Thanksgiving is one of the best weekends to go away if you are planning a longer trip somewhere far away. You can get two bonus days off without using your vacation days. My cousin and I spent plenty of time planning this trip to Peru. There were so many things to do in Peru that it was hard to decide on what to see in the end. we flew down from New York to Lima to discover some of the most amazing sights I have ever seen with my own eyes. We wanted to reach the Machu Picchu. There are lots of fun things to do in Machu Picchu, Arequipa, Lake Titicaca and Lima and we wanted to explore it all. After flying for about 8 hours to Lima, we slept in a hotel nearby the airport and the next morning we continued our journey towards Cuzco. Here is a guide on what to pack for Peru.
The flight was nice and short to Cuzco but as soon as we arrived, we realized we could barely breathe. We were up at 4000m (12,000 feet) high and we were suffering from altitude sickness for the next week or so. We didn’t know what to do in Cusco in the beginning as we were walking around with a massive headache because of the altitude. It was amazing to be in Cuzco it was a pretty little town surrounded by beautiful mountains with beautiful Inca churches on every corner. There were many interesting things to do in Cuzco and we were fascinated by the city. So we didnt have a chance to wonder what to do in Peru, as there were so many things to see. Visiting Peru was definitely one of the top things to do in Peru.
Locals were walking around in their colourful tribal outfits. After visiting churches and the local market, we figured out what to do in Cusco to properly experience it, however we were suffering like a dog from altitude sickness, so we went the sleep. We slept for a long time, then we felt better. We were anxious to get out and explore more of the city. Attractions in Peru were endless, so we wanted to explore this fabulous place.
The town was very quiet and authentic. The food in Peru was great. I especially liked the Ceviche and the stuffed avocados. The avocados were large and tasty. You could also get a whole guinea pig if you had the stomach for it. I felt bad for the pig, so I didn’t try it. The corn was very large and tasty as well. So if you travel to Peru, you can have an exciting culinary experience. After walking around the town for a couple of hours, we went back to the hotel and slept for the next 15 hours or so, because we had such a headache from the altitude. By the way, that’s my best and only cure for altitude sickness. I always sleep for about 15-18 hours every time I land in a very high city. The next day I usually feel better, however it always takes a couple of days to get fully acclimated to the altitude.
There were many things to do in Cusco and around the city. We were primarily here to see the Inca ruins. Next day we visited the Sacred Valley as well as the town of Pisac and Ollantaytambo. The Sacred Valley is the valley of the Urubamba River with beautiful Inca Terraces. We visited the town of Pisac on the Urubamba River. It had a cool market where they sold all sorts of cool hats.
We saw more locals in their beautiful traditional dresses. We ended the tour in Ollantaytambo, where we visited some more inca ruins and some cool 1000 year old temples. We had some quinoa soup in a local traditional restaurant for lunch. It was a very nice day around the mountains and the ruins, even though we were suffering from severe headache because of the altitude. The sunset was spectacular. One of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen with my own eyes.
Fun Things to Do in Machu Picchu
Check out 30 beautiful pictures of the Machu Picchu.
Next day we took the train up to the Machu Picchu. The panoramic train had a glass ceiling and we could see all the mountains above us from the train. I could see big birds flying above the train. It was a very scenic journey. I highly recommend everyone to take this train. It’s a bit pricier than the regular train, but the scenery you will see above you will make up for the extra dollars you spent on it. We took the train and then a bus straight up to the top of the mountain. Machu Picchu was stunning.
First, it was hard to believe that all these ruins that I had only seen on postcards before, were right beneath me. We were up in the top of the mountain. We felt like we could touch the sky and all the Inca ruins were right below us. It was spectacular. We fooled around all day in the ruins, taking photos, meeting the local llamas.
They were very friendly. In the afternoon after taking about 100 photos, we climbed down the mountains and took the train back to Cuzco. There was a performance and a small fashion show of local artisanal cloths on the train to provide entertainment for the guests. We were still suffering from severe headaches because of the altitude. At night we took the bus from Cuzco to Puno to visit Lake Titicaca and the floating islands. We wanted to cover all the important places to visit in Peru.
Read about what it is like to be visiting Machu Picchu with the kids.
There were so many places to visit in Peru, we felt like we could have spent weeks there. After leaving Cuzco, we arrived after a few hours of sleep and took a boat to the islands. We observed how these tribes called “Uros” lived in artificial floating islands. They made boats and huts out of bundled reed.
Peru points of interest included a visit to Puno. The locals in Puno led a simple but very interesting lifestyle. After the visit to the island, we discovered the local culture of Puno. Saw the local tribal dance in the village.
Saw many sheeps as well. We visited the local market where we ate some unrefrigerated cheese. This was obviously a bad idea, because it got us pretty sick for the next couple of days.
After a couple of days in Bolivia, we fully recovered from our altitude sickness and food poisoning and we took the longest scariest ride on a bus from the Bolivian border to the town of Arequipa. We had to return to this beautiful country, as we had more things to see in Peru. The journey was very long, travel in Peru was not easy. It must have taken us over 12 hours to get to Arequipa. Locals were coming and going with lots of kids and animals and everything else you can think of on the bus. The bus was riding on a dirt road on the side of the mountains. Every time I looked down from the bus window I saw a big cliff just below us. It was so dangerous to drive around there. The bus driver was rallying up and down the mountains. I decided not to look down any more at one point. Luckily we arrived to Arequipa safe and sound and we decided not to take any more buses on this trip again. Once we arrived, we had to find a hotel and it was not easy to find something at night. We were very tired form traveling, but we did go out to see the centre of the town. Arequipa was absolutely beautiful with its elegant architecture and palm trees.
We found the usual cathedrals like in every other city in Peru. These cathedrals were always in the middle of the centre and they were usually huge. Arequipa was a very pleasant city with beautiful white buildings and elegant architecture. We visited the Santa Catalina Monastery the next day. The monastery was about 500 years old and still served as a home of nuns. Here we could see the conditions they have been living in in the last couple of hundred years. Most places in Peru were well maintained. We did some shopping in Arequipa as well. They had the freakiest mannequins in the shops. Arequipa was certainly a highlight of Peru. It was one of the best places to visit in Peru.
After a few days in Arequipa we had to go back to Lima to eventually head home from there. We decided to fly this time, because we could not bear another hour on a bus. Flying was quick and easy. Lima was a massive and unpleasant city there were not too many things to do in Lima. It was definitely not one of the best places to visit in Peru. On our first day we decided to visit the city centre. We found the big cathedral again in the middle of the main square.
We saw some weird exhibit of cows displayed all over the city. They were in all sorts of shapes wearing weird costumes. Lima Peru
The town was so intimidating. We stood out because we were tall blonds while most of the locals were short and dark. We were harassed everywhere we went, so we decided not to venture around the town too much for the rest of the time and we mainly stayed in our hotel for the next couple of days. We didnt know what to do in Lima for the next few days. We stayed in and played board games and read books. I m curious to hear what impression you had of Lima. Leave a comment below if your experience was different from mine.
Peru overall was a huge, fascinating country with so many beautiful places to see and there were so many fun things to do in Peru. Everyone should travel to Peru, who loves nature and wants to explore the Inca culture and the beautiful Machu Picchu.
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