Dedicating 8-10 days to this majestic, South American country will etch a beautiful mosaic of memories and experiences into your mind. During your travels to Peru, it’s imperative that you hold no reservations. If you’re traveling on a budget, Peru makes for an ideal backpacking vacation—just be sure you can converse in Spanish. If you prefer something a little more organized, I suggest consulting a travel agency, such as Gate One. My tour manager was a Mestizo (half Spanish, half Incan), and his passion and knowledge of Peru and the Incan/Pre-Incan culture made my vacation enlightening and unique. Tourists young and old will find Peru a superb alternative to a traditional European vacation. You’ll most likely fly into Lima to begin your trip. This city is a policy and political buff’s fantasy.
There is plenty of disparity to be found in Lima, from Gaudi’s Park of love overlooking the Pacific Ocean to the shanty towns. In these towns, a significant portion of the population lives without electricity or a sanitation system. Plagued by terrorism in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, as well as hyperinflation, Lima is now very hospitable to tourists. This incredible turnaround was sparked during the Alberto Fujimori presidency. The son of Japanese immigrants, Fujimori is still loved by nearly two-thirds of the present population for dismantling the terrorists and reviving the economy. This is pretty impressive, considering he once fled Peru and is now in jail, where he’s serving time for corruption and human right transgressions. If his daughter wins the next Presidential election, (and she very likely will), she’ll pardon him! Your trip to Peru will be filled with more drama than an Aaron Sorkin production.
The Incan’s capital was located in Cuzco, a city located 11,000 feet above sea level in the rugged Andean mountains of Peru. (Vail is just over 8,000 feet). Not far from the city of Cuzco, you can hike or travel by train to find the seventh wonder of the world, Machu Picchu. This incredible Incan estate, built in the 15th century during their epoch of power, is a true testament to the Inca’s engineering innovations.
Once you have visited the essentials—Lima, Cuzco, and Machu Picchu—I would highly suggest traveling Southeast near the Bolivian border. Here, you can sail the largest navigable lake in South America, Lake Titicaca. Lake Titicaca is home to the Uru people, a tribe that lives on floating islands made of reeds.
However, hiking in the Andes isn’t the only thing you should be prepared for while traveling to the majestic country of Peru—it has 90 different microclimates. That’s right, you can finally utilize that sweater or light jacket you pack for emergency purposes.