Peru in Six Days

Machu Picchu just after the rain

Machu Picchu just after the rain

“You’re going all the way to Peru for only six days?” asked my less travel-mad friends. Well, yeah, Peru’s a fascinating country, and I’d have loved to go for a couple of weeks, but I wasn’t passing up the trip at a price I couldn’t refuse, even if it was a whirlwind itinerary.

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Searching for Ceviche

Basilica Cathedral

Basilica Cathedral

Lima? Yes, Lima. Why not Lima? Truth is, I had to do a mileage run to maintain my executive platinum status on American Airlines and had a meeting in Miami, so I thought heading south to the ceviche capital of the world was a good bet. I was right. Lima is only five hours from Miami, meaning I could save my VIP upgrades for long hauls to Europe. It was a day flight, and I booked an exit row seat. Two movies and a few blog entries later I was landing in the city of kings.

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Luck, Llamas, and a Peruvian Shaman

Llamas in Peru

In the Peruvian Andes at 15,000 feet, a 100-year-old Shaman waits for me. Peering up the steep peaks of Mt. Waccratanka, I doubt I can make this arduous Andean ascent.

"No hurry. We climb despacio, slowly slowly," says Carlos Infantas, our Quechua guide, who sports both his ancestor's regal cheekbones and a pink Disneyland fanny pack. Carlos has spent his life climbing the Andes. For him, 3,000 feet at a 45-degree angle is just a pleasant stroll.

"Follow the llamas," Carlos encourages me. "They lead us to the shaman."

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