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).
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.