Before leaving for Peru, a lot of my friends, most of whom have never been to Peru, encouraged me to see the following:

  1. Machu Picchu
  2. The Andes
  3. Ruins
  4. Llamas

While I prefer not to think of myself as a stereotype-chaser, I’m proud to announce that I’ve had my first experience with the Andes and with Ruins, thus completing half of my friend-suggested Peru itinerary. My next move will have to be riding a llama up to Machu Picchu.

(Btw, I put “llama” into the Google search bar to double-check the spelling and the first auto-fill result was “llamas with hats” – love it).

Lima province, Peru

Yauyos

After meeting up with a group of Peace Corps volunteers over the weekend, I got several leads on off-the-beaten-path destinations in the Lima-Ica departments (department=province or region) and decided to first go to a community called Yauyos in the Andes. (Check out our Yauyos site profile here!)

The highlight was a hike to the top of a mountain rising above the town, which has pre-Incan ruins at its peak. I wish I could tell you something informative about pre-Incan indigenous cultures but I don’t know a damn thing about them, except that they obviously built buildings pretty well, if they are still somewhat intact after 1,000 years.

Exploring the ruins was cool, though my favorite part was standing on top of them and looking out over the two valleys on either side of me. Almost unbelievably high mountains as far as I could see, tiny white dots of towns scattered throughout the valleys, and the sun setting red and orange behind a distant peak. Just amazing.

Lima province, Peru

Peering into Pre-Incan Ruins

The Andes are fairly famous for being gigantic and beautiful and they certainly lived up to their reputation.

I’m back in the desert right now, in a city called Ica, using the interwebs and failing to get my laundry done (the laundromat said they needed a day and a half – ain’t nobody got time for that!).

My next stop is Arequipa – my southernmost destination on this trip. I should be connecting with more volunteers down there and then slowly snaking my way north towards Ecuador. Part of that snaking will involve Machu Picchu and, hopefully, a llama.