When we think about places we've always dreamed of going, one that always comes to mind is Peru. The stunning, mystical Machu Picchu rising high out of the Andes, the wild & wonderful Amazon, the mysterious Nazca Lines & the gorgeous Rainbow Mountains. It's always felt like a magical land that might only exist in dreams. & though we haven't managed to get there just yet, one of our nearest & dearest gloobles friends Tessa Duste just went on the trip of a lifetime, winding her way along the Inca Trail & exploring the captivating, meandering streets of Lima. So let's all follow along as travel wiz Tessa takes us along for a ride.
Peru is a country so rich in diversity & authenticity that I hope I can convey even a little of the magical nature of my recent trip.
Lima *2 days*
Maybe you wouldn't think that you have to visit Peru for the most exquisite cuisine in the world, but I'm here to tell you you're probably wrong. Two of the top 10 restaurants in the world are actually located in Lima, so for all the foodies out there, visiting Peru is a must. You might recognise the restaurant Central from one of those Chef's Table episodes you binge-watched last year, but that is not the only fine dining spot to hit in Lima. Start your day with a stroll around the ‘El Barranco’ neighbourhood before sitting down to a healthy breakfast & coffee at Caleta Dolsa or buying some flowers at the in house shop at Mó Bistró. Wander back to the old city centre, walking upwards along the coast on the Miraflores boardwalk. & after a long walk, that real Peruvian ceviche will taste even better. Enjoy it at one of Rafaël Osterling's restaurants: Rafael, Mercato or Felix Brasserie. Make sure to finish these long days at Ayahuasca with a good Pisco Sour & some music.
Cusco *3 days*
A visit to Peru without going to Cusco is like visiting Paris & not visiting the Marais. It is a cultural realm, & I think a definite must-see. Take time to acclimatise in this beautiful, vibrant city & get acquainted with the Incan Empire on a trip through the Sacred Valley. Enjoy the local markets & buy some garments made from Alpaca wool, as it can be really chilly in Cusco. The city is at an altitude of 3.400 meters, so it can be particularly chilly in the evenings. For the luxury travellers, this city is a gold mine. Indulge in some fine dining at MAP Café & stay at the Palacio Nazarenas or the Belmond Monasterio, where it feels more like a monastery than a hotel. From Cusco, you can take a day trip to Machu Picchu, but we chose the hard way & prepared ourselves for the Inca trail...
Inca Trail *4 days*
For me, walking the Inca Trail was the true highlight of our trip. It was a bit difficult from time to time - as in no shower for four days, cold nights & very primitive toilets (were we on a holiday?) - but it is also incredibly rewarding! The Inca Trail is the original pilgrimage route of the Incas, ending at Machu Picchu. They used this route as an escape route from the Spanish conquistadors in the 1500s. The route takes you 44 km through the mountains, with its highest peak, the Dead Woman Pass, at 4.200m high. Do you know that great feeling after a long day of skiing? That satisfying feeling of being actively outdoors is the same you have after hiking for four days. & it makes it even more fulfilling with all the beautiful archaeological Incan sights along the way.
Amazon *3 days*
If you really want to see all of what Peru has to offer in addition to its coastal shores & the Andes, you have to visit the Amazon too. We flew from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado, but there are many more spots, as the Peruvian Amazon covers more than 60% of the country. To reach our eco lodge, we travelled by boat before hiking through the jungle. Sleeping in nature here really means sleeping in nature. If you are faint of heart when it comes to insects, maybe this is not the place for you. But you'll forget all about the bugs in an instant as soon as you head out on your daily excursions fishing for piranhas, spotting colourful macaws &,if you're lucky, encountering jaguars.
Peru is incredibly rich, it can offer you a handful of experiences that are unforgettable. Because I have only touched a little of what Peru has to offer.