2 WEEK PERU ITINERARY
As far as trips go, my two weeks in Peru achieved a level of legendary status that I nor my companions will ever forget. It was my first trip to South America and I will certainly say not the last. Whether it was spotting macaws early in the morning, meeting local families, wandering ancient ruins, or exploring the depths of the jungle, Peru's magic and mystery will leave you in awe. Planning a trip to Peru is no doubt daunting because there's so much to see and when you're constrained on time, you have to anchor the trip to a few primary activities or destinations. For this specific 2 week Peru itinerary, the focus from the get go was the Inca Trail and the Amazon Jungle.The great thing about Cusco is how easy it is to get anywhere on foot. One of the big highlights of the day included our tour of Qurikancha which was once the site of the most important temple in the Inca empire. It was later converted to a colonial church and convent of Santo Domingo but within its walls are the remnants of masterful stonework that at one point was gilded with gold. The history here is quite fascinating. We also tried to make it to the Mercado Central de San Pedro but by the time we got there, most of the shops were closed. We elected instead to try a few fruit shakes and bowl of chicken noodle soup. In search of some souvenirs, we also dropped by a few open air markets that were clearly built for tourists. We were bombarded with anything and everything made with Alpaca wool. I ended up picking up a pair of gloves here.One task we had to make sure we fit in was the dropping by of the office to pay off the remaining balance of our Inca Trail trek. We also booked our pre-trek briefing session when we were there. Eventually we ended up at the where I did a little bit of photography. For dinner, we ate at which hit the spot for its authentic cuisine and reasonable pricing. The Lomo Saltado dish I had was probably the best I had throughout the whole trip.On our third day, we were waiting for our other friends to fly in so we spent the morning exploring new neighborhoods within Cusco. One area I read about was San Blas so after breakfast we walked over there. Perched on a bit of a hill, there was a small square by the church which made for a bunch of good photos.Every trip, I always try to make sure we do something a bit more hands on. Having such a good experience with our cooking class in Chiang Mai, I thought it’d be a great idea to try something similar in Cusco. So after we met up with our friends, we made our way over to the Marcelo Batata Culinary Experience.The 5 hour class (2-7PM) was quite the thorough experience that truly gives you a better appreciation of Peruvian food and how to properly taste them. You start off by learning about the history of food in Peru before going into a makeshift mini marketplace to see, feel, and smell the core ingredients to Peruvian cuisine. Along the way, they feed you delicious hors d’oeuvres.The real cooking comes into play when we had a chance to make our own ceviche and lomo saltado. In between we also got to do a fruit tasting and mix our own pisco sour.Jose was a great instructor and I can’t say enough good things about this cooking class. If you have an extra afternoon and you want to take it easy, this is a great option.As part of our acclimatization process, we planned 2 days in the Sacred Valley with two separate operators. This particular part of the trip was difficult to plan because there are so many companies offering tours here.In the end we opted to do the first day with a company called KB Tambo because they offered a “Super Day” private tour option that had all the things we were looking for that included an English speaking guide and driver. They were also accommodating in terms of making tweaks to the itinerary.