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PERU - DAY ONE - Arequipa

Previous Blogs:

Day 1 - Arequepa | Day 2 - Yanque | Day 3 - Colca Canyon | Day 4 - Lake Titicaca | Day 5 - Road to Cusco | Day 6 - Machu Picchu | Day 7 - Cusco

Day 8 - Sacred Valley | Day 9 - Salt and Terraces | Day 10 - Rain Forrest | Day 11-12 - Rainforest/Lima | Day 13 - Paracus

Click photos for a larger image...

This is the first international vacation we have taken that I can recall where we stayed in the same time zone. Yes, Peru is on EST even though the country is located on the Pacific Ocean.

One tends to think of South America as being due south of the USA, but it is not, it is actually South East meaning the West Coast of South America is actually directly below the East Coast of North America.

It's also a pretty short flight from Florida. Only 5 hours from Fort Lauderdale. So we hopped a small plane to Lauderdale from Tampa - 1 hour - and then Jet Blue to Lima the capital and largest city in Peru. Being a regional flight there were no free meals or drinks :-( but because the flight was delayed by an hour they gave us each 2 free drinks so that worked out!

We arrived in Lima well after midnight getting to our hotel after 1 am. By the time we had checked in, had a couple drinks it was 2.30am. AND we had to get up at 6am to have breakfast and meet our bus at 7am to go back to the airport. So 2 1/2 hours sleep is all we had!

The hotel was a cute pension and even had a resident kitty that Wendy got to play with!

Currency in Peru is the SOL and there are 3 Sol to one US Dollar so figuring prices is pretty easy, just divide the price you see by 3 and you are all set!

Peru so far is not expensive, but neither is it cheap. Beers at the hotel are about $2.50 each and a gallon of gas is about $3.00. I am sure beers will get cheaper as we start buying from local stores.

The included breakfast was a bread roll, boiled egg, cheese and ham, a little sparse but adequate.

The flight to Arequipa was on a local airline that looked and felt just like any US airline - Airbus A320, boxed snacks (free) and soft drinks. Flight was a little over an hour and as you can see on the map above we are heading south.

Peru must have a really bad sewer system because no where are you allowed to flush toilet paper - even in the fancy hotels and airports there are signs instructing you to place toilet paper in the supplied container and not to flush. We've see that before in small towns in Mexico and Brazil, but never in the major cities, airports and hotels!

We were picked up at the airport and taken on a 3 hour city tour.

What was interesting is that we saw the exact same thing here as we have seen in Egypt and Jamaica. House were unfinished - the top story was not built - and here for the same reason as the other countries, as long as your house is under construction you don't have to pay taxes on it! So just leave the top floor under construction and you are good to go forever!

Arequipa is a city that sits 7000 feet above sea level and has a population of 1 million. Like the rest of the country the primary industries are tourism and farming.

I think he's making an ass out of himself!

Farms basically in the middle of the city


At a 16th Century church

A park downtown surrounded by 500 year old buildings

Overall the downtown part of the city really reminds me of Old Town San Juan in Puerto Rico

We then went on a tour of the Monasterio Santa Catalina which was built in the 1500's and has been preserved to demonstrate how the nuns lived in those days. The monastery was originally a small city and now is a city within a city.

Walkways twist and turn

Paintings abound most date back about 300 years

This is the laundry!

Each door leads to a home that was once occupied by a nun

Finally, LOOK AT THOSE BUBBLES in this delightful lager - this is not a Bud light!!!


Tomorrow we're picked up at 7:30am for our journey to Colca Canyon where we'll visit a dormant volcano, hot springs and a whole bunch of other cool stuff.  Til then...