From the Andes, we decided to take a bus and head back to the beach to check out a town by the name of Huanchaco. This time we had another partner in crime with us. We met Jessica in Huaraz and happened to be heading in the same direction, so the three of us boarded an overnight bus to the coast.
We all stayed at a funky beach hostel with a collection of the furriest rabbits we’d ever seen. This town had a very relaxed vibe and we wanted to take advantage of that after our tough couple of treks.
During the day we took some strolls along the beach, checked out the locals and watched them fish off of the pier. Their style of fishing does not include a rod, but a square wooden paddle with fishing line attached to it. It works! You can actually purchase one of these contraptions for a mere 5 soles (about $1.50 US dollars) and cast your line out into the Pacific ocean, and hope for the best!
Huanchaco is known for its excellent surfing, and also the “Caballitos de totora”, which are small boats made out of reeds and used by Peruvian fisherman for 3,000 years. They still actively use them today! You can see them lined up on the beach, waiting to get into the water.
No night in a new town is complete without checking out a local band playing at a nearby bar. Good music, good friends and good pisco sours, check!
Instead of taking a long bus ride to our next destination, we opted for a short flight to Lima instead. This way we were able to fly with our parents and see them off to their connecting flight back home.
After a bit of research, we decided to stay in the Miraflores district of Lima. Here we could get a bit of ocean action as we hadn’t had any since Valparaíso, Chile. The other most important reason for going to Lima is the food! Peru is ranked among the top cuisines in the world. We had to find out for ourselves (our favorite sport is eating, we’re especially good at it).
Before hitting up the restaurants, a bike and free walking tour was needed just to familiarize ourselves with the area. The walking tour was centered around historical downtown Lima where you would find major points of interest like Plaza de Armas, the Palacio de Gobierno (where the president lives) and the Basílica de San Francisco, just to name a few. While we were walking around the plaza, loud trumpet playing was coming from the palace and we actually witnessed the changing of the guards!
During our bike tour we rode through the neighborhoods Miraflores and Barranco, where we rode alongside the cliff side for most of the tour. Here, you could see many parasailers floating right above the Larcomar shopping center. This huge shopping complex with a movie theatre and multiple restaurants is actually built into the cliff side and has stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.
While we were in Lima, we decided again to use Airbnb and rent a room. Our hosts, David (who’s a DJ) and Eugenia were awesome! They invited us to a house party with some of their friends and even took us to a non-touristic place in Chorrillos to have some delicious ceviche! Speaking of ceviche (best ever!), check out the food pics below as Peru did indeed deliver on it’s exquisite food.
Although many of our trips and tours are done with little planning ahead, there was one adventure that required advance planning – the well known four day trek along some of the original Inka Trail to Machu Picchu. The trail starts at km 82 in Ollantaytambo which is located in the Sacred Valley. Over the course of 4 days, we trekked through valleys, multiple ruins and over mountains for 43 kms! We endured cold temperatures at night, reached the height of Dead Woman’s Pass (a staggering 4,750 meters!), and hiked up uneven stone steps that never ended. All of this to get to the final destination, Machu Picchu.
The experience was only enhanced by the awesome group of people we met at the briefing (11 total) that would partake in this journey with us. We were told that since we were a larger group, we would have two guides and 18 porters, totaling 20 people that made our trip possible.
We spent the next 4 days getting to know each other over this moderately difficult stone path trail. For most of the trail we trekked as one unit. Along the way we could see that other groups had been separated by time and distance due to their drastic difference in fitness levels. We were lucky that our group maintained a relatively steady pace and there was certainly no hurry. What was important was to enjoy the natural beauty of the trail.
As I said before, the trek was made possible by our 2 guides Roger and Rosalio (Rosita) and 18 porters. If Roger and Rosita were the brains of the operation, the porters could be considered the braun. These men showed incredible strength by not only doing the trail as well, but with an added pack twice their size. They physically carried everything until we reached our destination. These things included tents, sleeping bags, mattresses, food, cookware, most of our personal belongings and, not to mention, their personal items as well!
The porters literally ran ahead of us as if they were taking a casual jog and were able to get to lunch spots and campsites at least an hour ahead of us. When we would reach camp, there would be “happy hour” waiting for us. We were served coffee, coca tea, popcorn and my new love…Milo. It’s a chocolate and malt powder combo (originally from Australia) that you mix with hot water. Roger was kind enough to give us his recipe of Milo, powdered milk and sugar! Mmm!! Lunch and dinner were nothing short of gourmet meals. We have never eaten so well on a camping trip before!
Along the trail we got to explore a number of different ruins, but ultimately when we arrived at Machu Picchu on the 4th day, it was exhilarating and made the tough trek worthwhile.
Thanks again to our new friends Katya, Gavin, Geetha, Nelson, Ken, Charles, Daming, Davide and Lisa for making our trip absolutely fabulous!! Also thanks to our guides Roger and Rosita and our awesome porters that made it all possible!
Check out the galleries below for all the pics! Scroll all the way to the bottom of this post for the video.