Page 4 of kelleygirl Travel Blog Posts

This morning, after an hour long bus ride south, we took a boat to Iguana Island Wildlife Refuge off the eastern coast of the Azuero Peninsula. We arrived in Pedasi on the small beach where open motor boats were waiting to take us to the island. There was a pleasant breeze as we walked, unsuspecting, through the water in groups of four to hop into our respective boats. Before we knew it we were off for a very choppy, painful twenty minute bone shattering ride to the island. Had I known how painful the ride would be I don’t think I would have gone. After landing we took a hike across the island where we saw a crater where a previously detonated bomb was once used as a preventative measure by the US during WWII. Some ... read more
Beach at Iguana Island Wildlife Refuge
Chitre Cemetery
Leaving Pedasi beach for Iguana Island

Hotel Cubita provided generous breakfast buffet each day with many different options. Over the three days we stayed here I had scrambled eggs and flavored drinkable yogurts. I tasted beef jerky, liver and onions, heart, sausages, runny oatmeal and terrible breads. the guava jam was very good but interestingly the other jam-like options were very grainy and had way too much sugar. Panamanians love their sugar. The hotel/resort has a spa next to the pool and a small grocery store, gift shop and florist within walking distance. It appears that many weddings and meetings take place here. We all enjoyed watching the slow and graceful entrances of beautifully gowned women and handsome young men as they approached the courtyard for a wedding. On another day several of us spoke to teachers as they broke from a ... read more
Sarigua National Park
National Park guide Cenovio Vega with our tour guide Abdiel Luis
Remnants of cotton are still found growing in the desert

Before leaving Panama City we visited the small neighborhood of El Chorrillo where Noriega was once powerful. Our local guide Victor gave us a personal tour of the El Chorrillo district and painfully told the sordid history of these times. For years Manuel Noriega, Panama’s corrupt and brutal dictator, had been an ally of the US. The US did not trust the Panamanians and yet they used Noriega as a CIA asset and a key player in the shadowy network of anti-communists, tyrants and drug runners. The controversy was that the people of Panama were afraid of Noriega and fearful of him and his people. In fact Noriega killed those who tried to overthrow him. “It began with Bush”, Victor said, “who paid Noriega as a contact working with the CIA, despite his being a drug ... read more
Restoration for El Chorrillo
Struggling neighborhood of El Chorrillo
Murals located around El Chorrillo reflect frustration and anger

We began the day with a bus tour around the modern city of Panama. This new city has tall, thin buildings so designed to withstand the high winds and hurricanes that frequent this region. Panama has the largest tidal changes in world. On the Pacific side the tides run 16 - 18 feet high to as low as 2 feet during low tides within a 24 hour period. The highest point in Panama City reaches a nose-bleed record of 600 meters. We passed areas where fishermen used to work and live. Now these areas are overtaken by high rises and great wealth. These poor people have nowhere to go and wish to maintain their homes but are finding they can’t afford to stay. Sadly a common occurrence around the world. The bus stopped along the route ... read more
Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion, a UNESCO protected site
The Virgin Mary
Four story Cathedral Tower

Monday, Jan 28 We are off to Panama! We enjoyed breakfast at The Cafe by Mise en Place at the TPA airport before hot footing it to MIA where we caught a plane to Panama City. It was a surprisingly chilly 54 degrees when we left Miami so when we landed in Panama we were happy to warm up. The Pope had just been to Panama and as we left the airport there were still large signs pronouncing: “Bienvenidos A Panama Peregrinos” or Welcome to Panama Pilgrims. Thousands of people had come as pilgrims to Panama City to see the pope and although he had left, there were still hundreds of worshipers lingering in churches and parks throughout the city. We took a cab from the airport to the Hotel Grand Central in Casco Viejo, Spanish ... read more
Hotel Grand Central
View of the Basilica Santa Maria la Antigua from our hotel
Santa Luisa, Patron of Houses at the Iglesia de la Merced

South America » Peru » Lima » Lima October 14th 2018

Once again we were ready for our 6 AM pickup, this time to the Lima airport for our return to the United States. The hotel provided a box breakfast, and Kaypi provided a taxi to airport. Still groggy, we drank our hotel coffee on the way to the airport and, once bags were checked at the airport we dove into our boxed breakfast before sinking into our seats waiting for our return home. I had booked a room in Miami for both the day before leaving for Peru and for the night upon our return from Peru to give us a little more time to relax and recover. The flight from Lima to Miami was again, smooth and seamless but I can’t say the food was up to the reputation for wonderful Peruvian cuisine, but hey, ... read more
A smiling Peruvian woman and her Alpaca at 14,222.44 feet elevation in Peru
A woman with her child at work at Andean Colors, in the Sacred Valley, Peru

South America » Peru » Lima » Lima » Miraflores October 14th 2018

Dave and I enjoyed an early morning farewell breakfast (I finally got my avocado!) at Hotel Polo in Cusco with Celia and Larry, and Kathy and Bud, before we bade our new friends farewell. Since the six of us had been separated from the rest of our Kaypi group, we were unable to say goodbye to our other new friends so if you are reading this blog, we enjoyed meeting you all and sharing this wonderful journey and we look forward to hearing of your future travel adventures. Still nursing some symptoms of altitude sickness, we were whisked to the airport, where, while waiting for our plane to Lima, Dave sipped tea and I canvassed the elegant airport shops selling expensive and beautiful baby alpaca items, confirming my good decisions to buy from Andean Colors where, ... read more
Biblioteca in the Central Plaza, Barranco, Peru
Church of the Holy Cross, on the far left, Barranco
La Boteca Restaurant, Barranco, I loved all the masks, and lunch was perfect!

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu October 14th 2018

Getting up at 4 AM is not my idea of fun but with the prospect of finally seeing Machu Picchu, I was up, dressed, packed and ready for breakfast in a heartbeat. Dave however began grumbling that there was water on the floor in the bathroom. Then as he grabbed his hat from the closet he found it was wet! Not a good find when you are half asleep. I thought we would be one of the first to arrive for breakfast but it turned out we were nearly last. In my haste I didn’t realize that our alarm was late so in reality I had gotten ready to go in ten minutes! Planning the night before really paid off. There were plenty of protein options, teas, fruit and goldenberry and elderberry jams for toast at ... read more
Bus on the narrow stone "path" up to Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu Sunrise
Thatch roofed granary above Machu Picchu

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu October 14th 2018

With a later than usual departure we were finally able to rest a little before having breakfast at the rooftop of Hotel Polo Cucso. The breakfast here was again pretty skimpy with cheese, cold-cuts, yogurts and lots of breads. I finally asked if I could have eggs for breakfast. Apparently that was an option all along but there had been no mention of it. I put in my order and received a plate of scrambled eggs but still no avocado to be seen. I asked the head server and he promised to find me some by the time I returned from Machu Picchu. After breakfast we went back to the room to pack. I collected our dirty laundry to drop at the front desk. I had asked the night before if there was a cheaper option ... read more
Orellana Pumqchupan fountain near our hotel in Cusco
Strawberry corn beer tasting somewhere in Yanahuara Village
Boarding the Peru Rail in Ollantaytambo

South America » Peru » Cusco » Sacred Valley October 14th 2018

For breakfast we went back to the rooftop restaurant at our hotel and had the somewhat meager Hotel Polo breakfast buffet (no eggs and no avocado!). I had heard about the good avocados in Peru and the bountiful breakfasts where the rest of our traveling troupe stayed, but sadly had not had the pleasure yet. But we did drink cupfuls of coca tea to stabilize our rocky stomachs. Safe water is dear in Peru, especially when tourists can’t drink from the tap, so an early morning hike for bottled water was in order. Larry joined me in search of water while Dave and Celia went up to get ready to leave. Morning traffic in Cusco seems to be one dangerous bottleneck after the other which doesn’t impact pedestrians unless you want to cross the street. Then ... read more
Dave being served tea at Andean Colors
The beautifully colored bowl shaped hat worn by a woman at Andean Colors, a weaving cooperative
Gorgeous colors of alpaca yarns at Andean Colors

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