VBGetaway: Peru & Bolivia

July 2012

Everyone needs to get away for vacation, but also, sometimes, to gain perspective. So my mom and I packed up the 5 kids to go on an out-of-this-world adventure to Peru & Bolivia. The trip was not just for relaxation, but for education and enlightenment for all of us. It was a cultural immersion that was incredibly inspiring. It was, also, quite the endurance challenge (we got as high as 18,000 ft). Here is a look at our journey!


Colca Canyon in Peru is a MUST SEE at 15,000 + feet. We stopped at the Condor Pass to see the 12 ft. wingspan of the closest thing we have to a Pterodactyl today, the mighty condor. To see them in their native habitat, kissing the sky, is breathtaking!

With the baby on my back, we hiked around Machu Picchu. The ancient hidden ruins are a new world wonder!

The end of the trip brought us back to civilization in Lima. The city is steeped in Baroque, Neoclassic and Colonial influences from Spain, as seen in the colors and architecture.


South Americans are all about family, children, and heritage; a culture after my own heart. They use extremely vibrant but natural colors in their walls and fabrics making every meal a ritual and festive.

Pisco is the national beverage of Peru. The Pisco Sour is my favorite! While it’s a pretty drink, it packs a mean punch. To make, combine 1 oz. lemon juice, 1 egg white, 1 ½ oz. Pisco and ¾ oz. simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake virgorously. Serve straight up.


Cuzco was a highlight of the trip. The center of Cuzco has a major market with gargantuan fruit, meat and crafts mostly strung from alpaca. The bright colors of the Peruvian architecture are also present in the clothing.

The indigenous population is as strong today as it ever was. The women have tremendous pride in their appearance. The traditional bowler hat has a lot of cultural significance. When worn tilted to the right means the woman is married and tilted to the left means she is widowed. Also, so different from our culture, the “bigger” the woman, the more prosperous she is. These ladies pile on as many skirts as they can in order to look so round!


We crossed the border on foot into Bolivia which was a surreal experience. Once in Bolivia, we took a hydrofoil to various islands off Lake Titicaca, the highest elevation lake (12,500 ft.) in the world. The snow-capped mountains are volcanoes in the distance. Love the juxtaposition of fire and ice! Llama, alpaca, vicuna, guinea pig and chinchilla are some of the animals that are native to the Andes Mountains.