After an incredible two months in Brazil it was time to switch coasts for a whirlwind trip of Peru with a crew from BC. After confirming my trip to South America in January we decided July/August would be a perfect opportunity to all catch up for an adventure – something that’s hard now that we live in Auckland, Vancouver, Red Deer, and Halifax.
None of us had been to Peru or Machu Picchu before, except for Kyle who has been twice (but he’s been everywhere twice), so as a collective it was an obvious first choice. Not only were the rest of us able to get to a place that was on our ‘to do’ list, but we also had an incredibly wise tour guide for the infamous ‘Gringo Trail’ (which roughly consists of loop of Southern Peru: Lima, Cuzco, Machu Picchu/Aguas Calientes, Lake Titcaca, Arequipa, Nazca & Huacachina).
I’ve made a video to better show what we got up to but some highlights worth mentioning are:
- Sunrise at Machu Picchu, we lucked out on the day and didn’t have a cloud in the sky. The hike up from town takes about 90 minutes and we were aiming to get there to see the sun to break over the mountain range on to the ruins. In a bit of panic, we raced the last section worried we’d miss it. We didn’t. It was epic. I also now know the difference between ‘sunrise’ and ‘first sun.’
- Isla del Sol & Lake Titicaca with the Andes in the backdrop. There’s something different about a vista like that 4,000m above sea level.
- Bull Fighting in Arequipa. In Peru they don’t have matadors, instead two bulls lock horns and fight for alpha status until one breaks (trust me we’re experts now, six of us joined an Arequipan Bull Fighting Syndicate that day – we’re lifetime members). The event itself was crazy: two bulls broke through fences into the crowd, bull trainers got in full on fist fights in the ring while their bulls were fighting, we got sweet hats (part of the syndicate initiation), and we made some new friends – thanks to our translator Alex. This was a definite highlight from my whole trip so far.
- Huacachina Oasis and sand dunes. I’ve seen sand dunes before, but nothing like this. Summiting any of the 150m high dunes around the oasis and all you see is sand for 360 degrees. Unreal. We were advised to go dune buggying “with the crazy bald guy” and he came through. I later found out that he rolls his buggy about three or four times a year. After our ride, I’m surprised it’s that few.
It’s pretty awesome that after four years away from Vancouver we were all able to find a time and a place to catch up. Well done team, where are we meeting next year?