After our trip from Chile, Peru had some ground to make up. I spent almost a month in Bolivia and not once did my bus breakdown or delay by more than 30 minutes. I guess I expected more from a wealthier country like Peru. So!
Pampered in Arequipa
I found Arequipa very chic and almost European. They have a beautiful centre square, terraces baked in sunlight, fashionable shops, and a fascinating Inca museum. The Museo Santuarios Andinos naturally covers Inca history, but also dives into recent expeditions to excavate bodies and artifacts from ancient Inca sacrifices. Right now, they have an actual ice-preserved body named Juanita (read more about her here). She’s not a mummy, but a frozen, sacrificed body. I felt chills standing next to her!
In Arequipa, Kim and I also enjoyed:
- A four hour pedicure for 20 soles ($7.50CDN) each.
- Hammocks. I love hammocks.
- Techno beats, incomplete pool sets and slippery floors at The Point hostel. Seriously, don’t stay there.
- Colca Canyon.
We only had time to do a day-trip, and I’d say that’s about all we needed. Waking at 3:30am was certainly less than special, and the guide spoke English pretty much exclusively to Kim, but, we got to cuddle llamas (and hawks?), eat local fruit, get our first tastes of Peruvian culture, and see giant, cool condors (one of Peru’s spirit animals).
- 1.2m tall
- 3.2m wingspan
- Cared for and admired by the locals
- Make cool swooshing sounds when they fly over your head
I do highly recommend Arequipa and suggest you spend 3-4 days there, as two days just isn’t enough time to explore the city properly. Also if you’re coming from Machu Picchu, then Colca Canyon may be comparably underwhelming. However, for our first taste of Inca ruins, it was enjoyable enough. (And those crazy condors received at least 10 cool points).
Travel tip: bring your own lunch on these day-trips (Colca Canyon, Sacred Valley, etc.). The buffet lunches are overpriced and not the most delicious …
Next stop, the Inca capital of Cusco (and another 10 hour, overnight bus ride). We booked a first-class bus, so I hope this trip is better …