Lima is the third of WiFi Artists’ four-city tour in Latin America. Distinct cuisine, diverse neighborhoods, and exciting weekend trips made the month of March go by too quickly. New group members honed their digital nomad skills for the first time, and connections grew deeper with those who’ve traveled with us for multiple months. Peru welcomes digital nomads, and experiencing Lima with this group has been a blessing. For anyone considering applying for a WiFi Artists program, this blog shows the mix of activities you can expect in a given month.
Barranco: Lima’s Bohemian Barrio
WiFi Artists took a free walking tour through Lima’s Historic Center and Barranco during our first weekend in Lima. About a mile from our living spaces in Miraflores, Barranco is one of 43 districts in lovely Lima. The neighborhood or “barrio” is considered the city's most romantic and bohemian home and working studio for many of Peru's best artists, musicians, designers, and photographers. The street murals, unique statues, and green public squares made the hot summer afternoon enjoyable. After the tour, the group listened to live music and grabbed a drink at Ayahuasca Restobar. We had our first chilcanos and pisco sours, Peruvian specialty adult beverages.
Huacachina: Adventures in the Oasis
One weekend was to Huacachina, a desert oasis and tiny village just west of the city of Ica in southwestern Peru. In addition, the group made short stops at the beach town of Paracas, the open desert in the National Reserve of Paracas, and the museum of Julio C. Tello de Paracas (to learn a bit more about the people who called Paracas home centuries ago).
After lunch in Ica, which featured ceviche and Peruvian dishes like lomo saltado, the group went to a pisco tasting and watched some Afro-Peruvian dancing.
WiFi Artists arrived in Huacachina by midafternoon. At the center of the oasis is the Huacachina Lagoon. Palm trees circle the lagoon, and the water is said to have therapeutic properties. Huacachina’s sand is warm and welcoming.
Our driver showed us a thrilling side of Huacachina on a speed dune buggy ride. Afterward, group members sandboarded down the dunes. Sandboarders can either lay on their stomach or stand up (similar to snowboarding).
In the end, WiFi Artists went home with more knowledge about Peru, vivid memories, and a bit of sand in our shoes.
Ollantaytambo: Peace and Beauty
Leading up to WiFi Artists' visit to Machu Picchu, the group took a midweek trip to Ollantaytambo.
The small village is 2,792 meters above sea level in the Sacred Valley of south Peru and set against the Urubamba River amid snow-capped mountains. Known for its ruins, Ollantaytambo features an Inca fortress with large stone terraces on its hillside. The village's old town is an Inca-era grid of cobblestoned streets and adobe buildings.
The group enjoyed some shared meals in the town square, watched a soccer match, got some work done, and went on some hikes. Our hosts at Casa Inka were gracious and helpful, offering delicious complimentary breakfast and recommendations in the area.
Whether laying in hammocks after work meetings or taking short afternoon hikes, Ollantaytambo offered great relaxation. Lima is a bustling city with energy around every corner, so Ollantaytambo’s slower pace of life served as a great contrast to the busy streets of Lima.
Machu Picchu: A World Wonder
After flying from Lima to Cusco, an hour car ride to the Sacred Valley, a train to Aquas Calientes, and finally climbing the final 1,600 steps to Machu Picchu - it’s no wonder the Spanish never found this Incan citadel. Machu Picchu sits atop the Urubamba River valley, high in the Andes Mountains. It was built in the 15th century and later abandoned. The citadel’s sophisticated dry-stone walls fuse huge blocks without using mortar to create intriguing buildings that play on astronomical alignments and panoramic views.
Our trip to Machu Picchu was a long day for the WiFi Artists, starting with a 5 AM train ride. However, the views and feeling of exploring a spiritual, historic site were well worth the trip. The photos are worth thousands of words, and our tour guide offered us great historical context regarding the five theories of how the Inca peoples lived in Machu Picchu.
Peru vs. Paraguay: World Cup Qualifying Match
For those who don’t keep up with fútbol, Peru has been fighting to make it into the Qatar 2022 World Cup. On March 29, thousands gathered in the streets of Lima to watch the games. Every restaurant was packed full of people. It felt like a national holiday with energy in the air, not to mention cars honking a consistent beat which WiFi Artists later learned is one of Peru’s fan chants. Small bands led cheers throughout the street and got a bit rowdy while the game unfolded. Peru beat Paraguay by a score of 2-0. The victory guarantees them a “repechage” game against the United Arab Emirates in June for the right to play in their sixth World Cup in its history. Peru’s 2018 World Cup appearance was the first since 1982.
For those who don’t watch fútbol, it’s a truly global sport. A fútbol fan’s passion is different. Peruvian locals were excited to share the love of their team with us. Celebrations went as late as 4 AM, with hundreds of Peru fans singing in unison and dancing.
Lunch with Locals: One to One Connections
WiFi Artists ate lunch with two local families on our last quiet Sunday as a whole group. Meeting our hosts at markets in Barranco and San Isidro, we picked out fresh ingredients for the meal. Sharing meals is a great cultural exchange, and the host families kindly shared their home and culinary skills with us. Some WiFi Artists got to help prepare the meals while others chatted with family members, talking about our program, life in Lima, and exchanging travel stories. Fresh vegan ceviche, chilcanos, and pollo a la brasa were all tasty. Special thanks to our program lead, Marie, for setting up the lunch (not to mention trips to Ollantaytambo, Machu Picchu, and Huacachina). — When digital nomads get comfortable in their routine somewhere, it’s often time to travel somewhere new. That’s why being consistent with our work habits and self-care is essential. One month is not a ton of time but gives group members many exploration opportunities. WiFi Artists can take time to rest and relax when they want but always have the opportunity for a group adventure. Experiencing the ups and downs of travel with others simplifies things. Everyone needs support, and regardless of the challenge, WiFi Artists maintain respect for one another and the communities we’re guests in.
We learn more about each other and the world outside our home countries during every WiFi Artists program. The experiences of Peru changed our perspective and taught us new lessons. Next up, Mexico City!