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patje64 Cusco - A travel report by Patrick
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Cusco,  Peru - flag Peru -  Cusco
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patje64's travel reports

Peru 2007 backpacking

  6 votes
Peru 2007, 27th october 'till 13th november.
Roundtrip in Peru, backpacking, visiting:
Lima,Cusco,Ollantaytambo,Cinchiro,Inka trail,Machu Picchu,Aguas Callientes,Puno,Titicaca,Arequipa,Colca Canyon,Chivay,Pisco,Islas Ballestas



Tupac Amaru
Tupac Amaru
Arrived at Lima airport and went immediately to youth hostel, wich we booked before flying. Nice clean place with very neat court, sunny lounges. Next day went to city of Lima to book bus to Cusco. Passed by the "Lovers-Park".



Booked our tickets for the bus and checked in at hostel, very clean and hospitable spirit, used to be some artists house, wich looked it.



Went walking into the city, as it happened, some festivities were held, as the pictures will tell, Peruvians are very christian, religion has great attention. Churches were filled, on the streets all kind of peoples.



Next day took the bus for Cusco on a 18 hours drive! However, this ride sure made the adaption to the hights much more easier, for myself I've only experienced "poppy" ears to a hight of 3360 meters. On the way lots of vendors hop on and the rural spirit comes allive on these first stops. Arriving at Cusco is a special feeling, you still feel the ancient spirits walking around... Also here booked several accomodations and all were very satisfying, the first somewhat more luxury with nice court, the second more to the backpackers liking... cheap and clean. So far finding good accomodations seems ok, all cheap, are very clean. Peruvians, as we've seen so far, know about tourists by now, shops, warehouses, expensive goods, all is there, but ofcourse not for the local purse...



On the first day in Cusco went to book trekking at ALLTREKPERU, an agency wich we found on the net and had the most interesting prices. Contact during mailing was superb and also the first greetings were as we expected. Very nice warm people, small company but serious. Passed the rest of the day in the surroundings of Cusco and tried to adapt some more to these hights, some Pisco sours later it all goes much better :-)

Favourite spots:
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Woke at 5 to get to rendez vous at 6 with AlltrekPeru. Very punctual folks, nice to see and set headings for Ollantaytambo from where the trekking would start. First day of the trek is easy, not to much climbing, very nice sceneries, after 7 hours nice walking arrived at camp site wich was set up by our porters wich we got to know a little better now. It seemed that one of them was also doing his first trek! as he is a farmer and the season had just ended, this would give him a nice extra.

Food and tents were very good, not all to big for us four, but all together, very cosy, dining room and kitchen in one tent separated by a sheet ;-) Second day is the hardest with 9 hours of climbing uphill, with steps over half a meter in height (blocks), by the end of the day you really feel like you've accomplished something to remember. Several stops are needed, but there are many vendors on the road as every day the allow 200 tourists and 300 porters on the trail.

What's really great:
Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca
The fourth day, again veru early, round 4, cleaning up the campsite to be as the first to see Machu Picchu at sundawn. This really is a sight I won't ever forget, however bit cloudy at first, ones the sun get trough, the magnificance and splendor of this ancient city of Inka's still feels like those days, it doesn't take too much fantasy to see how it must have been. Spend most of the day at Machu and went to Aguas Callientes by very modern bus! Booked a small hostel and went out to eat and visit this cosy town, very touristic as ALL visitors for Machu must pass here.

Visited the warm water springs, very nice;-)

Left Aguas Callientes by train to Cusco and booked bus to Puno at lake Titicaca. At 5 in the morning the buses stopt for a general strike of the roadworkers, roads were blokked with giant rocks, luckaly for us some tribikers came along and took us to the next town in the freezing cold...

Onces at Puno, after several means of transport, also booked some rooms here, again clean!!

Sights:
Taquile Island
Taquile Island
Visited the Uros on the floating island, nice to see but also here, tourism got trough. All kinds of handcrafts were sold, bought some myself... strangest feeling came over us when leaving... all the women chanted "Vamos a la playa...", this was very dissapointing to hear.



Left for Taquile island on lake Titicaca, very beautiful island where time really stood still and the men made the most refined nitted works, wich ofcourse they sold ;-) Prizes were very "touristic" so we kept it to some little fabrics.



From Puno we headed for Arequipa, second biggest city and it shows after riding so long trough deserted rough land when coming from Puno and Titicaca. But also here accomodations seemed no problem, our LP gave us all we needed;-) A magnificant hostel from where to explore the town. Went to book our second trekking at Colca Canyon and visited the Monasterio De Santa Catalina, a superb kept monasterio.

Our guides were again some very nice people with lots of experience.

Accommodations:
Condor at Cola Canyon
Condor at Cola Canyon
As we survived the trekking to Machu we felt like a second trek would be nice;-) And it whas!!! marveleous sceneries and spending the night with locals, being hosted like kings and the second day towards a hidden paradise in the mountains, an oases with palmtrees and everything and POOLS !!! Very welcome in these temperatures so we took adive. The way up became very hard so we opted for some mules to get us to the top, where the more atletic trekkers passed us by.

We came for fun however and didn't mind our mules;-)

On the way back to Arequipa we passed onces more at Colca to see the Condors take off early in the morning and the waiting was rewarded!!! Stunned by the sight of these magnificant birds wich holds the greatest spanwidth of all!!!

Back at Arequipa enjoyed our "decadent meal" wich we have once every trip;-) and booked our bus towards Pisco.

Arrived at Pisco and where very soon reminded to the devastating earthquake wich happened here some months earlier...

Nightlife:
Islas Ballestas
Islas Ballestas
In Pisco everything whas destroyed, most buildings empty, the only option to stay was expensive hotel. Visited the nearby port and visited Islas Ballestas, a mini version of Galapagos as Peruvians claim? Some stoney islands from the coast wich holds seals, dolphins and birds. But to my modest opinion, not so quiet like Galapogos ;-)

Maybe because you're not allowed on the islands and visit can only by speedboats wich pass by the islands...

Again got a bus from Pisco to Lima and spend some more time in the city before leaving, met some nice dutchmen in his bar.

All together a trip to remember, once out of the big cities (Lima and Puno) the vast distances and busrides are worth doing. The locals are not so into tourists I believe, also backpackers are rich people is how they see it. But once you get to know them personaly, like our guides, porters, hosts..., you feel the warm inside ;-)))

Published on Monday September 7th, 2009


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Wed, Sep 16 2009 - 04:38 AM rating by bineba

Good report with nice pics.

Fri, Sep 11 2009 - 12:30 PM rating by marianne

Quite an adventure

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