~Jonathan Lockwood Huie
I follow my own star and my own inner compass.
My journey to beautiful places in Peru left me in amazement! I got to camp out for 3 nights in the Amazons, climb to Kuelap, and canoe in the rivers, along with other many places that I will mention. Everyday was an adventure and this was a great beginning to my love for traveling. Since I was younger when I went on this trip, partying was high on my list. So, I stayed at loads of hostels, where I met new faces with no care in the world! In this article, you get to learn about my experiences and some of the beautiful places in Peru that I visited.
Table of Contents
In Yurimaguas, Peru (near the Amazons), I could see that it’s one of the most beautiful places in Peru. All the people are so welcoming with open arms as well. I found out that I’m considered something fascinating here because of my porcelain skin (oh, lucky me)!
Slowly on my journey, I’m picking up on Spanish since not many people in this town know English. Although my thoughts are a bit scrambled when it comes to Spanish. This adventure started on December 30th, in Lima, Peru. What a big city! 10 million people, 10 million people bustling down the streets. It makes me suffocate! All these buildings, all these people.
I have never been a city girl. Even when I lived in Denver, Colorado. It just doesn’t call to me. What I can’t live without, is nature. Being surrounded by it just makes my whole body calm and feel at home.
Maybe it’s because I have more love for animals than humans that I enjoy nature so much. Now, let me explain. The way I see it, is that animals are innocent and along came us, the humans. We have destroyed so much out of greed and selfishness. So sorry, but I have more caring feelings for animals that can’t fight back.
In Lima, Peru, I ran into a little trouble. I was on my way walking back to my hostel. Now, my sense of direction is a mess. I have confidence, so it may seem like I know where I’m going, but I have no idea!
This Peruvian guy began talking to me. He kept asking for my name or phone number. My Spanish is not there yet, but I repeatedly said no, and he kept driving by my side. This went on for about ten minutes. It was my lucky day! Up ahead, I saw a police man on the sidewalk. Just as I saw him, the guy in the car must have too. He spun out of there so fast. That took care of that problem. But it gave me the chills. Was he planning on taking me?
I blocked that out of my mind and took out my map to show the officer. I think this was the first time I was relieved to see a cop. Strange how life throws you curve balls. He pointed me in the right direction to my hostel and I made it there in one piece!
I met up with my friend (who’s my hubby now). He’s the only reason I went on this trip and we started it off with partying in Lima. Drunkenness captivated me, and getting hit on occurred. The next day, I was awoken by people that were still partying. At the hostel people were still up and going strong. Once I was up and moving around, for about 15 minutes a guy talked to me about my eyes and, ¨How pretty they are…Wow…¨ I thought, “Oh, pleeaase…” After dealing with that, my friend and I really began our journey.
We stayed in each town or city about a day or two, then moved to the next one. The two of us traveled well together and were able to see so much. We saw Chan Chan, the Moche temples (Huanaco del Sol y de la Luna). We also saw Kuelap, which I might add was AMAZING! Kuelap was built by the warriors of the Cloud, the Chachapoya people on the side of the mountain with a spectacular view.
The next day we went to see the Gocta Waterfall in the pouring rain. But a rock slide happened so we couldn’t get any closer to it. It was a great hike! Really hard, but great, and the first one to many more for me on this trip.
Silence is what this trip has been filled with. My friend doesn’t tend to talk very much. For only knowing him for a couple of months, it’s quite a leap to take to start traveling together in a different country. What was I thinking… So good so far…
There were many nights where we had fun. We were friends with benefits. When it came time to lay down, our hands couldn’t get enough of one another.
There’s this nagging feeling I keep having. My heart beats faster when I’m near him. I don’t want to admit it, but I think I have feelings for him. We talked about how we are just friends and I understand that, but who holds the reins for when they begin to like someone. I can’t help it.
This is one of the most beautiful places in Peru being over 600 years old. When it was in its peak, it was one of the biggest cities in the Americas. Water was scarce here, making it hard to endure the hot days and having an agriculture. But nowadays, Chan Chan has the exact opposite problem, too much water. The remains of the once prosperous city is slowly being washed away.
This archaeological site resides in La Libertad Region, which is 5 kilometers (3.1 mi) west of Trujillo in the northern part of Peru. The people of Chan Chan worshiped the ocean and the sea. So, you will see artwork of fish and other designs representing this. My eyes grew even bigger once I set them on this wonderful place. In every direction you could see artwork sporadically spread on the walls with the sun’s light touching it and making it more prominent.
Etymologists believe that Chan Chan comes from the Quingnam language, where it would be “Jiang” or “Chang”. These would mean sun. Thus, coming to the conclusion that Chan Chan means sun-sun. In its days of being a city, it spanned over 20 km². In this area, there were ciudadelas, which were extraordinary architectural artwork. These held plazas, storerooms, and a place for the royals to have burials. The lower class were known to have small rooms, which were frequently used as workshops. This was due to many of the lower classes being artisans that created crafts for the royals.
If you do plan on visiting, it’s best to check out their website (in Spanish) with updates about the weather and anything else you might need to know.
This was created by Moche civilization before the Incas and was adorned with artwork, sculptures and paintings over adobe bricks. This stands near the Moche River Valley and is believed to be built in 500AD. Wander to Huaca del Sol (temple of the sun), a small temple that’s nicely preserved. There’s also Huaca de la Luna (temple of the moon), but that’s not as maintained as the other one. Even after the looting and eroding, they stand tall at 41 meters (135 feet).
As of now, this place is still a work in progress. But seeing it will show you how this is one of the most beautiful places in Peru. The artwork and the 4 levels of the details will astonish you and make you ponder about the past of these pyramids.
Trujillo, Peru is 3 km (1.9 mi.) from here, which makes it easy to take local buses or combis. I suggest looking for buses or a ride in south east of Trujillo. You can even hire a taxi if you want to feel a little more pampered.
The day started out smooth, until the rain began to pelt down. But that didn’t stop us from trying to climb to Gocta cataract (Gocta waterfall). Once we managed to get closer, we were told that a rock slide had happened and that rest of the trail was now off limits. At least we were able to see the magical waterfall from afar. At 771 meters (2,530 ft), this made it easy to spot the lovely waterfall. Since it’s that tall, it makes it the third-tallest free-leaping waterfall in the world.
Before 2006 this magical waterfall was kept secret from outsiders since the locals say there’s a curse over it. They believe that a gorgeous blonde haired mermaid lived there and that the waterfall protected her. If they were to give her whereabouts away, she would curse them. But now Gocta waterfall has turned into a tourist attraction and the trails are probably a lot better than when I visited.
Learn more about the history and how to get there at Peru for Less.
The wind picked up as we ventured up the stairs to this one of a kind beautiful place in Peru. Once we made it to Kuelap, I was blown away by the beauty, the intricate stonework, and the captivating veiw of the clouds and the mountains nearby. Seeing the massive stone walls and the impressive ruins shows a wonderful culture that is now lost. Many may say that Kuelap is the second Machu Picchu, but I think that Kuelap is better since you have the feeling of being swept into nature and another time.
It’s on the slope of the Andes in northern Peru at about 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) above sea level. The Chachapoyas did this so they were closer to the sky, which was a strategic move and for religious beliefs. Eventually this place was conquered by the Incas.
It has been believed that the Chachapoyas were actually vikings since it was said that they had fair skin and blonde hair. But the facts point to them being similar to indigenous people.
Before my friend and I thought even thought about the Amazons, a German started talking to me while my buddy was away. He took me out for some yummy street food and invited me to join on an adventure in the Amazons. I felt giddy with excitement, and decided that would be an experience! The german was fluent in Spanish, which made it so much easier to travel. My friend and I followed the German onto a ferry which brought us to a small village that was definitely not used to tourists. Once we got settled in the tour guide’s shack, it was time for us to venture out into nature.
Being the rainy season, our trip didn’t quite go as we planned. One night in the Amazons, we woke up from the impending water slowly overtaking the area. Quickly, we had to move and packed everything. The next night we dealt with ants. But the last night was the nicest. While we ventured in the Amazons, we had two tour guides that only spoke Spanish. Our journey started on a canoe and throughout the whole trip we would take the canoe to a new spot.
Over 4 days, we hiked in the amazons, tried maggots, learned how to hunt fish with machetes (we caught 8) and how to cut down trees with one as well. Everyday was an adventure! One of the days, our tour guide found a sloth that we got to see up close and even touch. Another day close to night, one of our tour guides got us a baby caiman alligator. That was wild!
It was pitch dark and the three of us along with the guides went on a canoe ride. All I hear is a splash and then silence. After what felt like forever, one of our tour guides came back and brought us a baby caiman! I thought where’s its’ mother!? But all went well. We even swam in the water and we didn’t have to worry about piranhas since it was flooding season.
This post was actually the first one that I had created on this blog. This was when I first started my journeys outside of the US and into a whole new world for me. It really opened my eyes and I instantly fell in love with traveling.
This quirky guy that I had known for such a short time has become my hubby! We have been together now for 8 years and we are still enjoying each other’s company and now with a 2 year old. The traveling life still happens and on top of that, our home base is Sweden, that’s where he’s from.
We finally admitted we had fallen for each other. Just recently, he spilled the beans about Bolivia! While we traveled separately in Bolivia, he went out of his way just to meet up with me. At the time, I hadn’t even thought of that! There was too much to see and do! I just kept thinking, “Oh cool, he’s in the same area as me.” (several times). But I’m glad that we fessed up about our feelings because I see no better person to go on journeys through my life with than him!
Did you get some inspiration for your next trip? If you’re unsure of the steps to take or what to do when you’re preparing a trip, then check out my Travel page. There, I break down the essentials that you should do if you plan on traveling. Plus, there are a lot of articles from other countries if you need more inspiration!
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