Bucket-list trip: Peru
Written by Wade Lambert, part of our Digital Marketing team at IGO TRAVEL.
When I got the email telling me I have the opportunity to tick off a bucket-list destination to visit Peru, I was both excited and nervous! I have never traveled to the west side of the world before.
The itinerary for the trip was jam packed with both tours, sight seeing and hotel visits. I kicked off my trip with a flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg. Next up was the long haul to Sau Palao, Brazil and then finally to Lima, Peru.
On the first day we visited Lima, a historic old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and capital of Peru. It is awash with fascinating cultural sites, colonial architecture and a varied history which reflects the many faces of this intriguing city. First up is the Plaza de Armas, which is dominated by the central 16th century Cathedral, as well as grand colonial buildings, fountains and even native palm trees, making it the perfect introduction to Old Lima.
The Spanish influence of the cathedrals are intricately beautiful.
We then visited the 1553 Casa Aliaga Mansion, known not only for its architectural grandeur but also an intriguing history, as the house was built on land gifted to Jerónimo de Aliaga by Francisco Pizarro on the 1535 founding of Lima, and has been inhabited by his descendants continuously ever since!
Next, another colonial mansion-turned-place of historical interest at the Larco Museum, home to many pieces of fine pre-Columbian art, gold and silver artifacts, in a building constructed on the site of a 7th century pyramid.
From 1933 to 1941, Rafael Larco Hoyle conducted archaeological excavation work aimed at resolving the questions that arose during his study of the collection’s artifacts. The result of Rafael Larco’s archaeological discoveries and research was an extensive bibliography and the growth of the museum’s collection to include 45,000 pieces.
We then flew to the city of Cusco. Cusco was the historic capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th until the 16th-century Spanish conquest. In 1983 Cusco was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO with the title “City of Cuzco”. It has become a major tourist destination, hosting nearly 2 million visitors a year. The Constitution of Peru designates it as the Historical Capital of Peru.
At IGO TRAVEL we aim to visit the hotels we have on offer. Hotel visits is must so that we can accurately make the best recommendations for your trip. A hotel that really stood out for me was the Belmond Hotel Monasterio. It is one of the most unique hotels in Cusco, and lets you experience the thrill of staying in a protected national monument. The inspired restaurants and boutique rooms are all clustered around a tranquil central courtyard. The hotel is also home to one of Cusco’s finest collections of 18th century religious art.
We then journeyed on to Ollantaytambo citadel, a picturesque Andean town which maintains the urban planning of the Incas and is crowned by an impressive fortress with ascending terraces over the steep side of the mountain that holds it. Inca Pachacútec ordered to burn the old site and rebuild a new one under the scheme of the Inca architecture, while his army made its way through the jungle toward what later on became Machu Picchu and Vilcabamba. The ascending staircase seems daunting at first, but if you take it easy you manage the climb with ease.
A staple when traveling is visiting the local markets to get a feel of the local culture and produce. Pisac market, is the town’s main square and is full of stands that exhibit and sell products created by the residents of the area on a daily basis. You can find beautiful alpaca textiles, musical instruments, paintings, carvings, necklaces and replicas or ancient Inca pieces.
The tour to Machu Picchu begins with a two hour train ride to Aguas Calientes. This town is also known as “Machu Picchu pueblo” and is the last stop before the entrance to the remains of the most important archaeological site in Peru.
After a short bus ride up the winding mountain roads you reach the amazing Machu Picchu. (You can also hike you the mountain to the entrance) Machu Picchu is a masterpiece of engineering and architecture that is believed served as a sanctuary and retreat for the Inca Pachacutec (1438 – 1572). Machu Picchu, which means “Old Mountain”, is considered a World Heritage by UNESCO and one of the new seven wonders of the world.
The cultural history of Peru blew me away and surpassed my expectations. The locals are very welcoming to tourists and it’s a bucket-list trip I would recommend to anyone! Make sure to get your passport stamped! To start your Peruvian adventure get in touch with us: T: +27 (31) 000 1122 or E: firstname.lastname@example.org