RTW Update No.3 – All About Peru

Zentravellers at Machu Picchu

After an incredible 3.5 weeks in summer all the time Puerto Rico, and an awe-inspiring month in Ecuador that culminated with a blissful trip to the Galapagos Islands, it was time to move onto Peru. There we traded sandals and wetsuits for warm jackets and hiking boots. Indeed, we spent most of our time in Peru either hiking or recovering from hiking. We climbed to over 5100m in the wild and rugged Cordillera Blanca, moved through the ice-capped Salkantay Pass to reach the incomparable Machu Picchu, and walked down into one of the deepest canyons in the world. We also spent 2 weeks learning Spanish in the White City of Arequipa and sampled many delicious craft beers around the country.

In total, we spent almost 2 months in Peru and still are finding reasons to go back, despite spending half of our time there in less than perfect health…more on that later. But for now, Peru inspired us with its landscapes, delighted us with its tasty food and drink, and provided us with a glimpse into its rich history and culture.

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What is Immersive Travel?

A friend quizzed me recently on the differences between immersive travel and standard-issue travel. I said that immersive travel allows you to see a place for the values that shape its culture, while simply visiting a place shows you only the well-manicured, postcard version of it.  That makes sense though. If you are only travelling to a place for a short amount of time, seeing the highlights will be the best use of your time.  But if you have the time, or the chance to work or study abroad I highly recommend the experience. In doing so, you will begin to peel back the layers of a culture and learn to live real life in a foreign place which is an adventure in and of itself.

Touring San Cristobal Island, Galapagos

Sunset on San Cristobal

In continuing with our Galapagos Island themed posts, we recently spent a glorious 2.5 weeks doing land-based travels in the Galapagos which has been one of the biggest highlights of our 14 month trip around the world so far. We’ve covered touring the “main island” of Santa Cruz, as well as the largest and most rugged of the inhabited islands, Isla Isabela, so now that leaves us with beautiful San Cristobal.

Puerto Bazquerizo Moreno is the town on San Cristobal island and has a population of about 6,600 people which makes it a nice mix between the city-like feel of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz, and the sleepy fishing village on Isabela. The island features a small airport, naval base, university, the Galapagos Interpretation Centre and a natural history museum. It is also sea lion central so you will have no shortage of opportunities to get up close and personal with these hilarious animals.

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Peru Mountain Zen: Huaraz Trekking

Zentravellers on the summit of Mt Matteo

Nestled in the impressive Cordillera Blanca range of the Andes, Huaraz is increasingly becoming a world-class destination for high altitude adventures as Huaraz trekking is considered some of the best in the world.  Huaraz is heralded by some as the the trekking capital of Peru and it offers a more budget-friendly and quieter alternative to crowded Cusco. By far the biggest draw of Huaraz is the trekking in the endlessly picturesque Cordillera Negra and Blanca ranges. Indeed, the Siula Grande from the Cordillera Blanca range is featured in the film about defying death in the mountains, “Touching the Void”, and Alpamayo is thought by some to be the “most beautiful mountain in the world.” The vast and scenic expanses, opportunities for alpine activities to suit every level and interest, and solitude that’s impossible to find in nearby Cusco, make it the perfect place to find some mountain Zen in Peru.

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Touring Isabela Island in Galapagos

In continuing with our Galapagos Island themed posts, we recently spent a glorious 2.5 weeks doing land-based travels in the Galapagos which was an adventure for the ages. We’ve covered  touring the “main island” of Santa Cruz, so now we are moving onto tours on the largest and most rugged of the inhabited islands, Isla Isabela.

Puerto Vilamil is the town on Isabela island and has a population of 2,200 people. It’s a sleepy, charming fishing village that has a renewed focus on tourism. Here wild encounters are possible right from town, but many sites require a licensed guide to accompany travellers when visiting.

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Touring Santa Cruz Island in Galapagos

Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands - The Starting Point of Most Land Based Tours

We have been on the road for about 3 months now, and so far one of our absolute highlights was the glorious 2.5 weeks we recently spent doing land-based travels in the Galapagos . It was an adventure for the ages so our next couple posts will focus on what to do and see in each of the islands we visited, starting with touring Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz Island is the most developed and widely-considered to be the “main” island in Galapagos, although it is not the largest island. It’s main city of Puerto Ayora is 12,000 people strong and features a lively food and drink scene as well as lots of access to the outdoor adventures that brought you to the Galapagos in the first place.

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RTW Update #2 – A Month in Ecuador

We are 3 months into our 14 month trip around the world and a ton has happened since we started. We began our trip by volunteering in Puerto Rico and then spent about a month in wonderful Ecuador, the country that truly has it all. From Pacific coastline to snow-capped volcanoes, the living laboratory of the Galapagos Islands, cosmopolitan cities like Cuenca, and the Amazon rainforest, there’s something for everyone in Ecuador.

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