The two of us parted ways for a few days to travel to Machu Picchu and Cusco-- Lauren with her dad, and Izzy with her parents. We were able to meet up a few times throughout the week to get both families together.
We found that Cusco-- other than its name and a lot of llamas-- doesn't have all that much in common with "The Emperor's New Groove." It has a charming historic city center with great vibes, and plenty of backpackers, but is also a much larger and expanding city of about 500,000. The highest regarded career for Cusqueños is tourism, especially since Cusco now receives over 2 million tourists per year.
One thing that's particularly cool about Cusco is that there are incredible layers of history. It was the capital of the Incan Empire and has over 3,000 sites of Incan ruins. The town center is all colonial Spanish architecture, with wooden balconies overlooking the streets, cobblestone alleyways and ornate churches constructed on top of the Incan ruins.
Here are a few of our favorite moments from our time in Cusco and at Machu Picchu:
Lauren and Andy summited Wayna Picchu, one of the most dangerous climbs in the world! For two of the clumsiest people on the planet, this was a huge feat.
Izzy and her parents saw the sites of Cusco.
Lauren bungeed off of the highest bungee jump in South America and lived to tell the tale.
Izzy danced on a train with 'traditional Incan devils' in rainbow jumpsuits.
Lauren and her tour guide Carlos started a lifelong friendship.
We explored the Cusco central market and bought a lot of alpaca sweaters.
Andy and Jeff stargazed together.
Lauren and Andy caught some poolside music.
The llama fraternity showcased membership bracelets atop Machu Picchu.
Lauren and Izzy made new friends.
The Dovers and the Henschels united for an afternoon stroll through Machu Picchu. The mosquitoes were vicious, but the views were incredible.
A HUGE thank you to our parents for joining us in Peru and taking us to some of the country's most beautiful places. It was amazing to share this experience with you and we love you so much!