This years trip was actually our honeymoon. One month in the southern part of Peru. Excellent! To see all of Peru at least two if not three months are needed. There is a lot to see!!
Traveling in Peru is a lot easier than say Mexico. The people are very friendly, and willing to help. But not many people speaks English. Therefore, speaking a bit of Spanish is a great advantage!
There are supposedly a lot of thieves in Peru. We didn’t experience anything, but many people know stories about someone who got their money, passport, camera etc. stolen. Watch your stuff!!! The theft comes in the form of pick pocketing and snatching. Violence is rare.
Our flight to Peru was a long one! Almost 36 hours. We flew from Aalborg, Copenhagen, Paris, Bogotá, Lima and finally Cuzco. Besides it being a long trip, it can be tough to go directly from sea level to 3000m above sea level – and that’s how high Cuzco is positioned!
Cuzco is a wonderful city, very typically south American. The Plaza de Armas is beautiful, always lively and filled with people. It takes some time to get used to the altitude, so we spent the first days in the city. There is plenty to see: churches, museums and most interesting, the city it self. There are also a lot of restaurants and hostels in the city. A meal can easily be acquired for less than US$3 and a bed for less than US$8. But spending a bit more will make everything somewhat more fun!
Cuzco works as an excellent base for seeing the Urubamba valley, and thereby some of Peru’s most famous Inca ruins. The ruins of Pisac, Ollantaytambo and of course Machu Picchu are all within hours of the city and they are all located in the Urubamba valley.
Even without all the ruins the Urubamba valley would be placed high on any “things to see” list. It is beautiful and it’s a perfect place for trekking. The fact that the ruins are there makes trekking all the more exiting. One of the most beautiful treks in the world is the four day trek to the ruins of Machu Picchu. The first three days are the toughest, the path crossing passes in 4200, 3900 and 3700m. Most of the path is actually an old Inca stone path. Machu Picchu it self lies in approximately 2400m. These ruins are superb, among the most magnificent in the entire world! Spectacular!!
A day here passes by quickly. After seeing the ruins, it was time to go back to Cuzco. The trek is one way, so the journey back must be made by train from the city Aguas Calientes. Taking this train is an experience in it self. Way to many people need to go on the train, so getting on 213 Machu Picchu toget can be quite a nightmare. Smashing windows to get in is not uncommon. We arrived back in Cuzco close to midnight. The trek can be strenuous, so allow a day to recuperate.
Puno and Lake Titicaca
After spending almost two weeks in Cuzco, we continued by bus to Puno. Puno lies even higher than Cuzco – almost 4000m above sea level. The main reason for going to Puno is Lake Titicaca – the worlds highest navigable lake. It lies on the border between Peru and Bolivia and is some 175km long.
On the lake are Uros, the famous floating islands made of sea grass, and two “real” islands, Armantaní and Taquile. We spent the night on Armataní (an island not yet spoiled by tourists) and saw the people of Taquile hold a fiesta to celebrate the new year. Definitely worth a visit. After spending a bit longer time in Puno than planned, we took the train to our next destination – Arequipa. It was a beautiful trip with great views of mountains, volcanoes, lamas, alpacas etc. The highest point was 4550m.
Arequipa lies in approximately 2400m, surrounded by both mountains and volcanoes. Its SantaCatalina setting is quite spectacular. Some of the most interesting sights in the city is the Santa Catalina monastery, and the museum displaying the Inca mummies found on different mountain tops in the area. This is also the place from which to visit the Colca Cañon. We took a two day tour to the canyon, andCondor it was worth every centavos – and then some. Both the Colca Cañon and the Colca Valley presents beautiful landscape, but the highlight of the trip was seeing the condors glide at Cruz del Condor. That was absolutely fantastic. When we arrived at the view point, 2 condors was flying in the canyon, but during the next hour more and more birds299 Alpacaer graesser arrived, and in the end 15 to 20 condors were gliding past us. Amazing! The birds are huge, having a wing span of up to 3m and weighing up to 10kg.
From Arequipa it was a 14 hour bus ride north to Pisco – the place to see pelicans, penguins and lions. Its about an hour by boat 18 9005 to Islas Ballestas where the animals can be seen. On the way to the islands we were lucky enough to see dolphins. We also saw some mysterious lines similar to the lines in Nazca. There are so many birds on these islands, that there droppings are collected for manure.
There were close to 2500 sea lions on the islands when we were there, but in the summer period this number doubles to more than 5000.
Most people say that there is nothing to see in Lima. It is definitely not the most exiting city in the world, but there is plenty to see to spend a day there. We saw Plaza Mayor with the cathedral, but most exiting 375 Bus i Lima was the San Francisco monastery. In the catacombs under this monastery more than 25000 people are buried.
That was it. Another excellent trip had come to an end. The conclusion is, that Peru is a wonderful country to travel in, and we just might go back to cover the northern part.