My adventures in Peru began up North, as I took a 2-day overland journey from Vilcabamba, Ecuador to Chachapoyas last October.
At the time, it was exhilarating to be on the move.
A series of buses, rickshaws and share taxis got me from one destination to another in a fairly efficient manner.
I'll always prefer arriving in a new country by land, as it draws out the experience.
Flights are more comfortable, and save time and energy, but are inevitably anti-climactic.
They lack the slow build of anticipation and anxiety as you approach a border crossing.
Highlights of Peru
I then boarded one of Peru's clean and comfortable long-distance buses for the ride to Trujillo.
I escaped the city noise for a few nights at the beach in nearby Huanchaco.
After a week on the coast, I boarded another bus and went back into the mountains, the Cordillera Blanca to be exact.
Huaraz is a sizeable city of about 100,000 people which acts as the main hub for the region.
I arrived just as the low season was starting, and regrettably, talked myself out of going on the 4-day Santa Cruz trek.
From Huaraz, it was a scenic, but a surprisingly short journey to Lima.
Arriving just as Summer was getting underway, I quickly settled into life in the big city again.
I explored Peruvian cuisine via Astrid & Gaston, sampled the nightlife, and caught up with some blogging friends (Gareth at Tourist 2 Townie, Benny of Fluent in 3 Months, Barbara of Hole in the Donut).
Later on, I'd also meet Lainie and her son Miro (Raising Miro) and Erica and Shawn of Overyonderlust.com.
New Year's was celebrated back in Lima, where I enjoyed a few trips to the beach and continued to live through February.
- Low cost of living, even in Lima
- Girls :)
- Friendly people
- Summer weather in Lima
- Big mountains
- Comfortable inter-city buses
- Major roads are surprisingly well-paved (smooth rides)
- Drivers honking their horns incessantly in Lima (Buenos Aires is much quieter in that respect)
- Lack of green in Lima (By comparison, Buenos Aires is like the jungle — lush, tree-lined streets, and lots of green)
- Earthquakes — I experienced 4 in 3 months. Even the small ones are unsettling.
- Aji de Gallina
- Arroz con Pollo
- Causa Limena
- Club Sandwiches (in Lima)
- Palta Rellena (con Pollo)
- Sushi (and most seafood for that matter)
Why I'm Going Back
There are still some major highlights to see in the Southern part of the country, including:
- Amazon rainforest near Puerto Maldonado
- Sandboarding at a desert oasis
- Scenic flight over the Nazca Lines
- Good food in Arequipa
- 3-day hike in Colca Canyon
- Puno and Lake Titicaca
I'd say the cost of travel in Peru is a little higher than in Ecuador, but less than Colombia.
It's definitely one of the cheaper destinations in South America.
Dave's 160-page, all-original Lima Travel Guide is available for Kindle.