When I decided to study abroad in Peru during the summer of 2012, I thought I was making the best decision of my life. I was going to be able to see one of the SevenWonders of the World, Machu Picchu and be completely submerged in the Latin American culture. However, as my departure date neared, I began to have second thoughts. Things like altitude sickness, cold weather (since our summer is their winter), eating guinea pig, not knowing enough Spanish, which would eventually lead to me getting lost forever, crossed my mind. (Okay, I admit that last one was a tad bit dramatic!)
Nevertheless, once I arrived, things didn’t get better. My host mother spoke NO English, I got lost walking to the store. (Thankfully, I happened to use what little Spanish I knew to ask for help, though,) Finally, I was hit with a bit of altitude sickness. All of this all happened the first day! I know you are probably all thinking, “Wow, I am never visiting Peru!” However, the story gets better.
After about a week there, my Spanish had improved so immensely that I was taking the bus everyday back and forth to school, bargaining in markets, and exploring the city on my own. In my short six-week stay in Cusco, Peru I was exposed to more culture than I had ever been in my entire life! Apparently, I had made the right decision to go in the summer because in the months of June and July, there is practically a cultural festival every week! Here you will see adults and children alike, dressed in traditional Peruvian clothing, playing instruments and performing dances that have been passed down from the ancients. It’s anything but dull! (Note that “Cusco” is correct; it is also often spelled “Cuzco.”)
Cusco itself, offers so much from fantastic authentic Peruvian cuisine and desserts, warm-hearted welcoming people, historical ruins and trails, great nightlife, and much more. I can’t wait to go back someday! Check out this article posted on Peru Tourism’s blog for even more reasons to visit Peru, as if I haven’t given you enough! I’m sure that after reading this blog and the article below you won’t be able to contain yourselves, and you’ll all start planning trips to Peru!
As they say in Peru,
-Chau! (Most commonly spelled “Chau,” but “Chao” is also correct.)