Sending my Dad to Peru

Earlier this year, former Llama Travel Consultant Suzi had to arrange a Llama Travel trip to Peru for a particularly special customer – her dad! Check out below for Suzi’s amazing blog about how she helped prepare her dad for the holiday of a lifetime, and to find out how he got on once be landed on Peruvian soil!

“In 2010 and 2011 I traveled around Central and South America and sent various emails home to my parents describing all of my adventures. Last year I finally convinced my Dad to go on a holiday to Peru. After discussing all of the different locations to visit in Peru, he decided that if he was going to go all that way he may as well see everything and chose our Grand Tour of Peru with the Inca Trail. This holiday visits Lima, the Amazon Jungle, Cusco, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, Arequipa and Colca Canyon with a final stop on the Pacific Coast to visit the Nazca lines.

Once he booked the holiday, he started asking all the usual questions…. What vaccinations he needed, what clothes to take, will the altitude affect him?

I suggested that it was best to go the Doctor or travel clinic to double check which vaccinations he may need, as he has already traveled to places in Asia and Africa and so may already have had some of the recommend ones.

As my Dad was going to be visiting all different locations in Peru I advised that layers were the best option to take with him, as he was probably going to be getting sunny days in most places but colder nights when at altitude. A waterproof is always handy to take too.

In regards to altitude, it affects few people severely and is not age specific. The majority of people will feel slightly tired and have a mild headache the first few days they are at altitude and it is recommended to drink plenty of water, eat smaller meals and not to do too many activities. The local remedy for altitude sickness is Coca tea which is said to relieve you of some of the symptoms.

I popped home the weekend before he was due to depart and made sure he had everything ready, turns out he had everything more or less prepped and was ready to go! Then the day came when it was time for him to get up at the crack of dawn and catch his flight to Lima, since then I got daily emails about his adventures!

The first email was to let us know he had arrived safely and, despite his bag being the last off the plane, the Llama group was there waiting for him and ready to drop him off to his hotel for a good rest. His review of the hotel was: ‘the bed is comfy and the TV has over 50 Spanish channels!’

On his first day in Lima, before he took our Colonial Lima tour he went for a wander around Miraflores and came across an old Elizabethan house with an old biplane in the front garden. My Dad loves planes and flying them and so could not resist having a chat with the security guard at the front of the house (although I am intrigued how the chatting went, as my Dad is not the best at Spanish. I think a lot of hand gestures and facial expressions may have been used!). As Peruvians are some of the loveliest people I have met, I’m not surprised that the security guard let my Dad in and gave him a tour around the house and plane! It was a good start to his holiday, and after he had been on the Llama Travel excursion, he had made some friends to have dinner with.

The next email I received was when he arrived in Cusco after his trip the Jungle, he had a good time and saw 4 kinds of monkeys, various birds, tarantulas, a poisonous snake (called a fer de lance), caimans, and (in hos words!) some strange creatures that looked like giant guinea pigs. Despite having torrential rain on their last day and there being some hold ups, with buses and lorries getting stuck in the mud, they made it to the airport and eventually to Cusco.

I’m afraid that I am not able to re-word my Dad’s adventures as he has described them so well, so here are a few snippets:

About our Sacred Valley excursion:

Been along the ‘Sacred Valley’ today.  Some beautiful scenery, and we got a little bit of rain!  We visited Ollantaytambo, which is a sun temple with numerous terraces, which we eventually climbed to the top.  The trip included a nice lunch at a lovely hotel/ restaurant, where we were serenaded by Peruvian music.  The musicians were so good that at times they made music without touching their instruments – wonders of modern electronics!

The Inca Trail:

Have survived the Inca Trail! It was tough going, and on 2 days, towards evening it poured with rain and we all got soaked. I was able to keep just enough dry clothes to put on at night to keep warm in my sleeping bag. We got some lovely views, often with the clouds below us, and visited some Inca sites en route.  Everyone was exhausted at the end, including the guides.  I slept well when I got back to the hotel!

Andean Village, Maras and Moray:

We visited a Peruvian farmer’s house for lunch, which was very nice and tasty.  We were welcomed on the edge of the village and each given a woven wrist-band as a gift.  Afterward lunch, we were shown their traditional ceremonies they must perform before working on the land, and then how to use their ‘foot-plough’, which is a euphemism for a fancy shovel.  We also visited some ancient salt-pans which are still being used, and some Inca terracing which creates a temperature difference of 15 – 20 degrees between top and bottom so different crops can be grown on different terraces.

Lake Titicaca:

We had a lovely journey here from Cusco.  Really nice, sunny weather!  No rain all day!  When we arrived the guide commented that they had had rain 2 days ago, which was unheard of – the rainy season is supposed to have finished.  So perhaps I have brought the British weather with me!

The coach here was lovely, very comfy seats, air conditioning, big windows, plenty of leg room.  And I sat at the front and got an even better view. Luxury travel! We stopped at several very interesting places, so I have quite a few photos to show you.  I have also tried to get pictures of some of the characters you see at the roadside.

Had a lovely boat trip on Lake Titicaca today.  We visited the ‘Islands of Reeds’.  Small groups of families have their houses and some ‘land’ around them on floating islands of reeds.  They showed us how they build the islands and houses, and showed us inside their houses. It was an amazing place.

We then visited another island (a real one!) on the Lake.  We had a lovely lunch, which included deliciously cooked trout, at a farm house. The men on this island knit clothes while the women spin and weave. At the end of the trip, we visited an old ‘gun boat’ (which had no guns) and was built in Britain in the 1860’s to help the Peruvians in their war with Chile.  (Chile won).  It’s now a museum piece.  It took 6 years to get it from the Pacific coast to Lake Titicaca.

Arequipa & Colca Canyon:

Arrived at Arequipa last night.  The hotel is on the main square, and has an outside balcony where you can have breakfast and watch what is going on in the square at the same time.  So I had a leisurely breakfast doing that, and this afternoon we had a tour round some of the interesting parts of the city.

Got up early this morning to go along the Colca Canyon to see the condors.  We were fortunate and saw a number of condors soaring in the thermals, they are amazing birds, and the canyon is very beautiful.  Also saw a humming bird.”

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