We started our journey in Lima, staying at the Belmond Miraflores Park Hotel. It is in a great location as the seaside promenade is right in front of the hotel and offers an easy walk to Larcomar shopping plaza. Also within walking distance, in the center of a busy intersection, was Parque Kennedy – a surprise highlight for us as it is home to hundreds of the world’s best fed stray cats. The cats laze about or scamper and play while locals bring them fine feline cuisine at all hours of the day.
We humans had our own gastronomic excitement – dining at a nice restaurant next to an active pre-Inca archaeological site. At Huaca Pucllana, the food is contemporary and tasty and the setting is awe-inspiring. We also tried Café de Museo at the Larco Herrera Museum. The museum is a ‘must see’ and a drink or snack at the café afterward is the perfect ending. Beware the traffic in Lima. Stop signs are just a suggestion. Only a horn is required!
From Lima, we continued on to the Sacred Valley for three nights at the Sol y Luna where I accomplished my goal of unplugging and relaxing. The entire property is conducive to letting your worries drift away. Winding paths circle the property with multi-colored flowers planted specifically to attract hummingbirds and monarch butterflies. At night, a fire is prepared in each room with enough wood available to keep it roaring until bedtime. Every evening my son, Josh, and I sat on the patio watching the stars, talking about anything and everything or just sitting together listening to the stillness.
While I relaxed, Josh hiked an “off beat” part of the Inca trail our guide jokingly dubbed the “Gringo Killer”. With an ascent to 14,500 feet and breathtaking views, the hike offered just the right amount of adventure and authenticity that Josh and many millennial travelers look for.
Although we always think of Machu Picchu as the main attraction, and make no mistake that it is truly awesome, we were blown away by the Quechan spirit and the many different ruins and markets that we visited throughout the Sacred Valley. Josh did embark on yet another off-the-beaten-path hike at Machu Picchu Mountain while I enjoyed the amenities at Sumaq – learning about Pisco and how to make a Pisco Sour, and learning about the local river trout and how to make ceviche.
We ended our trip with a four night stay in Cusco. The Belmond Palacio Nazarenas was a highlight of the trip. I was greeted with a bouquet of white flowers on arrival! The huge modern rooms feature heated floors, soaking tubs, terraces and a daily in-room Pisco Sour demonstration. Yum!
Surprisingly, Josh and I bonded over shopping! We had a great time browsing and bargaining in the markets at Pisac and Ollayantaytambo and exploring endless varieties of textiles and trinkets. We also indulged Josh’s foodie appetite with dinners at Chicha and Ciccolina – two of the hottest reservations in Cusco.
The cherry on top was our farewell dinner at the chic open air restaurant, CALA, in Lima. We built in enough connecting time to make the trek between the airport and the Lima seaside, and it was worth every minute of the transfer. The salt air breeze, the sound of the crashing waves beneath, and the mouthwatering food. Ooh la la!
Peru had just enough of what each of us was looking for and more (shopping, who knew?). I loved seeing the exhilaration on Josh’s face after his hikes and will cherish the quiet evenings spent in the Sacred Valley. I visited many other hotels during my trip to find options that fit most budgets and mobility needs (ramps and accessible rooms can be hard to find in the region). It would be my pleasure to apply my expertise on a trip designed just for you.