Peru: Intrepid Travel Mission Winner Ueli Frischknecht's Journey

By Grace Farson - 3 min read

We hosted a Mission with Intrepid Travel to celebrate the many ways travel brings people together around the world. Ueli Frischknecht shares some insights about his travels with Intrepid in Peru.

In our Mission with Intrepid Travel, we wanted to see how traveling widens your circle of companions – or brings you closer to those you already know. With almost 52K photo submissions, five winners were at last selected togo on an amazing experience of a lifetime to Morocco, Australia, Peru, Cuba, and Vietnam.

Ueli Frischknecht was the second winner and he traveled to Peru and he shared more of his highlights and impressions from his journey.

Did the country meet your expectations? What did you find most surprising?

Absolutely! Peru is like I imagined it to be - acountry rich in culture with amazing people, incredible flora and fauna and delicious food. I was surprised byhow professional and well-organized the tourism industry in Peru is and that everything went really so smoothly without any complications.

Share the most memorable moments from the trip.

The most memorable moment from the trip was paddling out on Lake Titicaca during sunrise. The second would bethe mystical morning at Machu Picchu. These were moments I won’t be able to forget and were certainly for the books!

Who did you meet and connect with on your trip?

One of the nice things about traveling with Intrepid Travel is that you meet people from different parts of the world that share the same passions you do. At the same time, you are given enough room to follow your own interests and to interact with locals. I have spentincredible time with each one of our group members, including the tour leaders and I will surely remember all of them.

What culinary experiences did you have? Did you discover a new food/tradition?

When it comes to food, Peru didn’t disappoint.There were several culinary highlights from the coast of Lima up to the heights of Puno. I remember chicharron de pescado,a traditional dish made of fried fish accompanied with tasty salsas and pollo a la brasa - probably the best roasted chicken I have ever eaten in my life!

Were there any challenging or exhausting moments? How did you grow and what did you learn during the trip?

One challenging aspect was the altitude. The higher altitude in the Andean regions shouldn’t be underestimated! It took me a couple of days to acclimatize myself in Cusco, at3’400 m over sea level. At first, I was full of excitement to hike and explore right away, but instead I had to learn to deal with the limited amount of oxygen by doing everything a bit slower than usual and taking it easy during the first days and to drink plenty of water.

What was an interesting mode of transportation you used to travel while there?

In Puno, our group hopped into two outrigger-canoes to paddle out to the floating islands of the Uros, located out on Lake Titicaca. It was very special to me as I have never been in such a canoe before.

Where did you stay? What was your best and worst night’s sleep? What were the views like?

Throughout the trip we stayed at different hotels across the country. All of them were very cozy and comfortable and they provided us with enough sheets to keep us warm during the colder nights. But the most memorable night wasn’t in a hotel. It was on a peninsula on Lake Titicaca, where we spent the night with a local family. It wasn’t the most comfortable bed, but it doesn’t really matter to me.

This experience was unique and definitely one of the highlights of the whole trip. Is there anything better than waking up for breakfast by the sound of a donkey? I don’t think so.

What was your favorite destination or sight during the trip? Did you capture anywhere from an unexpected or unique angle?

It was certainly Machu Picchu. That morning in Aguas Calientes, I woke up very early and was amongst the first ones arriving at the Inca site. Unfortunately, everything was covered in thick clouds until around10 o’clock. So, I had to patiently waitfor more than 4 hours until the magic happened, and the ruins becamepartially uncovered. Although the moment lasted only couple of minutes it was absolutely worth it. Everyone knows this view from postcards, but nothing gets close to experiencing it with your own eyes.

Did you bring any souvenirs back with you (traditional or non-traditional)?

I usually don’t spend too much money in souvenirs but recently, I started to collect textile flags and badges of the countries I’ve visited.I got myself a Peruvian and a Bolivian one on this trip. Another small souvenir I bought in La Paz is a small amulet of a condor which should have the power to protect me on my travels.

Did you learn any new words/phrases/slang? If so, what?

Yes - ‘Sulpaiki’ for example, which means ‘Thank You’ in Quechua. I am fluent in Spanish, so there were not many words I didn’t know, but I was very much interested in the indigenous languages Quechua and Aymara.

What would be your top tip (e.g. unique place to eat, interesting market to go to) for other people traveling to the country?

There are so many incredible places and sights that it’s hard to pick only one. My top recommendation for other people traveling to Peru would be to have an open mindset. Be curious! Interacting with locals can give you a much better understanding of the country and if you approach them with a smile, you’d often get one back.

Inspired to adventure into the unknown and travel the local way? Be sure to explore Intrepid Travel’s range of trips. For more of Ueli’s adventures in Peru, visit his EyeEm Profile and follow him on Instagram.