August has been and gone, which marks my first full month traveling in South America on my round-the-world trip! It also marks one full year since my endometriosis excision surgery – an operation that changed my life. I can’t begin this recap without first thanking Dr. Arrington and the Center for Endometriosis Care team, because without them I wouldn’t be on this crazy travel adventure that I’m currently living!
If you read my July recap then you know that Dan and I flew to Peru with plans to travel north from there. Well, we ended up spending the entirety of August in Peru (not because we particularly loved Peru… that’s another story… but because this country is so damn big!).
Before I get ahead of myself, grab a coffee or tea and let’s catch up on the month that was. In this August recap I’m digging into all of our Peru travel exploits, what’s new on the blog, our travel budget breakdown, monthly blogging income, and more!
Where was I in August?
- Countries: Peru
- Cities: Puerto Maldonado (the Peruvian Amazon!), Cusco, Arequipa, Ica, Huacachina, Paracas, Lima, Huaraz
- Flights: 0… but 5 overnight buses
- Days on the road: All of them!
August on the blog…
For traveling full time, I still managed to churn out five blog posts this month, in addition to my freelance work. That’s mostly thanks to having some down time in Huaraz (and an Airbnb with good wifi and a nice working desk).
Here’s what’s new on the blog:
- 27 Photos to Inspire You to Visit the Peruvian Amazon
- Eco-Luxury at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica in Peru: Hotel Review
- A Self-Guided Photo Tour of Arequipa, Peru
- 7 Best Coffee Shops in Arequipa, Peru
- May, June, and July 2022 Recap
I actually have a MASSIVE list of more blog posts to write so stay tuned. The more we travel the more ideas I have!
August adventured like…
The month started with three days in the Peruvian Amazon. Dan and I were lucky enough to be hosted at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, an eco-luxury Amazon lodge in Peru’s Tambopata Reserve. It was a true highlight of our time in Peru. Best moments included the river boat ride, seeing baby monkeys play, the amazingly fresh food, our own private cabana, and a walk on hanging bridges 100-feet in the air over the jungle. Read more about it here!
We spent five (more) lackluster days in Cusco. After the Amazon, we returned to Cusco via overnight bus and Dan immediately got altitude sickness. We’d just left Cusco three days prior, so we thought we’d still be fine regarding altitude. Guess not! We’d been planning to do some day tours into the Sacred Valley during this time, but instead pretty much holed up in our Airbnb for five days. Not only did Dan not feel great, but we’d both had it with the overwhelmingly touristy nature of Cusco, and frankly just wanted to leave.
Then we visited Arequipa, which felt like a renewal. We loved the southern city of Arequipa so much that we extended our time here. Something about the good coffee, beautiful Plaza de Armas, and let’s face it… the adorable hostel puppy Loki… had us feeling better about our decision to keep traveling in Peru. I got a lot of work done here in the mornings, and we spent the afternoons exploring. Other perks included meeting my first fellow Peruvian celiac (we went back to India Indian Cuisine restaurant four times as a result) and meeting up with Helena and Simon, a German traveling couple we’d met back at our Spanish school in Lima (and accidentally getting a prime view of Arequipa’s once-a-year Anniversary Day parade).
After Arequipa we headed north to Ica, where we drank too much wine and nearly died on some sand dunes. Sorry, let me back up. On our way north, we spent a couple days in Ica, the city near the backpacker-famous desert oasis called Huacachina. I’d heard wine tasting was a thing here, so we booked a private tour. It quickly became clear that Peruvian wine tastings are ~not what I’m used to~ and involve copious tiny cups of sweet wine that devolve into flavored piscos (48% alcohol anyone?). Most people just do two wineries but for some reason, we thought three was a good idea…Ahem. The next day, we had a sand boarding tour booked in Huacachina. Sand boarding pretty much involves sledding face-first down giant sand dunes. What we didn’t even consider, though, was the transportation through the sand dunes: a dune buggy. When I tell you I thought we were going to die on this damn dune buggy, I mean, I really thought we were going to die. I was clinging to Dan. Dan was clinging to me. Peruvians were crying. The seat belts didn’t work. The actual sand boarding (I remind you: hurtling face first down a sand dune the height of a multi-story building) was easy-peasy. But you BETTER BELIEVE I’m planning an entire blog post about the dune buggies on this tour because I cannot fit all the trauma here. Stay tuned.
Next, we went to Paracas to see the Poor Man’s Galapagos. I loved Paracas because 1) it wasn’t Huacachina, and 2) I was alive. The town itself was run down and small, but we did love our trek along the Paracas National Reserve coast, and our tour of the Islas Ballestas (where we saw tons of sea lions and dolphins!).
A quick trip back to Lima – mostly to stock up on gluten free food. On our journey north we had to stop back in Lima for a day, and we decided to stay in the artsy neighborhood of Barranco this time. Not because it was convenient to the bus stations, nooo. Because we wanted to eat at Awicha again! We both fell in love with this restaurant during our two weeks eating our way through in Lima in July, and so we basically planned our return trip around being able to eat here – twice. The waiter even recognized us LOL. While in Lima I also ordered a ~huge~ amount of gluten free food from Twins Cafe GF, a gluten free cafe that I’d thought was closed, but is actually now delivery-only. What I haven’t mentioned yet (in this blog post at least) is that eating gluten free in Peru is really freakin’ hard and I’ve been sick multiple times and lost some weight as a result. All this was obviously a short term fix but it made me very happy to finally get some good (and safe) food!
Then we spent two weeks in Huaraz, the hiking capital of Peru. Finally, we settled in Huaraz, a city near Huascaran National Park and the Andes in the north of Peru. If you thought the main hiking area in Peru was around Machu Picchu, you’re mistaken. The hikes around Huaraz are another level entirely, and this is actually what I was most excited about before we came to Peru. The hikes in Huaraz did not disappoint, and I have a lot of blog posts planned about our adventures here. Unfortunately, Dan also got sick here for a few days. Additionally, accessing most of the hikes involved careening around sheer cliff faces with 300+ foot drops in rickety mini vans, and my dune-buggy induced PTSD came out in full force. In short, I loved the hiking but we were both feeling ready to leave Peru.
ALL the overnight buses. As I mentioned earlier, Peru is a maaaassive country. Our main mode of transportation between all these places was via overnight bus. To be fair, the Cruz del Sur bus line in Peru is really nice, but even they can’t make up for the Peruvian roads. I spent a fair number of hours this month listening to Peruvians barf into plastic bags as we sped down mountain passes at 2am, and I even barfed into a few plastic bags myself. Note to anyone else traveling to Peru: pack Dramamine…
August travel budget and expense breakdown…
I should rename this section: Traveling with an Accountant 🙂
Dan and I have been tracking our monthly expenses and this is how things broke down in August in Peru. As a reminder, our goal budget is $1,500/month or $50/person/day.
Here’s a breakdown of my August travel budget and expenses:
- Accommodation: $295.37
- Travel: $130.68
- Activities: $198.12
- Food: $461.43
- Miscellaneous: $94.38
Not going to lie, when Dan told me I was below budget I was pretty shocked (he spent even less than me… *ahem* he didn’t spent $40 at a gluten free bakery *ahem*).
We saved a lot of money in August because of these main reasons:
- Our stay at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica (3 days/2 nights) was hosted.
- We only spent $4 for 5 days’ accommodation in Cusco, thanks to a generous Airbnb gift card/going away present from my friends.
- In Huaraz we cooked most of our own meals at our Airbnb.
- Lots of overnight buses meant doubling up on accommodation/travel costs.
August blogging income report and update…
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been inspired by other bloggers’ income reports, and this year I’m sharing mine for that reason. (And also for my own motivation!).
In August, page views were up (yay, travel season!), but income was actually down. Two of my normal freelance writing articles were published a month early, so I actually got paid for them early, making August’s income lower.
All in all, I’m definitely not complaining, especially now that I’m experiencing how it is to live on a much lower budget while traveling! I am motivated to increase my Mediavine income, though, because I feel like it’s been pretty much stagnant since I joined the network. I’ve got Dan helping me with analytics now, and I finally have time to write some more blog posts, so I’m hoping I’ll see the pay off soon!
- Sessions: 80,117
- Pageviews: 92,448
August 2022 blogging income
Here’s how my income broke down in April:
- Advertising: $1,303.33
- Freelance Writing: $900
- Affiliates: $221.25
Note: This is my gross income, before expenses and taxes.
Upcoming in September…
I’m actually writing this from… the beach in Ecuador!!! Yes, we made it out of Peru at last, and managed our first land border crossing without any snafus. In short, are we real backpackers now?!
If it hasn’t come across, I do really respect Peru as a country and I don’t regret my time there, but I just can’t say it’s my favorite place I’ve ever traveled. I’m feeling a lot more hopeful and optimistic now that we are in Ecuador, and as we’re planning the next phase of our South America travels.
For the next week or so, we’re at a Spanish and Surf school (and I’ll be catching up on work on my laptop). Then we’re off to explore the rest of the country!
Have you ever been to Ecuador, and do you have any tips? I’d also love to hear how your Augusts were – sound off in the comments and let me know something you’re excited for in September!
Hi Sarah, it looks like you are having a great trip. I have a question for you. I have the opportunity to go to Peru for 5 days in October, but I am concerned about the usage of masks there. I am deaf, so it’s nearly impossible for me to communicate with people who are wearing a mask. I’ve seen mixed things online on whether masks are still required (specifically outdoors) in Peru. I would be visiting Lima. From the time you spent there, were masks still commonplace?
Hi Leah! Thanks for the comment. To be completely honest, I think you’d find it very challenging in Peru, Lima specifically. Masks are still required indoors, and the majority of Peruvians in Lima also wear masks outdoors. Some outdoor places (like the circuito magico del agua show we went to – a completely outdoor park) also require masks for entry. You need to wear either a KN95 or two surgical masks to get into grocery stores (we were turned away from grocery stores with just one surgical mask) and almost every Peruvian you meet at the entrance to these places is wearing a mask. If you predominantly lip read then I think this would be an extremely challenging city to visit!
Thank you for taking the time to respond! I’ve been poking around online but some of the information is a few months to a year old, so it’s good to hear from someone who was just there. Thanks for the info and enjoy the rest of your trip!
Of course. And yes, it can be frustrating as so much changes so quickly, you really need to know from someone on the ground! I’m sorry I didn’t have a better answer for you.