The Journey to Peru
In the summer of 2018, I was extremely fortunate to have a few months off from my job, so I figured this would the perfect time to visit South America again. The last time I was on the continent was in 2017 when I visited Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Chile. To be honest, I could not wait to go back to South America.
The area had impressed me so much with its history, culture, and sites that I was extremely excited at the prospect of being able to return and explore some more. During my planning, I often had dreams about what it would be like to finally check these places out in real life and not rely on pictures. Of course, while I wanted to explore everything, I still was on a budget and had to prioritize and choose what I really wanted to see.
A couple weeks prior, I had made the journey from the US to Central America. During that trip, I had the privilege to spend some time in Panama where I got to go through the Panama Canal, visit Costa Rica with some amazing day trips to Tortuguero National Park and Irazú Volcano, and see the Dominican Republic with its amazing colonial history in Santo Domingo. That Central American trip, aside from an airport blunder, was a success since I had managed to now visit every country in Central America and my first Caribbean island nation.
My goal this time was to explore more of South America with a focus on the northwestern portion of the country. My initial goal was to do Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana, but that trip was rather difficult to plan due to the logistics and was going to be a bit more expensive than what I was currently prepared to spend, but I can save that trip for a later time. Instead, I figured that I would start in Peru, make my way south to Bolivia then head up to north to Ecuador and finish off with Colombia.
The journey to Peru started relatively early in the morning with a flight from the US to Panama City, Panama on Copa Airlines for a layover. Unlike the last time I used Copa Airlines, I made sure to get to the airport a bit earlier than usual to avoid the long lines. This strategy worked, and I was one of the first passengers at the check-in desk. It was not long before the line grew quite long.
The flight to Panama City, Panama was pleasant with no issues, and since I was sitting in the window seat this time, I was able to get a nice view of a variety of ships that were lining up to go through the Panama Canal along with a beautiful albeit distant view of the Panama City skyline with its tens of dozens skyscrapers.
Upon landing, there was a relatively short layover of about an hour, so I did not even bother going to the lounge since I would have had . Because I was tired, I took a seat at one of the empty gates and took a nap before heading over to the gate. The flight to Lima was uneventful, and upon arrival, I made my way through immigration, baggage claim, and customs. The driver I had asked the hotel in Lima to send was waiting for me, and it took a bit of time to get to the hotel from the airport due to the infamous Lima traffic congestion. However, we got there in one piece.
During the planning stage of this trip, I was torn on where in Lima to stay. My first preference was to stay in the historic center, but I had read in different sources that the area could be a bit sketchy after dark whereas Miraflores, which is where the hotel is located, is wealthier and safer. The hotel I stayed at, the Habitat Hotel, is located close to one of the Metropolitano bus stops and within easy walking distance.
When I got to the hotel, I was given my room, and my first impressions was that the room was basic but relatively large and comfortable. However, one unique aspect of this hotel was that the bathroom had a window that looked into the bedroom. In addition, there was no proper shower. Instead, the shower was installed inside the jacuzzi. This meant I had to stand on the sloping curves of the jacuzzi in order to shower. I had never experienced a bathroom quite like this before, but it was unique.
One particular aspect I enjoyed about the Habitat Hotel was the breakfast each morning. There was a large variety of food to choose from, and that was often my big meal of the deal where I filled up on orange juice, ham, cheese, sausages, and a variety of fresh fruits, such as pineapple, watermelon, and cantaloupe.
Despite the unusual bathroom setup in the hotel room, I was super excited that I had finally made it to my 77th country without any issues or delays! Peru had long been on my travel list, and I would now have the chance to see many of the sites I had often heard about but never seen with my own eyes.