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We planned and prepared for 18 months, and the day had arrived for us to go on our adventure. We would be leaving our home in Canada to spend 6 months traveling in South America. We flew out of Toronto airport in the afternoon, arriving in Lima in the early hours of the following day. As we landed, we were mesmerized by the sprawling city of lights below that suddenly dropped off into the darkness of the Pacific Ocean.
For our first stop in Peru, we rented a small apartment through Airbnb in the sea side district of Magdalena Del Mar, a bustling working-class neighborhood, with beautiful churches and stunning cliff side views of the ocean. Our first week was spent wandering our new neighborhood. We passed time in the large neighborhood park, filled with families enjoying the summer break. Sydney and Luc would play with the other kids, none of them caring that they couldn’t speak each other’s language. Across the street was the busy local market that I found overwhelming at first but soon became my favorite place to shop. In the evenings, a local teacher we hired would come and help us learn some of the basics of Peruvian Spanish. My husband, kids and I had spent time learning Spanish in Canada before our arrival in Peru but quickly realized how little knew.
In the following weeks, as we learned how to navigate the transportation system, we started to spread our wings and explore more of the city. We visited the stunning Museo Larco, a vice-royal building built in the 1700’s that houses collections of pre-Colombian artifacts, gold and ceramics. The museum also features a room of huacos eroticos (erotic sculptures) from the Moche civilization. We splurged for lunch in the museum restaurant surrounded by a stunning garden filled with cacti and flowers. Our first meal was Lomo Saltado and it quickly became a family favorite.
The beautiful Larco Musuem. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
The Larcomar Mall Architecture. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
The unforgettable architecture of downtown Lima blew me away. The lovely balconies overlooking the streets was something I had never seen before in my travels of North America. We enjoyed the free walking tour that was given by a local tourism student. It was a wonderful experience as we explored places and shops that we would have never known about had it not been for the tour guide. Our guide gave us information about Peruvian traditions and culture that helped us to understand the way of life that was unfolding around us.
After 3 weeks in Magdalena, we said goodbye to the friends we had made in the shops and park. We moved into in a small hostel in Miraflores for a couple days before we moved on to our next destination south of Lima. Miraflores felt like a different city with its condo buildings, walking boulevards, high-end shops, parks and cafes overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We took the kids to explore the ruins of Huaca Pucllana and visited Larcomar Mall to see the unique designs of it being built into the side of the cliff on the Pacific Ocean. Much of our time was spent walking the streets, exploring the artisan markets, and enjoying the parks and beautiful surroundings. My kid’s favorite experience in Miraflores was our evening visit to Parque Kennedy, where they enjoyed the many cats that make their home there.
We had spent almost a month in the City of the Kings when it was time for our family to move on; we would be traveling by bus south to Paracas in the Pisco region. With the promise of exciting local wildlife and unforgettable beaches, we were excited for the next stop on our inspired travel adventure.
Michelle Gaudet is a Canadian writer, artist, and photographer. Last year Michelle and her family took their first family travel adventure backpacking southern Peru for 3 months. She currently lives in Canada while traveling and worldschooling with her family as much as possible. Michelle is the Director of Digital and Social Media for Spiritual Niagara and is building a new career in travel focusing on family adventures and group retreats. You can find her family’s adventures on Instagram at www.instagram.com/Inspiredtraveladventures.