I knew it when I stepped out of my favorite quiet cafe and counted fourteen tour busses lined up on the cobblestone street of the Pisac square. Any doubts I had were immediately erased from my mind when I saw a gaggle of blonde girls run past me, loaded down with plastic shopping bags. One of the trio squealed, ¨So, like, where´s our bus anyway?¨
The rainy season in Peru is officially over. Peru has two seasons only – wet and dry. Most books you read and people you talk to will tell you to come to Peru only during the dry season. Well, here´s my insider tip: I highly recommend visiting Peru during the wet season, mostly because the ´wet season´ isn´t really all that wet.
When I arrived in late December, everyone I knew in Pisac talked about how dismal the wet season was going to be. That´s when I also found out that everyone I knew planned their vacations from January through March – all the local bed and breakfast owners, the cafe owner and even alot of the shamans. As far as people I know, it´s been sort of a ghost town around here but I´ve still enjoyed this place immensely, even though I´ve missed my local friends. The cafes were still open, as were the hostels and don´t worry – there´s always a multitude of shamanic medicine available here.
The friend I´m house-sitting for comes back in two weeks. The new school year began for the children of the Andes yesterday morning – many of them wore uniforms and shiny dress shoes. The epic water balloon fights of school vacation have officially come to an end. And – no matter what the media says about the economy – the tourists are back in force.
January and February were not all that rainy here in the Sacred Valley. Most days began a little overcast and misty, but after a couple of hours, it would be all blue skies and puffy white clouds. The mud dries quickly around here. I only wore mud boots once during the entire rainy season. There was only one night where it rained all night long and maybe two days of solid rain – every other bit of moisture was intermittent and even enjoyable.
The best part about visiting Peru during the rainy season is the lack of other tourists. During the months of January and February, it seemed as though I spied a fair number of khaki-covered, lens-toting tourists. But now that March has arrived and the tour busses are backed up down the narrow streets, choking everyone with noxious exhaust fumes, I can tell that the droves of sightseers have officially arrived.
Honestly, I´ve begun to avoid the market even more than normal. All the restaurants are packed. The local B&B´s are over-booked. My friend Rosie says that the American tourists are the ones who spend the money. And so, in a way, I´m glad that the dry season has returned. The people I know who have businesses here are about to flourish once again and the vendors who sell their wares will once again have buyers.
But I feel so very lucky that I´ve had a chance to experience this beautiful place when it was just a little quieter than normal . . . !