But, on to the subject of today's post. Mrs. Done by Forty and I got to spend a week together in Lima, Peru, and then another in Cuenca, Ecuador. I figured it might be best to let the pictures do most of the talking. I'll apologize for the picture quality as I'm no expert and I have just an old camera phone. But luckily I make up for it by taking way too many pictures. (If you click on the photos, they'll enlarge and you can scroll through with your arrow keys.)
|Cliffs on the coast of Miraflores|
|If you squint, you can see surfers...|
|Paragliders in the park|
|Ceviche...maybe my favorite thing in Lima.|
|Yeah...definitely my favorite thing.|
|Okay, last photo of food, I promise.|
|An actual RadioShack...with customers!|
|Casinos are all over Lima. Kind of disorienting.|
|Church in Miraflores|
|The Canta Rana Cevicheria in Barranco|
|Guards outside of the Palacio del Gobierno...with machine guns!|
|Iglesia San Pedro|
|Catedral de Lima|
|Traditional guards outside the Palacio del Gobierno|
|A parade about stopping violence against children. |
Ironically, a lot of motorists nearly ran over the kids.
|The old Cathedral in Cuenca, from 1557|
|Church of San Francisco|
|Church of San Cenaculo|
|A cool art museum...which I can't remember the name of...|
|Rather than supermarkets, we only found these open markets in Cuenca. |
Negotiation is key here. Mrs. Done by Forty got us some mangos:
starting price of $5 per kilo, final price of 4 mangos for $1.
|All sorts of meat is also sold in the open market. A little intimidating to this gringo.|
|Church of Santo Domingo|
|Rio Tomebama, that runs right through Cuenca|
|View from the edge of the city center|
|Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepcion|
|Another shot of the same. I just think it's so cool to look at.|
|Coquette, the feisty cat who didn't care that we were renting the place. |
It was her's first.
|A view of Tomebabma, an Incan city on the same site as Cuenca|
|Llamas! Or, maybe Alpacas. I can't tell the difference.|
|These are the horses we got to ride for 5 hours. And we galloped!|
|Sadly, Black Friday is down here too. As the ad says: just like in USA! |
Luckily, there were no crazy crowds.
We paid cash for as much as we could, so I don't have a truly detailed budget. But, for anyone wanting to travel down here, we can give a rough estimate of what your costs might be.
Flight from Phoenix to Lima: $881/person
Flight from Lima to Cuenca: $292/person
Suite in Lima: $80/night
Funky loft in Cuenca: $20/night
Dinner for two in Lima, with two adult drinks: $32
Dinner for in Cuenca, with two adult drinks: $22
We brought $1,000 in cash and, except for the hotels, flights, the UPS shipment and a horseback riding excursion, we paid for everything from that $1,000, including cabs. We ended up with $200 left over at the end of the trip, so it's a relatively affordable vacation once you get down there. All in, since Mrs. Done by Forty was already in Peru, we spent $3,038 for the two week vacation. (Add in another $881 if two people were flying from the states.) I'm sure travel hackers could do a lot better, and we're trying to learn how to do just that. But for a couple of novices, I feel pretty good about the cost of the trip.
I had such a great time, but I might be a little biased. I love everywhere I go, and I am not picky. I've lived in different parts of the US and try to visit folks in different parts of the country when I can: there really isn't a place I don't fall in love with in some way. And, since I finally got to be with Mrs. Done by Forty for a while, how could I not have a good time?
Still, I think South America's a pretty wonderful place and a definite possibility for an early retirement locale. Here are final some bullet thoughts:
- Lima is huge. It has over 9 million residents, making it roughly the size of New York City. I had no idea when we got there, so our naive attempts to just walk the city were quickly put in their place. Each neighborhood has a pretty unique feel, and some parts are dicey at night.
- We got a warmer reception in Lima than we did in Cuenca. We're just one couple so it's anecdotal, but take it for what it's worth. Limenos really seemed to like that Americans were visiting their city instead of immediately jetting of to Machu Picchu. Cuecans might be a little sick of all the gringos moving there for retirement.
- Cuenca is a prettier and more walk-able city though. It better fits our style as a small city, and just about everything is noticeably cheaper.
- Both cities are developing, so they're a bit grittier than what you'd see in the states. More graffiti, some trash is about. The first night, you might feel a bit on edge walking around certain neighborhoods. But you adjust really quickly, too. We felt completely safe, and never ran into any theft or crime.
- The food in Lima is pretty awesome. Mrs. DB40 and I are suckers for ceviche and would eat it every day if we could. It seems everywhere we went in Lima had a great dish. The food in Cuenca, while cheaper, couldn't really compare. It's all a little bland so, if you visit, bring a bottle of Sriracha.
- If we go again, I think we'll take more day trips outside of the city, or to different cities. This city-hopping is normally what we do, but since we had so little time together we thought we'd rather just hang out together in one place than to spend more of our precious time commuting.
- Each of the cities has so many little intricacies that are different than they are in the states. We saw elderly medicine women in the markets curing their customers by hitting them with bundles of herbs. We saw men gambling cards for a few bucks on park benches. Tough stuff to put into words, but these are the little things I really like about seeing a new place.
Okay, that's all for now. I am sure I am forgetting a million little details but, as always, I am running long and should wrap it up. Thanks for reading, friends.