Page 7 of lmh Travel Blog Posts

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco May 25th 2011

We arrived in Cusco feeling decidedly hung over after little sleep on the overnight bus from Arequipa. We opted for the seats which recline the most but it didn’t really help us sleep. The bus though was very comfortable, movies with headphones so we didn’t have to listen to it, pillows, blankets and dinner. A taxi took us to the main square, still just waking up as it was only 6am. We didn’t have a hotel booked and planned to find one after breakfast. However it was too early for the cafes to be open so whilst we were waiting in the square we were approached by touts offering to take us to their hostals. We were both feeling very sore from our hike down the Colca Canyon so as neither of us was particularly in ... read more
The main Cathedral in Cusco taken from the plaza gardens
A brocade draped cross outside the Cathedral

South America » Peru » Arequipa » Colca Canyon May 23rd 2011

Our guide picked us up for our trip to the Colca Canyon - it was a stunning drive. We passed through the outskirts of Arequipa which wasn’t at all attractive - literally hundreds of shacks, many without running water or electricity. Carlos (our guide) told us that people come in from the countryside, settle into these tiny brick or tin houses, set up communities and eventually the government builds schools and puts in power and water. They can wait for years for it though! From there we passed through desolate, though very beautiful, high country. Bare brown land, snow capped mountains in the distance, lots of herds of llama and tiny wind blown mud brick villages. We were above the tree line so there were no trees, just low scrubby vegetation. It would be a very ... read more
The top of the pass - 4900 meters above sea level
Slightly blurred - but showing the very different dress of the women of Cabanaconde
Another lady from Cabanaconde

South America » Peru » Arequipa May 21st 2011

We arrived in Lima at dawn after a long night on the overnight bus from Huaraz and caught a taxi immediately to the airport. We had no flight booked but were hoping to fly south to Arequipa. Luckily we were able to get a flight leaving a couple of hours later. It was an interesting flight - for over an hour we flew over incredibly barren countryside - kilometers of rolling brown sandy hilly desert. I was thankful I was flying over it and not actually on a bus driving through it. Upon landing in Arequipa we were greeted by the perfect cone shaped volcano of El Misti (5822 metres) - absolutely beautiful and crowned with a snow cap. Arequipa is actually surrounded by three peaks, all snow capped and rising from the brown landscape. Al ... read more
The gold painted wooden frames, trimmed with mirrors, that the churches and museums are full of
Self portrait - taken in an enormous mirror in the hacienda of original founders of Arequipa
El Misti through an arch.

South America » Peru » Ancash » Huaraz » Mount Huarascan May 17th 2011

We had extended out time in Lima due to my bout of the flu and though I still wasn’t feeling great we decided it was time to move on. A spur of the moment decision had us booking a day bus for the eight hour trip north to the region of Peru which is home to 22 mountains over 6000 meters making it the highest mountain range in the world outside of the Himalayas. The region is known as the Cordilleras and includes Mt Huascaran at 6768 meters which is Peru’s highest point. It was a very scenic trip - first it followed the coastal highway - not particularly scenic as it was a sand desert, but interesting all the same. We passed many sad villages - hundreds of tiny shacks, without running water or electricity, ... read more
Glacier fed lake in the valley between the Cordilleras Blanco and Nego
Another view of the valley floor with the Cordilleras Blanco in the background
Driving towards the glacier

South America » Peru » Lima » Lima » Barranco May 12th 2011

We arrived in Lima after dark. It is a large city, holding one third of Peru’s population. Thankfully we had a taxi waiting for us upon our arrival as I was feeling terrible - my flu had really taken hold. It was a long drive to the hotel, much of it followed the coast along a highway with high sandy cliffs on one side and a wide deserted seashore promenade on the other. We had booked a hotel in the beachside suburb of Barranco, an arty bohemian area of the city. The hotel was lovely (3B Barranco), a 1970’s house, renovated beautifully with modern Ikea design, managed by the daughter of the owner who was a well known artist. The walls were hung with his colourful paintings. It made a pleasant change after all the colonial ... read more
Coastal highwy below the shoping centre at Mirraflores
Another view of the main plaza in Lima
Private chaple in the Cathedral

South America » Ecuador » South » Cuenca May 7th 2011

The bus trip from Alausi to Cuenca was twice as long as we expected but we did eventually arrive at the bus station in the modern suburbs of Cuenca. Cuenca is a beautiful colonial city in the south of Ecuador - certainly not as grand as Quito but the old centre’s cobbled streets are lined with dozens of pretty houses and shops, most with lovely carved wooden balconies over the street. It was placed on the UNESCO’s world heritage list in 1999. We found a room in an old courtyard house and were given a suite out the back in the garden. It was great to have some space to spread out into for a change. We even had an armchair! Luxury after tiny little rooms, most which don’t even have single chairs in them. And ... read more
Jerry and I with lights of Cuenca in background
Main altar, clad in gold sheeting, in new Cathedral
Traditional hat shop

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Central Highlands May 5th 2011

The bus from Riobamba dropped us off on the edge of Alausi - we had absolutely no idea where to go from there - and of course there’s never a taxi in sight when you actually want one! It was very quiet - there was nobody around - so we stated heading down the hill to the church - presuming that the main square would be beside it. This town didn’t actually have a square - just a long main street (next to the church) so at least we were able to find a hotel. We had come here to ride the train down the the Nariz del Diablo so after dropping our luggage went to the train station to buy tickets. The station was at one end of the long wide main street - the ... read more
Babies on board...
A line of shoe shine men in Alausi

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Guaranda May 2nd 2011

After our exhilarating wind blown ride on the back of the truck we arrived in Latacunga and headed straight for the bus station after collecting our large bags. We had no trouble catching a bus to Ambato as they left frequently. It wasn’t a long trip - Ambato is the next major town on the Pan American highway and was just a place for us to spend the night. We had some more great views of Cotopaxi as we headed down the highway. Ambato didn’t have much to offer in the few hours we spent there and we were up early next morning and off to yet another bus station. Bus stations are interesting (usually lots of local colour) but can be very chaotic and you really have to watch your belongings in them. We’ve seen ... read more
Volcan Chimborazo - 6310 meters high and we were less then 5 klms from it.
A vicuna - a wild relative of the llama
Balconies and windows in Guaranda

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Quilotoa April 29th 2011

The few days we spent in the region of Ecuador known as the Quilotoa Loop was there highlight of our time in the country. We left Otavalo for the two hour trip back down to Quito where we caught a taxi between the north and south Bus stations. Quito has four major bus stations - you use the one which lies in the city in the direction to which you are travelling to. It was an hours taxi trip - hardly any traffic as the driver went around the ring road - but it took so long we wandered at one stage if he was actually driving us to our destination of Latacunga, two hours south of Quito. Eventually though we arrived at the massive bus terminal - it was as large as some international airports! ... read more
Zumbahua - main square where the market was held next day with the church along one edge.
Mother and baby in Zambahua
Animal market in Zhambahua

South America » Ecuador » North » Otavalo April 25th 2011

Our next destination was the highland town of Otavalo, 2550 meters above sea level, and two hours north of Quito. The town is known for it’s huge Saturday market (which we weren’t going to be there for) - a mainly tourist affair where traditionally dressed indigenous people sell their handicrafts. Otavalo is very prosperous as the indigenous population sell their woven products world wide. We caught a local bus from the northern bus station in Quito - nearly an hours taxi ride from our hotel there- Quito is a long city! Close to Quito we passed some deep canyons - no doubt formed during previous volcanic action - then acres of plastic covered greenhouses where all the gorgeous long stemmed roses on sale in the streets of Quito were grown. Soon we were in the vibrant ... read more
The blouses that the local women wear.
Hand woven (and very expensive!) belts the women tie around their waists.
The strips of braid that the women wind around the length of their plaits.

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