Day 3 of our overland trip saw us all up bright and early once again, as we checked out of the Hotel and headed for the Cusco airport for our trip back to Callao Lima. I suppose most of us did not understand why we were being herded out of Cusco so early and heading on the 7:30am flight back.
Airports at this time are never good, and I was surprised by the amount of people at the Cusco airport - it had been so quiet when we arrived 2 days earlier but it seems there is a morning shuffle here like at all airports. By the time we got here most people where exhausted and probably at least half the group not feeling all that well - probably due to altitude, too much food, the altitude drugs and little sleep.
Derek and I were again lucky with front row window and middle seats for our journey home and once again the views from the plane were fantastic and we really enjoyed our flight back being seated together this time and with the window seat we were able to really see the area and share it together.
The primary reason we left so early we found out was so we could do a Lima tour. Yes this was a part of the trip description, however half the bus went straight back to the ship without doing this given they were not well and the rest of us really didn't understand the purpose as we had not really come to visit Lima, but Machu Picchu and I do believe we could have caught a later flight and had some time to relax in Cusco instead of doing the Lima tour or doing a shorter condensed Lima tour.
Don't get me wrong, the Lima tour ended up being fantastic and we enjoyed it but it wasn't what we had really signed up for. The traffic in Lima is terrible and it seems to take an eternity to get to anywhere, but once we hit the main town square we were immediately rewarded for the efforts as we visited one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen (it is as good as any European ones), a fantastic monastery and crypt - where we where taken to see the 1000's of skeletons that had been buried here over the ages - that was a bit spooky going through these tiny tunnels with bones everywhere.
Just when everyone felt like they couldn't take anymore, we headed off to Mira Flores beach area for lunch - grrrr we all thought another meal - but this area is so beautiful with fantastic water views you were immediately hungry. The food was exceptional as well and while most of us had felt we couldn't eat another thing, we then all realised it was probably a good 24 hours since we had last eaten given most of us didn't have any dinner at the Hotel the night before and were not up for a 5am breakfast.
Yes we enjoyed the Lima tour and at the end of the day was glad we saw Lima as it was lovely, however I still believe we would have enjoyed a sleep in and a beautiful breakfast and additional time in Cusco just as much, with a quick ride through Lima town square, or Mira Flores .
I will say when we got back on the boat, those who had stayed on the boat had a bit of a rough time, once again this is not a tourist port itself and if you didn't have excursions booked it was hard to get around - some people had been robbed and lots had difficulties with cabs etc - so if in Lima do tours they are probably worth the extra money in a place like this.
So was this over land trip worth the additional money of $3K/head well yes we saw and experienced some fantastic things, and ones that not everyone will see and do. Yes we had a fantastic journey in total. Yes there are things the tour organisers could do to make this trip a little less rushed and tiring which would be good for future participants but sometimes its not the destination its the journey and for us while Machu Picchu was incredible it wasn't as awe inspiring to us as other places we have been, but the journey from start to finish was fantastic and the entire journey as a package with the flights, train ride, the bus trip to Machu Picchu, The Hotel Libertador, Tunupa Restuarant, the street vendors, Lima tour and a relaxing lunch at Mira Flores etc it was an incredible journey, and we would recommend this to anyone. For me I am glad once again that we did this via a cruise, because to be honest I don't know if I would have needed more time in this area - we came, we saw and we conquered.