Special experiences in Peru

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I asked some fellow bloggers if they ever had a very special experience in Peru. Now, I’m happy to share their stories with you. Enjoy reading and please do also have a look their blogs and social media accounts.

Spending one day dressed as Incas

(Gigi & Nico from Beach addicted)

Inca Jungle Trail

Doesn’t Gigi look like a real Inca princess?

One of the many special experiences while traveling in Peru was doing the Inca jungle trail. We loved this trail as we could spent some time walking through the jungle and see a lot of interesting plants, trees, coca plantations, many cute villages and meet locals. Along the way, we stopped in a little place, where our guide explained us all about traditional Peruvian food, drinks, customs. I could even try on a traditional Peruvian dress.

Here we drunk a very strange alcoholic drink with a snake inside. But I was looking forward to learning more about Achiote. We were explained that locals and Incas used it for many things. Because of its natural orange-red condiment, achiotes’ seeds were used to make a body paint, make-up or decoration for rituals and more. Until today, many beauty companies use it for production of lipsticks and other beauty products. And that is why Achiote is also called lipstick tree. So we decided that we want to look like Incas as well. Our skilful guide painted our faces with traditional patterns and we couldn’t be happier.

At least for one day, we felt like real Incas and we walked around like this the whole day. Walking down the Inca path with Inca decoration on your faces made our day really special. If you decide to visit Peru I definitely recommend you this experience. I am sure you will love it as much as we did.

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Birthday rafting in Arequipa

(Babs – Travel Gear for Kids)

Rafting in Arequipa

Looks adventurous, doesn’t it?

So, do you know that feeling that you want to do something special for your birthday? But then you kinda remember you’re traveling around South America for about six months, so every day tends to be pretty awesome. That’s when you decide to go rafting. Or at least, that’s what my (at the time not yet) wife and I did.

On the morning of my 21st birthday, we took off to one of the adventure agencies in the streets of Arequipa. After booking our trip, we were put in a van and driven to a gorgeous canyon. It turned out that we were the only clients of the day, so we had the boat for ourselves.

After we put on the wetsuit, helmet and the rest of the gear, it was time for a little briefing. The first thing we were told: to never go rafting on the 1st of January or on your birthday. A little fearful I mentioned that it was indeed my birthday that day. To which I received an I-hope-you-are-not-going-to-regret-this look.

After the initial getting used to the feeling, I was really starting to get into it. Right in time for the wildest part of the ride. I have to say, I actually loved it: the gliding, paddling and floating. Up until that point where the guide shouted “hold on tight” and I, for some reason, completely missed the handles and ended up being catapulted in the water. They had to reel my back in like a fish, because I couldn’t move a muscle. I spent the next 15 minutes laughing uncontrollably because I thought it was hilarious. My wife not so much, though. A decade later and I’m still waiting for our second rafting trip.

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India meets Peru

(Naan – Naannchallah)

India meets Peru

India meets Peru

I traveled to Peru in 2005 for a solo, volunteer trip. It was my first time traveling abroad alone but I was itching to do it. I raised money from friends and family, asked my parents for their blessings and headed out to a new world with all the trepidation one would expect. Once I arrived in Cusco, my fears were immediately resolved. It was a small, quaint city with friendly people. My host family was amazing and so accommodating. As a vegetarian, my host mom made me delicious meals every day. And..I.Never. Got. Sick until I ate out on one of my last days to celebrate with friends (Tip: Eating Mexican food out may not be the best idea).

In any case, I loved Cusco with its rich history, culture, customs and traditions. I remember being there for New Year’s Eve and hesitantly participating in the yellow underwear tradition (you wear it to invite Lady Luck). I remember stumbling over my basic Spanish language skills and improving throughout my time. It’s so true that immersion is the best way to learn a language. I remember traveling to Aguas Calientes and Macchu Picchu, which were otherworldly to say the least. Climbing Huayna Picchu was one of the most difficult challenges.

However, one of my fondest memories is of sharing my Indian culture with my host family. They already watched Bollywood movies. I had brought some music with me along with a sari, which the organization I was traveling with (United Planet) suggested I bring. Almost every night, I remember dancing with my Peruvian host family to Hindi songs as they tried to sing along “chup chup, chup chup”. I put the sari on my host sister and even my host brother, who insisted on wearing it as well. It was definitely a sight to be seen. I can’t wait to return to Peru with Challah and our daughter and share with them the charm, simplicity, and magic of a small town called Cusco.

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Bungee jumping in the Peruvian Andes

Kitiara – KitiaraPascoe.com

Bungee Jumping in the Peruvian Andes

A very special experience in Peru indeed

The Cusco streets are magnificent. Dusty and winding in the harsh light of a summer at altitude. I could wander them forever, stepping over snoozing feral dogs and admiring the Inca stonework that still exists here. I’m exploring when my partner stops me.

‘Hey look, bungee jumping!’ he says, pointing at a sign in a shop window. ‘Shall we do it?’

There’s something about Peru that makes you say ‘yes’ to anything.

Two hours later we’re sat waiting for our turn to jump and my heart is racing. This company advertises its bungee jump as the highest in the world. They don’t mean the furthest to fall, they literally mean the highest. We’re at around 3,200metres.

The process is simple, on the face of it. Each jumper gets tied into the bungee harness then steps into a cage before being winched up to 200 odd metres off the ground. Then they jump. Seems reasonable.

But when it’s my turn, I’m standing at the edge of the cage and the instructor is saying, ‘are you ready?’

And I’m not. I’m not ready at all. Every fibre of my being is screaming no. I’m not afraid of heights, I never have been. But this is different. It’s a visceral feeling of repulsion. The idea is abhorrent.

But I can’t go down. What would I do, just not jump? No. I consciously override the self-preservation instinct. And I lean forward.

For a couple of seconds I am in freefall and an incredible thing happens. I feel euphoric. The breath goes from my lungs and I’m just falling. The fear has gone and it’s bliss. It’s ultimate freedom. It feels like longer, it feels like forever.

Then the bungee goes taught and I’m jerked back into reality. As I’m lowered down to the ground I’m laughing uncontrollably. My entire body is in hysteria. It’s truly extraordinary.

A tiny piece of Amazon

(Linn – Brainy Backpackers)

A boat ride on the Amazon

A boat ride on the Amazon

My boyfriend and I were staying in a bungalow in the middle of the Amazon. It was the rainy season, so we could only access the lodge by boat. The huts were made of planks with up to several centimeters of distance between them, and our biggest concern was if an anaconda was able to press through and eat us at night. The bungalow was surrounded by water, trees, and wildlife (and mosquitoooos). At night the bugs were louder than Madrid on a Saturday night, yet the sound of nature in total darkness was exceptionally soothing. We had been on all the tourist guided tours and wanted to experience something unique. As the high tide made it dangerous to do any hikes with water up to our hips (and anacondas lurking around), our guide decided to take us to his village a boat trip away.

It was a unique experience to meet our guide’s family, his little sister, and brothers. His mother was such a lovely lady who warmly welcomed us to her shop and invited us to try fruit I have never seen before or after. It was tremendously delicious! Some of the best moments of traveling are definitely the opportunities to meet with the locals where you get a sneak peek into their lives. This boy, our guide, came from a tiny village where most men worked at the sawmill by the river. His mother was extremely proud of him moving to Iquitos, studying, and becoming a guide. This meeting was definitely a heartening interaction in an otherwise disappointing meeting with my childhood dream, the Amazon. You can read why in my blog post https://packupandwander.com/a-disappointing-meeting-with-the-amazon-in-peru/

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A special experience in Puno/Lake Titicaca

(Andrew – SmaviesAdventures)

Dancers in Puno

Dancers in Puno

7:00 am, September 24th. We had arrived in Puno late the night before and this morning we were awoken to trumpets, drums and flutes, I had no idea what was going on. The noise seemed to continue without ceasing. After a hurried breakfast we rushed outside to see what the noise was, pushing our way through the busy streets we spied many colourful woollen hats. Women in bright outfits danced around, their skirts whirling around them as they paraded through the streets and Chullo laden panpipe players played the same whistling tune to the melodic beat of the drum.

Unbeknown to us we had arrived in Puno during the Virgin de Gracia celebrations. In Puno, they celebrate the patron saint of the nearby town of Juliaca. As the multitude of colourful characters and melodic rhythms passed by that’s when we saw her, held aloft on a platform, a statue of the patroness herself. She was furthermore followed by an amalgamation of noise and colours, the reds, blues, greens and yellows all flowing together in the swirling dresses of the dancers as they paraded through in honour of their patroness.

From here we headed down the main street that led to the harbour of Lake Titicaca, revelling in the festivities. It was clear to see that everyone was enjoying the festivities, Trujillo beer flowed freely from street vendors selling their wares and everyone was there to have a good time, we even had a few people yell after us to offer us a beer. We decided to buy a beer and sit on the street watching the dancers and the musicians go past. The hours whiling away to the beat of the drum and the whistle of a panpipe, Puno was certainly going to be interesting.

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Seeing dolphins on the way to the Ballestas Islands

(Julianna – The Discoveries Of)

Dolphins - Ballesta Islands

Dolphins are always great to watch, aren’t they?

I love travelling in Peru, but one of the most memorable experiences I had during my trips there was also one of the least expected: seeing dolphins on the way to the Ballestas Islands.

The Ballestas Islands are often called the poor man’s Galapagos – thanks to the abundance of bird and sea life that cluster around the islands. 12 miles off of Peru’s coast, seeing them is an unmissable experience.

We’d hopped into our speedboat in Paracas and were jetting our way out of town towards the islands when the captain suddenly cut the engine and pointed next to the boat. I couldn’t have been more surprised when three dolphins popped out of the water with a splash – so close they were almost in touching distance.

The boat bobbed along and the dolphins would pop up here and there, living up to their reputation as playful creatures. I was enthralled. After a while, they swam off. We made our way to the islands – but with photos and memories, we’d never expected to make.

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Did you travel to Peru? What were your special experiences? Tell us in the comments! 

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