We arrived at the Lima Airport to a warm welcome from what seemed like the entire city-we later learned that the crowds and excitement was intended for the Peruvian soccer team, who were also arriving home that day from the World Cup. The next morning in Peru we enjoyed a bus tour of the city and explored four districts, all while taking in the amazing historical buildings, including the Plaza de Armas. Our group learned that this square was built when the city was founded in 1535!
The next day we joined many devoted fans to watch the World Cup at the airport before leaving to Cusco to immerse ourselves in and experience the Incan culture! Our first stop upon our arrival was a traditional village that is home to a number of alpaca and llama species. We had fun trying to get the perfect photo with our new furry friends and admiring the gorgeous textiles that the villagers make using the animal’s wool.
Afterwards, we headed into the Sacred Valley where we had our first opportunity to explore a traditional Peruvian market. Sophie K., Rachel, Alicia, Mimi and Carly took it upon themselves to chat with the locals and learn a few words in Quechua, the Incan language. Their new vocabulary came in handy that evening when we headed to the village of Cachicatta for dinner. The neighborhood children were eager to chat in Quechua and Spanish and we were more than happy to oblige. After dinner we enjoyed some delicious “s’moreos” around a campfire, and before long, someone put on some tunes and the entire group took to the dance floor! At the end of our exciting night we gazed up at the expanse of stars, which was especially memorable since many of them are not visible in the Northern Hemisphere.
The following morning we woke up to the beautiful sight of snow capped peaks in the distance. The views in the Sacred Valley continued to impress us, as we explored the area by raft and mountain bike. As we traveled through the gentle rapids, we appreciated the mountains all around us and noticed unique pod hotel rooms that people could rock climb to along the sides of the cliff. Our rafting guides also pointed out the location of some ancient Incan structures and pathways. For lunch, we headed back to Cachicatta where we reconnected with our local friends and had a chance to try Panchemanca, a local dish comprised of meat and vegetables cooked underground using hot stones. Some of us also seized this opportunity to really experience Incan culture by tasting guinea pig! After exploring the village, we geared up for a scenic bike ride through the Andes, where the views were incredible!
Below, two of our passionate trip members, share their thoughts:
“So far the trip has been amazing and left us all feeling excited for what’s in store. Everyone has bonded so quickly it’s hard to believe we have only know each other for a few days. We’re going to Machu Picchu tomorrow!” -Phoebe
“I was nervous because I came alone on this trip, but the second I arrived at the airport, the nerves went away as each and every one of the group members were so amiable and welcoming. I can’t wait for what’s next to come… especially trying guinea pig and our cooking class!” -Mimi
More to come soon! Hasta luego!
The Westcoast Blogger
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