The Aracari experience: My year living abroad in Peru

The Aracari experience: My year living abroad in Peru, Aracari Travel

To all of the faithful Aracari Khipu blog followers, today I publish my last article as Aracari’s Marketing and Product Development Assistant. I have been in Lima working at Aracari for over a year and am now embarking on my next adventure (of course travel is inevitably involved).

Fresh out of university, I moved to Peru after being hired by Aracari’s marketing department to work one year at their Lima-based office, learning about and experiencing Peruvian culture. While my family and friends were surprised by my decision to drop everything and move abroad, I was intrigued by the adventures I imagined were awaiting me in Peru, a country I knew little about apart from Machu Picchu and the Incas, the llamas and the iconic chullo hats that were always brought back as souvenirs from travelers.

After speaking to many people about Lima, I had a rough idea of what to expect from the City of Kings, whose reputation was less than appealing. Many things I’d been told about Lima were true: its characteristic “panza de burro” (underbelly of the donkey) gray skies, the terrible traffic, the dust-coated buildings and the “neblina” (fog) that floats through the city in the mornings. However, having lived in Lima for over a year, I’ve found that its delights far outweigh its unsavory traits.

One delight is the charming neighborhood of Barranco, the former beach escape of wealthy Limeños, which is now a bohemian haven with cultural gems in the form of art galleries and museums, cafés, restaurants, boutiques, hotels and the architecture of its mansions and homes—remnants of a bygone era in Peru.

Another delight is wandering along the malecón (esplanade) that runs along the Costa Verde from Miraflores to Barranco overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The extension of the ocean that fades into a hazy horizon, blending sky and sea—it is something to behold.

And of course, perhaps the greatest delight of Lima (and all of Peru) is the delicious and abundant food. Whether eating fresh ceviche at a stall in the Surquillo market, sitting down to a tasting menu at one of Lima’s top gourmet restaurants or trying one the many Peruvian fusion cuisines—the food rarely, if ever, disappoints.

People have often asked me why I chose to move to Lima, to Peru. There are many reasons, too many to delve into in this, my last blog for Aracari. Mainly though, just like anyone who travels abroad, be it for a two-week vacation or for a full year, I came to Peru in search of cultural immersion, adventure and personal growth. I wanted to learn, to push my personal limits and to experience, if only for a short while, a new and foreign way of life.

In my time at Aracari, I have been to the enigmatic Inca city of Machu Picchu twice; have trekked through stunning mountain landscapes in the Cordillera Blanca; learned about weaving from Quechua-speaking community in the Sacred Valley; danced in traditional dress during carnaval in the Andean city of Jauja; mountain biked to the Inca sites of Moray and Maras; stood humbled before a ravishing sunset on the beach of Mancora in North Peru; tried my hand at cooking Peruvian cuisine from two great chefs; and even had an unsuccessful (though rewarding) surf lesson in Lima. I have eaten in some of the finest restaurants I have ever had the fortune to experience and have tried exotic dishes like picante de cuy (guinea pig), ceviche de paiche, a fresh-water fish and delicacy from the Amazon, and have tasted the earthy flavors of a traditional pachamanca. And I cannot even begin on the dangerously good cocktails: the pisco sours and the chilcanos made with Peru’s trademark pisco.

If that were not enough, I have had the honor to meet and speak with some of the top specialists in their fields in Cusco and Lima and have interviewed incredible Peruvian musicians, artists and chefs. And beyond those meetings, my encounters with the people of Peru—from drivers during my journeys in Cusco to the vendors in the colorful markets of Lima—have provided me with a wealth of knowledge and new perspectives on life in general. And of course, I am grateful to the Aracari team that welcomed me in and guided me through my first uncertain months in Peru as I got my footing. Their friendship is yet another Lima delight that I will take away with me as I continue on my own journey.

And what is the next step? Another adventure of course! Though I have seen much of Peru, there is still much I have not seen, and my plan is to see it all, or at least to try. I had no idea before coming here that Peru was so rich in so many ways: in culture, in history, in nature and opportunities for adventure. I have gotten a small taste, but I have a gluttonous curiosity that drives me to go out and see more. I leave Aracari much wiser to the ways of smart and responsible travel thanks to the experienced team here, from Marisol, our CEO and founder, to Raul, our Client Relations Representative. With that know-how and with all of the wonderful memories I carry with me, I have no doubt that my next chapter will be just as rewarding as the one I am finishing.

I pass the torch on to the new Marketing and Product Development Assistant who is just beginning her own Peruvian experience and wish her, and all of you taking on a new adventure, luck, good health and happy travels!

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