Just as this article gets posted, I will be hopping on a plane bound to Peru. Well actually, that is not entirely true as I have two stops in the USA. I haven’t been in US soil for almost three years, so I am really looking forward to it. My major layover is in Miami, Florida, a part of the country I have always wanted to visit, but never got around to it. Here is a rundown of my Peru itinerary, in the hopes of inspiring others to plan ahead, get out, and explore.
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* Arriving in Dallas, Texas, and transferring to Miami, Florida. The only reasonably affordable flight to Peru from South Korea had an 18 hour layover in Miami. While most people hate long layovers, I embrace them and try to make the most of them.
* Get my car rental and prepare for tomorrow
* Everglades National Park – It was a tough choice between swimming in South Beach, one of the most famous and iconic beaches in the US, or letting my love for animals drive me to the Everglades. Seeing how the Everglades is a National Park, UNESCO Endangered World Heritage Site, and has one of the most unique ecosystems in the world, South Beach will have to wait.
* Fly to Lima, Peru – Arriving very late, but maybe I can catch a bite to eat before sleeping. While ceviche is also a common Mexican dish, Peru’s is supposed to be the real deal.
* Explore Lima Solo – Sarah (my travel buddy) doesn’t arrive until late at night from Chicago, so it will be just me and the Miraflores section of Lima. My hostel is next to some cool ruins, but I will save that for later.
* Pick up Sarah at the Airport
* Explore Lima Some More! – Lima is the 2nd UNESCO World Heritage Site of the trip. It is one of the most historic cities in South America for both its colonial and pre-colonial monuments.
* Cusco, Huaynapicchu and of course, Machu Picchu – Cusco an Machu Picchu are not just both UNESCO World Heritage Sites #3-4 of my trip, but some of the most iconic sites in the world. Machu Picchu was voted one of the New 7 World Wonders, which will be the 4th I visit (I’ve visited thus far: The Great Wall, Chichen Itza, and the Colosseum). Cusco was the capital of the Inca Empire, the largest empire in human history without a full writing system. Given this is the expected highlight, I decided to do it as soon as possible just in case.
Note: Up to June 27, the schedule is pretty rigid with booked hotels, plane tickets, Machu Picchu tickets, and trains. After this, the itinerary is more fluid, but subject to change based on what we find once we arrive.
* Explore Cusco and Surroundings – Given that this would be our last day in Cusco, I’ll make the most of it.
* Head to Nazca at Night – Should be a really long bus ride :(. If I feel sleepy, I’ll cough up a little extra for the comfy seats.
* Take a Flight over the Nazca Lines – If you saw the movie Signs or were a fan of the X-files and all things alien, you are aware of the mysterious Nazca Lines. If not, click here. They are also the 5th UNESCO World Heritage Site I will see on the trip.
* Head to Ica and Huacachina – When I first saw pictures of Huacachina, I thought, “could it be possible that Machu Picchu could not the highlight of the trip? Although I have calmed down since there, the idea of an Oasis, which is actually affordable still blows my mind. I didn’t even know that these biomes existed outside of the Sahara Desert!
* Huacachina – This place has amazing pictures and a bunch of potential activities including sand boarding, dune buggying, and watching the sun set on the oasis. I hope it lives up to the hype, or we might call it in after a night.
* Head back to Lima and explore some more – I am sure that for a city considered one of the coolest in South America, there is surely more to do than a day and a half’s worth.
* Caral Supe – I found this place while fooling around on the UNESCO map on their main site. I was curious how many WHS Peru had, and was blown away when I read the description on this site. It is the very first city in the Americas by native peoples. Carbon dated at around 5000 years old, Caral Supe is the fertile crescent of the ‘New World.’
*Free Day – This is what I call a buffer day. It allows me to push back anything a day without worrying about running out of time. Options for this can include an extra day in Cusco, other UNESCO World Heritage Sites nearby, a day trip into the Peruvian Amazon, or just a final day in Lima.
Stay tuned for upcoming wonderful articles on Peru and the Everglades :).