The air was thick when I came to Peru, known to the world as a place so mystical and culturally rich. It was hot and humid but no one complained. After all, that Peruvian trip I took with friends not so long ago was too good of a dream to complain about the weather.
First Stop – The Capital
We landed on Lima, the City of Kings, our temporary base. The capital was alive with merchant activities and historical doses bottled in museums and clay pyramid sightings. We loved the city’s energy, particularly that of the shopping center Larcomar. But I favored even more the Miraflores neighborhood for it was filled with lush colors and ocean whispers that stayed true to the country’s rustic appeal.
A little farther down the Miraflores, through the Parque del Almor passage to be exact, the mesmerizing night view of the Pacific ocean welcomed me. It was nothing less than breathtaking.
We spent only one night at the capital, then excitedly moved on to Cusco, a city so rustically beautiful I still have a mental picture of its romantic Plaza de Armas square until now. Cusco, being the original seat of Incan power, is still filled with intricately-designed houses, eclectic stores, and colonial art pieces of the past civilization. My favorite remnant is the manor that we stayed in — the Inkaterra La Casona, an architectural product of both Spanish and Incan artistry.
I felt like I time-travelled, really. More so, I experienced the good old Incan life when the group visited the cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and sipped wine at Museo del Pisco. It was the perfect ending to a city tour.
Then, Machu Picchu
I have seen movies that proudly feature the Incan ruins that make it to the 7 wonders of the world list. Since then, Machu Picchu has been in my travel bucket list. Why would anyone not be intrigued?
The 15th-century fortress walls, atop Mt. Andes, were made out of dry stone, believed to have been pieced together without using mortars. Equally mystical is the citadel’s layered arrangement and unique building styles that many people questioned as to what it was truly, originally intended for. One could only wish the native llamas, gorgeous beasts with watchful eyes, can answer.
En Route to the Citadel, There was the Sacred Valley
Apart from cultural encounters, my Peruvian holiday was made even more memorable because of trekking. From Lima’s concrete jungle to Cusco’s manor then to the citadel, we were walking through and through. And in the process, stories of the past, present, and future were shared among us, friends.
Anyway, the Sacred Valley. It’s the sprawling farm fields that link Cusco and Machu Picchu where we passed through riding on the horse’s back. Adventure packages are offered in the region — biking, rafting, guided trekking, name it. The activity was rather short-lived, spanning an hour or two, but the memory stayed with me forever. Those horizons are too serenely mesmerizing to be forgotten.
Once done, we took the recommended Incan rail from Ollantaytambo all the way to Machu Picchu. It was truly a full day that on the way back we decided to take the train.
The entire holiday was capped with a quick flight from Cusco to Amazon, where I, for the first time, experienced canoeing through the rainforest waterways and traversed through canopy walks. It was exciting at the same nerve-wracking. My imagination ran wild, my conjuring snippets from the Anaconda movie.
But really, the tours were safely guided, richly designed. And I left Peru with a warm heart.