My first time out of the country wasn’t a family vacation to Europe, or a mission’s trip to Mexico. No, my trip was to beautiful, unique Peru. Of all the places I’d heard people tell me they had been to, I never once had heard Peru on their lists. So when I found out we were going there, I was so excited. I was going to a unique country, one that held such rich culture and history. And not only that, I was going with an amazing group of people. My Spanish teacher Ms. Caminada, a native of Peru, proposed and planned the trip for Spring Break 2008. After everyone signed up through ACIS, the group consisted mostly of my closest friends that I’d known since Kindergarten.
We got lucky and were able to book a direct flight from LAX to Lima, the capital of Peru. We drove from our hometown to LA, which was about a four-hour drive. Then we got on the plane and took about a seven-and-a-half hour flight. We landed in Lima and spent the whole next day out on the town. Lucky for us, it was Easter Sunday, and Lima was alive and very spirited that day. After a day of touring churches and museums and just soaking in the fact that we were in Peru, we flew to Cuzco. It was really beautiful there and our hotel was really nice. There was a lot to do in Cuzco; it was a very enjoyable city to be in. We spent two days seeing Sacsayhuaman, Kenko, and other landmarks in and near Cuzco and then we boarded a train to Aguas Calientes, the city at the base of Machu Picchu.
The next day, on the way up to Machu Picchu, we took a long, extremely uphill zig-zag road in a charter bus, and it was easily the scariest bus ride of my life. But when we finally got there, Machu Picchu didn’t disappoint. It was foggy and a tiny bit rainy, but even without the sun, Machu Picchu was amazing and impressive. Everything was so green and all the ruins were so fascinating to look at. After hearing a lot of history of stones and rocks and building techniques from our tour guide, we ended up at the other side of Machu Picchu at the base of Wayna Picchu, the mountain next to the ruins. We had the opportunity to hike it. I figured, why not climb a mountain while I’m in Peru? So I started climbing, not thinking it would be that bad, but going at a pretty good pace, uphill, in the high altitude, took its toll. It felt like I was having a really intense workout. But after about an hour and a half, we reached the top. I was never so excited to get to the top of a mountain.
Another one of the greatest highlights of the trip was visiting the Uros Isla nds on Lake Titicaca where natives lived on floating islands they made out of reeds.
After all the excitement was over, we headed back home. Life would just go back to normal. But would it really? All the things I saw, all the people we met, they left us with something special to tell other people about. I went to Machu Picchu. I hiked Wayna Picchu. I ate guinea pig. How many people can say they’ve done those things in their lives? And now, when people ask me where I’ve been, I can say “Peru” and that one country, just that one, leaves them satisfied with wonder and fascination.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.