From the moment we set foot in Peru, we felt at ease. Whether it was because we had been there before or because of the snow-capped mountains and friendly people, we loved every minute of it. We went to Peru for the hiking, specifically for the Alpamayo Circuit and the Salkantay Trek, but we left with a better appreciation of the people and the lands they inhabit. While we would love to say that Cuzco was still our favorite city in Peru, Huaraz has stolen our hearts. If you love mountains and hiking and climbing, you need to go to Huaraz. Far from the Reiki-loving, flute-playing, Anglo-hippies of Cuzco, you will find mountain-hardy climbers strolling the streets preparing for their next 6000 meter summit or recovering from the last. The city is unpretentious, with everyday people going about their everyday business and foreigners focusing on their task at hand. We highly, highly recommend the city of Huaraz. That being said, if you go to Peru for the first time – Machu Picchu and Cuzco are still requisite stops. Cuzco is a great city full of amazing architecture, culture, and history.
Our trip went much more smoothly than expected. Given the last-minute decision to hike the Salkantay Trek and the fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants nature of the Alpamayo Circuit, everything went great! We were able to eat pretty much anything we wanted and fortunately never got sick. We always felt safe (minus the Inti Raymi Festival – more on that at a later date) whether we were in Huaraz, Cuzco, or on the trail. When we were in Peru four years ago, things were a bit different. Cuzco felt a bit rougher and I threw-up on no less than three separate occasions, once from altitude and twice from the food…I think our time in Mexico helped to strengthen my intestinal fortitude!
Now on to the budget! Peru is a place where you would expect to save money, but unfortunately that was not the case for us. A last-minute decision to hike the Salkantay trek and some unexpected costs on the Alpamayo Circut pushed us slightly over budget. That being said, you can easily get a three course meal for $1.50, coffee for $.90 and a decent 6-pack for $4.00. The food off the main squares is cheap, good and substantial. Because of our hiking schedule, we couldn’t stay in one place very long and so that made lodging a bit more expensive and made it hard to buy multiple days of groceries. Transportation costs were fairly high because we had to bus eight hours from Lima to Huaraz, get ourselves to and from the Alpamayo Circuit and fly to Cuzco. While the costs of transportation were more than we had expected, it was still very cheap, as we were able to fly from Mexico to Peru on airline miles. The miscellaneous column includes our Salkantay Trek trip expenses, Huascaran National Park Passes, Maps etc.
|Gear||$3.00||AVG to Budget||$1.35|
|Entertainment||$20.40||# of Nights||28|
|Cookie Jar||Rolling AVG/Day||Total # Nights|
As you can see, we went over our budget by ~$38 and spent an average of $76.35 (our budget is $75) per day. I would still consider that being pretty on budget. The bottom row shows where we are overall on the trip. The “cookie jar” is our overall (+) or (-) and we hope to keep it positive so that we can cover any unexpected expenses or splurge on something fun!
From the friendly people who are proud of their culture, to the beautiful mountains and great food, Peru has something for everyone. While we highly recommend travelling to Peru, we always try to spend as little time as possible in capital city of Lima. It’s just a little too crowded, smoggy, and lacking in mountains for us. Perhaps you can spend a day or so visiting a few sites, but I would not recommend much more.
Hopefully, we can catch our blog up a bit in Spain. All of the hiking trips make it pretty difficult to keep things current and find time to write. Chelsea is planning a write-up of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu vs the Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu and obviously, we will be doing a trip report on our hike in the Alps and our time in Switzerland. All in due time. Time for more tapas!