Backpacking Peru

I cried, felt belittled, &  had some extraordinary experiences.

Oh Peru, where do I begin?? While backpacking Peru, I couldn’t wait to leave. I’ve never cried so much in one country. I felt belittled for being a woman. I felt like we continuously got taken advantage of for being tourists. We stayed several nights in a hut in the Amazon Rain forest. We hiked to the most gorgeous Glacier Lake that I’ve ever seen.

Over 3 years later, Brock & I still talk about our trip.  I’ll give you recommendations (& hilarious stories) to make your Backpacking Peru trip, one that you’ll forever remember!

Feeling Belittled While Backpacking Peru

  • I cried several times the worst hostel that I’ve ever stayed at. I felt completely taken advantage of by that man. He lied & brought us into his home. The hostel didn’t have one single good quality about it. Read more about it below.
  • I felt belittled for being a female. While out to eat at a restaurant in Lima, Brock & I chose to eat a local spot. Our waiter ignored me completely. He wouldn’t take my order but waited for Brock to order for me. I asked for ketchup & didn’t bring it out until Brock ordered it.
  • I cried after a hotel ruined my bikini. I expected the hotel to at least give me my laundry for free- but they didn’t. Now, ruining my bikini wasn’t that big of a deal. I think I was hyper-emotional after the past few weeks of getting taken advantage of. I personally felt that because I was a tourist, people didn’t care how they treated us.
  • While I didn’t cry after this situation, I was severely upset. Our taxi agreed to charge us X amount for our ride to the airport at 5 AM. While dropping us off, he tried to charge us more than the price that we agreed on. I nearly lost it. Once again, we were getting taken advantage of. We had our bags luckily & walked away from the man. We threatened to tell airport security if he tried to follow us.

Now, while these experiences shouldn’t reflect on Peru as a whole, this is my experience.

This was taken at Pastoruri Glacier near the city of Huaraz.

Staying in the Amazon Rain forest

We stayed on the Ucayali River that was a short boat ride from the Amazonian River. We spent four days & nights in this little village. Every day we had our own private tour guide who did whatever activities that we wanted to do! We spotted pink dolphins, fished for Piranhas, caught Caiman, and meet wonderful people.
 
We stayed in a lovely hut at Libertad Jungle Lodge. The first night, Brock & I were woken up by my tin water bottle falling off the table and onto the ground. Very much asleep, my mind told me “it was the wind.” Our second morning, we awoke to a chunk missing from Brock’s avocado. There were teeth marks! Hmmm. This is when we had to stop playing dumb & recognize that an animal was certainly entering our hut at night. That following night, I thrashed with Anxiety as I heard the animal terrorizing around our room. My thoughts were a little something like this “WTF. What if the animal hops into our bed?! Does it bite?!  What kind of animal is it?? What the hell!” Fortunately, the animal  and I never met each other face-to-face.

This is the little community that we were welcomed into! It’s a lodge that is run by the village next door! If you go during the rainy season, the area is completely flooded & the neighboring village is only accessible by boat!

Cruising down the Amazon River!

We let him go, I promise! I feel bad for how naive I have been when it comes to animals…
Do I recommend catching Caiman? No. Leave them be. They’re wild creatures.

The Stunning Lake 69

Lake 69 located in Huascaran National Park is STUNNING. 3 years & over 10 countries later, this Glacier Lake & Hike is still my favorite. It’s an all day hike. As someone who was severely out of shape at that time, I managed to do it! It was extremely challenging. I huffed and puffed my entire way up to the lake. One person on our tour didn’t make it all the way up.  The reward for your effort is a 100% worth it.

This was a stop during our drive to the trail head for Lake 69.

The entire hike was gorgeous & remote.

For someone who was severely out of shape, this hike is very challenging, but can be done!

Anytime of the year that you visit is a beautiful time to visit Lake 69.

Fun fact: This has been my phone’s screen saver since 2015.

Lake 69 Led Us To Our Worst Hostel Stay EVER.

We stayed in the city of Huaraz. We arrived in the city late around 3 A.M. As newbie travelers, Brock & I never booked hostels in advanced. We winged our accommodations. BAD MOVE GUYS. At the bus station, a man told greeted Brock & I as we were shivering & exhausted from a night’s sleep on a bus. He told us that he knew of a great hostel with a kitchen & hot water. We agreed that we’d stay at this hostel. He hailed a taxi for us & sent us on our way. I swore we were driving in circles, but went along with it, because what do I know?
 
We arrive at the “hostel” and it’s a house that is tucked away at the end of an alley. Guess who is there to greet us? That same man that told us about this great hostel. Confused, we follow him inside. I look up & there’s no roof on this place. You see sky. It recently rained and the floor was soaking. Irritated with our situation, we go to our room & pass out.
 
Very quickly, we found out there was no hot water. The kitchen would countinuously flood from the heavy rain of being high in the mountains. One night, we came home and the “hostel” owner had rowdy friends over for a Football game. He & his friend spent the rest of the night drunk, passed out on the couches, snoring away. Another night, we were woken up by a drunk man singing Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” song.
 
So why did we stay? Simple. We were poor backpackers. We paid our money up-front and didn’t want to spend more money than we already had spent.

Now while I don’t have a photo or proof on the internet of that horrible hostel, here is a photo of Brock riding a horse because we weren’t yet acclimated to the altitude during one of our hikes.

Other Places We Visited While Backpacking Peru

  • We visited the laid back beach town of Mancora, Peru. While there wasn’t a lot of super exciting things to do, we enjoyed trying to surf… And this is also where Brock lost his GoPro (for the 2nd time in Peru.) We had an entire team of locals searching for his GoPro with a $100 reward. Just as we were giving up after a half-hour of searching for his GoPro, a wave carried something to shore. What did I see glistening in the sun? Brock’s GoPro! (I’m still waiting on my $100 reward 😉)
  • We explored ruins near Trujillo. We explored Huaca del Sol y la Luna and Chan Chan with the best guide ever, read more about her below.

Look at how young we are!! 😱

This is Clara, she was the sweetest Peruvian woman who took us under her wing. She brought us to both ruins, drove us back to her home for coffee, & was beyond sweet. She also had the oldest, rustiest, falling apart VW Beetle. It was awesome!

Backpacking Peru had some not-so-wonderful qualities but it also has given me the gift of beautiful & hilarious memories that will last a lifetime. Now that I’m a seasoned traveler, I am dying to go back to Peru. I want to go to the rainbow mountains, hike to Machu Picchu, & experience the Chinchero textiles.

I can’t wait to give Peru a second shot.

Did you know that Spirit Airlines flies to Peru from many cities in the United States for super cheap? Read more about Spirit Airlines here.