The second week of October, the VivePeru office was on spring break! Although I miss the fall, and everyday I wish I was drinking hot chocolate and eating pumpkin pie, this spring break was one for the books.
Before we left, we were tentatively planning on going to Ecuador for the week. However, I came down with the flu, and then a sinus infection, so we had to postpone our travel plans until I was well enough to get out of bed again. We didn’t leave until Saturday night, and we took an overnight bus to Mancora, Peru — the nicest beach in the country. It was so beautiful! It’s not exactly easy to get to, so there wasn’t a huge number of tourists like other blue-water beaches. That, in combination with the time of year, meant we basically had the beach to ourselves!
I think my favorite thing about traveling in Peru is how affordable it is. Bus tickets run about $20, more or less, and can take you pretty much anywhere in the country (except the Amazon… that’s a whole different ballgame!) We’ve been staying at hostels, so it’s about $6/night, and we spent less than $20 on food for the ENTIRE time we were in Mancora!! It makes it much more realistic and feasible to see and experience the country.
A couple of factors caused us to come back to Trujillo for a few nights. 1) The mosquitoes in Mancora were completely awful, and I was totally covered in bug bites. 2) I decided to pick up a kitten at our hostel to feed it, and it bit me in the process. In retrospect I should’ve known better, but it was so cute. I couldn’t resist! 3) we wanted to save money. We spent 2 days & 1 night in Trujillo, and then set out for the mountain city of Huaraz.
We took another overnight bus to Huaraz, and arrived at 5am Thursday morning. We spent the day acclimating to the altitude (~3900m), exploring the city, and visiting the archeology museum downtown.
The second day, we woke up at 4:30am and hopped on a 5am tour bus to the national park. At 8am, after stopping for breakfast, we began our 5 hour hike through the park. Our destination was a glacier lake called Laguna 69, and if you’ve ever looked into traveling to Peru, you’ve probably heard of it. We definitely felt the altitude, but it was nothing compared to our trek to Machu Picchu! It was a thoroughly enjoyable hike, especially with the picturesque landscape and waterfalls we traversed on our way up. I’m probably going to post another blog (hopefully soon) about my experience when I found my real-life Psalm 23, but this blog is already going to be long so I’ll refrain from adding it here!
The last day we were in Huaraz, we took another early morning tour bus and drove up through the nearby mountains. I really don’t have language to fully describe or portray how beautiful this country is, but I think this was perhaps the prettiest landscape we have seen thus far. After a 4 hour drive, with a short stop at a mountain lake, we arrived at the archaeology site of the pre-Incan Chavin people. Typically at sites like this, they tell you stories about tribal war and decapitations to keep you interested with a shock factor. Here, they told us that this was a peaceful culture that often invited other tribes to come party with them for a week. These parties consisted of HUGE banquets, lots of drinks, and the infamous mescaline. For those of you saints who don’t know what mescaline is, it’s a hugely potent hallucinogenic drug found in a very common cactus. The priests of this culture would do mescaline and then enter the underground chambers, and seek out the obelisk that was their god. Then we walked through those same underground chambers!! Needless to say, it was definitely a highlight of my entire Peru trip.
After we returned to Huaraz from Chavin, we grabbed some pizza at the best pizza place in Peru and hopped on a bus back to Trujillo. It was a jam packed trip, and it was an overall incredible week!