We got together once again with client Rosemary Morlin about her latest trip to Peru.
This year had the unexpected bonus of seeing elements of Peruvian life which few tourists see. I spent the first week trekking northwards from Astobamba via Tambillo, Yangalán, Yanacancha, Tambo Cocha, and ending at Pillco Cancha. Then, after spending a night in La Unión, I travelled south to Huancayo via Tomayquichua, San Pedro de Cajas, where we visited the little-known Inca ruins of Tarmatambo and a woodcarver's workshop at Molinos near Jauja. From Huancayo I returned to Lima by bus and flew up to Cusco where I spent a week before returning to the UK.
1. This is your 13th visit to Peru, what keeps driving you back?
It's a big country with lots of interesting things which are not well known outside its boundaries. You must remember that it is six times bigger than the UK. I am interested in the history, archaeology, and culture of the country. I am also fluent in Spanish which allows me to really get to know the locals.
2. Where did you go on your recent trip?
First of all I went to Caraz to acclimatize. We then started at Astobamba and went north via Tambillo, Yanacancha, Tambo Cocha, ending at Pillco Cancha. After the trek I spent a week in the Central Andes visiting Tomayquichua (home of the actress Perricholi who was immortalized by Jacques Offenbach in his operetta La Périchole), San Pedro de Cajas, Tarma, Jauja, and Huancayo. I then spent the last week of the trip in Cusco with trips to Wata and Llacapata.
3. We know you're captivated by Peru's rich and Varied history and culture, what was it about this trip that caught your attention?
Mainly history and archaeology. I saw a side of Peru which most tourists never see. I was touched by the generosity of the campesinos at Tambillo who invited us to share their evening meal and also with a local family in Tambo Cocha who let us sleep in their barn. I also enjoyed watching cows being milked by hand at Yanagalán.
4. We've lost track of all the different treks you've been on, remind us how many you've done and which one is your favourite?
Starting in 2011, I've done 12 treks in Peru. There are three which I particularly enjoyed: Capac Ñan in 2015, Choquequirao, and the one I did this year which I have dubbed 'The three bridges'.
5. This is your 14th trip with Journey Latin America, what is it about us that keeps you coming back?
I know that Journey Latin America are reliable, experienced, trustworthy, and flexible as far as tailor-made trips are concerned.
6. Did you find that we could tailor-make your trip to how you wanted?
7. Will you be returning to Peru on your next trip or venture to another country?
It is most likely to be Peru.
8. What advice would you have for somone visiting Peru for the first time?
Spend some time learning Spanish as you are going to get more out of this trip if you do. I would also suggest doing what I did and visit places which will give you a feel for the country and its history and are used to tourists such as Arequipa, Puno, Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. Invest in a good pair of boots or walking shoes as pavements are uneven in cities and most roads and paths outside large towns are unpaved.
9. And what about people returning for a second or third time?
It's then time to visit places which don't get so many tourists such as the north (Huaraz and the Cordillera Blanca, Trujillo, Chachapoyas) or the centre (Huancayo, Ayacucho). There is also much in the Cusco region to keep one occupied such as Choquequirao, Lares Valley and the Inca suspension bridge at Queswachaca.