I spent the first two weeks of my summer break in Perú, the fourth largest country in South America (following Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina). It was quite the adventure.
This is our general itinerary:
DAY 1: Arrived in Lima, Peru.
DAY 2: Flight to Puerto Maldonado from Lima. A motorboat ride along the Madre de Dios River took us into the Amazon Jungle lodge. A nighttime excursion by canoe led us in search for caiman and other nocturnal wildlife.
DAY 3: Hiking in the rainforest led us to different clay licks, where we discovered many animal species (including creepy-crawlies that were more friendly than one might think…). We hiked to a tower where we climbed up a couple hundred steps to view the tops of the Amazon. A night walk allowed us to explore the rainforest at night.
DAY 4: More hiking until we reached Oxbow Lake, where we took a canoe around the lake and hiked some more. In the afternoon, we visited a native farm and tried different fruits and other produce grown locally in the area.
DAY 5: We return to Puerto Maldonado and flied back to Lima, where the remainder of the day was spent at leisure (shopping!!)
DAY 6: After visiting Huaca Pucllana, ruins of a temple in Lima, the Local Guide gave us a walking tour where we explored the Plaza de Armas, Goverenment Palace, cathedral, San Francisco Monastery, local Peruvian food market, etc.
DAY 7: After an early flight to Cusco, once the capital of the mighty Incan Empire, we headed into the Sacred Valley of the Incas,where we experienced their Mother Earth Ceremony performed by a local shaman. Then we went to the ruins of Sacsayhuamán, a local town Pisac, and a Peruvian Paso Horse Show.
DAY 8: Machu Picchu! Well, first we visited Ollantaytambo, and Incan fortress-now-ruin. Then we boarded the Vistadome train to “Machu Picchu Town,” where a bus transported us to the Lost City of the Incas. The afternoon was spent touring the beautiful place and taking adorable pictures.
DAY 9: We revisited Machu Picchu in the morning for a hike to an Incan bridge, not far from the main Machu Picchu site. After lunch, we returned to Cusco by train.
DAY 10: The day began with a city tour of Cusco, visiting sites such as the cathedral, and Santo Domingo Monastery. The rest of the day was spent exploring Cusco on our own.
DAY 11: We flied back to Lima, where once again spent the afternoon shopping.
Days 12-15: The tour ended with breakfast, but we then visited local craft markets, water parks, and ruins such as the Pachacamac on our own.