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Peru: Lima, Cusco and Machu Picchu. Unusual choices for a honeymoon?


Honeymooning at Machu Picchu, Peru. Photo: Shannon Kircher for TravelBoldly.com
 Is honeymooning at Machu Picchu, Peru an unusual choice?  Not according to Shannon Kircher, for her and her husband Peru was the perfect place for an adventure filled honeymoon. Photos by Shannon Kircher
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Peru: Lima, Cusco and Machu Picchu. Unusual choices for a honeymoon?


Guest Post by Shannon Kircher

When people ask where my husband and I honeymooned after our recent nuptials, the response is almost universally the same: “Peru?” This is accompanied by raised eyebrows and a general curiosity about what helped us decide on a South American adventure in lieu of a more traditional post-wedding escape.

Let me start by saying that my now-husband and I live in the Caribbean, on the beachy island of Anguilla, where we’ve built a home and tied the knot in front of friends and family. Knowing that we’d return to white sands and turquoise waters, we didn’t need to escape to another island somewhere around the world. We wanted adventure; something entirely different. We wanted an experience that we could perhaps enjoy more easily with youth on our side and a destination that neither of us had visited. My husband and I are both huge travelers with a few stints living abroad under our belts. We have an ever-growing travel bucket list that’s a mile long and sprinkled with untouched far-flung locales. Peru topped both of our lists so we planned out two weeks on what was quite possibly one of
the most incredible travel experiences ever: from the city streets of Lima to Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Amazon River, we left with a great taste of Southern Peru and a desire to keep exploring South America. Was it the sexiest honeymoon? Well, no. It was, however, a chance for us to continue to explore the world together and kick off our marriage with a sampling of what the future has in store. Here’s a taste of our experience, with spots that left us awe-inspired and locales that left us a bit underwhelmed.

Part two of Shannon's Peruvian honeymoon adventure on TravelBoldly.

Lima


Getting a taste of Lima Peru's European architecture. Photo: Shannon Kircher for TravelBoldly.com
Getting a taste of Lima's European architecture 
We kicked off our honeymoon with four nights in Lima. In hindsight that was entirely too long in the context of our trip but it gave us a chance to recoup after a week of wedding stress and entertaining. For us, Lima was a city of gastronomy, pure and simple. We spent a half-day exploring the ruins of Pachacamac on the outskirts of the city and made it a mission to explore some of the local markets, but our time in Lima was primarily spent dining and acclimating to the chilly July weather. Like many big international cities, it’s a bit congested and a bit dirty, plus Lima bore much more of a Spanish influence
than the Incan-infused Peru that can be found in places like Cusco and the Sacred Valley. We had seen the major ‘must-see’ sights in a day and spent the rest of our time in the city wandering on foot, and focusing on our consumption of ceviche and pisco sours across Lima. We dined at places like Panchita, Chez Wong, Maido, and a standout restaurant called Central where we were given a behind-the-scenes tour of their operation. We were a bit surprised – and dare I say, disappointed? – to note that Lima’s bar scene is nearly non-existent. I love cafes and bars for people watching and a chance to chat up locals. We met up with friends living in Lima who explained that the bar/pub scene that is a staple of many major international cities doesn’t really exist in Peru. Still, we didn’t leave hungry. Or thirsty.

Our mission in Lima was accomplished and we were ready to jet off to Cusco for a richer taste of Peru.

Cusco


I vividly remember looking out my window as we descended into Cusco, feeling like we had finally made it to Peru. When we pulled up to our hotel, an old converted Monastery near the Plaza de Armas, I was astounded. This was the Peru I had wanted to see; this was the South America that I wanted to experience. Incan influence was clearly existent here, though we spent some time trying to decide which elements were authentic.

Plaza de Armas in Cusco, Peru. Photo: Shannon Kircher for TravelBoldly.com
Plaza de Armas in Cusco, Peru
While altitudes in Peru get a bit more dramatic than Cusco, the city’s 12,000 foot elevation was still a bit dizzying. We opted out of taking pills for altitude sickness but were religious about sipping coca tea to help fight the effects. The sun was out, the weather was perfect and the mountainous backdrop was dramatic. After our initial moments of awe, we began exploring the city, heading down to the main markets, sipping on freshly squeezed juices and taking in the sights, sounds and scents of our surroundings. The city was alive with a je ne sais quoi that really great places have. We only had two days in Cusco and we could have easily spent much longer just breathing the place in and gaining a better sense of the history and Incan culture.

Incan fortress of Machu Picchu, Peru. Photo: Shannon Kircher for TravelBoldly.com
Watching the sun rise over the Citadel in Machu Picchu, the 
Lost City of the Incas. It was built around 1450 and is one of 
the New Seven Wonders of the World. Entry is limited to 2500 
visitors per day to reduce impact on the historic site.
My husband decided to test out the ‘in sickness and in health’ thing pretty quickly, and ended up
experiencing intense altitude sickness on day two (the verdict is still out on whether or not the pisco tasting the night before played a hand in that). After a hearty dose of oxygen, lots of water and a great deal of rest, he was almost 100% by the time we arrived at our next destination, Machu Picchu. A bit of advice for anyone that’s sensitive to altitude: try the soroche tablets to keep your head on straight and enjoy your time in the city. As we discovered, the onset isn’t generally immediate.

From Cusco, we continued onto Machu Picchu, where altitude sickness dissipated and we continued our newlywed adventures in Peru. Stay tuned to read about our awe-inspiring time in the Sacred Valley of the Incas and excursions on the Amazon River.


Shannon Kircher is the founder and editor of The Traveling Scholar. After previous stints in London and San Francisco, she now lives in the British West Indies on the island of Anguilla. You can contact her via Facebook and Twitter.

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