10 THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT PERU

1. Supposedly Texans do everything bigger, but Peruvians are REALLY the ones who do it bigger: they sell 5 kilo bags of rice, 7 liter bottles of water, and my favorite: the biggest chicarones, as in the size of the entire pig!

IMG_2739.JPG.jpeg

2. Stray dogs outnumber homeless people by far, we tried to count one day and just gave up. I had never seen so many! They would gather together at the piles of garbage on the street and dig through everything. They were friendly for the most part. Vince made friends with a poor guy who had been neglected so long he had dreadlocks hanging from his ears. We fed the dogs our extra chicken and bought some actual dog food for them, but they would never eat it out of our hand or even if we were nearby, they preferred to get it for themselves. 

IMG_2734.JPG.jpeg

3. In Lima you can exchange money in the street. I always went to an ATM because it felt safer, but there are lots of people that do it this way. In any case, never exchange money in the airport- they charge you tremendous fees!

4. One area where Peru is CERTAINLY not lacking is gastronomy.  From street food to 5 star restaurants, they have the most distinguished culinary elements of anywhere we have been. They boast the world’s leading chef and 2 of the top 10 best restaurants in the world.  In Cusco we ate street food most often, which is cheap and delicious. For $1 per person we could buy 2 meat and potato kebabs with sauce and a drink- or switch it up and go for some salchipapas (fries with sauces and sausage on top), or maybe even a hardy breakfast of beef, eggs, potatoes, rice and hot tea- also for just a buck. Ice cream and dozens of cakes and pastries are sold on every corner for $.25-50. I’ll tell you, this is one place you will never go hungry! The only thing you have to be careful of is anything that may have been washed in tap water. We steer clear of precut fruits they sell because we simply don’t know what kind of water it was washed in (or if it was washed at all). In restaurants we never had an issue because even most of the locals do not drink the water, so drinks are always served without ice and made with bottled or boiled water. We tried alpaca and ceviche, and I was incredibly pleasantly surprised with both. The one thing I couldn't quite get on board with was the guinea pig. I may have been more inclined to try it if it wasn’t laying there with its claws and teeth still in its head, but it is considered a delicacy in Peru and people eat it during holidays. Chicha morada is another favorite. It is a drink made with purple corn, pineapple, and lime juice and I have been obsessed ever since I landed in Peru. The other largely popular drink in Peru is the Pisco Sour. Pisco is a brandy made from grapes and by itself is an extremely strong liquor – 48% percent alcohol or about 98 proof (we had to try it though, I mean when in Peru...!). The Pisco Sour is traditionally made with lime, sugar and egg whites with variations including passion fruit (my fav) and many other fruit flavors.

 Ceviche

Ceviche

IMG_2741.JPG.jpeg
HANDERSON_MG_8973.jpg

5. In Peru taxis can actually be cheaper than Ubers. BUT there is a limit! It is only cheaper if you are riding a short distance; anything more than a few miles and Uber is the way to go. However, in Cusco you cannot schedule a ride ahead of time, which almost forces you to pay the steep prices for those early morning airport/bus station rides. In Lima there are things called moto taxis (known as tuk tuks in other parts of the world) that are best suited for short trips and few people.

IMG_2075.JPG.jpeg

6. In Cusco especially, their religion is a mix between Catholicism and Incan tradition. Even the painting of The Last Supper in Peru has the disciples eating guinea pig, in an effort to preserve Incan culture. Variations of this painting can be seen inside many churches and dining rooms. 

The Incas believe in 3 levels of existence in the world.  The first, symbolized by the snake, represents the underworld or death. The second is the present, human life, and is symbolized by the jaguar. The highest represents the celestial/spiritual plane of the gods, and is symbolized by the condor. Many people believe in the power of Shamans and their ability to lift and cast curses on people. They are also known for leading people through a healing spiritual experience and altered state of consciousness by drinking Ayahuasca. Ayahuasca causes you to hallucinate and vomit profusely while under its effects. It is for this reason that some people use it for healing purposes aside from the spiritual experience, believing that it rids the body of parasites. During the hallucination most people often see the same type of patterns and designs. These patterns as well as the 3 animals representing the levels of existence, are largely present in Peruvian art. These elements can be observed in murals, street art, and in hand made goods found in markets.  Many people in Cusco and the surrounding areas still follow this system of beliefs. They make offerings to several gods for things like safe travels or good crops, but also attend Catholic church and celebrate Catholic ceremonies and holidays.

 Image found on Google

Image found on Google

 This is not a Shaman, but he is dressed similarly to how a Shaman might dress. 

This is not a Shaman, but he is dressed similarly to how a Shaman might dress. 

 Procesión of the Virgen Del Carmen

Procesión of the Virgen Del Carmen

7. While in the US negotiating a price can sometimes be insulting, because we have more of a take it or leave it type attitude. Here negotiating is the norm and people mark up the prices slightly, expecting this. I got pretty good at doing this and was able to get deals on a lot of stuff. Not just taxi rides, food on the streets or little markets, but also in malls and actual stores. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but you can’t be afraid to walk away!

8. Along those same lines, people will sell anything on the street just to try and make some money. From brooms to paintings, and combs to toilet paper. We found it best to just not pay attention to these people because they will follow you around and bother you to the point that you have to yell at them to leave you alone. 

9. In the US, generally stores of the same type are spread apart because you don’t want your biggest competitor right next door. However in Cusco, I noticed that all the hardware stores are in a row, the markets are all together, the pollerias (chicken restaurants) take up an entire street, and the copy places and pharmacies all sit side by side. It makes it easy for the customer to seek out the best deal, and convenient to find what you’re looking for without driving all over town. It just struck me as odd!

10.  For being one of the 7 Wonders of the World, getting Machu Picchu ticket is not an easy task (unless you want to go with a tour group, which is pricy). The website is difficult to find first off, complicated to navigate, hard to understand, and doesn’t work half of the time. I literally had to follow steps given by another blogger that had the same trouble, and wrote a post to help everyone else out. After getting through everything it told me that student tickets (a $20 difference) could not be purchased online anymore, but gave a list of travel agencies that sold official tickets.  The list was hundreds of names long with no order to it, no location listing, and no way to search through it. I couldn’t ever find a place in Lima that could sell student tickets- and believe me; we went to every travel agency within a 5-mile radius. Finally I just said we would wait until we got to Cusco to buy them. The trick is, the address online is not the correct address. Upon arrival the guy sent us away with no direction or name of where we could buy them. We were so close to spending hundreds of dollars on a tour when finally I started popping my head into every store asking where I could buy them. Finally we ended up in the right building and then we followed the signs and still got lost looking for the office. After more help from strangers our journey finally ended and we were able to purchase the tickets for the following week without hiring a guide.

The next step was to buy the train tickets to get to Machu Picchu. The guy we bought our Machu Picchu tickets from insisted that it was impossible to take a train all the way to Aguas Calientes, but that’s exactly what we did. We used Peru Rail but immediately regretted our decision. Again, their website wasn’t working so I emailed them our reservation. We filled out everything and sent all the photos they asked for, including giving my credit card information, and then never heard back from them. I emailed 3 times, messaged them on Facebook and 5 days later I still hadn’t received a response and certainly not any tickets. I finally called them and explained my situation fearful that they would eventually run my card and I would be charged twice, but we eventually did get our tickets after I called. 

Since we hadn’t hired a guide, we did our own research and watched documentaries. I felt like I knew what everything was, and when I listened in on other tours I heard 1) wrong information (Machu Picchu is NOT the Lost City of the Incas) and 2) things we had already learned for free.

We walked for 3 hours and still didn't see everything. We should have just sprung for the hotel room so we could spend all day there because I really underestimated how long all of the lines would take. Finally we took the bus down and got ready to board the train home. On the way home some malfunction occurred and we were stuck at a sit still on the train for 3 hours- mind you its 27 degrees outside and the train wasn’t keeping us much warmer than that. There was no WIFI or phone service so there was no way to contact taxis and tour companies that were waiting at the Cusco station. When I asked if we would be compensated in some way for the trouble the attendant told me ‘we should have chosen an earlier train’. Finally we arrived home 3 hours late, after midnight (when the taxi fares are much higher) and I immediately contacted Peru Rail to tell them about our problem and insist on a refund. Several weeks later I still haven’t heard anything, so I won’t be holding my breath, but sheesh I spent over $300 on those train tickets! In conclusion, if you need to buy Machu Picchu tickets either do so through an agency or contact me and I can save you a lot of trouble. Most importantly, never trust your trip to one of the 7 Wonders of the World to Peru Rail.  

Despite all of our trouble the time we spent at Machu Pichhu was incredibly magical.  No amount of setbacks would be worth not going. The weather was perfect; we experienced unbelievable things and got to physically touch stones that are an incredible, mysterious, part of history. Plus, I will always remember it as the spot where I said ‘yes!’. 

HANDERSON_MG_9452.jpg
HANDERSON_MG_9447.jpg

PERU

Well guys I have been SERIOUSLY slacking this month on writing blogs but I have no real good excuse for it. I’ve been enjoying books (something I haven’t had time to do in over 2 years) and spending time outside. In any case, here is a little bit about Lima, Cusco, The Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu.

Lima is our favorite capital that we have visited. I had not heard very good things about Lima, so I didn’t have high hopes but it was great fun for us. We stayed right in between Miraflores and Barranco. Barranco was by far our favorite part of the city with the boho-feel, colorful buildings, and art flooding the walls of every street. In Miraflores there is an abundance of parks along the coast and we could spend all day walking though them watching the waves hit the bluffs. Lima also seemed like the most advanced capital city that we visited. Pretty much anything we needed we could find there. We felt safe and the neighborhoods were extremely walkable with public transportation very accessible. We chose to commute on foot most of our days and could easily walk 6-7 miles per day. This didn’t bother me at all, however when we went to Cusco walking around there was a very different story. 

HANDERSON_MG_8386.jpg
HANDERSON_MG_8334.jpg

Cusco sits in the Andes at 11,000 feet above sea level (about twice that of Denver). Even after being here 3 weeks, walking 1 mile here is harder than the 6 a day we walked in Lima. The headaches are real the first few days but staying hydrated and sipping Coca tea helped with that!

Cusco is a very large city although it doesn’t have the amenities of what we think a city might have. It’s an old town and you get that feel when walking through it. Many of the buildings still have foundations from when the Incas built here. Cusco was the capital of the Incas and reminisce of them is still present in everyday life.

   
  
 
  
    
  
 Normal 
 0 
 
 
 
 
 false 
 false 
 false 
 
 EN-US 
 JA 
 X-NONE 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
    
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
   
 
 /* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
	mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
	mso-style-noshow:yes;
	mso-style-priority:99;
	mso-style-parent:"";
	mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
	mso-para-margin:0in;
	mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
	mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
	font-size:12.0pt;
	font-family:Cambria;
	mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria;
	mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
	mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria;
	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}
 
      
  
 
  
    
  
 Normal 
 0 
 
 
 
 
 false 
 false 
 false 
 
 EN-US 
 JA 
 X-NONE 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
    
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
   
 
 /* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
	mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
	mso-style-noshow:yes;
	mso-style-priority:99;
	mso-style-parent:"";
	mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
	mso-para-margin:0in;
	mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
	mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
	font-size:12.0pt;
	font-family:Cambria;
	mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria;
	mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
	mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria;
	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}
 
    They cut their stones so precisely that they had no need for mortar in-between.  Additionally, the walls have a slight angle to them- they are not a precise 90 degrees, the walls all somewhat lean in towards one another to help hold each other up.       

They cut their stones so precisely that they had no need for mortar in-between.  Additionally, the walls have a slight angle to them- they are not a precise 90 degrees, the walls all somewhat lean in towards one another to help hold each other up. 

 

Any building that has the stones perfectly stacked together like this is original Incan architecture. When the Spanish conquered the Incas they destroyed much of what the Incas had built. However they soon discovered Incan architecture was a much sturdier way of building then how the Spanish had built, and when you live on an earthquake fault line, sturdiness is important. 

There are churches on about every street in Cusco. Where there is a church now, once stood a temple of the Incas

   
  
 
  
    
  
 Normal 
 0 
 
 
 
 
 false 
 false 
 false 
 
 EN-US 
 JA 
 X-NONE 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
    
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
   
 
 /* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
	mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
	mso-style-noshow:yes;
	mso-style-priority:99;
	mso-style-parent:"";
	mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
	mso-para-margin:0in;
	mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
	mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
	font-size:12.0pt;
	font-family:Cambria;
	mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria;
	mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
	mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria;
	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}
 
    This is a photo of (what was) the most famous- Temple of the Sun 

This is a photo of (what was) the most famous- Temple of the Sun 

   
  
 
  
    
  
 Normal 
 0 
 
 
 
 
 false 
 false 
 false 
 
 EN-US 
 JA 
 X-NONE 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
    
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
   
 
 /* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
	mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
	mso-style-noshow:yes;
	mso-style-priority:99;
	mso-style-parent:"";
	mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
	mso-para-margin:0in;
	mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
	mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
	font-size:12.0pt;
	font-family:Cambria;
	mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria;
	mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
	mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria;
	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}
 
    This month the plaza has been full of teachers who are on strike trying to get better pay. In Lima the main plaza was also full of protestors speaking out against their president. It seems the people of Peru know how to stand up for what they believe in!

This month the plaza has been full of teachers who are on strike trying to get better pay. In Lima the main plaza was also full of protestors speaking out against their president. It seems the people of Peru know how to stand up for what they believe in!

Many women still dress in traditional clothing, speak Quechua, and sell things on the street for a living. This is partially due to not being able to afford decent schooling. Here in Cusco if you do not have a lot of money you cannot go to a good school and therefor cannot get a good job, leaving you to your own devices. I bargain a lot here, but I try not to be unfair to these people because what they are selling is generally cheap anyway and they are just trying to provide for their children (who are often sitting right there with them or are slug around their backs).

HANDERSON_MG_9028.jpg

Not far from Cusco is the Sacred Valley. The Sacred Valley of the Incas is where they grew most of their food for the surrounding towns because the climate in the lower elevation is better for crops (specifically corn) to grow. Additionally, the Urubamba River cuts through the valley giving a reliable source of water. The 4 towns that make up the Sacred Valley today are small population wise, but physical space is limited too with the average width throughout the valley being 1 mile. The towns in the Valley can best be described as magical. To wake up and walk out of the house to vast mountains in every direction is humbling, awe inspiring, and breath taking. The way the light folds around the sharp edges of the mountain and filters through the gaps is something indescribable. 

HANDERSON_MG_8616-HDR.jpg
HANDERSON_MG_8667-HDR.jpg

Pisac in the Sacred Valley is known for its Virgin del Carmen festival that happens once a year. This event is pure organized chaos, especially illustrated for us when we accidently got swept up with the parade. People come from all over to celebrate, and man do they know how to party. The festivities continue for days with traditional food, drink, parades, fireworks and activities taking place until sunrise. Their belief system is a quite interesting fusion between Catholicism and Incan tradition. This makes for a wildly good time and so many sights my eyes could hardly take it all in.

HANDERSON_MG_8939.jpg
HANDERSON_MG_8847.jpg

Not far past the Sacred Valley, running the same path as the river is a town called Aguas Calientes. You can throw a stone across the whole town and really the only notable things abut here is the hot springs and that they are the closest city to Machu Picchu.

If you are among the smarter bunch heading to Machu Picchu you either hike the Inca trail or stay in Aguas Calientes for a night so you can hike up early to be one of the first people in, and experience the sunrise. We, however, are not among those smart people- mostly due to the fact that we are over budget and didn’t want to spend the extra money on the hotel room- Aguas Calientes is a super tourist destination and prices are very inflated.

HANDERSON_MG_9173.jpg

Even so, we got our butts out of bed at 4am and headed to the Cusco train station. We arrived in Aguas Calientes around 10am and stood in line for bus tickets. Again, smart people would have ample time to walk the hour hike to Machu Picchu and save $24, but we had to opt for the windy bus road up (these buses are the only vehicles allowed up the mountain so don’t think you can get around the $24 by taking an uber). 

HANDERSON_MG_9241.jpg

We arrived shortly after noon and strolled through the entrance along with every tour group in Peru. While the number of people that enter each day is high, it never feels crowded because of the enormous size of this place. We walked for 3.5 hours and saw most of it, but we could have easily stayed another hour.

Machu Picchu it is believed to be a dwelling place created for/by the Incan ruler, Pachacuti. It is its own little city equipped with places for townspeople to reside, worship areas, gathering areas, sustainable farming, an irrigation and drinking system, as well as a way to tell the time and date.

The Incas built Machu Picchu sometime around 1450 but it wasn’t discovered until 1911.

When the Spanish conquistadores came they destroyed everything they could. Machu Picchu was the only thing left virtually untouched, leading the discoverer to believe that this was the Lost City of the Incas. Excavations have since proved otherwise, but the name has kind of stuck.

But why did Pachacuti insist on his city being built here? It is an awfully hard place to reach, it rains preposterous amounts per year, and sits right on 2 fault lines- but the Incas had solutions for each of these problems. The first thing they did was build terraces to make the journey up easier, to help with the sturdiness of the city, and to prevent any flooding. The terraces and the foundation of the whole city acts as a filtration system rather than having a run off for water. Under the city they have a first layer of dirt, further under are small rocks, and deeper still are big boulders, allowing the ground to absorb the water rather than having it sit on top.

We are led to believe this sight was chosen primarily because of its location near the holy mountains. The central stone of Machu Picchu not only corresponds to these mountains, but also aligns with the 4 cardinal directions.  Additionally, the location is prime for giving the feeling of power. The top of the mountain is useful for seeing what’s going on below, helping to prepare for any attack and letting the people beneath know who is in charge. There is also granite deposit and freshwater stream running nearby that may have also played a role in why they deemed this location best.

   
  
 
  
    
  
 Normal 
 0 
 
 
 
 
 false 
 false 
 false 
 
 EN-US 
 JA 
 X-NONE 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
    
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
   
 
 /* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
	mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
	mso-style-noshow:yes;
	mso-style-priority:99;
	mso-style-parent:"";
	mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
	mso-para-margin:0in;
	mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
	mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
	font-size:12.0pt;
	font-family:Cambria;
	mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria;
	mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
	mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria;
	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}
 
    The stream pictured above was guided to flow through a series of fountains and pools throughout the town, and still runs today. The first fountain/pool was built directly outside of the king’s house so he could always have the freshest water. 

The stream pictured above was guided to flow through a series of fountains and pools throughout the town, and still runs today. The first fountain/pool was built directly outside of the king’s house so he could always have the freshest water. 

HANDERSON_MG_9235-HDR.jpg
HANDERSON_MG_9233-HDR.jpg

Although Machu Picchu is truly spectacular, the best preserved, and the most astonishing of all of the places, there are an incredible amount of ruins from the Incas all around the Cusco region and beyond. I am astounded at how everything was built with such precision that many years ago without modern advances or even things such as mortar, metal tools or the wheel.  Though they disappeared mysteriously all those years ago, their culture still lives on through the people of Cusco. 

I have 3 more blog posts that will be up shortly, but until then..

PEACE, LOVE, AND ADVENTURE ON!

PANAMA BUDGET

Well we successfully came in under budget for the 2nd month in a row! I write down our expenses so I can keep track of what we spend but also because it is hard to find up to date information about how much a country actually costs. Costa Rica was much more expensive than I had imagined, Panama was more manageable but still in the "normal" range. I always thought that since our dollar was so strong that our money would go a lot farther in other parts of the world. I obviously didn't do enough research on that because in Panama they use US dollars! It was so strange to get here and see the same money circulating as at home. Upon further investigation on Federal Reserve website, I found that about 60% of US dollars are actually in circulation OUTSIDE of the US! How crazy is that! 

 In any case, the numbers are in! Check out our spread sheet below to see how much Panama really costs.