After a 1.5 month jaunt through Peru, having an absolute blast along the way, complete with luxuries of the big city and a side of quality time spent in the Peruvian Andes, I was on my way to the next adventure – Bolivia.
More specifically, La Paz, Bolivia.
The most frequent question people ask me when we catch up over flurries of text messages at weird times of the day is, – Is it really safe in Bolivia?
I’ve learnt not to sweat the small stuff while traveling, but sometimes you just have one of those days, where you genuinely feel like you’ve left all your intelligence and wit in that dreamscape when you woke up that morning. It happens in real life, it definitely happens while on the road. And this is the story of how I almost got left behind at the Peruvian border.
Definitely neither one of my best days, nor most glamourous travel moments.
Machu Picchu could be the reason why travelers flock to Peru, but it is definitely not the reason why they continue to explore this country. Yes it is majestic, magical and completely surreal when you’re exploring the ancient Incan grounds, but there is also so much more to Peru than just that. With the Peruvian Andes in the North, and the lush Amazon to the East, you can spend months in Peru and still have places you haven’t seen or will never get to.
It definitely took me awhile to condense, process and now, reflect upon what I now can definitively label – My Most Incredible Experience in 9 Months of Travel
Of course it is also great to finally have an answer to that ever popular question as well. But you also probably don’t or won’t know is that this experience of a lifetime almost never happened, for one reason no other than – thinking I wasn’t good enough
Yes, right from the beginning, to many people, embarking on this journey of solo travel is considered scary, but let me tell you what is the real definition of scary – thinking you’re not good enough, not capable enough, not fit to be.
That is scary.
The Peruvian Andes had never been on my bucket list of things to do – until now. Cordillera Huayhuash is consistently among the 10 Best Hikes in the world and after 9 days in the Andes, I can definitely see why.
Persistently reluctant by part instinct part fear to confront the ghosts of India’s past, taking on this 9 day hike did not even cross my mind for a second. Preparing to hang up my hiking boots after two 3D2N hikes and 2 day hikes, I was pretty happy with the strides I had taken to overcome that torrid love affair with the mountains.
We had made our peace.
Never heard of Huaraz? Then you’re probably not the hiking sort, or are not the sort who Google’s ‘Best Hiking in Peru’ or ‘Top 10 Best Hikes In The World’.
But now that you know of its existence, probably from an overenthusiastic hiker friend or that crazy backpacker that insists you go to Huaraz and ‘you’ll definitely like it there’, or ‘grow to love hiking’, yes I’ve been the recipient of more than one of these encouragements. I also definitely did Google the above as well to no avail, so now I am here to help you.
I HATE HIKING – PLEASE HELP ME OCCUPY MY TIME
If you want to do some hiking in Peru but don’t have that much time, this is the perfect hike for you. Or you could also be like me and not heard of the Santa Cruz hike till you get dragged to Huaraz by your enthusiastic hiking friends, void of the option to back out.
LET’S HIKE SANTA CRUZ THEN SHALL WE?
Prior to arriving in Huaraz, I had heard and read so much about this Laguna 69 day hike, which was supposedly the most beautiful day hike in the region. Naturally, my expectations were high up there in anticipation of what was to come.
Leaving Machu Picchu, my friends and I had effectively spent 2 weeks of the 3 that they had in Peru. Within 24 hours of leaving Cusco, we were already on our next adventure. Arriving in Huaraz, (8 hours north of Lima) the hiking capital of Peru, home of Peruvian Andes and two world famous mountain ranges – Cordillera Blanca and Cordillera Huayhuash.
Our main reason for coming to Huaraz, is to hike.
Also, Llanganuco Mountain Lodge
Considering we were on this sprint (almost) across Peru in a bid for my friends to see all of Peru in slightly less than 3 weeks, all whilst also trying not to break the bank, frequent Google searches for ‘cheapest way to … …’ came hand in hand with ‘fastest way to … … in Peru’
And I think we found the fastest way of getting in and out of Machu Picchu (and thereafter, Cusco)
Be warned, it is one heck of a long day!
Plus also some cost saving tips so as not to bust the ceviche travel budget (;
LET’S GO TO MACHU PICCHU!