My dear sweet friends and family, I am writing to you from Santiago, Chile with a wonderful glass of vino in hand jammin to Young, Dumb and Broke by Khalid. Believe it or not music is not up to date in South America haha. So this may be old news but this song is my favorite right now. And NO, this is not a metaphor to my life right now hahaha. Out of my snaps Peru was the most active of my followers asking about where I was, what I was doing, and to keep track of it because they wanted to come. AND YOU MUST! Machu Picchu was a bucket list item for me that I knew I had to do. I did not expect all of the other amazings things Peru has to offer. I should note that I do not do a lot of research before. I am sure this could seriously stress some of the readers out. But there is never a situation I walk into that cannot be figured out. It’s not like I don’t have “time”. Everything just works itself out. **Full discloser I do google “must eats” in every country hahaha. That is the extent of my research***
So it is Monday the 29th at 4AM and Amy and I arrive in Mancora, Peru at our hostel, Loki. If anyone has heard of Loki or stayed at Loki you know just as well that this is a party hostel. Obviously our room is not ready so we find the comfiest spot by the pool and sleep outside until about 9am. We had already been on the bus crossing the boarder all day from Ecuador. I woke up with 1,000 crickets all over me and 2,000 sand fly bites all over my hands ankle and waist. Pretty much anywhere that showed any skin. To keep it short and sweet Mancora is a surf/party town and that is it. I got some bomb ceviche, had yet another wonderful night out, packed my bags the next morning and headed to Lima, Peru. I had been traveling with Amy for a bit since Ecuador so I was so sad to say goodbye but my liver was thrilled to leave that Aussie behind! (Hahah)
I arrive in Lima, Peru on the 31st and am so excited to be able to just relax. I booked my own private room. (Which any backpacker knows is quite the splurge) My time in Lima was spent doing touristy things, eating and getting a $5 hair cut. I did the free walking tour where I met this really cool couple. We went to grab a Pisco Sour and Coy. And for the 99% of you who do not know what that is (since majority of the readers are American) IT IS A GUINEA PIG!!! I know what y’all are thinking. I am also sure that many of y’all once had a pet guinea pig named Princess or Cookie, but it taste freaking good. Like a cross between duck and quail. Not only that it is considered to be a treat for a special occasion. They serve it like the whole body and head or some restaurants prepare it where it doesn’t look like it could run off the plate.
After Lima I headed to Huacachina on an overnight bus. My favorite Peru bus company is Cruz Del Sur. I know it cost a lot more but it really feels like first class. You get blankets, pillows, a warm meal, comfy seats and amazing service. This is really where y’all started to love my Snapchats. This place is an incredible desert with an oasis in the middle. I grabbed a quiet lunch and then headed to this really cool pool to catch some sun rays. That evening I had a sand boarding/ sand buggy tour. THIS WAS SO MUCH FUN! You are out in the middle of the desert with nothing but sand around and just driving fast ripping around and driving up the sides of sand. Then our guide takes you to the highest point, lay on your board and slide down going extra fast. I had sand where sand has never been. Just as a cherry on top we caught a spectacular sunset.
Cusco, Peru – I am finally getting closer to the main event for me, Machu Picchu! I arrive in the day to Cusco, head to the market, grab some lunch and Alpaca sweaters and book my tour heading out at 7AM the next for for a 4 day 3 night trek to Machu Picchu!!!
JUNGLE TREK TOURS
DAY 1 – 7AM, I accidentally had one too many beers and the bus pulls up front of my hostel. I get in, throw the shades on, throw the earplugs in, hat on and hoodie pulled over. Close my eyes until we arrive (I still don’t know where) to start our adventure! The first thing is we all get off the bus a get suited up to bike down for 3hrs the winding road we just drove up. I eat some coca leafs (yes this is legal in Peru) to help with the “altitude” put my tunes on and start biking down. It was amazing. I got to have 3 hours of me time with my music and just reflect. That day was a great day for me and my thoughts, but those are my “pennies” and I can’t share everything on my blog haha. 🙂 After that we get lunch, which is much needed. Then they say, “okay hurry and finish we are going river rafting!” Haha. Quite the aggressive day when you have a hangover but it was so much fun! The rapids couldn’t have been any bigger than a 3 but it still was a blast. One thing I have learned while traveling, and don’t worry there are many more profound things, is that water fixes any hangover, ALWAYS.
DAY 2 – I have thrown quite the argument about how I like to hike and hiking is cool. I AM A LIAR. I am sorry to everyone I tried to make that case to. Hiking is for some people and another thing I have learned, it is not for me. Do not get me wrong. My story ends happy and extremely proud of myself. But I will not lie. THIS HIKE WAS HARD AND NOT FUN at many many (every) time. It is 6:30am and we start walking down the road. For EIGHT hours. Two hours of that was completely uphill and was very challenging, The altitude is also very high. We did take a few breaks, which was not included in the 8 hour walking time, but it helped break up the trip. We stopped at two Mono Casa’s to play with the little monkeys. One of the stops we all took a shot of Inca Tequilla that had a dead snake in the bottle and our guide put paint from a berry on our face to give us our own jungle design. Once the hike was coming to end I imagine it is what people experience as they walk through the pearly gates. Okay, I am clearly being dramatic. But it was amazing. The sun was beating down and we finished at the hot springs. The guy who I bought my ticket from told me that I did not need a swimsuit. That was further from the truth. But it didn’t stop me!! I put my granny panties and sport bra and jumped into the hot spring and soaked my throbbing body. The end of this day I felt accomplished, proud and SORE.
DAY 3 – Someone said this was supposed to be a relaxing day so I woke up pumped! We had to be up early and go ziplinning. Now, no, this was no ziplinning through the Costa Rican jungle. But it still was a great time! We did a few lines, some I even did hanging upside down! And then went over this bridge that you had to be hooked on because it was so sketchy and you could easily fall off. After that you guessed it, we started hiking. For another 3 hours. So whoever said today was relaxing we have very different opinions of what that means. For me, it is more a cheese board and a glass of wine with a blanket on the couch with friends. But to each their own. So three hours we are walking along the rail road. Slightly felt like something out of the history books but cool nonetheless. Once we arrived to Aguas Calientes there was pure joy on my face. CIVILZATION! We put our bags down in the hostel and me, this Spanish girl, another from Chicago and two Frenchies went out for drinks. The girls had a couple bottles of wine and the guys had a pitcher or two… of Cuba Libres. It was great laughing, talking and getting to know them. I knew that we had to hike at 4am to Machu Picchu so after dinner I went to bed.
Day 4 – MACHU PICCHU DAY!!!! The alarms start going off and I am truly questioning about getting some white out and just pretending I never put Machu Picchu on my bucket list. But NO. I have came this far damn it! Got my ass out of the bed, packed my backpack, and started my journey to Machu Picchu. I arrive to the top before 6 am and this is where the victory feeling starts. The hardest part is over!! I did it! And wow. Machu Picchu was absolutely breathtaking. We had a guide give us the history or Machu Picchu and then were free to walk around for a few hours. Where I got my epic beer picture with a llama. I went for a nice lunch and view where I hear this girl yell behind me, “Hey Canada!” I turn around with a smirk because I know she is talking to me. I met them back in Cusco when I first arrived. She had a good hand with my hangover. We were playing beer pong and to piss me off they kept saying I was from Canada haha. Why? I do not know. It was great seeing them. After that I said my goodbyes to my hiking crew and me and the two Frenchies started walking three hours back to catch the bus back to Cusco. ***This is not a humble brag, just a brag- Me and one of the guys ran down the mountain in 24 minutes. If anyone has done this knows how steep it is and I was pretty impressed with how quick we did it*** Not to mention walking down the railroad I saw this guy whose are was dangling to the side. His friend was trying to hold his shoulder in place. Totally made my stomach turn but my guess is he fell and dislocated it. OUCH!
I have heard from many people that their guides at MP said they will be closing it down for a max of two hours in less than a month. I tried to do some research to confirm is this was true or not and was not able to find anything. But either way MP will not be around forever. It sees so many people every year. It doesn’t matter how you want to get there, bus, train, Inca trail, private helicopter, whatever! Just do it if you have been thinking about it! You will not be disappointed. They were so ahead of our time and it is incrediable to see!
Cusco – I arrive back in Cusco and meet the two French guys for the free walking tour. We all agreed this wasn’t very good but we got to learn how to make a Pisco Sour and tried Alpaca! Which was so good. It taste like a buttery jerky. At night there was this man trying to cross the street. He was so old he was completely bent over at the waste with a cane. None of the cars were stopping so I ran over to help him. He grabbed my hand as I bent over and we walked across. Y’all my heart felt like the grinchs and it grew too many sizes too big. I am not sure why but that moment was one of my most favorite moments from traveling. I just looked at his face and wish I could have talked with him. It was like once his hand touched mine it was electric! Just the sweeetest older man. That morning I jumped on a bus to head to Arequipa.
Arequipa – I arrived early in the morning, grabbed “my” bag off the bus and headed to my hostel. I put my things in storage and have a relaxing breakfast. UNTIL I get a voicemail from “Scott” saying I have his bag and he is at the bus station. He called from a blocked number and literally that was all his voicemail said. No call back number, not how long he will be there, where to meet him, if he had my bag, nothing. Que the freak out hahah. I jumped up grabbed the bag and sure enough it is not mine, jump in a taxi and headed to the station. Once I arrived they said he left and they gave him my bag. Que the freak out again! WHY they gave him my bag to just take I still do not know. But I will spare the details of my arguing with them and the story ends happy, I email him, go to his hostel and we exchange bags and all is okay in the world. I can assure you I will never make that mistake again! I am always pushing myself to do it all. But that day I decided I wanted to relax. I skipped the walking tour, skipped the amazing mountains. Instead I walked around town, enjoyed being alone and spent time at this really cute coffee shop near the main town. Next morning I head out to make my way to Chile. As I am waiting at the bus station this lady was trying to talk with me. She didn’t speak any English so this was good practice for my poor and small vocabulary of Spanish. She told me she was telling her boyfriend how she was talking with me and I had just told my mom the same thing so we laughed at how we were both doing that. She asked to take a picture with me and I did the same. She had her boyfriend translate for me because the guard came up to me and told me to watch my bag and that it was dangerous. Ironic…..
Soon you will hear of my trip in Chile! It starts off pretty great by me sleeping outside from 4-6 am in 40 degree weather hahaha. Stay tuned freinds!