Spontaneous Peru and Bolivia

While I was planning my trip to Grand Canyon, a friend from College contacted me asking if I wanted to travel to Peru with her and her group. I’ve always wanted to visit Machu Pichu so I had no reason to say no to her, right? They always say follow your heart so I did. It was totally spontaneous since I had no plans for Peru this year but since she gave me ample time to plan, I went away with it. She told me that the trip would be in May for about 12 days including Memorial Day and this was good for me since I get national holidays off and can save on PTO days (I have so few ;_; ). She gave me her initial itinerary and I started to work on it.

I started to look at what to do in Peru and a lot of people were suggesting crossing over to Bolivia. Bolivia was also on my bucket list because of Uyuni Desert so I started to do my research on both countries. Of course with 12 days, it wasn’t going to be enough so I changed my plans to 16 days. I still feel like it isn’t going to be enough but I would be able to just hit some of the places. More like touch and go. I would not be able to get the full immersive experience but at least I would be able to cross them off my bucket list.

I’m a big advocate for using books for research. So the first thing I did was to visit my local library and borrow books about Peru and Bolivia. Libraries are a great resource for any type of research so I recommend you use it to your advantage. I mean, you can get all the books for free! If your library doesn’t have it, you can make a request to your librarian and I’m sure they will be happy to assist you with it.

the three books that helped me with my planning

There were certain things that the group wanted to do that I was made aware from the beginning. The main thing was the Inca Trail up to Machu Pichu. This is a 2 day trail that covers about 10 miles and you would be able to see some of the Inca ruins close up along the way. This trail is also only for people who book through registered guides and would require us to make reservations way in advance. I’m not against hiking but to do a 10 mile hike in high altitude was new to me and I did not want to risk myself getting too sick in the beginning of our trip. Luckily, I wasn’t the only one who was backing out of the trail from the group. So we were able to split the group a little.

The second one was doing one of those fancy dinners at one of the course meal places in Lima. Lima is filled with amazing food choices and I was learning more and more about them as I was researching. Two restaurants in Lima are Top 10 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant and it would be a great opportunity to try them while visiting Lima. And I’m always down for good food so I was becoming more and more excited for this trip.

I only had Machu Pichu and Uyuni Desert in mind but with more research, there are more and more places I want to visit so I’m looking forward to what my itinerary looks like when it’s finished. I’ll share it with you once it is all finished.

Traveling with a First-Timer to Grand Canyon and more

In April, a friend of mine will be visiting the USA for the first time. It is her for her to get time off from work so this was something we had to plan way in advance to make sure work would permitted. When she told me she wanted to visit me, she asked gave me two options: Visit Grand Canyon or visit New York. With only 1 week, I knew doing both would be impossible. And also, she has never flown for longer than 2 hours so I did not know what she would be like after crossing the waters. So we decided on Grand Canyon.

I have been to Grand Canyon several times now and there are places I’ve never been to but to make it a memorable trip for her, I planned it as if I was visiting for the very first time. I didn’t mind going back to the same places because every time I see them, it is still amazing. (In the last 4 years, I’ve been 3 times and it never gets old. I want to go hiking there but that will have to wait.)

my original plan

She and I are both Disney nerds so we had to slip in Disneyland somehow. I purposely left the first day empty to see how she would be feeling after the long flight. And once in Las Vegas, I knew we would be doing a lot of driving so I wanted to leave a lot of error time for just in cases. Since it was semi-confirmed, I purchased the airfare tickets, hotels, rental car, and the Antelope Canyon Tour. Also, there was a sale going on for 3 day passes at Disneyland and it was cheaper than buying 2 day passes so we hopped on that. However, we had to make a HUGE change to our schedule.

My friend went to an autograph signing event for Andy from Shinhwa. Since he is from California, she asked him for recommendation. (Note: At signing events, you can ask a question on a post-it and the artist will usually respond to it)

Q: Going to USA for the first time in April. I’m heading to LA area and do you have any recommendation?
A: San Diego Sea World

With his answer, my friend contacted me and said “I want to go to Sea World.” Welp. Time to change our plans around. We couldn’t change too much of it since most of it was paid for. But we could make our schedule a bit tight to make things fit. I didn’t want to make the trip hard for her but she wanted to push to see everything since she didn’t know when she would be back again. So we altered our schedule to include Sea World. The last time I went to Sea World was when I was… 10? So this would be something “new” for me as well.

our current plan

So now, this is our plan. We have less than 30 days left for this trip so I hope we can stick to this. We will be heading over to Disneyland right after I pick up my friend from LAX and I really hope she will be ok. I will also need to get some good-night sleep before she comes so I can have the energy to run this plan myself! But overall, I cannot wait for her to visit me 🙂