peru

Sea lion colony on Islas Palomino

Islas Palomino: The Best Way to Spend One Day in Callao

Out of the three days I spent in Lima, my excursion out to Islas Palomino was the best part of my visit.  The islands are eco-havens, home to sea birds galore (including penguins!) and rugged landscapes where you can’t go ashore.  Best of all, you can swim the sea lions in cold waters of the …

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sea lions swimming ballestas island

Are Paracas National Reserve and Ballestas Islands Worth It?

We almost didn’t visit Paracas Peru.  I was dying to see the Humboldt penguins that live just off the coast in the Ballestas Islands, but it seemed like such a long way to go for some cute, waddly birds.  It wasn’t until I realized there was more to do — far beyond the namesake Paracas …

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how to acclimate to the sacred valley with coca tea

I Acclimated to the Sacred Valley the Wrong Way (But You Don’t Have To)

I acclimated to the Sacred Valley the wrong way. Admitting this kills me because I know I’m prone to altitude sickness and I knew in advance that Cusco altitude is 11,152 feet (3,399 meters).  I took a lot of precautions to lessen the impact.  But even though I did a lot of things right, I …

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Getting to Machu Picchu is a Pain in the Butt

Hurry up and wait. That should be the new tagline for Machu Picchu.  I didn’t think much of it when I was standing in the world’s longest airport line for my flight to Cusco (Star Peru actually handwrote tags for checked luggage!), but that just foreshadowed what was to come. On Paper, It’s Simple Don’t …

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ollantaytambo sacred valley scenery (things to do instead of hiking the inca trail)

Photo Essay: What I Did Instead of Hiking the Inca Trail

I’ve never had any ambition to hike the Inca Trail.  There’s little solitude throughout the journey and too much downtime at camp each night, so even though I like hiking and camping, it didn’t make sense to add the iconic trek to my itinerary.  No doubt it’s beautiful, but isn’t all of the Sacred Valley? …

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