Christmas in Peru: Exploring the Inca Trail, the Amazons, and Arctic Beaches

By Mabel Lee. Upon our arrival to the city of Cuzco, the abrupt increase in altitude to 3,400 meters was immediately felt in my protesting lungs as we trudged up the sloping streets, past women slinging babies in colorful papooses and children peeking out from doorways. We were on our first South American adventure, and as we sat waiting in the open courtyard of the Hostel Qorichaska, the kind receptionist brought us our first infusion of coca leaves, of many to come: a bit bitter, yet warm and soothing for the head, perfect for a quiet moment before the journey …