We are having a great time in beautiful Peru.
I have a terrific group of 32 with me. There are 6 newbies! This is basically the largest size group that the local operator can handle. In some historic areas, motor coaches are not allowed so we will fill 2 smaller vehicles.
I met my passengers at Toronto Pearson. Air Canada Rogue flies direct to Lima – that’s a huge advantage. I met a wonderful Air Canada supervisor at Pearson who graciously allocated a number of check in agents to only look after my passengers. In a few minutes everyone had their boarding passes and were on their way to security.
As usual everyone enjoyed lounge access prior to travel – another Travel With Bradley perk.
The aircraft was packed – not an empty seat. I am not a fan of Air Canada Rogue but the flight crew was gracious, the food ok and most importantly they kept the bathrooms clean!
Our flight was 8 hour in length and was uneventful. We landed in Lima at 1230am and after we cleared immigration, grabbed our luggage. I then led my passengers into the main terminal where our local guide, Daniel was waiting for us. As a guide he could stand closer to the baggage hall than other individuals waiting for passengers . He was also able to put us in a cordoned off area where nobody other than my passengers were allowed. Porters were hired to take our luggage to the motor coach.
The motor coach we chartered was ultra deluxe. I wish we had similar ones in North America. The leather seats were wide and plush – just like flying in an airlines business class.
After a 40 minute drive we arrived at the JW Marriott Hotel, Lima. I truly feel this is the best luxury hotel in Lima. JW Marriotts are the very top tier in the chain and their Lima hotel is exceptional in every way – comfort, staff, facilities, cuisine. The views from our rooms which overlooked the Pacific Ocean were stunning.
We slept extremely well. We then gathered for a delicious, big variety buffet breakfast before we started our private Lima City Tour.
We enjoyed seeing the impressive city highlights. Everyone remarked how clean Lima is. We could not get over how many Chinese restaurants there are – Chinese restaurants are the locals favourite place to dine – they offer a reasonable menu. The average wage is 600. USD a month, a teacher makes 700. USD. Peru is therefore a poor country but surprisingly they do not have a homeless problem – our guide explained that other than some extreme circumstances (eg drug addict on the street ) everyone has a home.
Our welcome luncheon was held in a restaurant across from the JW Marriott in the exclusive Miraflores area. This restaurant is built into a cliff and features dining rooms on many levels. We enjoyed a scrumptious buffet with many local specialities. Ceviche is a favourite and so is anything made with potatoes (they grow many varieties). I included a Pisco Sour, the famous Peruvian cocktail and a popular purple beverage which is made with corn.
This restaurant is part of an upscale open air shopping mall. Most of the stores sell high quality merchandise at very fair prices – much more reasonable than many other tourist destinations I’ve visited throughout the world. Silver jewelry, puma cotton clothing and leather shoes are all manufactured locally.
The weather was perfect.
Next to Cairo, Lima is the second driest city in the world – its basically a desert. Surprisingly most days are overcast with little sunlight. Our guide joked that locals hardly ever see their shadow but we enjoyed a day full of sun and hot temps, in fact many of my passengers got a sunburn.
The exceptional dinner restaurant was a quick 20 minute drive from the Marriott. Service was top notch and the variety of entrees was impressive. Everyone really enjoyed the experience.
We arrived back at the hotel around 830pm. It was a very long day, considering we arrived in Lima just after midnight so I believe everyone turned in early.
This morning we were the first ones in the dining room for breakfast at 630am. By 730am we were on the road to the airport for our direct flight to Cusco. Porters collected our luggage but when we walked into the terminal we were surrounded by a few thousand people – chaos. Luckily Daniel our local guide knows a few of the supervisors who were working today for Latam Airlines so we received VIP treatment and avoided all the incredibly long lines of passengers waiting to check in for flights. Clearing security was fast and efficient. We eventually boarded a bus for the short commute to the aircraft. The flight was 1 hour long. The flight crew came around with water and they sold sandwiches and snacks.
Cusco sits at a very high elevation – 11,000ft. Most of my passengers started taking altitude prescription meds yesterday so they were prepared. We were served a special altitude tea when we arrived at our 5 star hotel which at one time was a convent.
Our rooms are beautiful and many commented that they wish they could bring the artistically designed bathrooms home. A private lunch just for us was served in the dining room. We had a choice of beef tenderloin or breast of chicken.
We ventured to a local jewelry manufactures for a tour and shopping. My passengers selected many pieces of jewelry to bring home.
Tonight’s dinner restaurant was located in the main square of Cusco. The waiters served us a delicious meal while we enjoyed live entertainment.