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Up and Down Peru’s Mountainous Landscape

August 27, 2011

Our honeymoon was an incredible adventure. We couldn’t have asked for anything less! Here are some cities and highlights.

Lima

We landed around 10pm at night in Lima and thankfully had a car waiting for us from the hostel where we were staying. We were pretty tired and it was welcoming to see a man with a sign that said, “Mr. Hill.” He spoke no English and our Spanish was no where near conversational. We had a quiet and interesting view of Lima at night punctuated by our driver’s attempts to be friendly in Spanish, which unfortunately we were unable to reciprocate (should have brushed off that high school Spanish book).

We didn’t do much in Lima besides find the bus station to our first destination: Arequipa.

We also bought these huge water bottles to stay hydrated. These were a staple of our trip.

Arequipa

We boarded the double-decker Cruz del Sur charter style bus for Arequipa. Nichole had read that sitting up top often felt like riding in a ship at sea, so we always opted for lower deck seats to skip any motion sickness. Our plan was to slowly work our way up in altitudes through various Peruvian cities (Lima 5,080ft –> Arequipa 7,740ft). The end goal being to finish at Puno (Lake Titicaca 12,420ft).

We are big fans of Arequipa. The Plaza de Armas is always bustling with activity; people, taxis, music. There are many excellent restaurants to frequent, the Spanish architecture around town, the Mario Vargas Llosa library, and always plenty of beautiful alpaca textiles to purchase. We thought Arequipa had a very cosmopolitan feel that was well-balanced between young locals, tourists, and international restaurants.

DSCF0036This is our selfie at lunch ceviche and cuy (guinea pig) meal with fruit “salad.” The place had a balcony overlooking the Plaza de Armas that was great for people watching.

We took a day trip from Arequipa to Colca Canyon just 100 miles northwest of the city. The canyon is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon and is home to the Andean Condor, which is only one of two Condor species in the world. The Condors are the size of a small human child.

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DSCF0067Altitude! On the way back to Arequipa we stopped at Patapampa, highest point (16,108ft) in all of Peru! It was a desolate wasteland of redish pink rocks and splitting headaches. We were pretty grumpy, made a rock carn for goodluck, and went back to the van to hasten the trip downward to relieve our elevation woes.

After our Patapampa elevation mishap, we decided to drop Puno/ Lake Titicaca from the itinerary (long winding bus route and more elevation) because we were really enjoying Arequipa and wanted to take it easy on the honeymoon. This removed some extra, uncomfortable bus travel days. DSCF0114The fountain at Plaza de Armas in Arequipa and some of the cosmopolitan sights (or just Starbucks and a Mini Cooper).

Cuzco

Yes, I also immediately though of The Emperor’s New Groove (thanks Disney). The city is nothing like its Disney namesake. We arrived very early in the morning from our bus trip and the Plaza de Armas was completely empty. We relaxed on some park benches and waited for Cuzco to wake up. Little did we know, but a major parade began later that morning after we found a quiet place to have breakfast. The parade had military bands, marching soldiers, and children dressed for traditional dances.

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Machu Picchu

Cuzco is basically the staging ground for tourists hiking or catching the train to Machu Picchu, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Since we were on a short time schedule we opted to catch the train on the more impoverished side of town.

DSCF0161DSCF0176We had a lot of hiking to do to be able to make it to this perfect picture spot. Machu Picchu is breathtaking as you might imagine and almost unbelievable once you are there.

Lima

We returned to Lima without incident for the last few days of our trip. We frequented Dunkin Donuts and decided to spend our last night in the luxury Swissotel with a cloud for a bed.

Our honeymoon was such an incredible adventure. We enjoyed spending time with each other during a new and sometimes crazy experience. There is nothing more fulfilling than being able to have the perfect travel companion for the rest of your life.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 5, 2015 2:21 PM

    Reblogged this on Alex B. Hill.

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