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Explore Ecuador and Peru This Summer

 

  City
  Country Peru
  Subjects Covered: Cultural Study
    Language Study
  Program Duration: 2+ weeks
  Program Starts: Weekly

 

In Ecuador I climbed the famed 15,000 foot Cotapaxi Mountain...Shopped in the city of Otavalo in one of the all time biggest, best and least expensive Indian markets I have ever encountered...Experienced the interesting tradition of the throwing of water balloons in celebration of Carnival and tasting my very first roast Cuy (guinea pig)in the very beautiful colonial city of Cuenca...Lived the good life in the capital city of Quito eating at numerous very cheap, very good restaurants serving every imaginable type of cuisine and experiencing the culture through theater with a great production of Ecuador?s Ballet Folklorico - all the while reveling in being able to buy many things and get almost anywhere for under $1 USD! ... Explored the lagoons, mountains and stunning rugged scenery of the Cajas National Park (known for its UFO sightings) just outside of Cuenca...then back up north to take in the beautiful scenery of the SierrAzul Cloud Forest Reserve - by Mule, Bicycle, SUV and foot!


...Lima - this is a GREAT city with a sadly bad (and outdated) reputation. Home to gorgeous weather, the city is perched on cliffs overlooking the Pacific. As little as ten years ago, even locals didn?t feel safe walking the streets, but the improvement in safety is a full 360 degrees from the "olden days". The downtown area can be seen rather quickly, the real action is in the neighborhoods surrounding the city. Miraflores, Barranco, Montericco and San Isidro are all great neighborhoods in which to spend some time shopping, eating, museum hopping and taking part in the lively nightlife.

...Cusco - first destination on the list of many, is a quaint colonial city with beautiful red-roofed buildings surrounded by towering mountains. The Casa del Campo hostal overlooks the city and is incredible - well worth the steep hike up to the rooms. It?s a little more expensive than some others, but at $25-30 USD per night you definitely get your money's worth. We got mugged here (?strangle muggings? are all the rage in various parts of Peru - be on guard!) which flavored the experience a bit but the reality of the situation is that the city may be small, but because there are so many tourists, it is a hot spot for the "get rich quick" schemes of thiefs. Use the normal precautions in such an area - only take registered taxis, don?t walk away from crowded areas, don?t walk at all after 11pm, don?t flaunt jewelry, etc, don?t have many valuables with you at any one time and always have only a COPY of your passport with you - and in all likelihood you will be fine. Most people aren?t robbed, obviously, but better safe than sorry!

...Machu Pichu - every bit worth the long, somewhat motion sickness inducing combination train and bus ride to get there. Even if you aren?t a ?guided tour? person, worthwhile here to get the full history and local folklore of the place. We did the trip in a day and felt we got a good idea of the place, but the Inka Trail (approx 4 days for the full thing, although the last part of the trail, about one day, is often said to be the best) is also said to be well worth the experience.

...Arequipa - a beautiful colonial town with a must see old Monastery - even for those who don?t like such things - on my list of favorites right up there with Machu Pichu!

...Puno/Lake Titicaca - Stunning scenery, but be prepared for the cold and altitude to hit harder than they do in many of the other mountainous areas of Peru! Much less touristy than we expected, but that definitely added to the charm of the place. There are various islands worth a visit, but we most enjoyed the floating islands of Uros (also closest to the mainland, for those without much time).

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