15 days. One country
Infinite lifelong memories. The Colours of Peru is all this, and more.
It never ceases to amaze me how Peru can illicit intense travel lust even in the most travel-averse people I know. It doesn’t surprise me, of course, but it does amaze me. It is amazing. Peru, this small, unassuming country plonked right in the heart of South America, framed by bigger and more imposing countries, competing for attention with the likes of formidable Brazil and dreamy Argentina. And still, of all the stunning destinations in South America, Peru is the one place everyone wants to experience, at least once in life.
I vividly remember, back in 2004, standing in front of a travel agent eager to book a ticket to somewhere in South America. I had a year off to travel. I was going places.
“So where do you want to go in South America?” The lovely lady asked
“Everywhere!” I responded. Poor woman was going to have her patience tested.
“Okey dokey…but where to first? Where is the ONE place you must absolutely see? How about we start with that?”
“Oh” I replied “That’s easy. A ticket to Peru please!
You know how you dream of a place for so long and then you finally get there and, somehow, you’re left disappointed? Well, Peru is not that kind of a place. It’s the other kind of place, the one that is even more colourful than you imagined; the one whose mountains, whose people, whose tastes, smells and sounds excel your expectation.
You know Peru is going to be magical just by looking at photos and, when you arrive, you find it to be even more so.
What surprised me most about Peru were the hidden secrets, the’ in-betweens’, the bits that you don’t give much thought to when you plan a trip to ‘see the country of Machu Picchu’ but hey, you may as well see them, right, because they’re all so close by? All those in-betweens soon take a hold of your imagination, of your soul, and you start to realize how incredible this country really is.
Peru is not amazing because of Machu Picchu, it’s an incredible destination irrespective of it.
Peru is vertiginous snow-peaked mountains, it’s startling lakes, raging rivers and enticing jungles; it’s incredible architecture and enticing ancient history. It’s exotic and delectable tastes and curious looking animals, and it’s sunburnt faces of children giggling hysterically at the foreigner donning the funny hat. And it’s an incredibly fascinating world where modern religion is infused with old-age esoteric beliefs. Sometimes, when I’m eating outdoors, I’ll drop a tiny drop of food on the ground as homage to Pachamama, Mother Earth. I learnt that in Peru all those years ago and it’s stayed with me ever since.
Colours of Peru – The Best Highlights
Our Colours of Peru tour is a 15-day jaunt through the country, which starts and ends in the capital city, Lima, and takes you to the country’s most celebrated sights. Not only the most famous, mind you, but all those you shouldn’t miss. It’s the one itinerary that firmly places the ‘in-betweens’ on a pedestal and tells you to LOOK HERE! This is WOW! And it all really is.
Lima makes for a great introduction to Peru and I remember, on my first ever visit back then, feeling a kind of familiarity with it. The Europeanness of its grand cathedral, buildings and mansions infused with an exotic flair by the colourful souvenir stalls and street-food stalls scattered about the centre. I loved the business of Lima, the chaos, the traffic and the chatter of locals and tourists all mixed into one. The gentrification of its trendy suburbs and gorgeous seaside quarters make Lima an absolute treat. no matter your age or likes, there’s a corner of Lima you will love. This is a city with a multitude of faces.
The people living on and around Lake Titicaca exist in a world all their own. And when you visit, you may well feel as if you’ve landed on another planet. Life here has remained unchanged, untarnished, for hundreds of years. Ever since the Gods birthed the first Inca Emperor from the darkest depths of this iridescent lake, as the legend goes, indigenous Peruvians have been creating their reed islands and boats, living their subsistent lifestyles and striving hard to retain their ancient culture and authenticity. The islands on the world’s highest navigable lake are unique and inspiring. The blue waters of the lake soul-soothing. As you sail along with the mighty Andes mountain range on the horizon, you could not feel more part of this ethereal landscape.
Spend a few weeks touring Peru and you’ll soon come to appreciate the incredible intelligence and resourcefulness of all those ancient cultures which inhabited these lands before the Spaniards arrived. The way they lived and worked and even died. The cities they built, the agricultural advancements, aqueducts and more that they built. And then you come to a place like Nazca, to hop on a plane so you can get an eyeful of the mysterious and rather perfect lines drawn in the shape of animals and all sorts of things, on the sunburnt desert floor, for no apparent reason at all.
If I could live anywhere in Peru, it would have to be Cusco, the renowned base point for Machu Picchu adventures. Now, I hope the Incas wouldn’t get offended if I say this but I would live here even if Machu Picchu did not exist. This city is a gem. With its resplendent Plaza de Armas, the markets, the startling architecture mixing colonial treasures with ancient Inca walls, the fantastic food, mesmerising landscapes and copious chances for active pursuits in nature just minutes out of town. Cusco had me at hello, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it kidnaps you too.
Yet try as you may, you’ll still find no words to describe the most awe-inspiring site of all. The one you’ve been dreaming, all these years. The one place, after all, that will get you to Peru in the first place.
Magical Machu Picchu.
Not many people know that Peru boasts the second-largest region of the Amazon Rainforest, after Brazil. Consequently, not many people know that they can dive head first into the world’s premier tropical rainforest right from the dizziest heights of the Andes. Puerto Maldonado is the best springboard for Amazonian adventures in Peru, and if you thought ‘I could die happy now’ after casting your eyes on Machu Picchu just hold off a little longer until you see this remarkable place. Boat trips and hikes on foot gift you the chance for wildlife watching and wilderness admiring. The Amazon is one of the world’s most priceless ecosystems and experiencing life here, even for just a few days, can be life changing for some. Stand in awe in front of a clay click swarmed with hundreds of birds feeding. Spot raptors and toucans, and discover the million little creatures that never get a mention on any brochure but without whom the Amazon wouldn’t exist. This ecosystem that thrives and supports all life, great and small. An Amazon experience can give you a newfound outlook on the planet. It did for me anyway. A newfound respect for nature and the delicate balance that keeps the entire planet ticking along.
Peru is not a country that needs a cheer leading squad but if it did, we’d be right up there with pom-poms in hand, singing its praises. And our Colours of Peru tour is not simply a collection of places but rather a collection of unforgettable memories.
If you’d like to build yours then give us a call. We’d love to show you all the in-betweens that will make your Peru trip the most invigorating travel adventure you’ll ever take.
Contact us for more info and to personalise an itinerary that’s just right for you.