Ip Peru, we spent weeks driving, hiking, and camping our way through the Andes and altiplano, setting our current altitude record of 16k’ so far for the trip. We never got tired of seeing lush green fields scattered with glacial lakes, alpacas, and hardy, colorfully dressed Peruvians. We also found a resurgence of picturesque colonial cities with welcoming, fountain studded squares and a dangerous amount of seriously tasty foods, Peruvian and international alike. Peru’s coastal capital, Lima, is a hotbed of foodie activity and this phenomenon seems to have spread to Peru’s other major cities as well.
Peru is home to several sights we’ve been looking forward to since the first days of planning our trip, including the otherworldly and dune-filled Paracas National Reserve, epic driving of Cañon del Pato, mysterious Nazca lines, and mythical Macchu Picchu, and we enjoyed each of these with wonder and appreciation!
Arrived in Country: March 4th, 2018
Left Country:May 24th,2018 (only 11 days before our 90 days would expire!)
Miles Driven: 3253
Gallons of Gas Burned: 318
Cocktails Learned to Make: 3, Inspired by making our own Pisco sours we've begun mixing drinks more complicated than just booze and ice.. At the bottom, check for the bonus Pisco Sour recipe!
Pounds of baggage brought back from Taylor's trip to the States: 150lbs! A lot of that was truck parts. Some of it was whiskey.
Shocks added to the rear of the truck: 2, The roads and the weight began taking their toll on our rear shocks in Peru. Unable to source or fly in the correct ones, KP just bolted a couple extra alongside the old ones to surprisingly good effect.
1. Favorite town: Chivay. A quiet, friendly vibe, beautiful square filled with good restaurants, great local hot-springs, and beautiful surroundings that reminded us of John Day river country helped us feel right at home.
2. Favorite meal: Alpaca burger and beer at a small brewery in Aguas Calientes. We’d just finished the hike back from Macchu Picchu and the outstanding food, good beer, a very friendly Venezuelan waiter, and two free Pisco Sours helped to cap off a perfect day.
3. Most unexpected thing: How truly, epically beautiful most of the country is. You don’t have to seek it out, just drive from one place to another.
4. Favorite encounter: Not sure if this really counts, the pink flamingos I shared the beach with every day for my morning runs, kite-boarding in Paracas.
5. Favorite local beer: Pilsen. Light, but with a good flavor, it goes down easy and is well under $1 per can.
6. Favorite drive: While Taylor was back home, drinking IPA’s, seeing Broadway shows, and attending a wedding, I turned a two-day drive through Paracas National Reserve into a week-long solo boondoggle of driving up dunes, camping wherever looked nice, and generally not talking to a single soul for days on end. It was awesome.
7. Favorite Campsite: On our way to the Pastoruri Glacier, we spent one night along the shores of a small, glacial fed lake deep in the heart of Huarascaran National Park. We cooked over the fire, enjoyed the view, and slept terribly after running out of propane and trying to breath the thin air at our highest camp to ever, at 15,600’. Now that’s overlanding!
8. Most frustrating thing: Lima traffic. It’s not even all that congested, it’s just that there must be some sort of point system for hitting each other.
9. Favorite experience: Hiking Colca Canyon. Was it hard? Yep, but not THAT hard. I mean, we did survive.. Plus it was really inspiring to see Taylor push herself to her limits and come out the other side triumphant; already considering future backpack trips before our legs even stopped shaking.
10. Best thing about the country: The food. Probably second only to Mexico, the sheer diversity in type and flavor had us eating out much more than we should have.
Favorite picture: This one of a llama just nonchalantly looking over an ancient valley from his perch high above, in a long-abandoned pre-Incan city. To her credit, I didn't see the potential in this shot, but Taylor insisted I take it and it's probably one of the single best pictures of our trip..
1. Favorite town: Chacas, a beautiful little mountain we reached after driving over the Huascaran National Park. We had an ice cream and wandered the square where the locals were delighted to see a couple random Gringos visiting their town. So cute!
2. Favorite meal: In Lima, I had the best Thai food Peru has to offer at our favorite Irish bar Molly’s. A sentence I never thought I would be forming, but seriously, it was so good! We ate three meals in two days at Molly’s, and this was after KP had already eaten there three times while waiting for me to fly back from the states!
3. Most unexpected thing: My love for llamas, alpacas, and Vicuña, and their abundance in the high altitude plains of Peru. I never get tired of seeing them!
4. Favorite encounter: We stopped at the Reserva Nacional de Pampas Galeras which is home to thousands of wild Vicuñas, we were even visited by one of the park rangers with a 1-day-old baby Vicuña in her arms. It was one of my favorite moments of the whole trip!!
5. Favorite local drink: Pretty much anything with Pisco in it!! Pisco Sour, Chilcano (kind of like a Pisco mule with more fruit), and Capitans (A Pisco Manhattan with sweet vermouth!)
6. Favorite drive: I took the wheel for a whole day driving us across the Huascaran National Park and climbing from 9k’ to over 15k’ and back down. It was an epic and beautiful drive!
7. Favorite campsite: Camping Guadalupe in Caraz where we spent about 10 days working on the truck, blog, website, facebook etc. and then had a Happy Hour every evening with our fellow Overlanders. We even had movie nights with Megan and Nick in the camper to watch The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi!
8. Most frustrating thing: The Peruvian Stare! When the locals see you and don’t quite understand what you’re doing in their town, a lot of time they just stare at you as you pass. No wave, no acknowledgment, just a blank, open-mouthed stare. Totally bizarre!!
9. Favorite experience: I conquered some of the toughest hikes I have ever done in my life. Hiking from 12,600’ - 14,600’ in just 2km at Lago Churup, and then hiking 28km in two days in Colca Canyon including straight up 3,600’ in 5km.
10. Best thing about the country: Getting back to wild camping, driving on rough roads for days before you reached a town, but still being able to go in to a city for great food and drinks. Also the weird abundance of Irish bars...
I had to sneak over the edge of the hillside to get this amazing shot of a Peruvian woman tending to her herd of Llamas! Gotta say, I almost ran down and joined her!!
Pawley Pisco Sour
3 ounces Peruvian Quebranta (ask at your local liquor store if they stock Pisco, in Oregon they do!)
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce passion fruit juice (or another yummy tropical juice..)
A bit less than 1 ounce simple syrup
1/3-1/2 of an egg white
Angostura Bitters (2-3 dashes)
Put everything in a shaker on 2 large cubes of ice.
Shake it 'till you can't shake it no more! (Or until all the ice is gone)
Don't strain it from the shaker, remove the top and pour it out gently to keep all the glorious foam. Splash two or three dashes of bitters on top and try not to get as addicted as we did.. :)