I love Peru! The contrast from Chile or at least southern Chile is substantial.
First of all it is about 72 degrees here versus about 42 degrees in southern Chile. It’s so nice to just wear a skirt without long johns, or to not wear two pairs of long johns under my rain pants. It’s nice not to have on two shirts, a hoody, a travel vest, a lightweight parka, and a rain jacket! It was hard to move.
Brad and I visited Peru a few years back, we visited Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley and Cusco plus spent a small amount of time in Lima. This time we elected to visit more off the beaten path locations so I was a bit concerned that we would have difficulty. The more remote a destination is the fewer services that are available and the less likely it is people speak English.
We have had challenges in Croatia and in Chile so far on our journey. Chile in particular was a bit problematic. It was really hard to figure out how to get around and what to see and do. We had trouble with availability of transportation. And not too many English speakers so we just tried hard to communicate with our bad Spanish.
Peru is like a travelers dream. No matter where you are they have a bus, tour company, tuk tuk or taxi. All at super reasonable prices. Not everyone speaks English but they try hard to work with you to understand what you need.
Trujillo is a Pacific coast town in Northern Peru. It’s big enough to have lots to see without chaos like Lima. We went to the beach one day and were able to see the fisherman in their reed boats. I don’t actually think they are fisherman I think they just give reed boat rides to tourists but that is what they are called.
We met a young man from the USA on our tour of Chan Chan which was odd. I would say during our travels we have happened upon only a few folks from the US. So it was fun to talk to someone from home. To chat about Texas, Utah, and the US in general. It was fun to be on a tour and have another person to chime in with a question we understood or to talk about what we have seen without pantomime.
In Trujillo we ended up using the plentiful tour companies near the Plaza de Armas to book super affordable tours to the few spots we planned to visit. We normally avoid tours because often you pay for stuff you don’t want like shopping in a market in a traditional village and lunch at tourist restaurant, but the tours are so affordable and they hit all the stops that were important to us. Fortunately on our restaurant stop in Trujillo we didn’t pre pay for lunch so we were able to find something that worked for our take and budget.
Trujillo is a typical South American town with an old town with lots of churches, a main plaza, and ample dining options. We walked much of the town when we weren’t on tours. We visited two museums in town, one was a free museum at the Plaza de Armas, the other was a university museum close by. Both were informative.
There are several important pre- Inca historic sites near Trujillo, they are really interesting. Most have huge mud brick pyramids. I am amazed that the mud bricks don’t melt in the rain but they have lasted a really long time, in some instances the sites are from 3000 B.C.E. according to our guides they used mud, clay, shells, cactus, egg shells and water to form a brick in a mold. These bricks are still around and holding up well. Really well. They feel like cement.
The pre Inca cultures practiced human sacrifice. This was presented as a central part of their worship. According to our guides the priests were trying to control the rain, because they have El Niño every 7 years or so which was devastating on the coast but caused drought in the highlands. According to our guides the warriors had a battle and the loser was selected for the honor of sacrifice. They had many ceramic vessels depicting the people who were to be sacrificed and each seemed individual and the depiction was careful, so it does seem like the sacrificed were honored.
Nowadays the area where the historic sites are, the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Moon, Chan Chan, and others sit in sandy dry areas that used to be jungle or crop lands. Basically it seems like deforestation or similar. It is very dry, windy and dusty.
Peru has some pretty fierce air pollution. It is a bit creepy to be able to see and smell the air you are breathing. I totally forgot about the exhaust, and the smell of burning. It’s more manageable at sea level where Trujillo is but I recall that in Cusco at 13,000 feet it was tough going. We’ll see how it is when we reach Chachopoyas which is at about 7600 feet. I am hoping the mountain air will be fresh and delightful.