FEATURED ADVERTISERS Don't miss our summer savings up to 25% Baggage welcome. Two checked bags, included with your airfare Sunwing - Packages, flights, hotels, cruises and more! INCENTIVES | CONTESTS | WEBINARS | PODCASTS | EVENTS | JOBS
Ask anyone in their 20s about countries on their bucket list, and I guarantee Peru will be on it. If it’s not, it’s probably because they’ve already been. It’s one of those places that has everything — extraordinary beauty and unique culture, plus amazing food and people.
Peru was my first taste of South America and now I’m hooked. I was fortunate enough to spend 11-days on the new ‘Roamies’ Total Peru Package trip from G Adventures and Hostelworld; new travel style for 18-35 year-olds craving adventure and looking to meet new people.
Hostels are often overlooked as the lowest rung of accommodation but those handpicked by G and Hostelworld blast all stereotypes out of the water. The hostels and low-cost accomodation on this trip featured some amazing properties like the Kokopelli brand hostels in Lima and Cusco, Carola Lodge in Huacachina, Humanatay Lodge in Ollantaytambo and Vista Machu Picchu in Aquas Calientes.
I arrived in the Peruvian capital of Lima on July 27, fresh off a month traveling from Amsterdam to Athens on the ‘Roamies’ Ultimate Europe trip, which you can read all about here.
The Total Peru Package is action packed and serious value for money considering how much we were able to cover over the 11 days. Dune buggies, sand boarding and pisco tasting in Huacachina; catching a flight from Lima to the city of Cusco, 3,400 meters up in the Andes; hiking to waterfalls and ancient Inca temples in the Sacred Valley; tasting Peruvian delicacies, like guinea pig or ‘cuy’ in the town of Ollantaytambo; strolling through through temples at Machu Picchu and hiking over 5000 meters to see Rainbow Mountain and the sorely underrated Red Valley. There were so many highlights covered in such a short space of time.
The first stop on the trip was the ever-so-cool Barranco district in Lima. With its bohemian, edgy atmosphere, it has long attracted artists and creatives in Peru. It’s full of colorful 19th and 20th century buildings with fantastic coffee shops, bars and restaurants.
I landed at the first hostel on the trip, Kokopelli Barranco and it was hard not to be blown away by the exterior of this place. You’re greeted by a beautifully ornate entrance and a welcoming reception and coffee shop with fresh pastries and empanadas on offer. I checked into my mixed 12-person dorm and got chatting to people on various stages of their Peru adventure. One German girl was struggling to pack in a mix of herbs and spices she had collected from the market to bring back on her flight to Amsterdam. Another French girl had arrived from six months in Chile and was on her way to Huarez, Peru for an eight-day trek. You rarely get these insights in hotels!
In the evening, I met my fellow ‘Roamies’ – five wonderful women from the UK and the Netherlands – and we tucked up under an alpaca blanket together in the lounge area of the hostel to listen to our Chief Experience Officer (CEO), Nilo Revilla, break down the exciting things that lay ahead for us in Peru. Funnily enough, this moment was a highlight for most people on the trip. Nilo’s passion for his country was infectious, and we were so excited for what lay ahead.
Our local guide, Gerson, gave us some fantastic insights about Machu Picchu, a new wonder of the world since 2007. It took the Incas 100 years to build Machu Picchu between 1420AD and 1520AD and it was never fully completed – the reasons for this are unconfirmed. It was abandoned for 300 years before being rediscovered in 1811 by American explorer, Hiram Bingham. He took 400,000 objects from the site, including mummies, gold and silver items, and theyhey are currently in the Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale, Connecticut.
An add-on option for the Total Peru Package is the Rainbow Mountain hike. Our entire group opted to do this trip. For PEN 190, or US$50 we received a guided trek up to Rainbow Mountain with breakfast and lunch included. I recommend a guided trek as the altitude can be difficult to adjust to. I battled through a migraine up to the highest viewpoint, but it was absolutely worth it.
If you finish Rainbow Mountain in good time, you can head over to the Red Valley, about a half an hour away from the mountain. It’s PEN 20 entry, there were no tourists except us there and it was truly extraordinary. It had an otherworldly quality to it and I personally preferred it to Rainbow Mountain, mainly because there wasn’t a soul in sight. It’s a bit of a steep hike down from the Red Valley — very steep in fact — but I have a fear of steep descents and still managed it.
Our Rainbow Mountain and Red Valley hike felt like a special place to spend the last full day together as a group and wee shared a few tears in Kokopelli hostel, Cusco the next morning as we parted ways with some continuing to the Amazon rainforest and others heading home, but I have been noticing a pattern form with ‘Roamies’ trips, we rarely say ‘goodbye’ to each other, just ‘see you soon’.
|Don't miss our summer savings up to 25%|
|Baggage welcome. Two checked bags, included with your airfare|
|Sunwing - Packages, flights, hotels, cruises and more!|
|INCENTIVES | CONTESTS | WEBINARS | PODCASTS | EVENTS | JOBS|