Blogs from Peru, South America


South America » Peru » Cusco September 16th 2019

Mauk'allaqta, also spelled several different ways, is a very well preserved and also recently uncovered and restored area. Only in the past 20 years have archeologists been uncovering the ruins and restoring some of the buildings. Nearby is another archeological site named Puma O’qro. This is a limestone cliff that houses the cave from which the legendary Ayar brothers emerged. For a day trip to the Inca ruins of Maukallaqta, a couple friends and I caught a collective taxi from Cusco to the town of Yaurisque, where we stumbled on a fantastic tour group. We had intended to hire a taxi driver to take us to the trailhead. However, on Sunday, in a town as small as Yaurisque, we couldn’t find any taxi drivers working. Asking around, we did find a group of guys who had ... read more
The Trinity
Recessed Niche

South America » Peru » Lima » Lima » Barranco September 6th 2019

For the last full day of our holiday, we decided to wander around Barranco, the funkiest and most attractive part of Lima we have found. Like St Kilda, it was once a seaside resort when the city was contained in what is now the centre, buy today its old buildings have been converted into restaurants, bars and galleries and in the streets are filled with street art, bougainvillea and bohemian young people. There are several small museums and galleries. We visited MATE, the gallery of photographer Mario Testino. He is best known for his glamorous celebrity shoots and fashion photography, including the last portraits of Princess Diana, and those works are certainly impressive. But our favourites were his stylised colourful images of traditional Andean costume - which makes anything b the modern fashion world invents seen ... read more

South America » Peru » Lima » Lima September 5th 2019

We've had a fabulous day in Lima today, thanks to our friend and Debbie Wiener's cousin, Perla. She gave us a real insider's view of the city. She started but driving us around the better residential neighbourhoods where grand neo-colonoal buildings have been restored, mostly as office buildings, and mix with new housing and apartment buildings. There are lots of pleasant small parks, including one which is an olive grove, rthe emnants of an olive farm that previously occupied the entire area. We had coffee and a traditional Peruvian caramel cookie at Perla's local cafe. Then we went to Museo Larco, a beautiful private collection of ceramics, tapestries and metal craft from pre-Columbian Peru, set in an elegant mansion draped in multicolour bouganvillia. The museum is particularly known for an entire room of erotic ceramics, which ... read more

South America » Peru » Lima » Lima » Lima September 4th 2019

After a day I Lima, I am confirmed on my opinion that it's a dirty, unattractive city where the population far exceeds the infrastructure. But there are pockets of faded glory and cultural interest to enjoy. This morning but we had a tour around the highlights of the old town. We saw couple of lavish Baroque churches, including the lavish Basilica de la Señora de la Merced, one of Lima's first churches built in 1535. There were many elegant neo-colonial buildings from the 1920s and 30s, generally in decent condition but in need of a good clean. We visited the Plaza des Armas, the city's Central square, which has a fountain that flows with free Pisco on 28 July, Peru's Independence Day. We also visited Plaza de San Martin, which celebrates the leader of Peruvian Independence ... read more

South America » Peru » Lima » Lima » Miraflores September 3rd 2019

This morning we left Refugio Amazonas early and spotted an aguti just as we were leaving. They are rodents, about the size of a domestic cat, and are very important to Brazil nut production because they have very sharp teeth and are the only animals that can open the big nuts that hold the seeds we call Brazil nuts. They eat them but, like squirrels, like to save some for later so they bury them in individual holes. They frequently forget where they have buried them, thereby planting more Brazil nut trees. Actually I think they should be called Bolivian nuts as 60% of the production is in Bolivia but Brazil nuts are a very important part of the local economy in Brazil and Peru too. In Puerto Maldonado, the Brazil nut industry is second only ... read more

South America » Peru » Amazonas September 2nd 2019

We were up at 4.15 am this morning so we could take the boat upstream to Tambopata National Park, where we went bird-watching. Tambopata is the local name for the Peruvian Amazon, the part we are in has the evocative name of Madre De Dios (Mother of God). In the National Park, there are two clay licks, areas of high sodium clay where birds gather to ingest sodium to balance toxins they take in from unripe nuts. Peru is the only place this happens as in other rainforest areas the nuts have enough sodium from the soil. We saw lots of beautiful birds: scarlet macaws, blue and yellow macaws, severe macaws several kinds of parrots and parakeets including the blue-headed pionus which is very striking. The guide set up a telescope to give us a good ... read more

South America » Peru » Madre de Dios September 1st 2019

Manú National Park, or Manú Biosphere Reserve, is a giant area of Peru’s Amazonian jungle. Only a small fraction of it is available to tourists, with the vast majority reserved for wildlife, native tribes and researchers who have managed to get a permit. Since UNESCO officially recognized it as a World Heritage site in 1977, the Peruvian government has been buying large areas of land that border the park. These buffer zones are open to tourists, but closed to logging and most development. The reserve itself has never been logged or developed, although the native tribes who inhabit the area still follow their traditional way of life. In the information I was given before the trip, I was surprised to see we were instructed that if we saw any of the native people, we were to ... read more
More Jaguar!
Cat Nap
Watching Us

South America » Peru » Amazonas September 1st 2019

I am sitting in a hammock next to the open fourth wall of our magnificent bedroom in an eco-lodge called Refugio Amazonas, two hours' boat ride into the Amazon forest from Puerto Maldonado in the east of Peru. I can hear the sounds of a dozen different birds, insects and monkeys, smell the sweet, damp soil and see a range of deep greens, red leaves and orange flowers. I am also breathing much more easily as we are almost at sea level and the cold I had when we were at Lake Titicaca (very bad timing) has passed. I feel very relaxed. To recap the past couple of days, we took a bus back from Puno to Cusco, which was a direct seven-hour journey, in fact a little longer due to a mechanical problem which required ... read more

South America » Peru » Puno » Lake Titicaca August 29th 2019

The past two days have been an amazing experience, giving us a privileged insight into some very different lifestyles. I feel as if I've been in the pages of National Geographic. We have been on the islands of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. We are now at about 3800 metres and I'm quite breathless when walking but otherwise okay. Yesterday we set off early on a boat and headed for the Uros Islands, artificial islands which are made entirely of totara reeds. The people literally build the islands with reeds and anchor them with stick formerly using reed rope but now using nylon. They also use the reeds for building their houses and boats, as food and sometimes ferment them to make alcohol. Their lifestyle is traditional and very simple, but the ... read more

South America » Peru » Puno » Puno August 27th 2019

Today we left Cusco for a long but interesting bus ride to Puno, on the edge of Lake Titicaca. This road is known as the Manco Capac route because legend has it that the first Inca leader, Manco Capac child of the sun, emerged from Lake Titicaca, together with his sister Mama Ocllo. As well as the stops, we had great views en route, including a mirror-like lake with fabulous reflections of the Andes and those fabulous craggy.mountains and snowy peaks. There were herds of llamas and alpacas and we passed lots of women in traditional dress working the fields, doing washing in rivers and carrying babies in colourful wraps on their backs. ... read more

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