Sara y Sarah en Peru: Part 1- I Can Peru, Can You?

Greetings! I usually post on Thursdays, but I did Wednesday this week because I just got back last week from ten days in Peru and I couldn’t wait to start sharing with you. It was amazing. My next few posts will be a breakdown of the trip, along with photos and some random jokes and observations thrown in. Enjoy! -Sarah

My friend Stacia went to Machu Picchu in April, and after viewing her photos I thought, When will I ever go to Machu Picchu? I’m never going to be able to go. So when my friend SaraH* emailed me mid-June with a link to the Groupon deal showing a llama with Machu Picchu in the background, asking, “Any interest?” I wrote her back within the hour “YES!” We did a similar trip through Living Social to Costa Rica in 2011 and it was wonderful, and we make good travel buddies (which is important), so we’ve been looking for our next adventure** since then.

Self-portrait: San Jose, Costa Rica.

Self-portrait: San Jose, Costa Rica.

Sara y Sarah. The volcano behind us is Arenal.

Sara y Sarah. The volcano behind us is Arenal.

Because it’s Groupon and the deals don’t last, we had to act fast. I had to check with work to make sure I could take that much time off and what dates would work best, so by the time we booked some of the better dates had been snatched up. It’s winter there now, heading toward spring and a rainy season, so we didn’t want to travel past the end of August, but since it was already mid-June we didn’t have much time to plan, prepare, or even peruse Peru’s travel destinations.

“I haven’t prepared for this trip at all,” I told SaraH on our flight from Miami to Lima. “Me either,” she said. “It’ll be a surprise each day!” Okay, so we were on a guided tour and they told us every evening what we were doing the next day, plus we had copies of our itinerary, so it wasn’t a total surprise, but we did lose track of the days. We packed so much in from the time we landed on Sunday that by Tuesday I told SaraH, “It’s only the third day of our trip.” We couldn’t believe it.

Good luck followed me from the beginning, though, because I got to go through expedited security checks in both airports (Minneapolis and Miami), which meant not having to take off my shoes/jacket or pull out my liquids (I must not appear to be a threat), and on one of our flights during the trip (we flew from Lima to Cuzco and from Juliaca to Lima) I was upgraded to First Class!*** And we won a hotel room lottery our last night.

The next few blog posts will be devoted to different excursions/highlights–llamas! alpacas! snow-capped mountains! almost falling off Machu Picchu! guinea pigs! and much, much more. Complete with pictures. The above photos are both from Costa Rica, but here are a few from Peru to picque**** your interest:

 

First live llama spotting. Very exciting.

First live llama spotting. Very exciting.

These bulls with crosses are on a lot of rooftops. They're supposed to bring good luck and fertility. I certainly had good luck on my trip. Can't speak to the other...

These bulls with crosses are on a lot of rooftops. They’re supposed to bring good luck and fertility. I certainly had good luck on my trip. Can’t speak to the other…

Potatoes originated from Peru. This photo was taken at the Mercado de Miercoles (Wednesday Market).

Potatoes originated from Peru. This photo was taken at the Mercado de Miercoles (Wednesday Market).

No, this isn't Machu Picchu, but it was my second favorite site. Las Ruinas de Pisaq. It was spectacular, and we felt like the only people there.

No, this isn’t Machu Picchu, but it was my second favorite site. Las Ruinas de Pisaq. It was spectacular, and we felt like the only people there.

Also Las Ruinas de Pisaq. It was so great to take photos without other people in them.

Also Las Ruinas de Pisaq. It was so great to take photos without other people in them.

Sneak Peak-chu! Machu Picchu.

Sneak Peek-chu! Machu Picchu.

It was this cathedral's patron saint's festival while we were in town. It was really fun to see.

It was this cathedral’s patron saint’s festival while we were in town. It was really fun to see.

Highest elevation I've been to: over 14,000. This was moving from the mountains to the high plateau.

Highest elevation I’ve been to: over 14,000. This was moving from the mountains to the high plateau.

We saw some floating islands (the Uros Islands) on Lake Titicaca. They're made entirely of reeds. And this little imp lived on the one we visited. She was quite the charmer!

We saw some floating islands (the Uros Islands) on Lake Titicaca. They’re made entirely of reeds. And this little imp lived on the one we visited. She was quite the charmer!

Llamas, alpacas, vicunas (pictured), and guanacos are the four camelids native in Peru. The first two are domesticated, the second two are wild. Vicunas (such as the one pictured) are very soft and are the national animal of Peru.

Llamas, alpacas, vicunas (pictured), and guanacos are the four camelids native in Peru. The first two are domesticated, the second two are wild. Vicunas (such as the one pictured) are very soft and are the national animal of Peru.

*You remember SaraH from “I Fought the Pontoon” and “Something to Blog About” (I went to the Cayman Islands with her and her parents).

**Remind me to tell you about our adventures in Costa Rica. They included almost getting bit by a shark and almost being mauled by a pack of wild dogs. And I went surfing!

***I was the only one from our trip (aside from the guide) to fly First Class. Which is now “Business Class” but we all know it’s all pleasure up there. You can call it whatever you like, but with hot towels, unlimited beverages, extra legroom, and real dinnerware, it’s not at all like “work.”

****Picque-chu your interest? Sorry, that was bad.

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