It’s over! The alarm rings, it is 5am. Our back pack are almost ready. We are going for our breakfast. 6h10, we jump into the boat that brings us to Puerto Muldonado port in about 1h30. Then there is a bus that bring us to the airport in about 45 minutes through a series of dirt road.
The reason for the early wake up is due to the illegal strike around here. Hopefully, these guys need to sleep! We avoided any problems.
We then have to go through a series of flight and transit… puerto muldonado – cusco – lima – miami – montreal. It is going to be a long 28 hours journey back home.
We woke up in our little bungalow, located in the middle of Perou’s jungle, at 5h30 am. We had breakfast and left for a 7 hours adventure through the forest. We were equipped of rubber boots, insect repellent, sun block, water and a lunch. Since the rain season is not totally over in here, the trail was very muddy. On the way to the lake, we saw a group of wild pig, some frog (a dangerous black and yellow one), 3 hurler monkeys and many type of birds, including some very colourful macaws.
I also learnt that walking trees is real and not an invention from movie’s company. Yes, you heard me right! There is a type of palm tree that is able to move its base when a nearby tree grow faster and highter that him. The base of the tree is actually located at 2 meters above the ground. From there, a series of about 12 roots support the trees. When it want to move, new roots grow from the base, down to the ground, in the wanted direction, then the existing root pulling in the opposite direction get dry and die. Slowly, the tree can get away from the shade of other tree and survive.
Once we arrive at the lake, we got on a small canoe, to discover the wild life from a different angle. We saw many birds and piranhas there. We had lunch and took the same 6km muddy path to go back to the lodge.
After a good and nice cold shower, it is time to relax in an hamac the rest of afternoon. Nice!
Let’s enjoy the moment as my vacation are almost over.
At night, we went on a boat ride to see some caymans. It looks like a small crocodile but there are no crocodile around here. There are different species that range from 75cm to 5 meters long. We can easily see the reflection of their eyes when using a powerful spot light pointed at the river shore. After many not so successful attempts to take a good picture, my guide jumped off the boat to go get one and bring it back in the boat. I could hold it in my hands! Wow! 🙂
It’s already time for diner and for bed!
Today, we left the Cusco hotel around 9h00 in direction of the local airport. Air plane ticket in hand, we boarded the plane for Puerto Muldonado. This is a 45 minutes flight but it would take days to get there by car. This city is in the rain forest at only 200 meters altitude. It is hot and humid in here. There is currently an illegal strike in this city. Not sure if you saw that on the news but cars in flame is not unusual throughout the country. We have been lucky until now as it didnt delay our itinerary.
Once in Puerto Muldonado airport, we met the local guide who instructed us we were not going through the city as planned but instead directly to the port by going around the city through dirt road.
Once there, we jumped into a long and narrow boat with a 60hp motor. We were about 12 persons on board. We saw a few animals and even a cayman while going up the river for 2 hours. We then arrived to our lodge. It is like a small paradise hidden in the jungle. Armed with insect repellent and long sleeve cloths, even if it feel like 40°c in here, we explored the site and assisted to a nice sunset on the river.
At night, we had a guided visit thorough the jungle to discover; small frog, big spider and some other insects that looks like branch or leaf.
Our room has moskitos net over the bed. There is no hot water, no electricity in the room.
After diner, it is time to go to bed already!
Today is our free day in Cusco. No alarm, no plan; What a great day!
We got up around 9am, had breakfast and then went out to visit the cusco cathedral. There was a lot of painting, a lot of art everywhere. This cathedral was built by spanish on top of a destroyed inca temple. We can still see the inka canalisation in the basement of the cathedral.
Our plan for tonight is to visit our guide home and cook for him a meal from Quebec 🙂
Tomorrow morning, we are boarding a plane for Puerto Maldonado and we will spent 2 days in the jungle. Not sure, there will be wifi over there, next update, when possible.
It was the 4th day in the inca trail, we were woke up at 4am with a tea and a small snack for the day. No porter, no breakfast, no lunch included today. We need to pack our stuff quickly. It is 4h30 and it is completly dark outside but there are already hundreds of persons waiting in line for the gate to open at 5h30am. The access to Machu pichu is stricly controlled here again. The head lamp were very useful. Once our ticket is validated, I start passing slow people walking on the trail. I arrived to the sun gate in the first few person. I took a few picture of machu pichu from far away. We went down the trail until we get to the “postcard” picture spot for the Machu pichu. We got a few picture and then our guide made us visit the different section of the city. Wow! It is beautiful! Once the tour was completed, we decided to use the rest of our energy to get to the inca bridge. Wow. That is not recommended for those afraid of height! The trail is narrow, and then a 500 meters cliff down to the river. Very impressive construction!
I’m done. I need a beer. Let’s go to Aguas Caliente.
For the third day on the inca trail, we were woke up at 5h30 by our porter. Similar to previous day, we had tea, and nice breakfast. The weather is perfect, not a single cloud in the sky. This third day on the inca trail is not expected to be difficult as it is overall relatively flat or downhill. We got to the third mountain pass in only 1h30. From there, the view is amazing, we can see 3 archeological sites throughout the valley and the town of aguas caliente far away. While going down the valley, the first ruin we visited was called “phuyupatamarka”. It is a well preserved site with a long chain of inca baths. As I start getting use to the inequal steps, I like to accelerate the pace, especially when going downhill.
When a group of porter passed next to us running downhill with their 25kg backpack. I looked at my guide and agreed with him to meet at the next archeological site.
I ran down the stairs, 2 steps at a time.
I soon found out, I was too fast for the porter. I even had time to take a few pictures on the way and take a movie while catching up on the porter. It was fun!
I left the porter use the shortcut to the campsite while I took the direction of the archeological site called “impata” where I met my group. It is a big site with a lot of terasse. The campsite was less than 15 minutes away. It is noon and we are the first group to arrive. We had a quick snack and left to visit “Winay Wayna”; A huge site with temple, terasse, series of baths, and a town at the bottom. Wow. There is a lot of steps. At the bottom of the site, there is a trail that lead to a giant water fall. This water from glacier is very refreshing! With my afternoon off, I met new friends while player soccer on a very narrow terrain on the side of the mountains. The bowl was often going flying through the jungle forest below… oups! During that time, muskitos were using me as their meal.
We had diner and said thank you and goodbye to our porter and chef.
We went to bed early after as we need to get up at 4 am the next morning.
The next morning, we are woke up at 5h30 am by porter who give us a hot tea. We then have about 30 minutes to dress up and pack the sleeping bag to be ready. It doesn’t take more time for our breakfast to be ready in the main tent. Wow! What a nice breakfast.
We had plenty of energy to continu our difficult 4 hours climb to the first mountain pass called “dead woman pass”. Up there, at 4215 meters of altitude, we have an amazing view on the 1000 meters we climbed since this morning. It’s cold at the top and the cloud are coming on us. Just the time to take a few pictures before the view become all white…
On the other side, we have a steep trail going down the mountain with a lot of steps. (700 meters down)
We had lunch at the bottom of the valley. The chef has prepared a very good lunch for us. We even have time for an afternoon nap after. We then get back in the trail for a 350 meters climbs to the second mountain pass (3950m). On the way up, we visited an archeological site called “runkuakay” which offer a good view on the trail after the first pass. I sprinted the last 150m climbs, passing a few porter on the way. I feel good! I waited a good 30 minutes at the top for my guide to catch up on me. It’s time to go down again in direction of our camping site. On the way down, I visited an archeological site called “sayaqmarka”. It is a well preserved inka town which stand at the top of a cliff and offer a nice view on the valley and camping site down below. I spent the necessary time to visit all section of this ruin. I then took the direction of the camping site to meet my group. Everything is already set up by porter. We have a bowl of hot water to wash our feet. It is very welcome because temperature is dropping fast at 3600 meters of altitude. I put on all the warm cloth I have. The humidity level must be at 100%. It is freezing in here. At 4pm, there is pop-corn and tea. At 6pm, the diner is served. Wow! I could not ask for more. The diner really helped to warm up. We then went to bed early to rest after our toughest day.
Hopefully, I had a good sleeping bag 🙂
We left the Cusco hotel around 4am. A bus brought us to km 82 where the inca trail start. Since the number of visitor per day is limited and stricly verified. We had to show our ticket and our passport to get in the trail.
We had 5 porter, 1 chef and 1 guide for the 2 of us. They carry the tents, bbq, propane can, food, chair, tables, camping mattress and up to 6 kg of our personal items. (Sleeping bag & extra cloth).
Each of the porter has 25kg of items in their backpack and they are still going faster than us.
The first day went well, we followed the river for some time and then start the progressive climb through the valley.
This part of the trail is also use by local communities. We saw a lot of lamas, donkeys and horses… and their poo everywhere.
The view was amazing, we crossed a few river coming from glacier at the top of the mountains.
Our first camping spot was on the way up to the first mountain pass.
We were welcomed by our team of porter with a hot tea and a bol of hot water to wash our face. The tent are up and the mattress are inflated already. All we have to do is unpack our sleeping bag and put on some warm cloth.
Our porter then invited us for a very nice diner made of a kinoa soup, a main plate made of rice, meat and vegetable, and a desert.
Even though it rained overnight, it was not too cold.
Today, we went on a tour to visit the sacred valley near Cusco. This valley groups most of the inca archeological site of the area.
We started with the visit of Pisac
The road bring us to the top of the mountain. With an easy walk, we could visit the entire site. This site host 15000 tumbs. Each one is an hole in the cliff. These used to be closed, however tumb robers has broken in each and stole all the gold and silver. The trail follow the mountain side and even goes through a tunnel. The view on terasse is amazing.
The next site we visited is Ollantaytambo. It’s a huge site that can be accessed from the village at the bottom of the mountain. We then have to climb hundred of steps to get to the temple of the sun. Very nice view on surroundings mountains, valley and rivers. The massive piece of granite use to built this site were taken from a mountain 2 or 3 km away. They also figure out a way to bring water to the temple through a series of canal and fountains.
Many windows and rock were used and based on shadow/light position on the ground at sun rise, they could predict summer/winter solstice.
We are tired and we have not yet started the inca trail trek.
Next update in 4-5 days.
Today, we woke up early once again to get the 7h15 shuttle to the bus station.
We took the bus from Arequipa to Puno. The first section of road was the same as when we went to Colca Canyon. We followed mountains side to go around huge volcanos. After that, once in the high land, the road was surprisingly straight with almost no mountain range to cross even though the altitude ranged in the 4400 meters.
We went through a city called Juliaca ; what can I say… the highway end on one side and resume on the other. Most of the main street don’t have pavement, it probably took 45min to do 10km since the road was so in bad shape. When it rain, all street get floaded.
Hopefully we continued our way to Puno which offer a nice view on the Lake Titicaca; the highest navigable lake in the world and largest lake in south america. There are not much picture to share at this time, I took all pictures with my other camera.
However I can share this one, showing the elevation of our room in Puno: 3945 meters.
When you check-in here, they tell you; If you need anything or not feeling well, dial 0. The hotel has oxygen tank if you need. Yeah!
Today, is day 5. We woke up in a nice little hotel in Nazca. From the street, we could not tell it’s an hotel. Even our guide was unsure it was the correct location. Once in, it still looks like a private home with a garage entry. Quite strange but it then open up on an open sky place with grass and the individuals rooms.
Over here, breakfast is made of bread, jam, orange juice and tea/coffee.
First activity of the day was to visit the Chauchilla cemetery. It is located in the middle of desert and is made of hundreds of underground tumbs filled with momified person from Nasca civilization. The tombs are made of concrete wall about 1.5 meters deep. Each family had a tomb and there was separation between each individuals.
Back then, there was a very high percentage of child mortality. They were momified too. Strangely enough, they all sit in their tombs looking toward the east; to see sunrise.
Nearby, there are the highest sand dune in the world; they are 2000 meters high!
We then went in direction of the Nazca first aqueduc. Even through it rains no more than 5mm per years, this region has farms. Thanks to the underground river flowing from the high mountains surrounding the region and to the special aquedec system that is able to extract water from ground and speed up its flow by using a series of huge hole made of rock in a spiral shape.
We could not stay more than 10 minutes as we had to catch our bus to Arequipa.
The strike in Arequipa has calm down and road block is over; thanks to the army. 🙂
We are in a bus in direction of Arequipa for the next 11 hours.
There is nothing but desert around here! Can’t wait to see some mountains!
Today we woke up early to join a boat excursion to the Bellastras island. There was 25 seats in the boat and we had to travel 20km. On the way, we saw a big ancient drawing on a nearby mountain. It is 120 meters high and 55 meters wide. It is at least 150 years old and it never got erased as it never rain here.
Once at the Bellastras Island, we discovered multiple islands, each one crowded with millions of pelican, sea birds, ans sea lions. We even saw dozen of pinguin jumping in the sea (rare).
Did you know that the guano, (bird poop), is an excellent fertilizer. It is found in big quantity on the island. It has been exported to different countries for years and contributed to Lima economy for years.
We then jumped in a bus in direction of Nazca. The road is going through desert and then through steep mountain with a road doing zig zag …
Once in Nazca, we dropped our bag in the hotel and jumped in a shuttle for the Nazca airport. We saw the nazca line from the air in a small cesna. It was impressive! The pilot was continously doing tight left and right turn so we can see the ground through side windows. My stomach is unstable!
But it worth the 115$US.
Next, we are now planning to go to a museum to learn more about the Nasca line.
Tomorrow itinerary is still unknown! There are miners doing a strick. They are blocking the highway to Arequipa. They are very angry and throwing rocks at bus/cars…
Looks like we may have to go back to Lima to fly to Arequipa directly, to bypass this road block.
This morning we wake up early to get a bus from Lima to Paracas; about 3 hours south.
Paracas is a very beautiful place. A mix of desert, sand dune, cliff, beach, and amazing view on the pacific ocean. We have done a tour around the peninsula in a minivan. These roads are perfect to destroy any car. I was sitting in the back seat which is probably the worst place to sit when it shake, turn in all directions with plenty of bumps but the views totally worth it!
After the tour, we went to the beach! The water temperature was great!
We stayed on the beach until sunset!