In May of 2017, my family (husband, Luis; 19yo son, Ryan; 16yo daughter, Camryn) set out on a trip of a lifetime to the beautfiul and diverse Peru. It was a mix of family, adventure and history.
Our first stop was Lima to see Luis' family and attend his brother's wedding. The service was quaint and romantic and the reception to follow was extravagant! Stepping inside, our breath was taken away with drop dead gorgeous flower arrangements and fairy tale lighting, checkerboard dance floor and more food and drink than anyone could ask for! Dining and dancing went on until the early morning hours (helped out with the Peruvian tradition "La hora loca" where a hired crew come out on the dance floor with props of a certain theme, in this case Beauty and the Beast). We spent a couple more days loving the Peruvian cuisine and catching up with family, and then we were off to begin our Amazonian adventure and boarded our flight to Iquitos.
After a quick flight, we headed to our hotel, Epoca, which was a former Baron's mansion. The antiquated styling was stunning and nothing like anything we had ever seen. We could really feel the history as we sat on the balcony overlooking the river. The next day, the shuttle came to take us to the port of Nauta so we could take a boat out into the jungle. While waiting for the boat, our guide walked us around the town and we were able to taste some of the local fruits and observe daily life of the people there . As we walked to the boat, we could hardly contain our excitement as we were about to head deep into the Amazon jungle to the truly unique, Treehouse Lodge.
After a few hours motorboat ride, we arrived at our destination. We had seen pictures online, of course, but seeing it in person took our breath away! There were 10 freestanding thatch roofed treehouses ranging from 40-70 feet into the air. After a delicous welcome snack, we headed out to our treehouses (1 for our kids, and 1 for us). We had chosen the 2 furthest away. The rooms had nothing but mesh as walls, mesh covered canopy beds and shower, sink and toilet that ran with river water. Each was accessible only with a suspension bridge. Our personal guide took us fishing for piranah (which we ate for lunch) and swimming in the Amazon River. We also had a monkey encounter and visited villages where we learned their history, traditions and got to play with a family sloth, Pablo. We spent 3 days at the Lodge enjoying many jungle adventures and eating delicious, local Peruvian food.
Next on the itinerary was Machu Picchu to climb the mega Huayna Picchu, so it was back to Lima to catch a flight to Cusco followed by a cab ride to Ollantaytambo then a train to Aguas Calientes and finally a bus up to Machu Picchu. Sounds easy right? Ha!! There's this little thing called altitude sickness and it found me right when we arrived at our hotel in Ollantaytambo. I was ready to pack up and head back to Lima when Luis and Ryan scoured the town for a doctor to see what could be done to fix me quick! Next thing I knew, I was in the little Topico with IV meds and on the mend by around midnight. But, I knew I was too weak to climb that mountain and was so upset that I was about to ruin such an experience for my family. We woke up around 8 (our train to MP was at 6) and set out to the train station to beg to get on a later train to at least visit the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. With a little persuasion (and cash!) we were soon on our way! It was a slow yet beautiful day. We took our time and reveled in the sights. Oh, did I mention it was my husband's and my 10 year anniversary that day? So, on the way out, on a bridge where people place locks, Luis pulled one from his pocket and we commemorated our visit forever (or until they remove the locks so the bridge doesn't fall!) and headed back to our hotel.
Feeling like we were ready for some relaxation (and a hot shower), we headed back to Lima for more family time. We had his nephew's birthday party in the city and the next day we set out for Barrancadero, a secluded beach vacation commuity managed by Luis' father. Being that it was winter there, we had the place to ourselves. The beach, cliffs and caves were beautiful and the quality time with his family was priceless.
After an 11 day journey, it was time to head back to the States. We had visitied the city, jungle, mountains and the coast. You'd think we had done it all...but no, Peru has so much more to do and we can't wait to go back and explore it even more!