Peru: Peru-sing Inca-descent Cultures

After the relaxing time in Argentina, it was time to dive deep once again into exploring different cultures. Normally, I would’ve flown from Argentina to Chile, then northwards to Peru, but Star Alliance, who I had my round the world ticket with, didn’t have any routes that way at the time, so first Peru, then Chile, then back north to Ecuador (via Peru). Once in Peru, I decided to fly to Cusco, bus to Puno (Lake Titicaca), and then fly back to Lima instead of taking the Peru Hop bus. It’s perfectly fine if you have a bit more time, are smaller than I am, and can sleep in buses, but for myself, it wouldn’t have worked out on all three accounts.

With approximately ten days in Peru, this is how my itinerary played out:

  • March 17th: Landed in Peru and first thing to grab was an Inca Kola. Got to AirBnB before noon, so I dropped off my bags and went exploring. I checked out the Museo de Arte de Lima for the afternoon before heading back to the AirBnB and settling in. Dinner and early to bed to prepare for a long day in Lima.
  • March 18th: Headed over to San Pedro Church and explored the Plaza de Armes along with the Lima Cathedral. After brunch, a bus ride got me to the National Museum of Anthropology, Archaeology, and History of Peru (whew that’s a mouthful!) I finished the day with a nice walk and ending up at the Larco Museum. Finally go to try Cuy for dinner.
  • March 19th: Short flight to Cusco. Toured around town but the elevation (3400m) really got to me so I ended up passing out pretty early at the guest house I was staying at.
  • March 20th: Left my large piece of luggage at the guest house and took my day pack with me to Aguas Calientes (the town at the base of the mountain where Machu Picchu is). At a much more reasonable elevation of 2040m, I could breath much easier. Explored town for a bit, got my bus ticket and Machu Picchu pass, dinner, and then sleep.
  • March 21st: Got to Machu Picchu around 7:30am and started clambering around the site. Gorgeous views and the weather was perfect for exploration (cloud cover and cool). Checked out the equinox stone, llamas, and various old structures. Headed back to Cusco for the night again but at a different guest house.
  • March 22nd: Caught the bus to Puno (8 hour ride, not the 6.5 hours they claim). Elevation 3800m and I can definitely feel it! No severe symptoms but… can’t… catch… my… breathe. Happy to report, though, that my CPAP (Resmed Airsense 10) worked even at such a high elevation. Explored town as much as I could and had a tender alpaca steak for dinner.
  • March 23rd: Full day tour on Lake Titicaca via speed boat. First stop were the Uros floating islands. Second stop was Taquile Island and a 120m climb to lunch. I was wiped out by the end of the day and the boat ride back made me a bit nauseous.
  • March 24th: Back to Lima and the same AirBnB. Even though I arrived early, I was able to get into the room. When I headed out for dinner, ended up in the middle of a rather large parade in Miraflores. No idea what it was about still, but was a great happenstance.
  • March 25th: Not a busy day. Just wandered around Miraflores a bit (so many cats in the main park!), got a two round prong adapter as the one on my multi-adapter had busted. One of the prong metal tips unscrewed (which was a problem the whole world tour) and went missing probably in Argentina. Got my last haircut of the trip.
  • March 26th: So long Peru, time to head to Chile!

So the first place I stayed at was an AirBnB in Chile. The couple was nice and they also had a friendly juvenile cat named Kira. Unfortunately, she went into heat the second time I stayed there so she was quite vocal at times (which didn’t bother me). The room was comfortable and the bathroom did what it needed to do (although there were issues with hot water a couple times). The only real issue was even though it was advertised with AC, it only had a ceiling fan. I don’t know if they confused that with what AC is, but I definitely slept without the sheets on. Thankfully, it was the time of the year where things were cooling down a bit so night’s were bearable.

The next place 3 places I stayed in were basically guest houses – two different ones in Cusco and one in Aguas Calientes. The two in Cusco were good with friendly and helpful hosts while the one in Aguas Calientes was comfortable but unfortunately right by the train tracks. Normally, that wouldn’t be an issue, but for some reason they had trains running in the middle of the night which rumbled the walls. For Aguas Calientes, I forgot to take some photos of the place.

First guest house in Cusco (Askha):

The second guest house in Cusco after I got back from Machu Picchu (Arcopata Apartamentos).

The place I stayed at in Puno was for two nights and was at the Sonder Pa’rc hotel. It looks shabby from the outside, but was perfectly serviceable and the breakfast was tasty enough. The front desk was also able to book my Lake Titicaca tour and my shuttle to the airport for decent rates.

With all the high elevations, especially flying into them and rapid changes, I was a bit worried I would get altitude sickness. Thankfully, I never got more than shortness of breath and a mild headache and nausea. My doctor did give me some prescription Diamox, but I ended up not having to use it. My other big concern was the use of my CPAP which is only rated to about 2800m/8590ft. However, it worked well even up to 3800m/12450ft. Perhaps, with the aid of my CPAP while sleeping, I was able to stave off any worse effects of altitude sickness.

Overall, I had a great time in Peru and got to explore quite a bit of cultures that I had minimal exposure to prior (Incan, Uros, etc).

Now, time for random photos!

Categories: Travel

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