13th-19th September 2018
After my jaunt into the rainforest, I spent a couple of days relaxing in Iquitos before I left the Amazon behind and boarded a plane for Lima.
My time in Peru’s capital was enjoyable but ultimately uneventful. I stayed in Miraflores; a modern district with clean streets and international restaurants. It was a pleasant respite but not all too interesting, so I wandered around other parts of the city, enjoying the cool air as I explored the coastal parks and the civic centre, where I wandered around its museums and churches. I made a friend who took me to a market in Barranco where I tried ceviche.
Apart from the Lugar de la Memoria – a poignant memorial for Peru’s violent period during the Sendero Luminoso uprising – Lima’s museums weren’t much to write home about, but the Cathedral Basilica had the best collection of religious art I have seen so far in South America.
Another highlight was the Monasterio de San Francisco, which is over three hundred years old and has a library which looks like something out of a Harry Potter film. As part of the tour, I also got to see its catacombs, which was home to thousands of human bones.
I also took a day trip to Pachacamac – a pre-Inca site on the outskirts of the city – which is not the sort of place which photos do justice, but I am glad I went there as it was interesting to see the crumbled ruins of an old civilisation scattered across the desert.
After a few days I ran out of things to occupy myself, so I left Lima and hopped on a night bus destined for Huaraz.
At over 3000 meters above sea level, Huaraz is the capital of the highlands and a launching point for exploring this region. My intention was to embark upon a trek but first I needed to acclimatise, so I passed the time by seeing some lighter attractions such as Wilkahuain; a nearby village which is home to a remarkably well preserved series of ruins dating from 600 AD, where people of the Wari culture people used to store their deceased ancestors.
I also went for a hike to Antacocha Laguna. I was joined by a German girl called Lisa that day, and together we caught a bus to Ayacayana and hiked up the mountain, passing through quaint Andean hamlets, farms, and forests on our way to the lake.
When we reached the top, we ate lunch together while admiring the view of the Cordillera Blanca. It was the place I was destined to venture the following morning when I embark upon the Santa Cruz trek.