A Travellerspoint blog

Peru

Puno - Lake Titicaca, 11 - 13 Nov 2008

We came to Puno from Cisco on our first long day bus of the trip - 6.5 hours. Travel on this route is not recommended at night (robberies). It was good because there is epic scenery opn the way. Shame we were also blasted with an epic video (Lord of the Rings) on the bus for most of the journey!

Puno is not a particularly exciting place but it is the place in Peru to access Lake Titicaca. The Plaza de Armas (as it seems in every Peruvian town) is attractive and it is pleasant by the lake.

We took a trip out to the Uros floating islands, opting for the "cooperative" boat down at the landing stage rather than a travel agent tour. It was was both enjoyable and fascinating. Once on the flating islands, its a bit "arranged" to (pleasantly) exploit the tourists, but it really has to be like it is to work. Definitely something not to be missed.

Cusco to Puno by Bus

Cusco to Puno by Bus


Cusco to Puno by Bus 1

Cusco to Puno by Bus 1


Cusco to Puno by Bus 2

Cusco to Puno by Bus 2


Cusco to Puno by Bus 3

Cusco to Puno by Bus 3


Cusco to Puno by Bus - Puno Arrival

Cusco to Puno by Bus - Puno Arrival


Cusco to Puno by Bus - Titicaca

Cusco to Puno by Bus - Titicaca


Puno - by Lake

Puno - by Lake


Uros - Floating Islands trip

Uros - Floating Islands trip


Uros - Floating Islands trip 1

Uros - Floating Islands trip 1


Uros - Floating Islands trip - Chat from local

Uros - Floating Islands trip - Chat from local


Uros - Floating Islands trip 2

Uros - Floating Islands trip 2


Uros - Floating Islands trip 3

Uros - Floating Islands trip 3


Uros - Floating Islands trip 4

Uros - Floating Islands trip 4


Uros - Floating Islands trip 5

Uros - Floating Islands trip 5


Uros - Floating Islands trip 6

Uros - Floating Islands trip 6


Uros - Floating Islands trip - Local school

Uros - Floating Islands trip - Local school


Uros - Floating Islands trip 7

Uros - Floating Islands trip 7


Uros - Floating Islands trip 8

Uros - Floating Islands trip 8


Uros - Floating Islands trip 9

Uros - Floating Islands trip 9


Uros - Floating Islands trip 10

Uros - Floating Islands trip 10


Uros - Floating Islands trip 11

Uros - Floating Islands trip 11


Puno - Plaza de Armas

Puno - Plaza de Armas


Puno Transport

Puno Transport


Puno Transport - I thought rickshaws were in Asia

Puno Transport - I thought rickshaws were in Asia

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Cusco + Machu Picchu , 8 - 10 Nov 2008

We were starting to think we would never get to Machu Picchu! On the last morning in Arequipa we checked the PeruRail web site and there was still no availability for any trains up to MP for a week. We checked in the iPeru tourist office, they phoned up and said everything was OK! So...

Overnight bus back from Arequipa to Cusco, picked up by our trusty hotel, sorted out train reservation at the PeruRail office and, "basta", we were off on the train Sunday morning. We decided to stay overnight in Agua Calientes (beneath MP) to give us more time/second option if the weather was bad on first day, then return to our hotel in Cusco late the following night.

Its not a cheap trip! Minimum is around $150 per person for train, bus up to MP and site entrance fee. However, the 4.5 hour train journey there is superb (left side gets most of the best views going up), as is the bus trip up the precipitous dirt track up to the site entrance and the site itself is in a magnificent setting, and of course is unmissable anyway. We were very lucky with the weather - light cloud and sunny - and were on the site for 4.5 hours in the afternoon. Very happy!

I have not bothered with photos of Agua Calientes. It isn't pretty and its quite expensive - although there are so many restos that they do make some quite attractive offers to get customers in. We did enjoy the thermal baths the following morning - about 15 minutes walk up the valley from the town.

Machu Picchu - Train

Machu Picchu - Train


Machu Picchu - Train 2

Machu Picchu - Train 2


Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu


Machu Picchu 1

Machu Picchu 1


Machu Picchu 2

Machu Picchu 2


Machu Picchu  - Llamas to keep the grass down!

Machu Picchu - Llamas to keep the grass down!


Machu Picchu  - Llamas to keep the grass down 2

Machu Picchu - Llamas to keep the grass down 2


Machu Picchu - up path to Sun Gate

Machu Picchu - up path to Sun Gate


Machu Picchu  3

Machu Picchu 3


Machu Picchu 4

Machu Picchu 4


Machu Picchu 5

Machu Picchu 5


Machu Picchu 6

Machu Picchu 6


Machu Picchu 7

Machu Picchu 7


Machu Picchu 8

Machu Picchu 8


Machu Picchu - Late afternoon 1

Machu Picchu - Late afternoon 1


Machu Picchu - Late afternoon 2

Machu Picchu - Late afternoon 2

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Arequipa + Colca Valley, 4-7 Nov 2008

Overnight bus from Cusco (9 hours). This was even better than the Brazilian ones. (Cruz del Sur - best company in Peru apparently). Security checked hand luggage and they actually film each passenger before the bus leaves - presumably to identify highjackers after the event!). On the bus - hostess, "meal", film and even bingo.

The drop in altitude from Cusco to Arequipa, although only 800 metres, made all the difference. We felt much better and lively to check out Arequipa. Its a pleasant place with a really attractive central Plaza de Armas - a cathedral taking the whole of the northern side, the other sides with collonades and the centre with palms and lots of greenery very well kept.

The other main site to visit for us in Arequipa was the Santa Catherina monastery. Cut off from the outside world for over 350 years, a silent order of nuns lived there until 1960 when earthquake damage forced them to move out to new premises next door (24 still live there). Since, the site has been restored and is open to the public. The remarkable and extensive site is definitely worth a couple of hours to look at - primitive (living conditions), peaceful, beautiful, extremely well cared for.

We took a two day tour up to the Colca valley and canyon. It was a great trip. The valley and canyon offer superb scenery and the high point is the chance of seeing CONDORS at the fathest point of the journey at Cruz del Condor in the Colca canyon.. Having seen a couple at a distance for a short time just when we arrived, there was nothing for over an hour (except the spectacular scenery of the (almost) the deepest canyon in the world and the odd hummingbird in the cactus below) then, after we should have left, a couple of condors came into site in the distance, heading towards us, did a big circle in front of us and headed straight at the cliff beneath us to land out of site below. Awesome!

Otherwise, we saw the rare wild Vicuñas (cousins of llamas), alpacas and other wildlife, and stayed overnight in Chivay in the valley. Here, we had a great time for an hour or so at the thermal baths - which should not be missed if you are there. Great to be sitting in the water at not far short of 40 degrees in the outside pool with a lovely view of the valley. (They even come round and offer you drinks whilst you are in the water - anything fron Coca Tea to Pisco Sour).

This trip took us up to 4900 meters and much of it was at over the 3300 meters - this time we had no altitude no problems so hopefully we have acclimatised (because much of the next couple of weeks should be not far short of 4000 meters).

We were very happy that we had picked up a new "bridge" camera (half way between compact and SLR) and a light pair of binoculars before comiing away. They have been invaluable for wildlife viewing and photographing. Only problem with the new camera, the images are 10 times the file size of the images taken with the compact one! These take an age to upload - however, I finally discovered that most internet cafe PC's have Microsoft Picture Manager which enables them to be easily resized.

Arequipa - Plaza de Armas

Arequipa - Plaza de Armas


Arequipa - Plaza de Armas - Cathedral

Arequipa - Plaza de Armas - Cathedral


Santa Caterina Convent

Santa Caterina Convent


Santa Caterina Convent - Courtyard

Santa Caterina Convent - Courtyard


Santa Caterina - Nun's cell - Living area

Santa Caterina - Nun's cell - Living area


Santa Caterina  - Nun's cell - cooking area

Santa Caterina - Nun's cell - cooking area


Colca Trip - Coca tea stop 1

Colca Trip - Coca tea stop 1


Colca Trip - Coca tea stop 2

Colca Trip - Coca tea stop 2


Colca Trip - Coca tea stop 3

Colca Trip - Coca tea stop 3


Colca Trip - Vicuña 1

Colca Trip - Vicuña 1


Colca Trip - Vicuña 2

Colca Trip - Vicuña 2


Colca Trip - Vicuña 3

Colca Trip - Vicuña 3


Colca Trip - Alpacas

Colca Trip - Alpacas


Colca Trip - Alpacas 2

Colca Trip - Alpacas 2


Colca Trip - Alpaca

Colca Trip - Alpaca


Colca Trip - Spot the chinchilla!

Colca Trip - Spot the chinchilla!


Colca Trip - Colca Valley 1

Colca Trip - Colca Valley 1


Colca Trip - Colca Valley 2

Colca Trip - Colca Valley 2


Colca Trip - Stop with sellers

Colca Trip - Stop with sellers


Colca Trip - with guide

Colca Trip - with guide


Colca Trip - Colca Valley 3

Colca Trip - Colca Valley 3


Colca Trip - Colca Canyon - Cruz del Condor

Colca Trip - Colca Canyon - Cruz del Condor


Colca Trip - Colca Canyon - Cruz del Condor 2

Colca Trip - Colca Canyon - Cruz del Condor 2


Colca Trip - Colca Canyon - Condor 1

Colca Trip - Colca Canyon - Condor 1


Colca Trip - Colca Canyon - Condor 2

Colca Trip - Colca Canyon - Condor 2


Colca Trip - Colca Canyon - Condor 3

Colca Trip - Colca Canyon - Condor 3


Colca Trip - Chivay Locals

Colca Trip - Chivay Locals


Colca Trip - Chivay Locals 2

Colca Trip - Chivay Locals 2


Colca Trip - Chivay Locals 1

Colca Trip - Chivay Locals 1


Colca Trip - Chivay Locals 3

Colca Trip - Chivay Locals 3

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Cusco, 1-3 November 2008

Sometimes it is better to arrange where you are staying in advance, and this was one of them. After the early morning flight from Lima we had a free pickup at the airport (avoiding the masses of taxi touts etc) and were greeted with a coca tea (helps offset altitude sickness) and were in bed by 09h00 for a few very welcome hours sleep before heading out to check out the town.

Cusco has beautiful architecture and loads of attractions in the surrounding area - accessible through tours generally. We had a good look round the town and went to the excellent Museo de Arte Precolombino and the best Inca site in Cusco (Qoricanche, Temple of the Sun). We also went by public bus out to the (touristy) Sunday market at Pisac.

We were a bit affected by the move from tropical places at low altitudes to high altitude plus cold! Even with lots of coca in various forms (supposed to be very good for altitude problems), which certainly helped a lot, we were definitely not on top form. Then we found that, because of a train strike threat, we could not get up to Machu Picchu until ... who knows.

So, with no firm news of what was happening with the strike, we eventually decided to head off to Arequipa on the overnught bus before the strike was due to start. Hopefully we will come back to do Machu Picchu when the transport arrangements are easier.

Cusco - Around Plaza de Armas 7

Cusco - Around Plaza de Armas 7


Cusco - Around Plaza de Armas 1

Cusco - Around Plaza de Armas 1


Cusco - Around Plaza de Armas 2

Cusco - Around Plaza de Armas 2


Cusco - Around Plaza de Armas 3

Cusco - Around Plaza de Armas 3


Cusco - Around Plaza de Armas 5

Cusco - Around Plaza de Armas 5


Cusco - Around Plaza de Armas 4

Cusco - Around Plaza de Armas 4


Cusco - Around Plaza de Armas 4

Cusco - Around Plaza de Armas 4


Cusco - Around Plaza de Armas 6

Cusco - Around Plaza de Armas 6


Cusco - Inca Wall

Cusco - Inca Wall


Cusco 1

Cusco 1


Pisac  Sunday Market 1

Pisac Sunday Market 1


Pisac  Sunday Market 2

Pisac Sunday Market 2


Pisac  Sunday Market 5

Pisac Sunday Market 5


Pisac  Sunday Market 4

Pisac Sunday Market 4


Pisac

Pisac

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Lima Airport, 31 Oct/1 Nov (not worth reading!)

If I had not created this entry, the map of our journey would not have been correct! (Yes, I am a sad case).

Came on an evening flight from Iquitos, getting in around 23h00. Had to hang around at a table in the eating area at the airport until check-in for the flight to Cusco at 05h40. Very tired, but it certainly an OK option if one is stuck - the airport shops even stay open all night.

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

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