francisco Monastery and underground catacombs, which was an amazing experience! Later in the evening we transferred to the airport to fly out to Trujillo. Our hostel was located in the Huanchaco area and was so comfortable and beautiful! Both the basic and the comfort level accommodations where always clean and comfortable.
Huanchaco is a lovely little fishing town located by the ocean, and near by the ruins of Chan Chan, a huge adobe-made citadel. The ruins themselves are so beautiful, with and huge! We also visited Huaca de la Luna site, which was really impressive and is still being excavated as it is still covered. It looks like hills and little mountains, it is hard to believe under all that there are huge pyramids still with color and perfect shapes that have stayed still in time!
We visited downtown Trujillo and then bused overnight back to Lima in a very comfortable bus which left me with no problems sleeping through the night. Once in Lima we continued on to fly to my new favourite spot: Cusco!
We had a whole day to enjoy walking around the city which was so beautiful I wish I could have stayed there for weeks! It takes some time to get used to the altitude, so we made sure to take it slow, keep hydrated and drink Coca tea at every opportunity as Cusco is approx 11151,44 feet above sea level.
Next was the highlight of the whole trip; Machu Picchu! We started the adventure early morning and took the train out of Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu which is a 3 hour ride with a gorgeous scenic view, then up on a bus for approx 15 minutes, a very wild ride up, but once you get there, you will be rendered speechless!
We explored in detail the whole area with a guided tour and then we had time for our own exploration. Then we took the train back to the town of Ollantaytambo where we spent the night.
The next morning we explored the charming little town which remains with ruins around the area. Afterwards, we headed way back to Cusco to enjoy the evening visiting other ruins; Sacsayhuaman, Q’enqo and Tambomachay with a guided tour.
The last few hours before our flight in both Cusco and Lima were spent walking around local markets and shopping, taking in all the gorgeous and colourful scarves, hats, bags and enjoying more Peruvian delicacies such as Llama and Guinea pig dishes (which I could not venture to try). My favourite things we tried there was a drink called Pisco and a refreshing water made of blue corn called Chicha Morada.
This whole trip exceeded my expectations; Intrepid Travel and our expert leader and guides made it so special and personalized. We experienced real culture in every moment; from the sites, to the cities, towns, delicious food and drinks; comfortable hotels and hostels, guided specialized tours and the free time to explore on our own and experience our own adventures. I would definitely go back in a heart beat to keep exploring Peru and I am getting ready to plan my next trip with Intrepid to another magical country!
Want to learn more about Peru or about travelling with Intrepid? Samantha Vazquez is Assistant Manager at our Park Royal location in Vancouver, British Columbia and can be reached by E-mail or by calling 1-866-913-1640.