Oh boy! Peru planning is done and Peru booking is *almost* done! I love the anticipation of a trip, especially one that has come together so nicely as this one has. And it's all going down in just 74 days.
So what's the plan?
Well, on May 7, we're heading to the airport. I assume I'll carpool with EDP and probably my sister, too, but I'll have to consult them before I cement that plan into place. Once at the airport, we'll be meeting up with Wayne. Wayne lives out in Manitoba and managed to make connecting through Toronto to Peru work so he's actually on our flight with us. And because of the power of the internet, all four of us have seats together on the flight!
Our flight arrives in Peru in the wee hours of the morning so we'll head to our hotel to get a bit more sleep before getting up and heading out to check out Lima for the day. Since I'm the master planner, everything I want to do is on our itinerary so that means checking out Museo del Convento de San Francisco, watching the changing of the guard at the Presidential Palace and visiting the Lima Cathedral. Later on, we'll either wander around or head back to the hotel for a bit of a nap before heading out on our food tour. This is one of the things that EDP is most looking forward to, and given the PS on a recent love letter my sister sent me, I think it's near the top of her list, too. The tour says we'll be exploring the city and discovering Lima's oldest bars and best food stalls. It should be a pretty fun evening.
Early the next morning, we're taking off for Cusco. Once there, we're going to check out Qorikancha, which was once the richest temple in the Inca empire. It now forms the base of a church and convent. We're also going to check out Calle Loreto, a little street that is bordered by high Incan walls and the Cusco Cathedral before heading up to Sacsayhuaman. Sacsayhuaman is an Incan complex that offers impressive views of Cusco & the valley. Then, if there's time, we'll check out the Pre-Columbian Art Museum. Then, it's off to bed for an exciting adventure the next day of zip lining and touring the Sacred Valley. We'll start off by visiting the village of Chinchero to see some Incan ruins before heading over to one of the longest zip lines in the world, letting us see the Sacred Valley from a very different point of view! Then, it's on to the Ollantaytambo ruins before stopping at the village of Pisaq and finally, heading back to Cusco for a good night's sleep before what I'm looking forward to the most...
Our Inca Trail trek! I got very excited when I discovered you could hike part of the Inca Trail without doing the whole thing. The whole thing takes about 4 or 5 days and you have to camp the entire time. That's not a life for me. But, you can get dropped off for the last 10km of the trail and spend just a few hours hiking from that point to Aguas Calientes! We've got a private service booked so it will be the four of us plus a guide. We'll hiking along an Incan trail to Winay Wayna before ending at the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu. We'll spend the night in Aguas Calientes before taking the first bus up the next morning to Machu Picchu. We'll have a tour and then we'll be able to explore on our own and climb up Huayna Picchu, visiting the Temple of the Moon on our way down. Then, it's back to Cusco to catch our night bus to Puno.
And what's in Puno? It's the town closest to Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world at 12,500 feet. We'll be heading by boat to the Floating Islands of Uros, The islands are built of roots and rumour has it, we get to walk on them! Then, we're heading to Taquile for lunch and to learn more about the culture of the residents. Then, it's back to Puno. My sister & I will get back a bit earlier than EDP & Wayne as they are doing a version of the tour where they kayak to Uros Islands instead of take a boat. They seem to think it's a fine idea but taking the boat leaves more time later in the day for sitting on a patio with a glass of wine.
The next morning, we're getting on a bus to go out to Arequipa. It's a long ride with stops at Lagunillas, Patawasi and Pampa Canahuas but the scenery is apparently very beautiful. It will also provide some excellent book-listening time. Once in Arequipa, we're going to visit the Monasterio de Santa Catalina and possibly the Museo Santuarios Andinos. The monastery is a large complex that is said to be very beautiful and the museum houses Juanita, a very well preserved mummy from the mid 1400's. The next day, we'll be taking a bus tour out to Colca Canyon. This is the only part of the trip that isn't 100% booked yet but it's almost done. We'll be picked up in the middle of the night (seriously - we get picked up at 3am) to head out to Chivay, where we'll get breakfast and then continue on to Condor Cross to see the flight of the condors. Then, we'll be heading back to Chivay to see some lookout points over the valley, visiting the hot springs, having lunch and exploring a bit before heading back to Arequipa. On the way back, we'll be stopping at the highest point in the area to see the mountains and stopping to visit some llamas and alpacas! A long day, for sure, but Colca Canyon is really beautiful.
Then, it's back to Lima to check out a few more museums (Museo Nacional de Antropologia y Arqueologia, Museo del Oro, and Museo Rafael Larco Herrera) and to wander around the city a bit more before heading back to the airport to fly home.
It's going to be a jam-packed trip with a bunch of early mornings or late nights and long stretches of travel but the alternative is to not do as many cool things. Yeah, we're going for lots of cool things. Who knows when we'll be back?