I’m recovering at La Casona Plaza in Puno, Peru. It’s unfortunate that I got sick during the last few days of my trip. The fever struck while I was in Copacabana, Bolivia. I felt like a teakettle desperately wanting off the stove. I was burning up in cool, breezey Copa. I kept the windows open. I tossed and turned and stared at my traveling alarm clock for 14 hours. I didn’t sleep at all. Although I thought Copa ws magical, it’s a testament to Peru that I cancelled my travel to La Paz and returned back to a country I had falled in love with.
Reflecting on my world-wide travels (25 countries total), I’ve never encountered people who are more hospitable, who go out of their way to make sure you’re ok and on the right track without expecting anything in return. The Peruvians are a delight and I’m really happy I came here.
There’s a great deal to see and do. I think we packed it in quite nicely: Urubamba and the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, and Cusco. The highlights for me were the grueling hike up Wayna Picchu and the incredible meals. Don’t come if you’re vegetarian! In fact, with all the meat and seafood I consumed, I plan on temporarily becoming vegetarian when I get back home. I give it a week.
I was on my own the second week. I made my way to Puno on a 10 hour tour bus which was surprisingly comfortable. The tour was interesting, too. We stopped at a petting zoo where we got to feed the llamas and alpacas. That was my favorite part. On the bus in front of me was an American couple. The guy was wearing a SF Giants baseball cap. I asked if he was from California. Turns out, the couple live down the street from me. They met as employees of Chevron. She’s a geologist. He’s a chemical engineer. This was sort of a belated honeymoon for them. They were super friendly. When they bumped into me at a restaurant later on that night, they asked to join me and for the next two hours we had an engaging conversation.
Lake Titicaca was beautiful. The water is clear, iridescent. The islands are unique. Uros are floating islands. Taquile is interesting because the people wear clothing that indicates gender, age, marital status, whether or not you live with your parents, if you’re having a bad day, if you’re an official or the child of an official.
On to Bolivia. A bus will take you from Puno to Copa. You check out at the Peru Immigration building, walk down the street, and check in at Bolivia Immigrations. The bus will wait for you to process these transactions. The biggest thing I noticed is that Bolivia is extremely inexpensive. My lodging went from $40 / night in Peru to $14 in Copa. Granted there are a range of accommodations, but on all levels Bolivia was much cheaper. My meals were $1-3 whereas our meals in Peru averaged $7-10 / person.
I do feel I need to return to Bolivia. Next year, I’m planning on Chile. I’m considering stopping in La Paz for a few days beforehand. Based on my experience during this trip, I consider Peru one of my favorite destinations along with Belize, Costa Rica, Brazil, and France.