More Peru

posted from Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada

This is the second posting about our trip to Peru. It has taken a long time to go through the more than one thousand pictures we took during the trip. I am going to try to keep it short and talk about the places indivdually rather than as a travelogue.


We took one of the local buses from Urubumba to Pisac.  Some of these buses seem like old tour buses that were too worn out for tourists and were put into service for the locals.  We traveled for a couple hours for under five Sols each.  We stopped in all the little towns along the way.  At a couple stops locals got on to sell food and drinks.

Pisac has to big attractions: the market and the Inca ruins.  The market is big on normal days, but it is huge on market days.  We arrived on a regular day.  Our hotel was one of the few places that didn’t provide breakfast, so the next day – a sunday – we got up and started off in search of coffee and food.  We were wandering around at the edge of the plaza where they were setting up the market when a man with a small child stopped and asked us if we were looking for breakfast.  We are always a little wary when approached like that, but it turned out he owned a small restaurant about a block away and he was on his way to open up.  We followed him and soon were enjoying some hot coffee and a nice breakfast.

L-market on a non-market day. R-market day overflow into what was a road the day before.

Restaraunt owner and his daughter

After breakfast we caught a taxi to the ruins.  The site is huge with ruins at least five locations.  One area was the temple area, another the fortress, and others were living spaces.  Most of the hill/mountainsides were terraced for crops.

Entrance to park – living areas

The fine stone work indicates a temple area

Bird watching bench?

Some of the terraces – you can see the valley floor in the background


More living areas and terraces

L-we walked down these steep terraces to get down to the town. R-typical steps built into the terrace walls. No, we did not try them

Manu – the Jungle

We took a break from the chilly, dry high desert  climate and booked a ten day trip in the jungle.  It was a shock to enter into the hot, damp climate.  We traveled for a day and a half by bus to get to the jungle and a day by bus to get back to Cusco.  The rest of the time we traveled the rivers in fifty foot long canoes.  They were only seven feet wide and were powered by sixty horsepower outboards.  We usually stayed in small, two room huts – two people to a room.  Restrooms were usually in a separate building.

(L) one of the river boats (R) raft we used to birdwatch at a pond

Our guides made the most of the time available.  When on the bus, we would stop and walk parts of the road where there were good birds and plants to see.  When on the river the guides were constantly on the lookout for birds, caimen – like an alligator – monkeys, and other interesting things.  At our destinations we went on nature hikes at all times of the day except during the heat of early afternoon.  Hikes times included before breakfast for general viewing and after dinner to see nocturnal critters like insects, spiders, and frogs.  We even spotted and owl one night.

(L) Jackie and I try on some local clothes (R) Our tour bus to the jungle looked perfectly at home in a third world country

(L) One of the many frogs we saw on our night walks (R) A caiman – like an alligator

A coupl;e of the many monkeys we saw in the jungle

Hey mister talleymon talley me bananas

(L) Tarantula hiding in the end of a handrail (R) Butterflies

(L) “Stinky bird” (R) National bird, Cock of the Rock

Puno – Lake Titicaca

Jackie and I splurged and took a fancy tour bus to Puno, home of Lake Titicaca, which forms part of the border between Peru and Bolivia.  It is famous for its claim to be the highest (over 12,000 feet) navigable body of water in the world and because some of the local people live on floating islands made of reeds.  The roots of the reeds are constantly drowned and dried by changing water levels in the lake.  Eventually the roots dry out enough to float the reeds.  Large chunks of reeds are cut free and then attached to other sections to form Islands.  Most of the people living on the islands now make their living from tourism, but there are still about sixty people scratching out a living in the traditional manner.

The Inka Express

The mayor shows us a small sample of the reed island

The boats are typically very colorful

These ladies sang to us. Yes it’s touristy, but it is still very interesting

The waterfront – you can see the boat we took a ride on

The navigable body of water claim is based on the launch of the Yavari in the 1800s.  It was a steel gunboat bought from England to patrol the lake.

Yavari, the first of a few large ships to navigate Lake Titicaca

Colca Canyon

 One of the few tours we took was to Colca Canyon to see the condors.  The tour was based out of Arequipa – known as the “white city” because it was founded by spainards and because most of the buildings are built using a white stone.

Plaza in Arequipa, the “White City”

Our tour left Arequipa early in the morning and traveled over the mountains to Chivay.  We went through a pass that was 4910 meters high. That’s 16109 feet – just over three miles above sea level.  You could get short of breath just thinking about doing something.  The next day we got up early and took the tour bus to Colca Canyon.

  The “best” viewing spots were taken, but we found a spot along the fence off to one side.  Colca Canyon is the second deepest canyon in the world and is very narrow at this point.  As the day warms and the air currents begin to rise out of the gorge the condors take off and ride the thermals up.  We found that many started from our side of the observation area and we could see them coming up from a good distance away.  They eventually reached our level and flew right by us as them moved along the valley.

L-we reach the snow line. R-Jackie puts the finishing touch on our cairn

Vicuna along the side of the road

Colca Valley on the way to Colca Canyon

Condor viewpoint, Colca Canyon

Condor soaring over the canyon

Adult male condor

Up close and personal


We spent a couple days in Nazca, which is famous for the Nazca Lines – huge designs scrapped out of the desert floor.  The best way to see them is by small plane – it’s a great ride.

The hummingbird – one of the more famous of the Nazca Line figures

We also had a short tour of a few of the local sights.  The most amazing are the Nazca wells.  They are the access points for the underground aquaduct system that the Nazcas created.  The water allowed them to grow crops and survive in this desert.

Wells built to access the underground aquaducts

Locals grow cactus because the mold that grows on the leaves makes an excellent dye

Paracas is a seaside town.  You expect water birds at the shore, but the number of pelicans there is amazing.

Pelicans performing for food

Pelicans in a feeding frenzy

I know there are birds here somewhere

It’s interesting because it is in the desert. We took a boat tour to the offshore islands that are the home for gulls, sea lions, and penguins.  Periodically, the government opens the islands to harvest the guano.

Sea lions hanging out on the rocks

Birds on the guano islands

We walked the shoreline hoping to find pink flamigos.  We eventually spotted them near a beach across the bay.  But our walk was not fruitless – we saw lots of shore birds and also jelly fish that had washed ashore.

Birds and jellyfish along the shore

So we take a taxi to the park and head down the trail to the shore where we saw the flamingos.  Little did we know……

End of the road. L-flamingos are the pink dots, R-flamingos, camera at full zoom


Our last stop was Lima, Peru’s capitol city.  We spent a few days wandering around the Miraflores area and visited a mall built into the side of a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  While there we took a trip to a park in the city center that has a lot of cool fountains.

A nice example of the many fountains

This fountain is like a big maze. Different parts turn on and off so you can get in and out while staying relatively dry

We also took a bus tour that was nothing special except that it stopped at a museum of Incan and pre-Incan pottery.  There was some amazing stuff there.

a great example of Incan pottery

Misc Pix

Flowers in the hotel courtyard in Pisac

L-they have different signs for llamas, alpacas, and vicuna. R-gas company sign – what do you think they feed those llamas?

Hot Moto, three on a bike that barely holds one, using a stick to hold up the electric wires so the pirate float can get under, betting on the cuy

3 Responses to “More Peru”

  1. Tasha Says:

    Hi there! I just found you through Women Who Sail on FB…this looks like an amazing 2 months spent on land. Where did you keep the boat while you traveled and how expensive was it to leave her, if you don’t mind me asking?

  2. Joan Says:

    Thanks for the vicarious tour! It looks like a fascinating culture. Almost stimulation overload. The condors must have been amazing.

  3. Jim Beaudry Says:

    Hey Eric, couldn’t find your e-mail address…
    Found this recall for our generators. If you still have it check this site for a recall.

    Click to access eu2000i-recall-poster.pdf

    Hope you guys are doing well,

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