I stood and took in the picturesque view of the ancient Incan ruins that are Machu Picchu. With sky-high, lush green mountains, and clouds hovering in the background, these surrounding qualities gave proper justice to the architectural brilliance and historical-importance of the Inca citadel.
In August of 2021, my family and I had the opportunity to visit Peru on a seven-day trip. We had originally planned to travel to Peru in March of 2020, however, as Peru announced a border closure on the 15th of the month to curb the spread of the virus, our flight tickets ended up being delayed multiple times. Eventually, we were given a deadline of the end of 2021 to either travel to Peru knowing the risk of COVID-19, or simply waste the tickets.
With all of our family being fully vaccinated and taking the necessary safety precautions, we believed that it was worth the risk, after a year and a half, to travel to Peru. Flying during a pandemic with unusual traveling circumstances, we obviously were also subject to numerous, strict COVID protocols. On forms of public transportation, such as planes, buses, and trains, the use of double face masks in addition to a face shield was mandatory. Entrances to most tourist sites and restaurants were accompanied by a hand sanitizer machine and a disinfecting mat. In addition, all currency during any transactions were cleaned with a disinfectant spray.
These protocols served as a reassurance of our safety during the trip, which began in the city of Cusco. From here, we began the Sacred Valley Tour that would eventually take us to Aguas Calientes, a small town that would essentially be the gateway to entering Machu Picchu. This Sacred Valley Tour gave an in-depth view of Inca archaeological sites, such as the Andean and Inca village of Chinchero, the famous Maras Salt Mines, and Moray, composed of impressive circular terraces from the Incan times. Later in the week, we toured other important archaeological locations in Cusco, like the temple of Qorikancha, that portrayed the impressive architectural skills of the Incas.
However, the highlight of the trip would ultimately be Machu Picchu. Even after having seen the iconic sight of this majestic archaeological location countless times on postcards and online images over the years, seeing Machu Picchu in-person was a sight that I could only marvel at. Walking through the ruins and having an up-close experience of the architectural wonder was also just as impressive in its own right.
After having to quarantine for much of the past year and a half, being able to travel internationally to Peru and visit the renowned Machu Picchu was certainly an experience that was unforgettable and one to be grateful for.
Jonathan Kim, Grade 10
Culver City High School