Peru – May/June, 2019

When we planned a Peru trip for 2012, we didn’t anticipate that family health problems would prevent one of us from going, but that is what happened in the end. So ever since 2012, it’s been Pete’s firm intention to go back to Peru with Kathy, and this year looked like the year. In the end, we left behind both our mothers with health problems, but our families filled the gap and held the fort while we had a truly memorable holiday.

Peru is a fascinating country: large, Spanish-speaking (plus a few indigenous languages) and with an impressive variety of landscapes, from the arid coastal strip to the spectacular mountain ranges and highlands, and the dense jungle further east. Much of the country is at high altitude and is farmed for whatever crops and animal products are viable. Then there is its turbulent history from Pre-Inca through Inca times, followed by the Spanish invasion and colonisation and finally independence in 1821. The country has suffered and continues to suffer from considerable governmental corruption and mismanagement, and yet the Peruvians are warm and welcoming to visitors.

We opted to have a tour organised for our needs, with tour guides, accommodation, meals and travel mostly pre-arranged, which is different from our usual mode of travel and took a bit of getting used to. But we found it reassuring, as our Spanish is rudimentary at best, and we also enjoyed the free evenings when we were able to do our own thing.

Our trip took in some sights that were new to Pete, such as the Sacred Valley near Cuzco, Rainbow Mountain, Arequipa, Colca Valley, Puno, the islands of Uros and the Santa Cruz trek, and included some Peruvian essentials he’d seen, such as Cuzco, Machu Picchu, and the Cordillera Blanca near Huaraz. Here are some of the many photos we took as we explored parts of the country.

photo Photos

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Peru's location  in South America, close to the equator. It's a large country, almost as big as Alaska and twice as big as France. The population is 31 million. Our trip. (Red) flights Santiago-Lima, Lima- Cuzco. (Black) coach trips in the Cuzco region, Coach trips Cuzco-Puno-Arequipa-Colca Valley. Flight Arequipa-Lima, Coach trips to Huaraz and to our trek start and end points. Return to Lima by coach. Paddington Bear statue in foggy Miraflores, Lima. Paddington came from "darkest Peru", as you may recall. 23/05/19 The Plaza de Armas in Cuzco, the old Inca capital. 24/05/19 Amazing Inca stonework in central Cuzco. The Spanish demolished the Inca temples and palaces but kept the foundations and outer walls. With our lovely guide, Monica. After a morning in Cuzco, we headed off to the Sacred Valley, looking down at remnant walls of the massive Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman on the way out of the city. 24/05/19 Pisac, our first port of call in the Sacred Valley. 24/05/19 Terraces at Pisac, topped by a well-fortified town on the hilltop. The terraces were for agricultural purposes, to try and acclimatise crops to higher altitudes. 24/5/19 Urubamba, our base for three nights as we explored the Sacred Valley and sites on the plateau above. The Urubamba River continues northwest, flowing below Machu Picchu. It is a tributary of  the Amazon. 25/5/19 Church at Chinchero, built on Inca foundations. 25/5/19 Grand and friendly welcome to a traditional community at Tauca, where we were shown many aspects of traditional life - agriculture, weaving, cooking. 25/5/19 The head of the community spoke Quechua  and our guide translated. They use natural dyes for the spun yarn. 25/05/19 Remnants of Inca granaries on the high slopes near Chinchero, storing grains for the lean years. 25/05/19 Salt terraces at Maras above the Sacred Valley. Amazing sight. They have been exploited since Inca times. 26/5/19 Maras salt terraces. The different colours indicate different stages of evaporation. You can see some of the channels that bring the salty water from the only spring to all the terraces. 26/05/19 More agricultural terraces at Moray on the high plateau. It was the beginning of the dry season, as can be seen from the surrounding landscape. 26/05/19 The Sacred Valley lies below and a high  mountain range beyond. 26/5/19 Yummy degustation menu for lunch at Maras- first course. The restaurant was so well hidden in the labyrinthine village, it took our guide and driver over half an hour to locate it. Worth the effort. The yellow balls are causa, made from yellow mashed potato and topped with a delicious tuna filling and sauce. :-) 26/05/19 Inca terraces and fortress at Ollantaytambo, further up the Urubamba Valley. So impressive! 26/5/19 More Inca granaries high above the town. Pete swears he can see a lion's face in the rock, Can you?  26/5/19 The top of the fortifications. The more beautiful and detailed stonework was always reserved for temple and palace walls. 26/5/19 Start of the one-day Inca trail, a hike from  the railroad that goes to Aguas Calientes. You hike along and above the river valley, gaining elevation and passing several Inca sites, before reaching the Sun Gate and then descending  to Machu Picchu. 27/05/19 Orchids abounded along the trail and in the ruins. A hot sunny day. 27/05/19 Pete and Monica on the trail with the terraces of Winaywayna in the distance, which we visited before having lunch further along. 27/05/19 Nearly there! Winaywayna. 27/5/19 At the foot of Winaywayna. Great view! 27/05/19 Inca ruins at Winaywayna. No roads in these mountains! 27/05/19 Puff puff! We made it to the top! Almost time for lunch. 27/05/19 Later in the afternoon, having gone through the Sun Gate, we descended to the amazing Machu Picchu site.  The road down is visible on the right. 27/05/19 The site was closing as we arrived - time for a photo without lots of tourists in the background. 27/5/19 Next day,  a guided tour of the ruins with Monica. There are even terraces and structures on the top of Huayna Picchu (the mountain in the background) which you can climb. No thanks!  28/05/19 View down to the Urubamba River. 28/05/19 Note the quality stonework in the rounded Temple of the Sun. 28/05/19 Back to Cuzco, and a visit to the markets, always fascinating! vegetables, meat, offal, flowers, staples, bread, sweets, handicrafts, and the rest. 29/05/19 So many different types of corn! 29/05/19 Outside the market walls, more street sellers with their colourful clothes and blankets. 29/05/19 Cuzco centre is a world heritage area. 29/5/19 Huge stones form the base of the walls at the fortress of Sacsayhuaman above Cuzco. 29/05/19 Montana de Colores. We did a day trip and visited a less touristy  Rainbow Mountain that also involved a shorter walk than the one most tourists do, starting at Palccoyo.  Beautiful, a geologist's dream! 30/05/19 More stripes of colour. 30/05/19 The mounain in the distance is Ausungate, 6384 m, one of the sacred mountains around Cuzco. 30/05/19 Interesting rocky section; love that red soil too! 30/05/19 Rather different Inca ruins at Raqchi, a stop on our day-long coach trip from Cuzco to Puno on Lake Titicaca. 31/05/19 Highest point on the  coach trip, La Raya, at 4335 metres above sea level. The ubiquitous sellers of handicrafts. 31/05/19 Puno on Lake Titicaca, and some of the tourist boats in its harbour. Most buildings in Peruvian cities are incomplete blocky brick constructions - not very attractive!  01/06/19 We visited one of the floating islands of Uros and were educated on how they live - such a unique lifestyle, such tiny houses! 1/6/19 The residents sang a farewell as we were borne away on a reed boat. 1/6/19 We visited another island on Lake Titicaca, Taquile, where traditional agriculture and way of life are still the norm. The language spoken here is Aymara. Flamingoes as seen near the road during a day-long coach journey between Puno and Arequipa. 02/06/19 Cute alpaca, just asking to be photographed! 02/06/19 Apparently this volcano lets out smoke 20 - 30 times a day. I thought I was witnessing the start of an eruption. :-) Rather barren landscape in this region. 02/06/19 Arequipa, Peru's second most populous city, famed for the white stone that predominates in its historic buildings, like the cathedral. 02/06/19 View from our hotel terrace to Misti, the volcano that rises 5,825m above Arequipa. 2/6/19 Irrigated fields in an otherwse arid landscape outside Arequipa, where it rains once every two years, we were told. 03/06/19 Misti volcano and a vicuna. The area is a National Park to protect the vicunas, which have never been domesticated. 03/06/19 Llamas by the roadside, waiting to be photographed by passing tourists. :-) Note the dormant Chachani volcano in the background. 03/06/19 More volcanoes as we approach the Colca Valley. Arid rocky  terrain at the Patapampa pass, 4900 metres above sea level. 03/06/19 Descending to Chivay in the Colca Valley. 03/06/19 At Mirador Cruz del Condor, above the Colca Canyon, where we saw condors gliding effortlessly in the thermals ... 4/6/19 We took heaps of photos, including this beauty... 4/6/19 ... and some even landed right near Pete for this close-up! 4/6/19 The canyon deepens as the river descends, but there are still villages and some fields on its steep slopes.  04/06/19 Back towards Chivay (upstream) after our morning encounter with the condors. 04/06/19 Now we are in Huaraz, after returning from the Colca Valley to Arequipa, flying to Lima the next day and catching a coach up the coast and inland to Huaraz, a long day. 06/06/19 The Cordillera Blanca is the spectacular range of mountains, part of the Andes chain that stretches in a northwesterly direction  to the east of Huaraz. It includes several peaks over 6,000 metres high and 722 individual glaciers. 06/06/19 View from Lake Wilcacocha, towards part of the Cordillera Blanca in the east. A short afternoon walk after a rather bumpy drive!  07/06/19 First day of the Santa Cruz trek, starting at Cashapampa. Loading the donkeys with all the necessary gear and food for five days' trekking. 08/06/19 The ascent up the valley, mid-morning. It was rocky and exposed and hot. Kathy succumbed to weariness and rode the "rescue horse" for part of this ascent. 08/06/19 After lunch the trail became less steep and the valley widened to reveal the high snow-capped mountains on either side. Lupins were flowering in abundance. 07/06/19 Our first night's campsite at Llamacorral. The end of the valley is already in view. 07/06/19 Last rays of the sunset on the summit of Taulliraju. 07/06/19 Day 2. View up a side valley to one of the many snow-capped peaks. 08/06/19 Walking alongside the sandy river bed (once a lake - result of a major landslide in March 2012 which closed the trek for months.) 08/06/19 Ascending towards our second campsite at Taullipampa. The effect of the landslide in 2012 is still visible though some hardy plants are beginning to colonise the sand.  08/06/19 The magnificent Taulliraju at the head of the Valley, 5830m, from just near our campsite.  08/06/19 Shadows descend. It will get cold very soon! 08/06/19 Day 3. A rest day. We walked back a way and up a side valley towards Alpamayo Base Camp. Alpamayo is the mountain directly ahead of us. Another glorious day! 09/06/19 View south to the other valley, where the 2012 landslide originated. 09/06/19 Day 4. Pass day. Ascending the trail to Punta Union Pass, 4750m.  Taulliraju with fresh snow. 10/06/19 Nearly there! View across to the glacier and a brightening sky. 10/06/19 The pass, looking north and down to Laguna Taullicocha. 10/06/19 Part of our team. Luis, our cook on the left and Maximo on the right. Freddie, our guide took the picture. We also had two donkey wranglers who went ahead with the six donkeys carrying the gear. Our companion is a young Aussie from Sydney. 10/06/19 View west, back down the valley from whence we came. Time for a snack! 10/06/19 The start of a long descent. We met many hikers coming towards us (east to west) - a much harder climb, in our opinion! 10/06/19 Rocky and unrelenting descent. 10/06/19 At last, some gentle terrain and a green valley.  Nearly there after a long day, 10/06/19 Pizza for afternoon tea!! And a beer purchased from some enterprising locals. We had earned it. 10/06/19 Day 5, descending through farming country and villages back to the road that would take us back to Huaraz. 11/06/19 More magnificent mountain scenery on our minibus trip back. 11/06/19 Winding section down to the Lagunas de Llanganuco. 11/06/19 View from our lunch spot towards Huascaran, its southern summit is Peru's highest peak at 6768m. 11/06/19 Long coach trip back to Lima. The terrain became increasingly arid and rocky as we descended 3000m from Huaraz towards the coast. 12/06/19 Chilies drying in the sun closer to the coast. 12/06/19 Lima half day tour on our last day. The city centre has many impressive buildings from the early days of Spanish settlement. The population of the urban agglomeration is almost 10 million.  We took a late flight to Santiago, four hours delay there,  finally  to Melbourne and then home! 13-15/06/19

Posted on July 11th, 2019, tagged with events

2 responses to “Peru – May/June, 2019”

  1. Fred says:

    Thanks for sharing your trip with us, Ellers. Great photos!

  2. Shirlie says:

    Wow! Fantastic photos, and great commentary. Second best to being there myself.

    I did see the lion Pete and another toothy creature higher.
    Thanks for sharing. X