First day in Lima

Goodbye Arequipa! Walking the tarmac to our plane at the tiny airport

Our fourth out of five times in the Lima airport, we finally actually made it to Lima! Although it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing since we were pretty hungover. When we arrived at the waiting area at the Arequipa airport for our delayed flight, I definitely knocked out in a seat, not too gracefully. Continue reading First day in Lima

Arequipa: Monasterio de Santa Catalina & exploring the city

Our first full day in Arequipa, we finally did some actual sightseeing. We started at the Monasterio de Santa Catalina.

Wow. It totally lived up to the hype – it was absolutely gorgeous. It’s like a city within a city, and the peaceful, quiet atmosphere is so serene. Truly “a photographer’s dream,” with vivid blue and orange walls, simple nuns’ quarters and blooming flowers. I wish we had gone to see the monastery at night, too, when they give tours by candlelight, but unfortunately we didn’t have time. Continue reading Arequipa: Monasterio de Santa Catalina & exploring the city

Cusco to Arequipa: travel hell

It was just not my traveling day. We were flying to Arequipa through Lima (so it would be our third out of five times in the Lima airport) and at the airport in Cusco, I beeped red through the metal detectors and they ransacked my bag because I accidentally packed an aerosol can of bug spray in my carry on. All this while Daniela and the TACA attendant were yelling at me to hurry because the plane was waiting for us since the airline bumped us up to an earlier flight. As if I wanted to hang out with security. Continue reading Cusco to Arequipa: travel hell

Cusco hotel review: Siete Ventanas

When we returned to Cusco from our five-day hike through the mountains, there was no way we could stay in a hostel. We needed the comforts of a hotel,  private bathrooms and some personal space. So after a long day of walking door-to-door to pretty much every hotel in Cusco, we found Siete Ventanas.

Apparently, Siete Ventanas is a newer hotel not too far from the San Blas neighborhood and a five-minute walk from the Plaza de Armas. Overall, I really liked the hotel. The building is relatively new and clean, with a nice courtyard-style lobby. Our room, although it had a slightly dysfunctional toilet, was spacious and had a great view of Cusco. And it had cable TV.

And even though there was kind of a construction site down the street, we didn’t have to suffer through any crazy construction racket like we did in Paris last year.

Not to mention, we got a pretty good deal on the room rate thanks to Adrian’s negotiating skills. So I would definitely recommend giving Siete Ventanas a try!

Souvenir shopping in Cusco – my top 5

Cusco was our first stop on the trip, so even though there was SOOOO much I wanted to buy, I figured I should save a little money & room in my luggage for our stops in Arequipa and Lima. Well, I think I’d recommend doing most of your souvenir shopping in Cusco after all. Especially if you’re looking for some cool Inca-inspired or indigenous Andean artifacts.

That being said, here are my top 5 souvenirs from Cusco:

  1. My 20-lb antique iron
  2. A tapestry featuring various animals (similar to some of the ones hanging above)
  3. A toy alpaca, complete with real baby alpaca fur
  4. Alpaca hat & gloves (and leg warmers) – I LOVE these
  5. My llama duffel bag
I'm loco for llamas