Adventures In Lima, Peru

I spent only three weeks in Peru but one would think I were there for at least two months considering the amount of photos and videos I have archived. I have more time now to share the rest beginning with the country’s capital, Lima.

My friend and I stayed at Shablul hostel in the district of Miraflores. We were just a few blocks away from Parque Kennedy (Kennedy Park), which hosted a variety of events and festivals that we were lucky enough to partake in.

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Mediterranean food fair with many pro-Palestine signs and such.
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My first taste of coca came in beer form. My face should tell you how delicious it was (re: it wasn’t).
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My friends in Lima took us to Club La Havana, a Cuba-inspired bar/restaurant. It’s where we had our first taste of pisco, a grape brandy popular in Peru and Chile.
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Another club whose name I forgot.
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Art vendors at Parque Kennedy.
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Check out this cool building!
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Hence the name. Lima’s sister city is Pensacola, FL.

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The Road To Machu Picchu: Day Four

The Road To Machu Picchu is a four-part series that chronicles my exploits travelling form Cusco, Peru to the mountain of Machu Picchu, an ancient site built by the Incas that is preserved and protected by the government of Peru and UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Also read Day One, Day Two, and Day Three.

My alarm went off at 4:30 a.m. My things were packed and my change of clothes waited for me on my backpack. My group met downstairs in the lobby at 5 and we walked for a few minutes in the darkness to the bus station where we, along with hundreds of other tourists, were to catch one of many buses up to Machu Picchu. The thought of hiking to the entrance came across no one’s mind that morning for obvious reasons.

The ride up the hillside was a calm and soothing one. Our bus made its way up the road that snaked up the hillside of Machu Picchu with dawn’s first light following close behind.

It was sunny and slightly warm when we disembarked at the top of the mountain near the entrance to the city. There was already a long ling of tourists when we arrived.

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The entrance to Machi Picchu
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Plaques commemorating Hiram Bingham who discovered the site and the indigenous families who lived on the site who aided Bingham

There are a number of large plaques mounted on the stone walls just past the modern entrance (the one you see pictured above) of the city of Machu Picchu that commemorate the area as a UNESCO heritage site as well as the exploits of Hiram Bingham III. Bingham learned about “lost” Incan cities while a lecturer at Yale and is credited with finding Machu Picchu in 1911 with the aid of families who lived in the area.

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More official plaques!
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Behind the facade of this innocent-looking tower lies….

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The Road To Machu Picchu: Day Three

The Road To Machu Picchu is a four-part series that chronicles my exploits travelling form Cusco, Peru to the mountain of Machu Picchu, an ancient site built by the Incas that is preserved and protected by the government of Peru and UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Catch up on Day One and Day Two.

Day three began with the realization that Viracocha was out to get me. The Incan rain god followed me to Santa Teresa and, once again, poured buckets of rain overnight. This wouldn’t have been a problem had I not hung one of my shirts on a clothesline to air out the stench of nicotine attached to it after a night out on the town. Luckily, Viracocha showed some pity and the rain stopped around sunrise. I had just enough time before breakfast to dry the shirt to a “slightly moist” level.

After breakfast, our group split in two and we each headed to different directions for the same exciting purpose: ziplining! We went to a park run by Canopy Peru/Cola De Mono for the excursion. We hiked up to the top of a hill where the first of six ziplines awaited us. I’ll let the picture and videos describe how it happened (I suggest turning the volume down, ziplines are pretty loud!):

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View from the third zipline

Continue reading “The Road To Machu Picchu: Day Three”

The Road To Machu Picchu: Day Two

The Road To Machu Picchu is a four-part series that chronicles my exploits travelling form Cusco, Peru to the mountain of Machu Picchu, an ancient site built by the Incas that is preserved and protected by the government of Peru and UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Catch up on Day One.

I awoke early Sunday morning thanks to the machine-gun patter of raindrops crash-landing around me. Damn, I thought, I should’ve showered last night. The restrooms were outdoors in a separate area and two of the three showers available were showerheads installed in rectangular grass huts. I fell asleep again with visions of my flip-flops splashing through mud puddles on my way to and from the outdoor showers.

I awoke again a few hours later to an overcast but rainless sky and immediately took advantage of the situation. One cold, refreshing shower later and I was ready for breakfast.

Day two of the tour began with a lesson about some of the local critters, pictured below.

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This little guy hated our guide Ricardo
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A “jungle rat”
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This dude loves to eat
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He also hated Ricardo’s backpack

Afterwards, Ricardo informed us of the day’s activities: hiking, hiking, hiking, and hiking ending with a dip at the Aguas Termales (hot springs) of Cocalmayo and dancing at a nightclub or two (assuming one could still walk after a day spent hiking) at Santa Teresa.

Ricardo also gave us a lesson about achiote (bixa orellana), a plant native to tropical regions in America. The plant has a number of food and medical uses including sunblock. Ricardo opened a few seed pods, ground the berries into a paste in a small bowl and painted each of our faces with some Incan (and some not-quite-Incan) designs.

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Facepaint and sunblock in one!

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The Road To Machu Picchu: Day One

The Road To Machu Picchu is a four-part series that chronicles my exploits travelling form Cusco, Peru to the mountain of Machu Picchu, an ancient site built by the Incas that is preserved and protected by the government of Peru and UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

My Machu Picchu adventure began in the city of Cusco on the chilly Saturday morning of October 12th. The city is a huge tourist destination thanks to its proximity to Machu Picchu and architectural heritage. Many pre-Colombian streets and buildings are still in use today such as various Incan ruins and a small alleyway known as Loreto where one can touch the foundation of a building laid down by Incans centuries ago.

My friend and I woke up incredibly early, grabbed our bags and were escorted out the door by our Couchsurfing host Willy. Willy helped us set up our trip to M.P. through the Inka Jungle Trail, a four-day, three-night hike from Cusco to Machu Picchu and back. Luckily for us, our host was also an employee of a travel agency and took care of everything we needed for our trip other than the fee.

We met our tour guide Ricardo who introduced us to our group before we hopped in the van and took off to the town of Ollantaytambo.

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Ollantaytambo, Peru

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