This trip report comes to you late. But I figured better later than never. I traveled to Peru in November of 2011. So, this time last year, I was in the process of finalizing a lot of my plans. My husband and I traveled to Peru for our honeymoon. We absolutely loved every single moment of our trip! We decided to stay in Lima and in Cusco. We took several day trips from Cusco. I found it helpful as I was planning to read other itineraries, so here is what we did:
Day 1 Thursday November 17- Travel from Washington, DC to Lima, Peru via TACA airlines. We found TACA airlines to be a wonderful airline. Our flights were on time and the flight crew was super friendly. We also had some rather delicious airplane food! We left DC at 10:23am and changed planes in San Salvador. We landed safely in Lima at 8:23pm. We booked 3 nights in Lima through Second Home Peru. We had prearranged a transfer to the bed and breakfast for $18. Mr. Carlos was waiting at the airport with a sign figuring our names. We hopped in his car and he took us along the pacific ocean road to the bed and breakfast. I would say that we had about a 40 minute ride to Barranco from the airport. When we arrived at the B&B we were awestruck as soon as we walked through the gate. It was like we entered into a completely different world! After we stood there speechless, we were taken to our room and our suitcases were brought up. Our room was beautiful and it overlooked the Pacific Ocean. We were beat, so we decided to settle in for the evening. I took a relaxing bath in the marvelous claw foot tub in our room. After a whole day spent traveling, we turned in rather early.
Day 2 November 18- We woke up early and explored the property of Second Home. The property is amazing! It overlooks the Pacific Ocean. We were very lucky to have clear days so we could take in the view! The property is more like a complex, made up of several buildings and levels. Victor Delfin’s art is spectacular and I would consider Second Home one of his greatest masterpieces! My husband absolutely loved this place! After exploring a bit, we had a wonderful breakfast in the Baroque style kitchen. The breakfast consisted of fruit, fresh bread, home made jams, eggs, juice, and coffee. Liliian, the innkeeper, was there to greet the newcomers. I really enjoyed listening to her stories about Lima. She had many tips and ideas for the other guests. I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t see her anymore during our time in Lima because she really was very interesting.
On this day, we had scheduled a tour with Peruvian Local Friend. Sandra and Alonso met us at Second Home at 8:30 and we started our whirlwind introduction to Peru! My husband and I communicated with Sandra and Alonso via email several times before we met them. We truly felt like we already knew them and were comfortable from the start. They helped us customize and itinerary based on what we wanted to see. We were interested in getting acquainted with Peru and seeing as much of Lima as we could in a day.
Before we started, they gave us very useful information on Peruvian currency. They gave us pictures of what the money should look like and they inspected the money that we had exchanged at the airport. I felt like this was very important information to know on our first day in Peru.
We set off on foot through Barranco. We crossed the Bridge of Sighs and took in other sights of this chic bohemian neighborhood. We took a taxi for a quick ride. Sandra and Alonso negotiated for us and we paid the fare. Again, it was very helpful to have them model for us the expectations in Peru. We then explored Miraflores on foot. We visited The Love Park. This is a beautiful park with a mosaic tile wall surrounding the area inscribed with love quotes. There is also an enormous statue in the middle of a couple kissing, created by Victor Delfin. This is really quite a sight to see and we thought it was an appropriate place to visit on our honeymoon!
We then continued on to Huaca Pucllana. I absolutely loved this part of our trip. It was a bright Spring day with a slight breeze blowing. The neighborhood surrounding Huaca Pucllana was so clean and peaceful and everything was blooming into life. The cost of Huaca Pucllana was only S/10. Sandra and Alonso waited for us as we explored inside. This was an incredible sight! It is a clay pyramid right in the middle of bustling Miraflores! When we got to the top, we could see surrounding Lima.
Next, we took the Lima Metro farther into the city. We were given the option of visiting the Gastronomy Museum or visiting a grocery store. We chose to visit a grocery store. Sandra and Alonso showed us all kinds of different Peruvian food items. We truly enjoyed listening to their stories and information along the way. By this point, we were very hungry, so we decided to visit Parque La Muralla, where we ate at the La Muralla Restaurant. This was our first true Lima meal, so Sandra and Alonso helped us order some of their favorites. I got a Causa stuffed with fresh crab salad. We also tried Pisco Sours and Chicha Morada. This was a delicious restaurant and one of my favorites in Peru! After lunch, we explored the park a bit more.
We then visited the San Francisco church and catacombs for S/.7. This bright yellow church is a must see in Lima! The catacombs were really quite beautiful! We continued our tour with Sandra and Alonso to the BCR museum, the main square of Lima, Jiron de Union, and Plaza San Martin. As we were in the main square, several Lima girls practiced their English homework on me. As a teacher, I thought this was a real treat!
Sandra and Alonso dropped us off at Second Home. We really enjoyed our time with them! We felt like we made a friend in Peru! They were patient with us and they took their time on our tour. We were not rushed and they were full of useful tips and information for the rest of our trip. We enjoyed learning about their lives in Peru!
Day 3- My husband and I took this day to explore Barranco. We started off with a visit to the Pedro De Osma museum. We are art lovers, so we really appreciated this collection of artwork. The home itself is beautiful! We were able to walk to the museum from Second Home. We felt very safe on our quiet walk. After our museum visit, we ventured down to the Pacific Ocean. We could see our B&B from the beach, so that was a cool new perspective. We sat on the rocky beach for a while. On the way back, we grabbed lunch from one of the restaurants along the Bajada de Banos . I ordered Lomo Saltado and he ordered a Vegetarian Lasagna filled with delicious Peruvian corn. We really did spend a lot of time simply admiring the sights of Barranco. For dinner, we went to The Metro grocery store and picked up bread, wine, cheese, and some dessert. We sat on the lawn of Second Home and watched the sun go down.
I am really glad that we did decide to visit Lima. I had read so many negative things about this city before we came. By the time our trip came around, I was a bit nervous about going to Lima. I found Lima to be absolutely gorgeous! Where we visited, the people were friendly and helpful. There was a noticeable police presence almost everywhere we went, so I did feel safe. If you do go in November or their spring time, I would recommend that you bring a tank top and a skirt or capris. I was very hot on my walking trips. The sun also came out after the early morning haze, so don’t forget your sunscreen!
Day 4 Sunday- We woke up early in the morning to say our goodbyes to Lima. We had so much fun here, we couldn’t wait until we got to Cusco to see what would be next. We traveled from Lima to Cusco on this day. We had a later morning flight, so we did not get to Cusco until the early afternoon. Again we flew with TACA and had no complaints about our service.
I did start taking diamox while I was in Lima, so I did not feel any effects from the altitude when we got to Cusco. But, I noticed that it really did hit many people almost as soon as they stepped off of the plane! My husband did not take diamox and did have a bit of a tightness sensation in his chest along with a hard time sleeping our first nights. But, with the diamox, I felt normal.
We stayed at the Novotel in Cusco. We had a prearranged transfer to the hotel from the airport.for $9. We were welcomed to the Novotel with fresh cups of coca tea and helpful friendly staff. When we got into our room, we were welcomed there with chocolates and a note to congratulate us on our honeymoon. We stayed in one of their modern rooms and found it to have ample space and very comfortable.
Once we were all settled in, we decided to walk around to familiarize ourselves with Cusco. The Novotel is located just a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas, which was very convenient throughout our stay here. We stumbled upon the restaurant, LIMO. This was another one of my favorites in Peru! I ordered the Peruvian Sushi and a Coca Sour. Both were delicious! After lunch we wandered around a while longer until it began to rain. The rain broke early evening, so we we decided to take some night pictures of the Plaza de Armas. It is absolutely stunning at night, especially after a rain. The lights reflect off of the wet cobblestone. We ended our night by taking a pizza back to our room from one of the many pizza places in the plaza.
Day 5 Monday- We woke up early and ate breakfast at the Novotel. Their breakfast was very good. Each morning, they had new choices and I enjoyed trying new foods. After breakfast, we headed to Avienda Sol to purchase our tourist ticket. They cost us S/.130.00 each. From there, we decided that we needed some chocolate! So, we visited the choco museo. We sat on the balcony and enjoyed some chocolate tea, coffee, and some delicious chocolate fondue. Next, we visited Qoricancha and Santo Domingo on this day for about $5.00 a person. We ended up spending several hours here wandering around and taking pictures. I highly recommend seeing this place first, it seemed that throughout the rest of our trip, many other places referred back to Qoricancha. For lunch, we ended up trying the Indian restaurant, Maikhana for only S./15 a person. I did not like this place at all, but others around us were going back for several helpings. I had to buy an ice cream cone on the street in order to rid my mouth of the horrible taste and spiciness that the food left behind! We wandered around to different parts of Cusco and did a bit of shopping. We also visited the Religious Art museum. This is another must see if you are an art lover. On this night, we ordered room service from the Novotel. We split a sandwich and we ordered a piece of chocolate cake with lucuma ice cream. If you stay at the Novotel, don’t miss out on this cake! I am telling you, it was Heaven on Earth!
Day 6 Tuesday- We left the Novotel early in the morning for a Sacred Valley Tour. We used a private tour guide, David Ramos from David Expeditions. I am very glad that we chose to use a private tour guide. David was very helpful and professional. I contacted him via email about a month before our trip. We kept in touch up to the trip. He knew that we were both very interested in the history behind the places that we were visiting, so he really seemed to tailor our trip to fit us! We started off with a visit to Awana Kancha, which is a llama farm. We learned how to tell the difference between and alpaca, llama, and vicuna. We also got to watch local women demonstrate weaving and shop for all locally handmade items. Next, we headed to the Pisac archaeological site. David explained many details and pointed out things as we ventured through this site. It was nice to be able to go at our own pace. We were also able to ask questions and speak about the site with David. After the ruins, David took us to the Pisac market. He showed us around for a bit and then gave us time to shop on our own. When we were done, we hopped back into the car to visit Ollantaytambo. Here, we ended up eating a quick lunch at one of the small restaurants. Over lunch, we got to know David a little bit better. We then visted the archaelogical area of Ollantaytambo and the site of the town. Again, we took the tour very slowly and David answered our questions. I would highly recommend David. He was very kind to us and very helpful. We also spoke about the rest of our trip and if we needed anything else, for us to please contact him. We actually did end up using his driver, Victor for our Machu Pichhu visit.
When we got back to Cusco on this night, we tried the restaurant Cicciolina. I had the aji de galena here. I thought that the restaurant was very nice, but for me, the food was just ok.
Day 7 Wednesday- On this day, our goal was to visit as many of the museums that we could on our tourist ticket. We also visited the MAP museum. We also enjoyed shopping too. I found the best shops to be on the same street as the Novotel. I bought some really unique souvenirs for family such as purses and shoes. We tried La Piza Carlo for lunch. This place is very small on the inside but it was amazing to watch them make our food. Everything was made from scratch. I had a chicken and potato calzone and my husband had a pizza loaded with veggies. I also had a delicious banana smoothie.
We ventured over to the large San Pedro market where I ended up buying 75 finger puppets. Beware of your money here. I was overcharged and didn’t want to argue! For dinner, we found a piccarone shop around the corner from the Novotel and enjoyed those fried yummies with cinnamon, sugar, and honey.
Day 8 Thursday- This was the big day for us to visit Machu Picchu! This was also Thanksgiving Day back home, so we bought the Sanctuary buffet with our train ticket. We wanted as much time at Machu Picchu as possible, so we purchased a vistadome train ticket departing Poroy at 6:53 am and a departure ticket for 6:10 pm dropping us off at Ollantaytambo. We did use David Ramos’s driver Victor to take us to Poroy and to pick us up from Ollantaytambo. Our plan was just to find a taxi driver, but we decided to go with Victor. It was nice to not have to worry about how we were going to get back. Machu Picchu was spectacular. Words can’t even begin to describe the splendor of this city! We walked around the bottom part of the city in the morning. We ate lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge in the afternoon. Lunch was delicious. There were a ton of choices to eat. After lunch, we headed to the upper portion of Machu Picchu. This was nice, because by late afternoon, most of the crowds were gone. We were really able to take in the true beauty of the site. I felt like I was on a completely different planet. I will not forget the views I took in on this day as long as I live. It was sad departing Machu Pichhu! The train rides were fun. We got a nice little breakfast and dinner on the train. There was even a fashion show!
Day 9 Friday- We got up early to see the ruins outside of Cusco such as Sacsayhuaman. We took a cab there and back. We ventured into San Blas to shop and look around. We had lunch at The Fallen Angel. This was another delicious restaurant that we found on our trip! This was our last full day, so we spent the remainder of the day shopping and taking pictures. We stayed out late into the evening just sitting on a bench in the Plaza de Armas. For dinner, we enjoyed an appetizer and chocolate banana smoothies at Sara Café Bistro.
Day 10 Saturday- We sadly left Cusco early in the morning. On this day, we flew via TACA again. Our flights had been changed about a month before our trip. So, we flew from Cusco to Lima, then on to Costa Rica, to San Salvador to Washington DC. I was sure that we would not make it home because between one of our flights, we only had 30 minutes! But TACA amazed me again and we made it home on time!
This was certainly a trip of a lifetime! My husband and I say that we could not have had a better honeymoon anywhere else! Over this past year, we have reflected on our time in Peru fondly. I will never forget the magnificent things that I saw, the people that I met, the food that I tasted or the sounds that I heard! I can still hear the birds chirping on our walk through Miraflores, the waves crashing on the shore of Barranco, the cars gliding on the cobblestone in the Plaza de Armas, and the water flowing through the town of Ollantaytambo. I am looking forward to the opportunity to go back to Peru one day!
If you have any questions or I can help you with anything, please do not hesitate to contact me!