Ever thought about visiting Peru? Of marveling at the ruins of Machu Picchu? Or sampling a Pisco Sour or Cuy? We’re chatting with Monograms traveler, Hayley, to give you the inside scoop on the Peru Highlights itinerary!
What was your favorite part about Peru?
Machu Picchu, without question. Sometimes famous attractions get so much hype and recognition that when you finally visit them in person, you’re let down. Machu Picchu is NOT one of those places. In fact, it far exceeded my (very high) expectations. Until you visit, it’s hard to get a grasp on just how remote the citadel is – tucked back deep in the Andes, covered in lush vegetation, built atop a steep mountain. It’s remarkable that the site was discovered and even more remarkable that people were able to build a sustainable life here. You question a lot about humankind and our abilities when you are here.
What surprised you most about Peru?
I was surprised by how much I loved Lima. It’s a huge city – home to about 10 million people – and I had heard mixed reviews, some people who thought it was too big, too grimy, and others who thought it was lovely. I thought Lima was a charming city. We stayed in Miraflores, which is about 45 minutes from the airport and is located on the coast. We discovered so many pretty coastal parks and a lot of GREAT restaurants in this area – Larcomar has plenty of perfect spots to sip a pisco sour and watch the sun set over the ocean. You’ll also see paragliders in this area – the cliffs provide the perfect spot for adventure-seekers to leap off and soar over the shores below. My favorite area, though, was Barranco, Lima’s bohemian district. We went out dancing, discovered an awesome brewery and admired the architecture – some of the old mansions look similar to New Orleans! It was a lot less touristy and gave us a true feel for Peruvian life. There is a zest for life in this city that is hard to explain.
What was the biggest benefit of seeing Peru with Monograms?
I couldn’t choose one so I picked three…
- Our Local Host was a lifesaver! Just after arriving in Cusco, my dad got quite sick with a case of food poisoning. Our Local Host, Paul, helped arranged a doctor’s visit, picked up medicine and arranged separate transfers for my dad so he was able to continue on the trip.
- All of our hotels and transfers were prearranged. It’s quite an effort to get to Machu Picchu… a flight to Lima, a second flight from Lima to Cusco, a drive through the Sacred Valley, then a train to Aguas Calientes. Can you imagine trying to coordinate transfers between all of those places on your own? Or knowing which hotels were the best fit for you? Especially in a country where you don’t speak the language? It took away a lot of the hassle!
- We got TWO days in Machu Picchu. This was special because it gave us the chance to explore the site with a guide and hear the history and mysteries, but also gave us time to explore on our own. We got up early to watch the sun rise over Machu Picchu and had time to hike to the Sun Gate.
What advice would you give to someone considering going to Peru?
- Anticipate the altitude change. Lima is at sea level and Cusco sits at nearly 12,000 feet so hydrate and rest!
- Try chifa, chilcanos and pisco sours.
- Bring a rain coat to Machu Picchu regardless of what time of year you visit.