1. Walk from the ISA office to the Plaza de Armas on Avenida de la Cultura. It is about an hour walk, and mostly locals walk the full street. On a sunny day, walking through the parks and picking up a local newspaper shows you the everyday culture in Cusco.
2. Venture to the Puerto Maldonado and see the wonders of the Amazon rainforest. Some of my favorite moments during the past month in Peru include watching the sunset, gazing at the night stars over the Rio Madre de Dios, and ziplining at 5:30 AM in the Amazon.
3. Go to the new and loved cinema and check out a movie in Spanish. One night, my friend Rachel and I decided to go to a Peruvian movie about a high-school reunion called “A Los Cuarenta.” We did about everything wrong: ordered our popcorn in the wrong line, cut in front of about a hundred people, but we made it to the theater. I was surprised at my ability to follow the entirely Spanish-speaking film, but really it was because of the constant entertainment and actions. Going to movies has been a fun “learning technique” for me in Peru. Plus, I think I paid $6 total.
4. Go to Machu Picchu and hike Wayna Picchu. Machu Picchu was incredible. Getting to see the Incan ruins and picture people living there 500 years ago was fascinating. Right when we arrived, much of our group hiked the tallest mountain, Wayna Picchu. The hike was absolutely brutal, including steep, narrow steps and a small, non-friendly to slightly claustrophobic people cave. After finally reaching the top after a gruesome hour, I ate my packed sandwich and marveled at the landscape.
5. Eat some picarrones. Picaronnes are donut-type Peruvian specialties made of sweet potatoes and pumpkins, so they’re incredibly healthy. Add a little deep-fat frier to the situation and you’ve got a balanced meal.