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Story: There was an extreme shift in the environment as I travelled south from Lima.

My first stop was Paracas, a laid-back beach town with countless fishermen and an absurd amount of boats. It sits on the west coast of Peru and is the launch point for visits to the uninhabited Ballestas Islands. Sailing around the “poor man’s Galapagos” was one of the bumpiest rides of my life, and yet seeing the abundance of foreign birds and sea lions made it worth the slight nausea.

Next was Huacachina, a desert oasis with just the right amount of palm trees. Watching the sunset over sand dunes was the perfect way to end my time staying in small towns. Following that, it was 11 hours on the road. I reached Arequipa, a bustling city framed by three volcanoes and filled with colourful markets, diverse restaurants and the famous alpaca museum.

I left wishing that I had more days to spend there, but it didn’t take long for that thought to disappear. Puno was strangely chaotic and a great place to people-watch. From there, I took a boat to Lake Titicaca which sits at 12,500 feet above sea level. My time on the lake was spent having broken-English conversations with the people who live there and being invited into their little houses made of reed.

Onwards to Cusco, I embarked on a three-day trek to Machu Picchu. Reaching the Inca ruins that I had seen in hundreds of photographs was surreal. I stood in silence for quite some time to appreciate the lush mountains and incredible atmosphere before I pulled out my camera.

Nothing about my trip was ordinary. Peru is filled with incredibly unique experiences that I hope to have captured here.

www.serenalalani.com
@serenalalani

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