Hiking Peru's Rainbow Mountain
Peru's Rainbow Mountain is becoming more and more famous with each passing year, but its very existence is a sign of the times. Of course, the mountain goes back millions of years, but the reason it's so popular now is because until recently, it wasn't accessible nor visible. Prior to around 2010 or so, the mountain and the surrounding mountains were encased in a giant glacier. Due to climate change, however, that glacier has retreated and revealed the stunning rainbow-coloured landscape.
Because of this, although tourism brings in a lot of people, the infrastructure to handle the throngs of travellers hasn't been developed. The road to the mountain is long and bumpy, winding up, up and up into the mountains. Once you arrive at the area, the bathrooms have no running water, no heat, and no lights. There's no toilet paper either, so you can buy four squares of paper for 1 soles, which is about 25 cents. Cash only.
It is about a 4-hour drive from Cusco, but you can stop in places to get if you need. The landscape is stunning and you'll see scores of llamas and alpacas dotting the mountain tops as you drive up the slopes. There are some at Rainbow Mountain too, but you have to charge if you want to take a photo of them. The cost of the photo depends on how much money you have on you. The owners of the llamas have a similar salesman mentality as the shoe cleaners in Cusco. The first shoe costs 2 soles to clean, but the second shoe costs 40.Read More
A Day In The Sacred Valley of the Incas
Peru is filled with magic, and it all leads back to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Although the Incas are whom the valley is named after, the history of this long stretch in the Andes Mountains goes back thousands of years - to about the time Homer was writing the Iliad and Odyssey in Greece, and Britain was entering the Iron Age.
The first people to settle here were the Chanapata, around 800 BCE. Next came the Qotacalla, around 1,300 years later, and lasting until 900 CE. The Killke would follow them next and would rule until 1420 when the Incas took over.
The Incas would rule the valley until 1573 when the Spanish arrived.Read More
Journey to Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu, or The Old Mountain in the traditional Quechua language, is one of the most sought-after bucket list destinations in the world. If you're reading this, there's a good chance it's on your list too.
Surprisingly, however, very little is actually known about this historic site. The Incas did not keep written records of their empire, so all we know is that this site was abandoned around 1572, in fear that the Spanish would conquer and destroy it. However, the Spanish never came, and instead, the site sat empty for nearly five hundred years.
There have always been rumours about a lost city of gold in South America, so when the site was rediscovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, many suspected it to be the legendary city. However, instead, they found a stone city covered in thick jungle and – assuming the same insect life that was there when I visited – around a trillion hungry mosquitoes.Read More
The Magicks of Maestro Presbiterio Cemetery
There are four types of magicks in Peru: black, white, red, and green, all of which can be found within The Maestro Presbíterio Cemetery.
When I started this article, I wanted to write about the history of The Maestro Presbíterio Cemetery in Lima. The cemetery is not only the oldest cemetery in Peru, but also in South America, dating back to 1808. It was an alternative to the stifling catacombs that sprawl beneath the city's streets. Since its inception, there have been many controversies about the cemetery, starting with the first burial of Archbishop Juan Domingo Gonzales de la Reguera in 1808 and continuing when Norka Rouskaya “profanated” the cemetery with her nude performance of Chopin's Funeral March in 1917.
But in the spirit of Halloween, I didn't want to write an essay about a cemetery's history. That will come at a later time when I have more chance to dig into the names and places of people whom I am still learning about. There are over 250,000 bodies interned in The Maestro Presbíterio Cemetery and to only share a handful of half-researched stories would be a disservice.Read More
Huacachina: The Oasis of America
Remote Year has two, separate weekend packages to experience Huacachina. The first was a direct, one-day trip. It involved leaving Lima early in the morning, taking the bus about five hours south, enjoying the day, and taking the bus back. Although fun, it would be an exhausting day on the bus.
The other option was a two-day trip, starting in Lima, going to Paracas for the night, and then heading to Huacachina. This was the option I chose. A few people wanted to do the single-day option, but the cost associated with driving only two or three people a collective ten hours wasn't really worth it. Instead, they changed their mind and joined the two-day tour.
So, although this article is about Huacachina, it actually starts off in Paracas, where the last article ended.Read More
Fun, Sun & Sand in Paracas
Our second weekend trip in Peru with Remote Year took us to Paracas and Huacachina.
Technically, the entire weekend was about Huacachina, but the first day was all about getting to and enjoying the natural beauty of Paracas.
The town of Paracas, with a population of around 4,500 people, is about three hours from Lima, so the day began with an early morning on the bus. Unlike the earlier trip to the Amazon, this trip consisted of the majority of the people in the Remote Year program. There were a few exceptions, as some of the members had contracted COVID-19 and had to isolate themselves, but for the most part, the entire group was able to make it on this trip.Read More