Blogs from Peru, South America - page 8


South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu November 20th 2014

Today was a very long day starting with a 6:00 AM bus to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo, we took the Perurail Vistadome train to Machu Picchu. The train ride was very scenic and you could catch glimpses of the Inca Trail all along the ride. We saw a few ruins on the sides of the mountains and many terraces. The ride followed the Urubamba river all the way to Aguas Calientes which is the village where you transfer over to buses to ride up to the ruins. Aguas Calientes used to be a very small village before the tourists started coming to Machu Picchu. Now it is a bustling little town filled with restaurants, hostels, and vendors. The buses up to the ruins are all privately owned by a cooperative who are now apparently quite rich from ... read more
Royal Tomb
Temple of the Sun
View of the City

South America » Peru » Cusco » Ollantaytambo November 19th 2014

We had a full day today. The day started at 8:00 am with a weaving demonstration. The woman that led the demonstration was hilarious, if you just understood a smidge of Spanish. It was actually interesting how they weave the cloth by hand, using natural dyes and even natural soap (a tuber that grows in the Andes). At 9:00 AM we were on the road to our first stop, Urubamba. We stopped by the market to see how the locals go “grocery” shopping. The market had a wonderful assortment of meat, dried beans and grains, medicinal herbs, and produce. The smell was surprisingly nice, given the fact that there was every type of meat just there in the open air. That is a little gross, given American sensibilities, but I was assured that the climate of ... read more
Home in Ollantaytambo
Ruins at Ollantaytambo
View from Ollantaytambo

South America » Peru November 19th 2014

Lima and our first impression of Peru – chaos, loads of cars, loads of people, loads of noise, very short people (I feel like giant here hahaha), houses with last floors unfinished and no roofs, impossible to cross streets and traffic lights seem to exist only in the very city center. Ok, to tell the truth our real first impression was “wow..!!! the airport is so new and so modern, Lima (and Peru) must be already so westernized”. That “westernized Lima” ended once we stepped out from the airport :-) And no wonder it feels like big chaos in Lima, there are living over 7.5 millions of people – 1/3 of population. Most of the time in Peru we were staying at locals via couchsurfing and we had a great experience. At few cities like Lima ... read more

South America » Peru November 19th 2014

Most of Peruvians we met do not even know the word “”vegan”, nevertheless to be a vegan in Peru is not that difficult thing. Every city has plentiful of markets with fresh fruits and vegetables. Or fruits and juices stalls along the streets. In Lima we stayed in Los Olivos district with a very cheap and local market next doors, and it almost was a highlight of the Lima visit hahaha :-) It felt like in fruit and veggies paradise :-) Bananas, mangos, papayas, avocados, strawberries, pineapples… And all tastes so good. 100 times better than in Europe. And loads of potatoes and corns. Apparently, Peru has about 4000 types of potatoes and about 40 types of corns. That’s a lot! And Chia seeds or Maca powder, which is super food and super expensive in Europe, ... read more

South America » Peru November 19th 2014

Transportation is quite easy ant straightforward in Peru. No need to book the buses day in advance, it is enough to go to the terminal 1 hour before departure. One can get tourist buses or local buses (which are about 2-3 times cheaper) for very long distances. With addition of colectivos (mini-buses) for shorter distances. And taxes, moto-taxes, minibuses or buses for within the city travelling. We took 2 local overnight buses. One from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado (10 hours) and one from Puerto Maldonado to Juliaca (12 hours) and I can say that the buses are pretty much European style, seem to be in good shape, and I never felt unsafe. So all those stories one can read or hear about local Peruvian buses being super unsafe with drunk drivers, technically not taken care etc ... read more

South America » Peru November 19th 2014

After 3 weeks in Peru (and especially in highlands), I feel like I know about Incas and Inca history more than about the history of my own country. Starting in Cusco everyone talks about Inca times, all ruins and paths are related to Inca times. Oh and if you are Spanish, you might not want to travel through the highlands of Peru (or pretend to not be a Spanish) as it seems that people there are not very happy with Spanish invasion that happened in the past… :) Especially our guide on Salkantay trek did not have very good opinion about Spanish people. One of his funniest stories about Spanish people involves lama (the animal). Apparently to ask in Spanish “what is this” sounds “come se llama?”. And back then the Peruvians still did not speak ... read more

South America » Peru November 19th 2014

Since our first blog post, our trip has been pretty full on. Luckily, this time, our flight to Lima was uneventful and both our bags arrived.We arrived in the early hrs of the morning, and having completed a half day tour of the city, began our quest cross-country the next day. Our first destination was Paracas. I was amazed at how quickly the terrain changed as soon as we were out of the city, to desertous, especially considering our proximity to the sea. Further, you started to see aspects of Peru I hadn't seen earlier, during last years trip; shanty towns scattered along the route, beaches which would have been prime locations for holiday houses and resorts in more developed countries, bare, sometimes with just a few beach shacks (serving amazing ceviche!).In Paracas, we spent the ... read more
Sleepy Sea lions!
Views at Colca Canyon

South America » Peru November 19th 2014

Usually if people land in Lima and depart from Lima, the standard path to visit Peru is a “circle” – Lima, Ica, Nazca, Arequipa, Lake Titicaca, Cusco with Machu Picchu and back to Lima. As we are entering Bolivia after visiting Lake Titicaca, unfortunately we had to miss the de-tour to Arequipa. But instead we dropped by Puerto Maldonado and its Amazons. 3 weeks in Peru can be enough to have a taste of its diversity. We basically started our travels near the seaside (Lima), then headed to its deserts (Huacachina), then mountains (Cusco), then jungle (Puerto Maldonado), and finally the lake (lake Titicaca). So yes, it is a very diverse country. And in total we did 2265 km in Peru (Lima – Ica (307 km) ; Ica – Nazca (162 km); Nazca – Cusco (628 ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco » Urubamba November 18th 2014

8:00 AM Landed in Lima using LAN airlines with no issues. The sky is grey and it is about 65 degrees. The customs process was a bit complicated, however the airport personnel were very pleasant and happy to help. Once I got through customs, my smarTour guide met me right at the gate. I’m now waiting for the flight to Cusco. One thing that makes this trip very easy is the fact that the time zones are aligned, it is the same time here as it was when I departed from Miami. I also made sure to hit the ATM to get Sols for the trip. My bank doesn’t charge a fee for international withdrawals, so check your bank’s policies to see if you should get Sols prior to your trip. My carryon strategy worked perfectly ... read more
Sacsayhuaman Blessing Ceremony
Alpaca Farm
Sonesta Posada del Inca Yucay Hotel

South America » Peru » Puno November 18th 2014

Puno is the main city on the Peruvian side to visit Lake Titicaca (which is the world’s largest high altitude lake @ 3808m elevation) and its island. We arrived in Puno just when the 2 days’ strike started against gas price. It seems no one is working, just hanging around the streets. Most of the buses do not work either because the streets and roads are blocked and full with crashed glass bottles and blocked with stones. We were lucky to get from Juliaca to Puno on the first (and most probably the only) colectivo at 5 am in the morning. But if we wanted to continue our trip to Bolivia, we had to wait 2 days anyway. Perfect timing for us as we already planned to take 2 days/ 1 night trip to visit islands ... read more

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