The night after their wedding at Sonoma's Beltane Ranch, Courtney Finley and Ben Grinnell of San Francisco boarded a red-eye from San Francisco to Lima, Peru. The two have shared a love of adventurous travel from the start, having met in London as graduate students, spending every other weekend hitting the high points of Europe together. Get inspired for your own honeymoon with their list of things to do in Peru.
Length: Eight days.
Breakdown: Two nights in Lima, three in Cusco, one in the Sacred Valley, and one in Aguas Calientes.
Flight time: 12 hours from SF to Lima; layover at LAX.
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They reluctantly left their wedding bands at home, having been advised not to bring fine jewelry to Peru. "It was so nice to get home and finally put them on," says Courtney.
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"It's a toss-up," Courtney says of their favorite hotel in Peru. "Palacio del Inka, near Cusco's main square, was amazing. We loved the richly colored lobby with hanging lanterns, the traditional music played at breakfast, and especially the pisco-sour-making lessons." "But Tambo del Inka, in the Sacred Valley, was also wonderful," she adds. "It's a lodge with high ceilings and big fireplaces, nestled in a beautiful natural setting."
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Pick Up Peruvian Souvenirs
The pair each bought an Indiana Jones–style hat as well as embroidered pillows and pouches at Pisac Market in the Sacred Valley.
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Don't Miss Machu Picchu
One of the world's best-known ancient ruins, Machu Picchu is perched almost 8,000 feet above sea level and doesn't disappoint. "The vista is just spectacular," Ben says. "The mountains seem to poke out of the clouds, with all these historic archaeological structures surrounding them."
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At Rafael, a modern Peruvian restaurant in Miraflores, Lima's most stylish neighborhood, Courtney remembers the molten chocolate cake. "I'm not sure if it was the cake itself or the fact that I hadn't been eating dessert before the wedding, but it was delicious," Courtney says. A bonus: the exchange rate made even fancy restaurants less expensive than their San Francisco counterparts.
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Peru's national drink, the pisco sour, is a refreshing citrus-flavored cocktail that evolved by accident, says Courtney. "The story goes that when the Spanish conquistadors settled in Peru, they tried to make wine and ended up with pisco." Adds Ben: "Pisco sours pack a considerable punch! We drank them everywhere, but my favorite was at La Mar on our first night in Lima."
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Share Your Honeymoon
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