Top things to do in Peru (part 2)
Peru is a dream destination for hikers with a continuous array of mountains and trails. You can hike through the Inca ruins, lost cities, beautiful lakes, and colorful mountains.In the south of Peru, the main hiking locations are in Cusco and Arequipa. You have a lot to chose from guided tours to horse riding in the mountain scenery. As I mentioned in part 1, I took the Peru Hop bus that had a stop on all of the coolest hiking spots.
Hiking is not the only activity you can do here, there are so much different experiences like local food tasting, tours in Amazon jungle, visit colonial towns or maybe you just want to relax on the beach. Peru offers so much so whichever activities you want to do traveling to Peru will be a cultural journey to amazing landscapes and nature.
Tourist center El Catador is the leading attraction in ecotourism of the Inca region, providing food, guided visits to the winery, organizing events, etc. For this reason, I had to visit El Catador and the guided tours of the winery.
Tour consists of visiting the artisanal winery, with professionals of wide experience in wine tourism, with a truthful and entertaining perspective to the secrets of the Peruvian wine traditions.
During the visit, there is a tasting of the agro-industrial products such as pisco, wines, pisco creams, semi-prepared pisco sour, semi-prepared passion fruit, jams, tiles and chocotejas, handmade ice creams and lot more.
To me, Arequipa is a keeper. Right after Lima – Arequipa is the second biggest city in Peru, but it doesn’t feel overpopulated at all. Even though the population is 1 million, just to compare this with Lima’s 10.5 million population. The city has three dormant volcanoes El Misti, Chachani and Pichu Pichu overlooking to the valley.
Arequipa is called the White City because they have used plenty of white volcanic stone while rebuilding it after a devastating earthquake.
I really enjoyed the morning in the city streets. A lot of nice parks and light just bounces off the buildings. You can also see the peaks surrounding the city with their snowy tips.
I was waiting to experience the sweeping beauty of the Colca Canyon and the Colca River. The Colca Canyon hike where condors are calmly swooping above you, I have to agree that this hike is incredible.
Arequipa to the Colca Canyon takes around 3 hours via tour bus and the start is early at 4 am. The bus driver lets everyone to rest for a few hours before the stop and I finally get some breakfast at 11.800ft (3.600m). I have also pumped myself full on high altitude pills, breakfast tea was Coca Mate and my backup pouch of coca leaves (more about the high altitude on my previous blog).
The trail is not that narrow, but I can imagine when the touristic season is on its peak, it will get crowded. If you slip – the drop is 3.900ft (1200m) deep but don’t just look down – check out the sky for the condors. Here your mind is just at peace.
When I arrived in Cusco, I had a feeling, I just like it. That’s how Cusco, felt with its orange buildings, fresh air, and mountains surrounding the place. It is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the perfect jumping off point for some incredible hikes, adventurous activities, and of course – Machu Picchu which brings most people to Cusco, there’s so much more do in and around the city.
Cusco used to serve as the literal center of power, with four roads leading to four quarters of the empire back in Inca days. Today, it’s a mix of Incan and Spanish architecture and history. To me, it was the perfect starting point for several day trips and multi-day treks to choose from.
Cusco is a great introduction to Incan culture. Peru Hop bus has many lines Cusco so it’s easy to get to. If you fly to Lima I recommend staying there awhile before heading to Cusco, but if you head there fast take some afternoon-to-evening activity while you acclimate to the altitude.
You’ve probably seen pictures of Rainbow Mountain, part of the Ausangate mountain, also known as Vinicunca and Montaña de Siete Colores, with all kinds of color enhancement. This is one of the most brilliant, exposed, and accessible mountain in Peru. The different coloration is due to mineralogy including chlorite for green, ferric sulfide for the yellow, and oxidized limonite for the red.
Rainbow mountain sits majestically at 17.000ft (5200m) I had prepared to this with the hike in Cusco, but it still had me feeling nausea and headache, even though I had all the remedies. The hike is so steep and the high altitude can make you regret that you came, for those, there is horse riding possibility so no one is left behind.
I have to admit that I didn’t know before heading to rainbow Mountain how breathtaking and beautiful the whole mountain would be during the. You can see llamas and alpacas along the trail and a gorgeous view of the Glacier Ausangante. Rainbow Mountain is so colorful but so are all of the mountains around the hike, various shades of reds and greens.
To me personally, the Rainbow mountain hike was the best hike I have ever done.
I mean so good, that I will definitely be coming here again. Peru has got my heart, I absolutely love it and especially nature and what it has to offer.
Now, what happens next. I will cross the border to Bolivia and take a night bus to Uyuni to see the salt flats. All though I already miss the beach and warmth. Heheheh.
Best High Altitude wishes guys!!!