Page 8 of hkwoody Travel Blog Posts

South America » Peru » Ica » Nazca » Nazca Lines July 24th 2009

Even though it was almost midnight when we finally arrived in Nazca there was still one of the guys at the bus station who tries to sell overpriced tours and Nazca lines flight tickets. We hadn´t booked a hostel so when he offered to show us to one that was in one of our guidebooks we took him up on it, he thought we´d then buy his tour - wrong !!! we let him sort out the hostel for us then told him we´d sort out our own tickets. We´re now playing these guys at their own game which is a smart move as his ticket price was US$80 but we paid US$50 at the airport :-) The morning was bright and mostly clear but a bit misty which delayed our take off for a few ... read more

South America » Peru » Ayacucho July 24th 2009

Sounds quite nice but is the exact opposite, paro is Spanish for strike / shutdown and Puquio is a shit-hole little town in the middle of nowhere. We were stuck in the paro @ Puquio for over 12 hours on our way to Nazca from Cuzco !!!!! Recently there have been a lot of demonstrations, strikes, blockades etc in Peru, the Cuzco area in particular, and we'd heard a lot of stories of people having to backtrack to Lima then fly to Cuzco, not being able to get out of Cuzco once they were there, being abandoned by buses in the middle of nowhere and having to walk for hours, and even of attacks on buses with bricks and rocks. So we were happy and relieved to have got to Cuzco with no problems. Last night ... read more
Police ?
Settling In
New Paint Job

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu July 21st 2009

What an up and down experience Machu Picchu turned out to be !!!!!! The Good. We had our best mountain journey yet from Cuzco to Hydroelectric. The first part to Urubamba was pretty spectacular, but was nothing compared with what came between Urubamba and Sta Theresa. The climb out of Urubamba was like an alpine pass - well made roads with hairpin bend after hairpin bend, and great views down the valley. After reaching the pass at just over 4300m the road descends just like going up until suddenly it's just a dirt track, but a fairly wide one. The really interesting bit started when we took the Sta Theresa turning off the main road, this is a single track dirt road cut into the side of a mountain with a vertical or almost vertical drop ... read more
Southwest View
Up Wayna Picchu
Machu Picchu

South America » Peru » Arequipa » Chivay July 17th 2009

At last a hot bath :-))) Chivay has a hot springs where we soaked away the afternoon, fantastic, but maybe too much of a good thing, felt sick all evening :-( Tomorrow it's back to Arequipa to catch a bus to Cuzco. It's a bummer having to go back the way we came and it's made worse because the road to Cuzco comes back this way again - almost as far as where we are before heading in a different direction !!! but there is no way to avoid going down and back as the only buses from here go to Arequipa :-((( but can't be helped. ... read more
The Road Back To Chivay
The Road Back To Chivay

South America » Peru » Arequipa » Colca Canyon July 16th 2009

The road from Arequipa to Cabanaconde climbs up to 4800m before descending about 1500m to Chivay, then it runs along the edge of the Canyon del Colca to Cabanaconde. It's a dusty, rough and bumpy journey on a bus with no leg room - not much fun, but as always the destination makes up for the journey. We are really lucky with our timing, it's the Fiesta Virgen del Carmen which lasts 4 days !!! so every night the local people dress in traditional costume, bands play, people dance, there are fireworks, street food - it's great :-) We came here expecting a great hike into the canyon, we weren't disappointed - it's spectacular, and very tough. Cabanaconde is ~3300m above sea level, the oasis at the bottom is ~2200m. Going down those 1100mm took 2.5 ... read more

South America » Peru » Arequipa » Arequipa July 14th 2009

Arequipa is a beautiful colonial city with many churches and grand buildings, but we've seen a few of those now, so it takes something extraordinary and special to set places apart. In Arequipa it's the Monasterio Santa Catalina which until 1970 was a closed city within the city. The nuns who lived there didn't go outside and outsiders weren't allowed inside, it's quite something. We spent 4 or 5 hours wandering around and between us took hundreds of pictures, had a great time. Also in Arequipa is a museum which houses the mummy of a teenage Inca girl sacrificed over 500 years ago, that visit was crap - you have to take a guided tour, with 20 other people you don't see or hear much, then when you get to the mummy itself you can see ... read more
Santa Catalina
Santa Catalina
Santa Catalina

South America » Peru » Puno July 13th 2009

What a journey !! Getting to Arequipa from Puno was quite an event !! Before we'd left Puno some of the other passengers seemed to think I was an employee of the bus company, after I helped an old lady get her bags onto the bus I then had to find her seat, an old man then expected the same service, followed by another guy who thought I was the conductor !! The 10am bus left at about 10h20 - which it later turned out was pretty close to the schedule by Peruvian standards, and for the first 1 or 2 km had the passenger door wide open. Things were then smooth until we got to Juliaca where it was bedlam. At the first stop we were already well behind schedule but sat for about 15 ... read more

South America » Peru » Puno » Lake Titicaca July 13th 2009

Now in Puno, Peru on the shores of Lake Titicaca which might be the highest navigable lake in the world. The altitude here is ~3800m. The journey from La Paz includes a crossing of Lake Titicaca where the bus goes separately from the passengers, a minibus ride from Copacabana to the border, a 100m walk across the border into Peru - which is in a different time zone, so that walk sets the time back one hour, then a different bus to Puno - which doesn't leave until it's full. All of that takes about 8 hours for a journey of less than 300km, this is not the continent to rush around in. Puno itself is an OK town, but for some reason the centre is built about 1km from the lakeshore. We took a lake ... read more
Peruvian Flag

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz July 9th 2009

Slept like a baby on the bus journey up to La Paz from Iquique. Woke up when it got light by which time we were high in the Andes again. These journeys through the mountains are something else, the roads twist and turn, the buses struggle up in low gears, passing lorries going the other way is an inch perfect operation and the views are spectacular, it´s a great experience. We arrived in La Paz in the early afternoon so saw the city from the road at the top of the canyon it´s built in. It´s a totally mental place to build a city - in the bottom of a steep sided canyon 3600m above sea level !!! It´s also a great city, friendly people and full of life. There are markets everywhere selling almost everything ... read more
Business District

South America » Chile » Tarapacá » Iquique July 7th 2009

After San Pedro de Atacama we decided to break our journey to La Paz with a stop in Iquique. Turns out to have been a good choice. It was nice to be back down at sea level and to be able to have some warmer weather. The beach at Iquique is really nice with huge waves rolling in from the Pacific, the weather was perfect and there was a good choice of cafes and restaurants, it was great to have some fish after all the chicken and meat we´ve been eating lately. The highlight though was about 45km out of town. In the 1930s and 1940s there was a nitrate - I think that´s what it was, boom in this area. A processing factory - Santa Laura, and town - Humberstone were built to meet the ... read more
Fancy A Dip ?
Big Wheel
The Factory

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