Over a quick breakfast in Agua Calientes, Bob and I debated whether or not to actually tackle climbing up Huayna Picchu Mountain, which sits overlooking Machu Picchu. The hiking trail up this mountain follows another ancient Inca path with an ascent up steep stony pathways, through tunnels, and along sheer cliff edges that offer no protection for hikers. We both decided that it would be an exhilarating and challenging trek, but I was unsure if I would have the courage. I have to tell you that I am very afraid of heights. Read more
Bob and I managed to get aboard the first bus of the day from Aguas Calientes up to Machu Picchu. The 20-minute bus ride up the switchbacks of the dirt road had us clinging to our seats whenever we rounded the sharp corners. The other option for getting to Machu Picchu is to hike up the mountain, but it is supposed to be a pretty long and very tough climb. We preferred to use that time to explore the ruins at the top. Read more
When it was finally time to set foot on the Inca Trail, we were guided by an authorized trail guide and accompanied by two other hikers, guides in training. Our adventure would be a one-day hike along the time-worn Inca Trail, headed for Machu Picchu. Our excitement was palpable.
After a night of heavy rains, Bob and I departed Puno aboard PeruRail’s Andean Explorer headed through the Andes Mountains for Cusco. Our early-morning departure soon left behind the very wet world of the village of Puno. Read more
On our first morning in Puno, we found that the clouds were hanging low and grey; it was a cold world. We had come prepared for this sort of weather, so our spirits were high as we walked towards Puno’s harbour on Lake Titicaca. Cold weather is quite the norm in the Lake Titicaca area because the cold winds that blow over the lake result in an average temperature, in the warm months of the year, of 10-14C, (50-57F). Having warm clothing is a must. Read more
It was an earlier start to the day as we made our way to the Arequipa airport to catch a flight across the Andes Mountains to Puno on Lake Titicaca in Peru. On our drive to the airport we had a chance to see the beautiful, conical, snow-capped volcano known as El Misti. Read more
Bright sunshine greeted us when Bob and I awoke in Arequipa, Peru at 6:30 a.m. It is amazing how a little sunlight can change the face of a place. When we emerged from our hotel with a city map in hand, the cobbled streets and high walls seemed less daunting than when we arrived in the dark the night before. Read more
Our destination heading south from Nazca on the Pan American Highway in Peru was the city of Arequipa. At 556 kilometers from Nazca, we figured the drive should take us about 6 hours and put us in Arequipa well before dark. The day’s drive, however, sure proved that calculation to be wrong.
In the harsh climate high in the mountain meadows of the National Reserve of Pampas Galeras in Peru live the rarely-seen Vicuna. In 1974, the Vicuna were declared an endangered species; at that time, only 6,000 of these animals were left alive in Peru. Today, with the aid of organizations like World Wildlife Fund, the population of Vicuna has recovered to about 350,000. Even with that supposed high number of these animals, it is still very difficult to actually catch a glimpse of one in the wilds of Peru. Read more