13.08.2012 - 31.08.2012
Our trip through Peru was a quick one. We have plans to return and do Machu Pichu in October with some friends from Australia, and will visit more of the country when we return. So we picked a few places to visit on our way up north to Ecuador.
Our first stop in Peru from Bolivia was Arequipa and we really enjoyed this beautiful city and its surrounds. We arrived on the anniversary of the formation of Peru as a country and were immediately amongst the celebrations. Peru and Bolivia love their marching bands and its rare a weekend will go buy in a city like La Paz where you won't hear or see extravagant and brightly dressed bands and dancers stopping the traffic as they perform their way around the city. The night we arrived the streets were full of these bands and dancers together with huge crowds celebrating and at we first we watched from our taxi as we sat motionless in the traffic and then abandoned the taxi to try and make it on foot, enjoying the festivities on the way.
Arequipa was a beautiful city with great food and perfect weather, we enjoyed exploring the city on foot and hanging out in what was up until then our favourite square/plaza.
From Arequipa we went north to Lima. While only spending a few days here, with plans to return in October we really fell in love with the place. Maybe it was the fact it was the first time we saw the Pacific Ocean in what seemed like forever, or the fact we found a place that made good coffee or maybe it was the fact that cars would stop and let you cross the street. Whatever it was we spent a couple of days drinking coffee, walking along the coast walk, shopping and of coarse sampling the new range of beers Peru had to offer.
We hiked into, across, and out of the world's second deepest canyon. The Colca Canyon, where we saw two Andean condors and visited 3 tiny villages nestled in the canyon. Even the bus ride to the main part of the canyon is beautiful.
Not wanting to leave the ocean we then took off further north to a beach town called Huanchaco. This small little fishing village had been somewhat turned into a small surf town, with surf lessons and surfboard rentals a common fixture up and down the malecon (the waterfront). We booked into a nice little hostel room with a balcony overlooking the water and relaxed for a few days trying to eat our fill of Ceviche, a Peruvian coastal standard.
After a few relaxing days on the beach, including celebrating our 7th anniversary, we decided to take in some local history and went to the charming inland town, Chachapoyas. From Chachapoyas, you can take a tour to the ancient ruins, Kuelap. Kuelap is considered second only to Machu Pichu of Peru's ruins. It was really interesting and barely any tourists. The next day we did a hike to the world's third highest waterfall. Chachapoyas was a really nice surprise. The town itself was lovely with friendly people and cute cafes, and plenty of interesting sights and activities to keep you entertained.
Now we're at the point in our trip where, really up until now we were playing it by ear. Knowing we needed to meet up with our friends, Josh and Caitlyn in Lima to journey through the rest of Peru, we knew we needed to start moving and doing some forward planning...