Page 5 of Berb Travel Blog Posts

South America » Peru » Cusco » Manu National Park May 16th 2014 Leaving Cusco before dawn, we began an 8-hour journey over the Andes by van. Turned out it was just Phil and I for the few couple of days of our trip, Jose would be our guide, Hugo our cook and driver. Traveling Peruvian roadways are always an adventure, rock slides just around the blind corner, not to mention the possibility of a head-on collision. We stopped at a pre-Inca ruin where you can see the small stone towers constructed to entomb the mummified bodies of prominent community people. Saw the remnant of a house which had a raise hearth for cooking and bench with voids in the stone work supporting it, for housing the resident guinea pigs, which ran free in the homes. We stopped for breakfast at the beautiful colonial village of Paucartambo. Interesti ... read more
Cock of the Rock
Numerous landslides
View of valley below

Can't believe a week can go this quick. But will be anxious to take our clothes to a laundry and take a hot shower. You are always sweating and nothing dries out. We got up for a beautiful sunrise and took a morning hike. Still amazed by the walking palm, ant tree, etc. Came across a flock of Pale-winged Trumpeters. The research station had raised a few macaws some years ago. These birds were introduced back in the wild where they found wild mates. However, these birds did frequent to lodge and took to artificial nest boxes. Spotted several lizards, orchids flowers and such. Fernando stopped and drew a circle with his laser and asked what did we see? ???nothing. Then he drew a smaller circle...again couldn't see anything. Then he drew it about 12 in. ... read more
Walking Palm

At the crack of dawn we hopped in the boat and headed for the Macaw Clay Lick. On most clear mornings of the year dozens of large macaws and hundreds of parrots congregate on this large river bank in a raucous and colorful spectacle which inspired a National Geographic cover story. Discretely located fifty meters from the cliff, we observed Green-winged, Scarlet and Blue-and-gold Macaws and several species of smaller parrots descend to ingest clay. Since it was just Phil and myself, Fernando had arranged for us to sit with the researchers, not with the others from the lodge. Then we headed back for breakfast. After breakfast we headed for the Floodplain Trail. This five kilometer trail covers the prototypical rain forest with immense trees criss-crossed by creeks and ponds. Fernando continued to amaze us with ... read more
White Throat Toucan

We caught a plane from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado, where Rainforest Expeditions picked us up for a ride to their headquarters. Skirting Puerto Maldonado, we drive 20 kilometers to the Tambopata River Port, entering the Native Community of Infierno. The port is a communal business. Then transfer to a boat for two and a half hour boat ride from the Tambopata Port to Refugio Amazonas. This trip took us past the Community of Infierno and the Tambopata National ReserveĀ“s checkpoint and into the buffer zone of this 1.3 million hectare conservation unit. To our surprise, Phil and I were assigned to Fernando as our guide for the week...just the two of us. I was quite surprised by how wide these tributaries to the Amazon Basin were, with lots of rapids and log jams. Spotting various animals ... read more
Harpy eagle chick
Wide and fast moving river

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco » Cusco May 9th 2014

I just want to relax. Phil took a city tour thru Lllamapath. I ended up walking the town and did catch one of the open topped City tour buses. Cusco is really very walkable. They don't allow pictures in the church, but snagged one off internet, The Last Supper painting displayed showed a Guinea Pig as the main course. Saqsaywaman is a Inca ruin just outside of town. Tour guide was frustrated with Americans calling it "sexy women." Also went up on the hilltop to visit the "white Christ" statue that overlooks the city and serves for wayfinding around Cusco. I walked to the City Market to check our the various products offered. I have really enjoyed the different fruit, and enjoy the refreshing taste of the Pricky Pear Cactus. Picked up some nuts, coffee and ... read more
Hostal terrace
Hostal terrace

South America » Peru » Cusco » Ollantaytambo May 7th 2014

We stayed the night in Ollantaytambo and decided to contact Javier for another day of exploration. I felt like we had pretty much had enough of condor/puma/snake, so I suggested we spend a day trying to understand Peru 2014. Fortunately, Javier was available. Javier suggested we visit the salt mines just outside Maras. We just enjoyed the drive thru the valley. As we approached the salt mine he asked if we were up for a hike...we were. Rather than going to the entrance of the salt mines were buses drop off tourists from Cusco, we hiked in cross-country. This gave us the opportunity to walk thru some typical residential areas. It also provided some great vantage points to view the salt mines. "Salt mines" really is not a good terminology, more like evaporative salt pools. Families ... read more
Salt Mines
Javier's family cemetery
Salt mines in the distance

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu May 6th 2014

Boy did that feel good...a great night's sleep. After a nice breakfast and a relaxing time on the hostal's roof observation level, we caught a bus back up the hill to Machu Picchu. We had prepaid for the admission to Waynapicchu, which you need to do, because they limit the number of people every day. We entered Machu Picchu and hurried across the complex to be in front of the line. We had heard the hike was a little crazy and you don't want to get behind some sissy. (That is Waynapicchu in the background of Micchu Picchu as I sit on a stone, taking in the complex from the trail head of Inca Bridge.) We wanted to climb to the top. The best way to communicate the hike was to post the youtube video to ... read more
Gotta cut back on the coca tea
Hostal rooftop terrace
View from rooftop

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu May 5th 2014

Ok, it's o'dark thirty and we were up in the dark trying to get organized to be one of the first at the checkpoint to enter Machu Picchu. Once the site opens at 5:00 am, we hiked on to the Sun Gate where we were to get our first fantastic views of Machu Picchu. What they don't tell you is that on a typical morning Machu Picchu is concealed my fog/clouds. That was a disappointment and there were too many people gathered at this small area. We continued on to the next opportunity for an overlook...the fog was lifting. As we stood there, Machu Picchu revealed itself to us. Eddy also revealed a box of red T-shirts emblazoned with the LlamaPath logo...we were more than willing to advertise what had proven to be a great outfitter. ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco » Inca Trail May 5th 2014

After our routine morning delivery of coca tea to our tent, we packed up our stuff for another day. The morning sunrise cannot be expressed in words!! "Having made it over the 2 passes yesterday we're now treated to a relaxing day through some of the most beautiful scenery the Inca Trail has to offer. With a relatively short distance to cover along what is known as Inca Flat (gentle ascents and descents) we get to enjoy the lush and verdant cloud forest around us and the spectacular views of the Andes in the distance. With visits to 2 Inca sites (Phuyupatamarca and Winay Wayna) this is by far one of the most impressive days of the trek. Our campsite for tonight is at Winay Wayna (2680m / 8792ft) which we will arrive to be early ... read more
Eddy, with the gang
Can't help but to stop and take it all in

South America » Peru » Cusco » Inca Trail May 3rd 2014

At day break, we are greeted at the entry of our tent by porters delivering hot coca tea and a bowl of warm water to wash our hands. Quickly packed our stuff so porters could pack the tent as we ate breakfast. "Today is considered by many to be the hardest day of the trek; approx. ten hours, with 2 high passes (Dead Woman's Pass is the highest at 4200m / 13779ft) to cross and nearly 16km to walk. We get fantastic views of the high mountain ranges as we cross the 2 passes and will have the chance to visit 2 Inca sites , Runcuraccay and Sayacmarca. We will also see a variety of plant and life in the Polylepsis forests that cover this area and hopefully spot White Tailed Deer as we near Dead ... read more
Sharing trail with llamas
Phil has been drinking too much coca tea

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