I had decided a while ago that I wanted to visit south America for my elective, Peru in particular, with the promise of Machu Picchu and a host of other attractions. The one place I managed to find all the things I wanted under one umbrella was Mundo Verde, and they didn’t disappoint. We arrived in Cuzco after a whole two days of travelling and were greeted at the airport by Patty, who would later give us useful and relevant Spanish lessons. We soon became settled in our accommodation, which was relative luxury, despite being a fair distance from the town centre. This was not a problem however as public transport is unbelievably cheap (as long as you don’t mind the South American version of a normal bus ride – if not taxis are next to nothing too).
The first week was spent acclimatising and learning some Spanish before we began our placements in the hospital the following week. We were placed with Dr Silva, who was friendly, helpful and enthusiastic to teach. It was mainly a clinic style set-up, similar to GP practice in the UK, a more acute medical placement may be possible as long as you let Pablo at Mundo Verde know this is what you want. I saw a range of conditions and learned how a country as different to the UK as Peru deals with them. I was also able to get a grasp of the healthcare system in Peru and see people from very diverse backgrounds.
Cuzco is a vibrant city that lives off tourism. It boasts spectacular churches and monuments and is flanked by mountains that are home to really amazing monuments. The night life in Cuzco was surprising, in that it was brilliant. Several clubs ranging from typical vodka (Rum!) bars to the electric “Mama Africa”. You often manage to acquire free drink tokens so many a fantastic night out was next to free.
The trips and treks were the most enjoyable parts of the elective, with the 5 day Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu the best by far. Simply the best 5 days of my entire life, we saw almost every climate and terrain imaginable (from urban to countryside to snowy mountains to jungle to valleys carved out by huge rivers). It was physically pretty hard, but worth every step and exhale, the sense of achievement when you reach the summit of the Salkantay pass and macho picchu itself is amazing. The city of MP itself leaves you lost for words, looking down on top of it from Machu Picchu mountain is incredible.
We also went on trips to lake titikaka and through the sacred and southern valleys, which were all stunning and unforgettable. We ended our elective with a week in the jungle near the bolivian border. We were meant to go into hospitals hear but there were strikes (seems happen a lot in Peru, but probably everywhere), we weren’t too displeased by this as it meant more time to lounge by the pool and enjoy the 35 degree plus sun. The food both here and in Cuzco is amazing, and very cheap.
All in all my elective in Peru was one of the most exciting, enjoyable and unforgettable times of my life. You will never forget the trip to Machu Picchu and I have never been anywhere in the world where there is a need to take as many photos as Peru. I would very much recommend both going to Peru through Mundo Verde for a great elective.