A Travellerspoint blog

Lake Titicaca - Floating islands (Peru)


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Our hotel was located on a small private island and we were picked up at the private port. Our first stop was the floating islands of the Uros (Uros Islands). The islands are built using totora reeds that grow in the shallow parts of Lake Titicaca. The reeds are also used to build the houses, the boats and to make crafts. Parts of the reeds are also edible, and they normally eat approximately 15 a day. New layers of totora reeds are added on top of the islands twice a week as they rot from the bottom.

Traditionally the Uros make a living from fishing and trade this for corn and potatoes from the mainland. For several of the islands tourism is now the main income.

We bought some crafts, tasted the reeds, tried on some traditional Uros clothes and were paddled in a reed boat to another island. When leaving the Uros the ladies were singing, first some local songs, then some 80's hits and in the end they shouted "Hasta La Vista Baby!". Charming, but very touristic.

Posted by gunnhild 05:43 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Inka Express to Puno (Peru)


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Inka Express is a guided tour from Cuzco to Puno. We stopped at Andahuaylillas - The Sixtine Chapel of America, Raqchi - Temple of Wiracocha God, La Raya pass - 4335 meters above sea level and Pukara.

In the evening we met up with the others that came by train and had a relaxing evening in the hotel. Laura organized a private tour of Lake Titicaca for the next day.

Posted by gunnhild 05:41 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Leaving Cusco (Peru)


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Back in Cuzco we enjoyed the pleasures of sivilization. A long hot shower, clean clothes, some shopping and a good restaurant. Again we tasted some local specialities. Cream of Quinua, Corn with cheese, Alpaca with onions and Beef with egg and banana. Strange combinations but surprisingly good.
In the eventing Jorgen, Kristina, Laura and John came back from the Inca Trail, tired, happy and with hurting knees.
This morning our friend and tour organizer Adan took us to the bus to Puno. It was a bit sad to say goodbye, but we will definately stay in touch!

Posted by gunnhild 05:38 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Puerto Maldonado/Sandoval Lake (Peru)


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After a short flight to hot and humid Puerto Maldonado we were picked up by our guide Leon. We stopped at an animal conservation centre before we started our journey by boat down the river Madre de Dios. On the way we saw lots of colorful birds and a white cayman (peruvian alligator). On the boat we were served an ecological lunch served in large leaves. After about 1 hour boat ride we left the river and walked 3 km through the rainforest to Lake Sandoval where we spotted a sloth (dovendyr), a very rare anteater, lizards, birds and lots of butterflies. Sandoval Lake Lodge was located on the other side of the lake and we were paddled across in traditional canoes.

The lodge itself was beautifully integrated with the surrounding nature and could hardly be seen from the lake. At the same time it was quite luxurious and had a fantastic view. We stayed two nights at the lodge, met a lot of great people and went on several walks and canoe trips. The most facinating one was probably the night hike where we used flash lights to spot small and large spiders, tree frogs and other small animals coming out at night. The garden of the lodge was also very interesting. Two large tarantellas lived just outside our room, and in the garden we also found a lot of rainforest plants. Some of them were used for food and some for medicine, and we were able to both taste and smell them.

Most people took the same route back to Madre de Dios, but our guide asked us if we wanted to walk through the rainforest instead of going in canoes. It was a beautiful walk and we saw plenty of monkeys, parrots and macaws. We had a breakfast picnic and cought up with the rest of the group by the river.

Posted by gunnhild 05:38 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Machu Picchu (Peru)


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Yesterday we got up at 0430 in order to get to Machu Picchu before sunrise. We started with a 2.5 hours guided tour where we got a lot of interesting information about the city and all the myths and legends connected to it. Facinating!

After a short lunch we decided to try to be one of the lucky 400 to climb Wayna Picchu. We were a bit late, but just made it. We were number 399 and 400!

Wayna Picchu is the mountain you see on pretty much every picture of Machu Picchu. The climb was steep, difficult and sometimes a bit scary, but when we reached the top after approximately one hour it was all worth it! The views of Machu Picchu, the Inca trail and the surrounding area was unbelievable!

This is also the only place where you can see the condor architecture of Machu Picchu.

We have uploaded a couple of mobile pictures. The rest will come as soon as we get back to the sivilization. Now we are on our way to the Amazon.

Posted by gunnhild 05:37 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

On our way to Machu Picchu (Peru)


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When arriving in Cusco we met a travel agent (Adan - http://www.awecusco.com) who has helped us with all our outstanding arrangments. For today he fixed a privat driver to Ollantaytambo and train to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town). Yesterday he told us that he would join us, and asked if we wanted to stop on some sights on the way. Of course we did!!

At 9 a.m. Adam and his driver picked us up, and we said goodbye to the rest of our group. We drove through some amazing landscapes and had our first stop in Moray, a terraced circle with different temperature and climate on each level. The theory is that the Inkas used this as a laboratory to test which crops to grow in which conditions.

We also had a short stop at Salinas, which are thousands of salt pans used since Inka times.

At 1 p.m. we started the journey towards Machu Picchu by train from Ollantaytambo. As you can see on the Pictures page we had the whole (small) train to ourselves.

We are now in Aguas Calientes, and will meet our Machu Picchu tour guide for a short briefing later tonight.

Posted by gunnhild 05:34 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Sacred Valley (Peru)


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Yesterday we all went on guided tour to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. After a short photo/market stop in the mountains we stopped at the Pisac ruins. It was quite a hard and steep walk to the top, but it was definately worth it. Seven of us also walked parts of the Inka Trail, a more challenging route, back to the bus.

We had a huge lunch buffet with a lot of local specialities in Urubamba, before we continued to the famous ruins in Ollantaytambo. This spectacular fortress was one of the few places where the Spanish conquistadors lost a major battle.

Our last stop of the day was Chinchero, known to the Incas as the birthplace of the rainbow. We visited the colonial church, some Inca ruins and the local market.

Right now we are sitting in a car on our way to Moray. The views are spectacular!

Posted by gunnhild 05:34 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Cusco city sightseeing (Peru)


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Jørgen, Kristina, John and Laura arrived early this morning and we all had breakfast in the hotel.

After lunch we went on a guided tour of the city and the inka ruins in the area. In the city centre we visited the cathedral and Qorikancha - temple of the sun.

We visited three ruins outside of Cuzco. Saqsaywaman (also referred to as Sexy Woman) was huge although a lot of it was ruined by the Spanish to build houses and churches in Cuzco. Tambomachay was a ceremonial stone bath with fountains still functioning. Q`enqo means zigzag, and this ruin had a lot of carvings on top, and alters for sacrifices in a tunnel below.

Tomorrow we are going on a Scared Valley tour.

Posted by gunnhild 05:33 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

First day in Cusco (Peru)


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We arrived in the hotel in Cuzco around 1 pm and got a fantastic welcome. We were served a cup of coca tea (for the altitude) in the lounge while the staff handled our luggage and all paperwork.

We booked the tours for the next few days and checked out a small museum before it was time for some dinner. In spite of the experience yesterday we decided to try another local speciality - Alpaca with local herbs and fruits and a local wine. Fantastic!

After dinner there was a huge parade in the main street. Local children in local costumes dancing in the street. Almost like 17th of May in Norway.

At the moment we are relaxing in the hotel, trying to adjust to the altitude.

Looking forward to some city sightseeing tomorrow.

Posted by gunnhild 05:14 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Lima (Peru)

08.-10.06.08


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All the guidebooks claim that Lima is a dangerous and unwelcoming city. We have experienced the oposite. The driver that picked us up at the airport was very friendly, and in spite of very limited English he were able to explain everything we saw on the way.

We lived in a small and very cozy hotel, central but quiet and peaceful. The first evening we went to a market/folklore festival, tasted the peruvian drink Pisco Sour and went to bed early.

Yesterday we woke up early and went city sightseeing. We walked to the main square, and later took a taxi to Miraflores. We walked along the beach for a while and stopped for beer and food on the way.

After some last minute shopping we had to taste the Lima speciality ceviche which is raw seafood marinated in lime. Been there, done that, never again... ;-)

In a few minutes our nice driver is taking us to the airport and we are headed for Cuzco.

Posted by gunnhild 05:08 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

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