History in Peru: Finding My Historical Footprint

One thing I didn’t expect to happen while I was abroad was how many times I found myself at a museum or a historical sight. When I was younger, I had a great love for history. Learning new things about the past always helped me understand the decisions made here in the present. As I entered my university when I was just 18, I had to pick a specific field of study. I picked Communication so I could concentrate in Media Production. I love everything about the film industry. But I always knew, I had a place in my heart for history, but I stopped exploring that place for a while. It wasn’t until I arrived here in Lima that I explored it once again.

Within my first week, I visited a museum about chocolate. It is called ChocoMuseo and yes, it’s just pure chocolate. I watched the process of it being made and got to try all different kinds of chocolate. I purchased some souvenirs and went about my day. I was very hesitant at first because what could possibly be so interesting about chocolate? Well, let’s just say I tried a lot of chocolate alcohol. Did you know that cacao leaves are used to help treat altitude sickness? Chocolate really does cure everything.

Another place I visited was Huaca Pucllana. This was an archaeological sight and again, I wasn’t super interested but I decided to tag along for the ride. When I got there, I realized this place was a pre-Incan pyramid. Something super interesting that you notice right away is that this ancient temple is placed in the middle of a modern city. It was built around 400 A.D. You do the math. While I was there, I witnessed an original footprint left behind that was approximately 1,500 years old! It was in that moment when I realized that this place has so much more to offer me than I knew and I wasn’t about to take it for granted.

Another beautiful museum I visited is called Museo de Larco. This museum was home to thousands of ancient artifacts left behind by the Incan people. These items consisted of jewelry, pottery, armory and so much more. Their biggest display, and for me the most interesting, was that of a mummified toddler. Of course you cannot see the child, but it is encased in a lot of bandages to preserve the body. This was a specific way of honoring the young children who passed. They would be buried with valuable and sentimental items because the Incas believed in the afterlife and that these items would travel with them.

I also had the privilege of traveling to Cusco and seeing Machu Picchu. There is so much unbelievable beauty in this place. Machu Picchu is a hidden temple in the mountains of southern Peru. It was a place of royals for the Inca people. It’s scientific discovery was in 1911, however there were local people living there who knew about the site’s existence. The Inca people were absolutely brilliant in their architectural constructions. In many ways, they are similar to the ancient Egyptians.

My most recent trip was to Iquitos which is a city located within the Amazon jungle. The interesting thing about this pace is that you cannot get to it by car or bus, you must fly or be brought in by boat! I stayed in a lodge within the jungle instead of the city to get the full Amazon experience. I swam with pink dolphins and fished for piranhas! I met a few of the people who lived along the river and we listened to their legends. It was an experience like no other.

All of these trips and museums have taught me things not only about the world, but also about myself. I have learned to appreciate things more whether they are big or small. As for my departure from Peru, I hope to have impacted the people I have met as they have impacted me. I hope to have left my footprint on such a historical place.

Alixandra VanSciver is a student at Stockton University. She is an ISA Featured Blogger and is studying abroad with ISA in Lima, Peru.

Your Discovery. Our People… The World Awaits.

2 thoughts

  1. Swimming with pink dolphins must have been a treat! As for visiting and living history I know what you mean. That’s how I felt in Spain!-Rebecca

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