Peru has always been high on my list of countries to visit. During my whistle-stop tour of the country, I was treated to some of the most awesome sights I have ever seen. I took some of the most Insta-perfect photos. And ate some of the very best food I can remember. Peru didn’t disappoint.
The direct British Airways flight from London Gatwick to Lima has, almost overnight, made Peru a very viable destination. Long gone are the days of layovers in Madrid or Miami. Lima is a vibrant and colourful city. It is full of history and wonderful food. My first taste of Peruvian ceviche and Peruvian local-brewed beer was wonderful. It was perfect to shake off a long flight from London. After a city tour, we headed to downtown Lima from Jiron de La Union to Lima’s main square. I’d highly recommend a visit to Museo Larco Herrera. We were all amazed by its unique collection of ceramics, textiles, precious metals and mummies. A perfect preamble to our experience in Cusco.
The Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu
The Sacred Valley is an incredible part of Peru. It is dotted throughout with wonderful Inca remains and citadels perched high on the valley edges. They are constant reminders of this country’s rich, endemic history.
Travelling to Machu Picchu means an early start. We had a wonderful breakfast at Tambo del Inka. Many of us drank as much coca leaf tea and muña tea as possible. It’s supposed to be good for combating altitude-sickness. We boarded The Vistadome train at Tambo del Inka train station to begin our Inca adventure. Every 20 minutes the scenery changed as we rode the train next to the Vilcanota River and the Andes mountains. Watching llama, crop fields, small towns and even some Incan sites. Finally we arrived in Machu Picchu and boarded our own private bus. Machu Picchu is a mesmerising sight to behold. The weather was perfect and wandering around this incredible man-made structure is a day well spent.
My top tip? Take the Hiram Bingham train back to Ollantaytambo from Machu Picchu. Instructions were given to go to the bar cart as soon as possible and we danced to the music as the train left Machu Picchu back to the Sacred Valley.
Cusco is a wonderful city. It once was the capital of the Incan Empire. Nowadays it is a hotbed of travellers and adventure seekers from all over the globe. Although our time here was short and the altitude was a struggle, I had a wonderful time. Be sure to take a city tour of the fabulous art galleries and museums in Cusco. At San Francisco Church and Convent, we discovered great paintings and carvings from the Spanish Conquest era. We even saw some cool catacombs. Then we headed to the Sun Temple – the Koricancha. Located in front of our hotel, the Koricancha was an Incan Temple until the Spanish built the Santo Domingo Convent on top of it.