A Travellerspoint blog

4th / 20th July, Argentina

The last destination and our last couple of weeks on the year long travel.
We flew to Buenos Aires and found our way to Avenida libertador and Chloe's apartment - a friend from Indonesia. She very kindly allowed us to stay for the remainder of our time until our eventual departure to Manila on the 20th, this despite the fact that she was leaving herself for the UK on about the 10th. The only condition - look after Prince, the dog.

Well, initially we got up to very little besides visiting various hospitals and obtaining blood tests and having an ultra-sound etc... The resulting diagnosis was much better than first feared: a superficial thrombosis in the right leg. Marsha has to inject me with some sort of anti-coagulant every day. The blood test revealed an otherwise surprisingly well working body!

By the time we actually managed to get around to doing any sightseeing we were several days in the city and thoughts were already begining to turn to work - our motivation for stepping out into the Argentine winter and wandering around museums etc... was waning. But, we did get around a bit. The underground train system was very organised and cheap and a station very close to the apartment allowed us to reach the centre quickly. Florida Street was interesting to walk down / expensive shops and bars lined the pedestrianised route. At the far end restaurants boasting tango shows tried to entice us in. We also visited markets and fairs including the famous Sant Elmo market. We wandered around the extraordinary cemetry where Evita lay. Huge tombstones - actually more like buildings - housed families of influential and obviously very rich people of times gone by.

We took a bus down to the colourful area of La Boca. The stadium with its murals stood proudly overlooking the haphazard streets below. Tango shows, pictures with a Maradonna lookalike and stalls selling wares crowded onto the pavements. Cafes, shops and bars were filled with tourists and hopeful locals.

The world cup semis and final took place. We watched the dire final on a big screen in the park along with hundreds of local people. They take their football unbelieveably seriously. And, like in Bolivia and peru, without exception they support the South American sides - whoever they are. There was a depression all over the city shortly after Uruaguay lost. Whilst Argentina were still in the competition, schools and businesses were closed on match days, cars drove with their horns continuously hooting, flags flew from every available space and no-one talked of anything else.

We visited a few restaurants. The menus are ridiculously simple. You just choose which of the amazingly cheap and very very good wines you want. If you take a glass then you'll end up with about half a bottle in a pint glass anyway. Then you choose how many pieces of meat you want and finally whether you thnk it necessary to have chips or potatos as well. Vegetables? No.

Chloe is a vegetarian. We thanked her for allowing us to stay by taking her out to a nearby restaurant just before she left. She ordered a vegetarian spinach pasta of some sort - she often goes to this restaurant knowing they have the occasional vegetable in the kitchen. The food appeared and quite clearly had meat through it. Upon asking the waiter he explained that it was only ham. 'Err, that's meat...', she replied. He stared blankly for a while and then, looking perplexed took the dish away and returned later with another. This one contained some chicken....

Anyhow, it suited me down to the ground. Large steaks, mixed grills etc... without having to feel the need to order any leaves. All accompanied by massive glasses of great red wine.

We organised a 3 night break to Iguazu Falls. 3 nights in the Jardin De Iguazu and 2 days at the waterfalls. We agreed that we may just have saved the very best place all trip until last. It was truly astonishing. They are the widest falls in the world stretching over 3km long. But they are unimagineably beautiful. Set in the middle of the jungle on the border with Brasil the gushing water thunders and crashes in all directions.

We firstly visited the Devil's Throat - the biggest and most impressive part of the falls in terms of sheer volume of water. But, later on we came upon countless views of waterfall after waterfall after waterfall cascading down rocky cliffs to the swirling river below. It was as though the scenery had been computer generated to create some sort of other-worldy location for a film set.

We paid for the boat trip. Expensive and very wet - but incredibly exhilerating and well worth the money. Sitting at the front with our newly bought plastic macs we were the first to get hit by the torrential spray. Meanwhile a video played at the front of us all which when we looked at it later revealed Marsha to be constantly giggling throughout.

The 2nd day we went to the Brasilian side - yes, we had to pass through customs, we were in Brasil for about 4 hours! The view from this side allowed us to see the extent of the falls as they stretched the 3km. We saw huge falls that we hadn't even seen the day before. The track also took us right into the centre of it all.

Iguazu Falls - an amazing place and well worthy of its inclusion in the latest world top 7 natural wonders shortlist. And, the best thing about the whole experience was that each evening we feasted on massive chunks of red meat!

We enjoyed an evening at the Tango. A glitzy show near the centre of the city which included a 3 course dinner and wine. The tango dancers were pretty amazing. Not being a dance officianado myself I don't know the difference between good and bad dancers - and usually couldn't care less anyway - but these people were great to watch. They were more gymnastic in their movements - thrusting their legs all over the place and the ladies being flung into the air and across the floor etc... A very good evening out, albeit a little pricey. And we decided against buying one of the photos we had to pose for at the beginning of the evening with some of the performers.

19th July
And so, on a miserable, rainy and cold morning in Buenos Aires, we wake up to our last full day of our travels. Thoughts are of the upcoming job and new people, places etc... This morning has been spent sorting out money transfers and printing out various documents needed for our arrival into Manila etc... There has been little time of late to reflect on the year away.

As I tap away for the last time this year it is hard to imagine that about 55 weeks have passed since we last worked. The time has passed so quickly and yet, arriving in Bali on the 5th July last year does seem like a long time ago... So much has happenned. The big highlights are often recalled - Great Wall of China, Petra, New York, Machu Picchu etc... But, reading back through the blog as we do occasionally, there have been so, so many other wonderful places visited and experiences had. Diving in Sumatra, seldom visited villages in Timor, ballooning in China, the Terracotta Warriors, an afternoon of music and dance in Cuba and so much more... We hope to have our photographs displayed on the walls as visual reminders of the year before too long, as well as the memories.

Despite a few hospital visits and some theft towards the end of the trip everything has gone amazingly well. So much so, that, well, we've already started planning the next summer's 7 week holiday and have tentative plans for what we may do should we decide that work, once again, isn't really for us, and, we take some more time out....

Thanks for reading....

Posted by Patrick H. 13:44 Archived in Argentina Comments (1)

28th June - 3rd July, Bolivia

28th June
Lake Titicaca straddles both Peru and Bolivia. The journey between Puno in Peru to Copacabana in Bolivia only takes about 3 hours. 3 hours of wonderful scenery of the lake and the snowy Andes rising above.

We had been warned about all sorts of scams at the border crossing (Customs officers removing 'fake' dollars, 'police' charging fines for trumped up offences etc...), and so it was pleasantly surprising to be shuffled through with the minimum of fuss. The only problem seemed to be a couple of girls on the bus who could hardly stand and were vomiting everywhere... Some sort of bug a friend told us. We kept our distance...

Copacabana - not the place from the song - that belongs to a now dangerous stretch of beach in Brasil where thieves and muggers hang out. This version of the same name is a pretty little town on the shores of Lake Titicaca. We checked into the lovely hotel called La Cupula above the town on a hill. Our room was cheapish and had a fireplace all ready to be lit...

Thinking we'd save it for the evening we wandered down towards the shore and sat ourselves at one of the many, many little cafes on offer. We had a very tasty trout each - straight from the lake - chips, salad etc... and a drink each and paid the princely sum of $7 US between us. Amazing value.

Beside us a kiwi couple basked in the attention of having their hybrid jeep/car type thing that they were travelling the world with being marvelled over by some locals. A middle aged couple and passing their retirement visiting as many places as they can...

We wandered the town, organised a few things for later on, walked through the market before ending up back at the jetty for sunset.
Sunset on Lake Titicaca, Copacabana

Sunset on Lake Titicaca, Copacabana


Later on we ate at our restaurant and were pleasantly surprised to bump into a friend from the Machu Picchu trek - so we had a few drinks etc... with him.

We lit the fire - all good.

29th June
A day on the lake. A 2 hour boat ride early in the morning dropped us and about 50 others off on the island of the Sun (Isla De Sol). Somebody welcomed us all off the boat and tried to entice us onto a tour which we ignored, and then, after an egg and cheese sandwich from a cart nearby we set off on the walk that would take us from the north of the island to the south via some Incan ruins. The path almost immediately gained height so that the majority of the walk was over 4000 metres - it was tough going.

The views were great though - especially from the ruins - they certainly knew where to build their houses!
SCF0144.jpgLake Titicaca, Isla Del Sol

Lake Titicaca, Isla Del Sol

SCF0150.jpgSCF0151.jpgSCF0154.jpgIncan ruins. Lake Titicaca, Isla Del Sol

Incan ruins. Lake Titicaca, Isla Del Sol

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The lake glittered in the sun - if only it wasn't so cold...! The walk took us up over and across some fairly baron landscapes. Every so often a couple of local people would charge us some cash for passing their houses - all a bit odd really! Anyhow, the money was worth it - the snow capped mountains across the lake peaked through the clouds and below us the lake lapped gently at the shore.
Lake Titicaca, Isla Del Sol

Lake Titicaca, Isla Del Sol

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About 4 hours later we arrived at the south shore - only about a half hour before the return boat trip to Copacabana. We admired the sunset again on arrival and ate at possibly the best value and tastiest restaurant we´ve been to almost all trip - La Orilla. It was empty which nearly put us off, but a bottle of wine, a starter and a great main each (stuffed trout for Marsha and steak for me) all came to about 10 pounds. Wow.

We lit the fire - eventually.
A bit smokey this time. Had to open the door in the middle of the night to stop death etc....

30th June
Copacabana to La Paz by bus. Little more to be said. Internet stuff in the morning and the bus in the afternoon. Found a hotel called Cruz De Los Andes and an Indian restaurant called Star of India. It was v. good.

1st July
La Paz is the highest capital city in the world. It is set in a huge canyon, buildings sweeping down its sides. Some of the city is nearly 4000 metres high. The air is thin - however, we'd now had about 4 weeks worth of acclimatisation and were reasonably used to it.

We were up early and joined 16 others at the Downhill Madness cycle tour shop at about 6.30am. About an hour outside of La Paz there is a road that starts at 4700 metres and winds its way down to 1100 metres - nearly all downhill. This 64 km of road is an attraction in itself as every day loads of tourists free wheel down through the mountaneous scenery which then becomes subtropical as the elevation lessens.

Building a road through such uninviting terrain was obviously no easy task. New roads have been built in the last few years and it was up these that a van took us and our bikes. Nearly at our starting point, a police check took it upon themselves to only allow us to pass if we were carrying our passports - apparently the first time in 8 years - and no prior warning. So, we returned to La Paz, fetched the documents and were up at 4700 metres a little later than planned.

It was cold. Patches of snow surrounded us. Mountains loomed large above us. But, the sun was shining and we knew the quicker we got going then the warmer we'd soon get as we lost altitude. The bikes were very good and altogether the day was very well organised by the company. we set off...

The first hour or so was on tarmac and we tumbled down the hill at about 60km/h. The scenery was amazing as we passed - perhaps the only sobering moments were as we passed crosses on the sides of the road. then the road split in 2 - the new road, and, the other one.

This other road has 3 names that I know of: 'The old road', 'The most dangerous road in the world' and 'The death road'. The latter 2 names conveying a little more accurately the perilous nature of the road. And, of course, this was the one we took.

We asked Hector our guide about the names - was it really that dangerous. 'Oh yes', he replied with enthusiasm, and then, warming to his theme, he related to us all the incidents that he'd witnessed or heard about over the previous 8 years he'd been working. On average about 3 tourists ride off the edge of the road to their death every year - the last being a girl who, confused by the fog had cycled off the edge and plummeted 600 metres down a month previously. He'd seen broken legs, arms, jaws, fingers and ribs, smashed up faces, cuts, bruises scrapes etc... He'd also seen many vehicles topple over the edge. He himself had suffered broken ribs and fingers and several scrapes. Clearly, it was not called the most dangerous road in the world for nothing.

Indeed, one of our group, going too fast and losing control, overbalanced and crashed. fortunately for her she ended up in the middle of the 3 metre road rather than 600 metres below it.

It was a wonderful route though - even if a little terrifying at times. The jungle views and steep sided cliffs made for an unforgettable bike ride. We descended 3600 metres - much of which was on a road just over 3 metres wide and with huge sheer drops to our left.

We arrived at the bottom and - feeling warm for the first time for ages - took advantage of the swimming pool available - or at least I did. the drive back up afterwards was a little less hairy as we took the new road. However, it was just as stunning as once again we climbed up to the 4700 metre pass and back over into La Paz.

We ate at La Luna - a little kebab place.

2nd July
Having not been sure how to spend the last 2 or 3 weeks before work, the options were removed to some extent by a visit to the hospital. A swelling on my leg that I'd noticed a couple of days previously was diagnosed as a thrombosis this morning. The rest of the day was spent speaking with doctors and getting the appropriate medecines and organising transport down to Argentina where a friend assured us the medical care was a little more advanced. And so, Bolivia is cut short - we fly tomorrow night. All is ok but treatment needs to happen.

Posted by Patrick H. 17:03 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

Inti Raymi Inca Festival and Lake Titicaca, 22nd - 27th June

22nd June
The journey back from Machu Picchu via train and bus was long, eventually depositing us back into the Pirwa Hostel on Plaze De Armas in Cusco well after midnight. A healthy lie-in was well overdue the following morning - as was a large laundry load. We had decided to stick around the city of Cusco for a couple of days as the biggest Incan festival of the year was taking place over the 23rd and 24th in and around the main plaza.

Perhaps we just hit Cusco at party time but every day a new fiesta and new parades would proudly and loudly dance and march through the main square. This had been the case ever since our arrival 3 weeks earlier. It certainly made more a lively and entertaining atmosphere.

We spent the day in sandals and flip flops, easing our blistered feet back into being and resting our weary legs. We didn't venture further than the top end of the square to watch the parades and not past the kebab place where we had dinner. A lovely peaceful and relaxing day after the exertions of the previous 5. We caught up with internet stuff and downloaded photos etc...

23rd June
Today was much like the previous day except by the evening the party atmosphere had grown to new and exciting heights. The square and the streets thronged with locals and tourists alike. A parade marched through the square from first light to well, well after dark. Dancing, bands, balloons, vibrant costumes and colours, excitable chatter, cameras clicking and flashing, ice cream sellers and children tearing about filled the roads and plaza under the unrelenting sun.

We watched and watched and time flew by. By the evening we decided we needed to celebrate, belatedly, the end of the trek and found ourselves a nice little pizza place and ordered lots of South American red wine. All the time outside the parade marched loudly on.

We later joined in at the end - got caught up with a couple of Argentinians who threw some cognac nown our necks and professed on us the importance of the world cup and their eventual victory this year.... The last procession appeared to be an invite for anyone to take part and Marsha duly jumped in, linked hands with God know's who and skipped down the street to the thumping beat played out by the band.

24th June
Nursing headaches we had until the evening until the bus left for lake Titicaca to wait. Chairs were set out around the square - it was the main day of the festival. We managed to grab a couple of front seats and then sweltered in the sun for an hour waiting for the events to unfurl.

Eventually they did - a man ran out into the square and blew into a horn pipe. Hundreds of colourfully dressed warriors danced and marched out to the beat of a band and lined the whole square several deep. It was all very impressively put together, and this before the actors appeared - clearly the generals. They stood atop the makeshift rock in the centre of the square and announced various things, some of which were greeted by unanimous cheers from the warriors.

A queen and king were held aloft and marched around the square and suddenly it was all over. Apparently they then all headed off for the hills to continue the celebrations - but we left them to it. We had other things to do...

It was actually not a great day. The previous day my camera had been stolen - from by breast pocket of the jacket I ws wearing - amazing! Anyhow, we had a decent feed in Paddy's again and then left for Puno by Lake Titicaca on the overnight bus. Interestingly, on the bus several people around us had similar stories of robbery - 1 couple by knifepoint!

25th June
Puno Bus Station at 5am is a fairly bleak place - and very cold. The town lies on Lake Titicaca and is over 3800 metres high. Exhausted after a fairly sleepless night we allowed ourselves to be taken to a hostal nearby called something like Qorinchanta Hostal. It had no name and lokked a little dodgy but they had a bed and we slept the rest of the morning away.

After arranging a tour for the following 2 days we then joined a group of people on an afternoon outing to nearby Sullistani. This area of rough sun-beated land used to be the ancient ceremony site for the pre-Incans to bury their most important people. Huge cylindrical towers had been erected overlooking wonderful views of a nearby lake. Llama wandered aroud cheerfully, happily posing for photos. It was a very pleasant afternoon and as the evening sun set in we visited a farmhouse on the way back to Puno. Llama hung around outside and we were shown around the fairly basic lodging. It did have a wonderful outside kitchen area with fantastic views across the 4000 metre high scrubland surrounding the house.
Sillustani, Lake Titicaca

Sillustani, Lake Titicaca

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SCF0021.jpgSCF0026.jpgSCF0031.jpgSCF0034.jpgSCF0035.jpgLunch in peru.

Lunch in peru.

Llama farm. Sillustani, Lake Titicaca

Llama farm. Sillustani, Lake Titicaca

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We ate in a little Italian place on the main street and were early to bed hoping that the alarm call would come to wake us up that we had asked for in the morning.

26th/27th June
We were up in time.
We had booked on a tour of 3 islands in the Peruvian part of Lake Titicaca over the 2 days. After joining the hoards down at the dock and having been shelved into our particular boat we motored out to the Islands of Uros - the Floating Islands.

Years ago these people had fled enemies and occupied the lake, building islands out of reeds. The enemies have gone but the islanders and their islands remain. We visited 2. A very odd sensation - bouncing up and down on the spongy surface knowing that the island was floating and only secured in place by rope and a few rocks.

It was a very touristy event altogether - from the colourful women of the village chanting their greeting to us on arrival. We were then shown how the island was constructed and what the islanders did with their time - which as far as I could make out consisted of fishing and sewing and repleneshing the surface of the island with reeds. I'm all for the quiet life but this was all a little much for me.

After the talk we were allowed to wander around the island - bearing in mind that it was about the size of a tennis court! Marsha managed to put her foot through the island in trying to take a photo of a bird at one point and got it wet! It was all just a little bit too weird for me.
The Floating Islands, Lake Titicaca

The Floating Islands, Lake Titicaca

Welcome to the Floating Islands, Lake Titicaca

Welcome to the Floating Islands, Lake Titicaca

SCF0053.jpgSCF0061.jpgThe Floating Islands, Lake Titicaca

The Floating Islands, Lake Titicaca

SCF0065.jpgThe Floating Islands, Lake Titicaca

The Floating Islands, Lake Titicaca


Floating Islands, Lake Titicaca

Floating Islands, Lake Titicaca

We were rowed across to the next island on a reed boat whilst the ladies on shore sang us a song as we departed. As their voices became distant a couple of small girls who had found themselves a passage aboard took up the singing, eventually passing around a hat at the end. The 2nd island, if anything, seemed even more likely to collapse and sink at any moment and it was with a great deal of relief when we were finally shepherded off.
SCF0072.jpgLake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

A 3 hour druise took us to the island of Amantani. Here the tourists were split into groups and shared out amongst the islanders with whom we were to stay. Marsha and I found ourselves with Mario and Silvia - and older couple - whom were very hospitable. The room they showed us had solar power and was as clean as many others we's been in this year.

They cooked us a lunch which was basic and bland but not at all bead really. After this we met up again with others in the main square and walked the 2km and 200 metres up to the highest point of the island, upon which are some Incan ruins. It was also a perfect place to view the lake and the oncoming sunset.
Our homestay.

Our homestay.

Sunset, Lake Titicaca

Sunset, Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca is over 3800 metres high and surrounded by hills. The Bolivian Andes could be seen in the distance, the snowy peaks glistening in the setting sun. The lake looked oh so good - we were very tempted to jump in - except it was glacial in temperature. It was a beautiful place to watch the sun go down and as many times before, we felt we could stay much longer. Then it got cold...

As soon as the sun disappeared the chill set in. On the way back we noticed the full moon rising across the other side of the lake - yellowish in colour - stunning. After many photos and one loss of way we eventually made it back last to the square and were taken off by Mario for dinner.

But, the entertainment was only just beginning. There was a dance organised! It was freezing outside and so we were dressed up warm. But, apparently not warm enough! Silvia insisted I wear a colouful poncho over the top - well, ok I suppose. Then Marsha was made to wear some sort of traditional costume that resulted in her looking about the size of a house! Fortunately at the dance we discovered that every other tourist had been subject to the same dressing up scenario.
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The music began and we were dragged onto the stage whereupon some sort of arm swinging back and forth ungainly sort of dance took place. Occasionally distinct learned moves were forced upon us - twirling in a complete circle or running under everyone else's arched arms. Ponchos and big dresses constantly got in the way, snagging elbows and heads - still it was all good fun. Later on a bonfire outside was lit and the dancing continued in a big circle out there. At 3800 metres it was all quite exhausting and we were quite pleased when eventually and end was called and we slipped back home to our surprisingly warm bed.
A wild night of dancing on Isla Anamanti

A wild night of dancing on Isla Anamanti

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In the morning over a pancake breakfast we presented Mario and Silvia with a few gifts (pens, pasta, hot chocolate, chocolate and condensed milk). We were immediately elevated to the status of near royalty and received countless hugs and kisses. Various photos in the garden ensued alomg with the swapping of addresses etc... Glad we had done the right thing, we boarded the boat a little later with happy hosts behind us.
View from the house

View from the house

Our hosts on Isla Anamanti

Our hosts on Isla Anamanti

The last island was Taquile. Only an hour away - during which we listened on the radio to England's inept performance in the World cup against Germany. On the island we walked for an hour or so along the steep edged coastline. It was beautiful - the sun glistening on the lake again - mountains in the distance and llamas and cattle and colourfully clad local islanders wandered about. It was hard to take a bad photo!

The walk ended at the town plaza on Taquile where we had a trout lunch - straight from the highest navigable lake in the world. As the sun beat down from the blue sky above it was easy to see why the islanders had chosen to live on the island here.
SCF0110.jpgSCF0112.jpgLake Titicaca, Isla Taquile

Lake Titicaca, Isla Taquile

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550 steps lead down to the boat through rickety old archways. And then the 3 hour journey back through the floating islands to Puno. We arrived back late afternoon and enjoyed a drink in Incacafe and then food in Adventures Del Lago afterwards.

It had been a good few days on the lake.
It had also been a good month in Peru - the Amazon, Machu picchu and the Lake Titicaca being the highlights - but having also enjoyed time in the surrounding areas of Cusco and of course the festival town of Cusco itself. But, onwards and upwards (literally), Bolivia was next...

Posted by Patrick H. 11:10 Archived in Peru Comments (1)

Salkantay trail to Machu Picchu

After a couple of days acclimatisation in Cusco at over 3300 metres we were ready for our trek to Machu Picchu. A bus strike meant that the tour company had to hastily rearrange our departure and we eventually left Cusco late on the 16th, travelling a couple of hours in a cramped vehicle to Mollepata. Arriving after midnight we were crammed into an empty restaurant and 15 of us bedded down for the night on the floor. The snoring started minutes later and shortly afterwards a disorientated cockeral began crowing. A poor night´s sleep was the result. It was actually a relief when we were roused at about 6am for the beginning of the trek.

There are several ways of getting to Machu Picchu - a combination of train and bus, by car or by walking. Everyday 200 people set out on the route march upon the classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu. We opted for the alternative Salkantay trek. Also an Inca trail, it is longer, higher, harder, more dramatic, less used and in our view, better. It was also a third of the price. There were still about 40 people setting out with us of which 13 others were in the same group as us.

We carried our own backpacks but our tents, sleeping bags and mats and 3kg each of clean clothes were carried by horses for the first 3 days. These horses also carried food and were ably accompanied by a horseman and his son. Each day they would set off ahead of us so that lunch could be prepared for our arrival and tents set up when we reached our final destination for the day.

Our 2 guides, the horsemen and the horses were also joined by our chef who cooked every morning, noon and night. The tour company certainly made sure we were very well looked after. Of course, they couldn´t walk for us though...

And so we set off.
Our first few steps. Day 1. Walking to Machu Picchu.

Our first few steps. Day 1. Walking to Machu Picchu.


15 of us along with Carlos and Eduardo our guides. Mollepata is 2900 metres high. The air was thin and the path steep. Marsha bought herself a walking pole, I slapped on sunscreen and mosquito repellent and we tried to stay up with the pace - we were about 10 years older than most of the others...

Day 1. The path was a dirt track. We were beginning to wonder as to the wisdom of our decision to walk the Salkantay route when, after a couple of hours, we turned a corner and the huge Umantay Mountain proudly stood before us. From that moment on all we did was exchange superlatives in trying to describe the scenery en-route for the next 5 days.
Day 1. Walking to Machu Picchu.

Day 1. Walking to Machu Picchu.

P6186665.jpgUmantay Mountain. Day 1. Walking to Machu Picchu.

Umantay Mountain. Day 1. Walking to Machu Picchu.

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Lunch, day 1. Walking to Machu Picchu.

Lunch, day 1. Walking to Machu Picchu.

P6186671.jpgA break. Day 1. Walking to Machu Picchu.

A break. Day 1. Walking to Machu Picchu.

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The day wore on as we walked higher. 3 others became detached at the back. It grew late and we watched as the sun set behind the higher Salkantay Mountain that had appeared. At last, just before we had to use flashlights, we arrived at camp. An amazing setting, under the shadow of 2 huge snowy mountains. We were 3700 metres high and it was cold.
Salkantay Mountain. Day 1. Walking to Machu Picchu.

Salkantay Mountain. Day 1. Walking to Machu Picchu.

P6186682.jpgP6186686.jpgCampsite day 1. Walking to Machu Picchu.

Campsite day 1. Walking to Machu Picchu.

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After substituting damp, sweaty, smelly clothes for clean ones and having some soup and pasta we were treated to some sort of cognac drink to help us sleep. It didn´t help. In fact, all it did was to make me go to the loo in the middle of the night which, believe me, was a pretty unpleasant experience in the middle of the nowhere, dark, below freezing etc etc...

Day 2. At 5am we were awoken. Perhaps I should say that at 5am we were roused - for there was very little sleep had by many people. We had been briefed the night before and were told to expect the hardest day of walking today.

And they were right. The track steeply rose up the sides of the Salkantay Mountain before skirting left. Up and up we walked through the thinning air. 2 of our group had opted to take horses and they smiled and laughed as they passed whilst we laid down exhausted by a lake during a break. Up above on the mounain we spotted an avalanche. The scenery, when we felt able to appreciate it, was stunning.
Starting out on the climb. Day 2. Walking to Machu Picchu.

Starting out on the climb. Day 2. Walking to Machu Picchu.

P6196696.jpgOn the climb. Day 2. Walking to Machu Picchu.

On the climb. Day 2. Walking to Machu Picchu.

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A few of us suffered from altitude sickness - nausea and headaches combined to create a very unpleasant feeling. Marsha and I were ok, partly thanks to the chewing of coca leaves which help to alleviate the symptoms.

One by one we arrived at the highest point of the trek. Depending upon who you ask, what you read and whom you believe, the altitude at the top was somewhere between 4600 and 4800 metres. The path had been steep and we all approached the top wheezing for air.

But it was worth it! The views of the Andes mountains surrounding us and the deep valleys in between were breathtaking. We were up with the snowline.
Marsha arrives at the top - 4700 metres. Day 2. Walking to Machu Picchu.

Marsha arrives at the top - 4700 metres. Day 2. Walking to Machu Picchu.

The tour group at the top. 4700 metres. Day 2. Walking to Machu Picchu.

The tour group at the top. 4700 metres. Day 2. Walking to Machu Picchu.

P6196721.jpgAt the top. 4700 metres. Day 2. Walking to Machu Picchu.

At the top. 4700 metres. Day 2. Walking to Machu Picchu.

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Our guide Carlos insisted on everyone having more cognac to celebrate reaching the top.
Marsha accepts sustinance. At the top. 4700 metres. Day 2. Walking to Machu Picchu.

Marsha accepts sustinance. At the top. 4700 metres. Day 2. Walking to Machu Picchu.


Several photo sessions later and we started to descend - and that's where it became really difficult. By close of day we had walked from about 4700 metres to 2700 metres and the campsite at Chaullay. Our knees were feeling the constant jarring.
Day 2. Walking to Machu Picchu.

Day 2. Walking to Machu Picchu.

P6196729.jpgP6196731.jpgSalkantay Mountain. Day 2. Walking to Machu Picchu.

Salkantay Mountain. Day 2. Walking to Machu Picchu.

P6196734.jpgP6196736.jpgP6196737.jpgLunchtime. Day 2. Walking to Machu Picchu.

Lunchtime. Day 2. Walking to Machu Picchu.

Break. Day 2. Walking to Machu Picchu.

Break. Day 2. Walking to Machu Picchu.

Exhausted, we clambered into camp a little after the leaders in the group. Again the setting was wonderful. And, to our surprise, there was a hose with fresh water. It was sooo cold - but worth it. Clean, or cleanish, we suggled into our sleeping bags and enjoyed a reasonable night's sleep.
Made it! Day 2 campsite. Walking to Machu Picchu.

Made it! Day 2 campsite. Walking to Machu Picchu.

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Day 3. The next morning Carlos proposed that we should not walk on the 4th day and instead take a truck that could take us to the 4th night's campsite. This had to be organised now. A vote was taken. 8 - 7 in favour of walking thankfully. This meant that today was to be the easiest day - about 6 or 7 hours mostly downhill.
Campsite, morning of Day 3.

Campsite, morning of Day 3.

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After the wonderful scenery of the previous 2 days we were not expecting to be as in awe - especially as we were trekking at a much lower altitude. Less dramatic maybe, but equally as beautiful The route took us through a cloud forest and followed a river as it gushed through the tree-lined valley.
Day 3. Walking to Machu Picchu

Day 3. Walking to Machu Picchu

P6206758.jpgP6206760.jpgP6206762.jpgP6206763.jpgHorses on the walk. Day 3. Walking to Machu Picchu

Horses on the walk. Day 3. Walking to Machu Picchu

P6206766.jpgP6206767.jpgP6206771.jpgMarsha tells a story on a break during day 3. Walking to Machu Picchu

Marsha tells a story on a break during day 3. Walking to Machu Picchu

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Our knees were creaking again and we were both pleased as we reached our campsite by the river in the town of Playa at 2100 metres and had the afternoon to ourselves.

Very smelly once again, several of us took the opportunity presented by the river. The trouble was that the river flowed straight from a nearby glacier. Numbingly cold but also cleansing. Photos were taken for which it was very difficult to keep some sort of smile together.
A shower at last! In the glacial waters at camp 3. Walking to Machu Picchu

A shower at last! In the glacial waters at camp 3. Walking to Machu Picchu

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After a couple of beers and some decent food we slipped into our welcoming sleeping bags which we were beginning to become accustomed to. We had bid farewell to the horseman and his son and our chef was also leaving in the morning.

Day 4. 9 of us continued with the walk whilst 6 took the truck that was on offer. It was probably the most beautiful day's walking - if not the hardest. For the first 3 hours we just went up and up and up eventually reaching the summit of over 3100 metres. Much of the trek was an old Inca route and it was possible to see the ancient Incan steps beneath our feet.
Starting out on Day 4. Walking to Machu Picchu

Starting out on Day 4. Walking to Machu Picchu

Day 4, walking to Machu Picchu

Day 4, walking to Machu Picchu

Up and up...Day 4, walking to Machu Picchu

Up and up...Day 4, walking to Machu Picchu

P6216794.jpg3100 metres. At the top of the climb. Day 4, walking to Machu Picchu

3100 metres. At the top of the climb. Day 4, walking to Machu Picchu


After stopping for a break we walked a little more downhill before arriving at a lookout point. This was possibly the most beautiful view I have ever seen.

Behind us was an Inacn ruin - Carlos seemed to think it was an old soldiers barracks. But, otherwise, for 270 degrees around us were the Andes. In the foreground the Andean foothills covered in cloud forest, behind were higher and more stark looking hills and beyond them snowy peaks rose majestically into the sky. But, down in the distance, we sighted Machu Picchu for the first time. We all just sat and stared, exhausted and exhilerated. My binoculars were passed around to the sound of ooohs and aaaahs.

Carlos sat us around him and he passed on some information about the Incas and Machu Picchu. We sort of listened - but really we were just happily lying in the sun enjoying the view.
Machu Picchu from a long way away. Day 4, walking to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu from a long way away. Day 4, walking to Machu Picchu

P6216798.jpgP6216802.jpgP6216803.jpgP6216805.jpgP6216806.jpgUs at the first sight of Machu Picchu. Day 4.

Us at the first sight of Machu Picchu. Day 4.

Day 4, walking to Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu in the distance.

Day 4, walking to Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu in the distance.

After some time, reluctantly, we left the site and descended to the river over 1000 metres below. As we walked a huge waterfall appeared in the distance which we were eventually to walk past - the trek just seemed to get better and better!

This was the hardest part of the whole walk though. Going down is definitely harder than going up! On the way one of my boots decided to pack it all in and came apart sending me tumbling - fortunately not in a place that would have sent me plummeting several hundred of feet as it could easily have done! Fortunately I had a pair of trainers with me. They seemed a little put out at being made to take part in the walk and immediately provided me with several fresh blisters to contend with.

At last at the river, over a bridge, past the fantastic waterfall and on to lunch at Hydoelectrica.
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The 9 of us sat and ate lunch in stunned silence - was it exhaustion, exhileration or a combination of the 2? We were now at under 2000 metres and ahead of us in the afternoon was a 9km walk to the town of Aguas Calientes that is nestled in the valley below Machu Picchu. Along this walk we had to carry everything as the horses had left and the people that had taken the truck had deposited the bags we had given them earlier in the day at the cafe. Heaving them onto our backs we slowly trudged the 9km.

The path followed the train line and it was a little disquieting to walk past the train standing on the platform that could quite easily take us to our destination. But we walked on - river on one side, railway line on the other and towering hills and cliffs above us. As we walked we again spotted Machu Picchu - this time high above us. It was a long, long afternoon in the baking sun. But, with blistered feet, aching limbs, mosquito bitten arms and a dust covered body the 9 of us dragged ourselves into town.

In Aguas Calientes we stayed in a hostal - ahhh, a bed! The town's name literally means hot water and this is due to the hot springs, which, we duly visited in the evening after checking in. They were fairly filthy, not that warm and full of excitable children - but magic for our aching limbs...

Tickets for Machu Picchu had to be organised after dinner and it was not before 11pm that we eventually climbed into bed. Not that late maybe, but alarms were set for before 3.30am. Only 400 tickets per day are provided for Huatnapicchu on a first come first serve basis. This is the hill that you see in all the pictures of Machu Picchu which we were hoping to climb. The tickets are dished out at 5.30am and we had been advised to be there no later than 5am to be assured of getting them. And, of course, there was a small matter of 500 metres to climb first which would take about an hour and a half.

Day 5. 3.30am, 15 people ready and waiting in the foyet. 3.45am, nervous phone calls are made. Where was Carlos - he had our tickets. 4am, and we decided to walk without him and hoped he'd wake up and catch us up (we didn't know where he was staying). As we walked down the street he appeared. Apologising profusely he handed out our tickets as hoards of tourists walked past us on the way to Machu Picchu. We had to be in the first 400...

There followed a frantic dash up the hill. The 500 metre climb took under an hour. Ridiculous. I counted. I was about 30th there. On the way we'd overtaken about 150 people. Anyhow, we had our Huaynapicchu tickets and were set to climb at 10 in the morning.

We waited for the gates to open. The queue behind us grew but nobody was tempted to queue barge. It was a very peaceful few moments, waiting to enter one of the new modern wonders of the world. It grew gradually light and the mountains and hills in the distance took shape in the hush of the morning. The trek was almost at an end. We had walked over 80km to get there. Our knees especially were aching. We had trekked as high as 4700 metres, washed in glacial rivers, been bitten repeatedly by mosquitos and had several sleep deprived nights. But, it felt fantastic. Especially when the gates eventually opened...

It really is as good as everyone says it is.
Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

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Machu Picchu is about 2500 metres high in the middle of nowhere. 360 degree views of the Andes surround this ancient city. We wandered in - dazed by everything.

Carlos was speaking - I think. Old stone buildings, mountain views - a frenzy of photo taking - huge grins, shaking of heads, vacant stares - an emotional sense of history and achievement... Carlos was talking, definitely. Apparently it was the 21st of June - the winter solstace - the most important day of the Incan calendar. We were lead to the sun palace to watch the sun rise. It was all just too much to take in...

Of course, we soon regained our senses and began to take in our surroundings a little more. The buildings were in very good condition. There were immaculate terraces upon which llamas wandered. It was easy to imagine life all that time ago. What amazing views they had.

Unfortunately the place was littered with sun worshippers. They stood, very publically, and lifted their arms to the sun as it approached the top of the distant mountains. Some fella blew tunelessly into a wooden instrument behind them - he sounded like a 6 year old child learning the recorder. Still, I suppose they were happy in their fascination. As I stood and waited for the sun, another lady started banging a bowl and telling everyone to be quiet!! She was making more noise than anyone! Then, as the sun rose she burst into tears - all very odd. To complete the oddities, one man commented to me about his close spiritual connection with the cosmos at this moment. Whatever....
Sun Worshippers at Machu Picchu, Peru

Sun Worshippers at Machu Picchu, Peru

It was fantastic walking about and enjoying the site. At 10am we climbed the 300 metre high Huaynapicchu and enjoyed looking down on Machu Picchu and the surrounding mountains. It had been worth getting up that early!
Marsha and Machu Picchu from Waynu Picchu

Marsha and Machu Picchu from Waynu Picchu

Machu Picchu from Waynu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu from Waynu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu behind Marsha showng off..., Peru

Machu Picchu behind Marsha showng off..., Peru

P6226890.jpgP6226891.jpgP6226897.jpgP6226898.jpgP6226902.jpgWaynu Picchu

Waynu Picchu

P6226911.jpgMachu Picchu from Waynu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu from Waynu Picchu, Peru

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The trouble was though, we were both so tired from the lack of sleep and the exertion of the 5 days. We descended back down to Machu Picchu and sat on the grass and just looked - lacking energy to wander anymore.
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A video to show the full extent of the beauty of the surrounding area of Machu Picchu:

Later in the afternoon we eventually left and with aching knees walked down the 500 metres to Aguas Calientes - the trek was truly at an end.

Posted by Patrick H. 13:33 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

A week in the Amazon

The Amazon Tropical Rainforest is huge. Of course, we already knew that. But it is unimaginably huge on an inconceivable scale. We spent a week in Manu National Park, a protected part of the Amazon jungle that extends into Peru. The park is over 1.5 million hectares in size and consists of 3 parts - a cultural zone, a zone in which there are just 6 small campsites owned by tour companies operating out of Cusco and a massive wilderness in which 2 or 3 tribes continue to live as they have done for thousands of years into which only these people and select scientists can venture. It is so big that within the park´s boundaries there exists a tribe of people that have had no contact with the outside world whatsoever. Numerous attempts to make contact have been fiercely resisted. The last sighting was 2 years ago when a helicopter happenned to pass overhead and was fired upon by bow and arrow. And Manu National Park is only the tiniest tiniest fraction of the whole of the Amazon rainforest. Immense.

If one day you pop out for something, wander off, get lost and think you may have stumbled into the Amazon Rainforest, then here are some pointers to help clarify whether you have or not:
1) There will be trees everywhere. You will be surrounded above and around, so thick that you will hardly be able to see the sky nor more than a couple of metres in front.
2) From dusk til dawn there will be a constant din: belching frogs, chattering insects, squawking birds and roaring monkeys
3) There will be thousands upon thousand of mosquitoes all seemingly able to outpace repellent manufacturors in their ability to evolve and adapt.
4) Albeit hard to spot at times, there will be hundreds of different species of bird of all shapes, sizes, design and chaotically and brightly coloured.
5) Some knowledgable local fellow might approach and go into lenghty detail about the absurdly dangerous snakes, spiders and insects that are everywhere.
6) Above all though, it will be a beautiful, natural place, most of which has been untouched - ever.

Marsha and I and 3 other tourists were joined by Carlos our guide, Pablo the chef and various boat and bus transfer people for the week. The first day we drove from Cusco to the Amazon. The road passed through the foothills of the Andes reaching an elevation of 4200 metres at its greatest height. The snowy peaks were clearly visible in the distance which are of course the source of the many tributaries that make up the Amazon River. P6086200.jpgWe stopped at an ancient cemetary. If the dead can see then this lot have some fantastic views... Ancient Burial Ground in the Andes.

Ancient Burial Ground in the Andes.

Ancient burial ground in the Andes.

Ancient burial ground in the Andes.

On entering the park the road descended through the cloud forest and then lead deep into the Amazon Rainforest. We stopped often, binoculars on hand and cameras at the ready as we passed a colourful assortment of birds. Entering the jungle.

Entering the jungle.

P6086215.jpgThe cloud Forest approach to the Amazon.

The cloud Forest approach to the Amazon.

Brown Capuchin Monkey. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Brown Capuchin Monkey. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Macaw. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Macaw. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

P6096266.jpgP6096267.jpgView of the Amazon.

View of the Amazon.

The cloud forest was living up to its reputation and was too cloudy to afford us the views we wanted. But, they cleared at times and the endless jungle stretched off into the distance. Even so it was hard to imagine that this jungle stretched for over 3000 miles in different directions all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

Our first night's accomodation boasted hot water and electricity - but had neither. From then on we were happy with a bed, a roof and a much needed mosquito net. Each morning, noon and evening Pablo would make us our food - often under candlelight and in limited conditions. But, the food was great - suffice to say we all put on weight!

The next day and for the following 6 days we travelled by boat and by foot. The Rio Madre De Dios (Mother of Gods River) was a tributary of a tributary of a tributary of the Amazon River and yet it was still wider than most rivers I´ve ever seen. We coasted along spotting a variety of birdlife along the way - herons, storks, kingfishers, parrots, egrets, flycatchers, cormorants and many many more. It was so pleasant and a complete surprise when we realised that the sun was beginning to set. As we approached our mooring a Jaguar was spotted. In stark contrast to the Galapagos Islands where animals stayed put and were completely unbothered by humans, in the Amazon the animals were easily startled and quickly scattered. The jaguar hopped to his feet once he´d realised he´d been spotted and slunk off into the undergrowth. Awesome to see a wild cat in its natural habitat.

Excitedly chatting about the jaguar as we moored and climbed out of the boat, Carlos then eyed some rodents on the far shore. Back in the boat and over to the far shore then. A family of rodents? So what? Well, these were over a metre in length! They hung around for while before slipping into the brown waters of the river and swimming off into the sunset.Giant rodents. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Giant rodents. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

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At our lodge we encountered further animals. A frog appeared in our basin. P6096309.jpgTarantulas were spotted in the trees and in the thatched rooves of our huts. Tarantula in the roof of our hut. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Tarantula in the roof of our hut. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

P6096304.jpgHmmm... But the evening was peaceful otherwise and we felt brave enough to head back out to the river to look at the stars after dinner only to be disturbed by something moving in the tree above us. We quickly scampered away in search of our guide Carlos who eventually identified a night hawk in the branches.

Very early the following morning after a 2 hour boat ride we arrived at the Macaw Lick. Deep in the jungle there is a spot where a small gulley runs alongside a clay bank. Every morning parrots and macaws collect to cleanse their beaks on the clay. A viewing platform has been erected and we, along with some noisy French and American tourists spent the morning watching the birds. I never knew ornathology could be so much fun. Sitting with a coffee with hundreds of parrots fluttering about in the trees before us was a wonderful way to spend a Wednesday morning.

Green parrots swarmed from tree to tree never settling long before moving to the next one and always chattering and squawking loudly to one another about what fun they were having - or so it seemed to us. In amongst the parrots kingfishers, hawks and vultures occasionally appeared. It was wonderful.

Then, after a couple of hours both the parrots and the noisy French/American tourists left. And that's when the brightly coloured macaws arrived. They are exactly what you'd imagine a jungle bird to look like. Scarlet, blue and green with flashing feathers, a loud squawk and a parrot shaped beak. There more than 30 of them edging closer and closer to the clay before finally venturing down and settling upon it. That was it for Marsha. She decided there and then that she was from that moment onwards officially an ornathologist...Parrots. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Parrots. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Macaws in Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Macaws in Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

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The next few days were spent at a campsite deep in the jungle. Only 6 campsites exist in this zone and we were the only ones at ours. The days were spent hiking trails looking for animals and venturing onto the nearby oxbow lakes. We saw white Caimans and larger Black Caimans. The white ones sunbathed on the banks of the river whilst the black ones ominously eyed us from the edges of the lakes. White Caiman. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

White Caiman. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Black Caiman. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Black Caiman. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

P6126487.jpgThese aligators we were surprised to learn had a predator...

The Giant Otter. These otters were huge - as big as seals. We had spotted one on the banks of the river previously and then we came across a group of 5 in one of the lakes. They came towards us. 'Ahhhh...' we went. They snorted loudly and aggressiely. It was then we leart about their abilities in attacking alligators. Ok, so not so sweet.... But tremendous to watch them. The half hour or so spent watching these magnificent creatures was probably the highlight of the trip.Giant Otters. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Giant Otters. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

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Late one evening after another good meal we discussed as to what had been the least comfortable aspect of the trip thus far...
For one it was the endless mosquitoes, the best part of the day being the safe haven of the mosquito net at night. For another it was the night walks. We ventured into the jungle at night looking for vicious animals! We found snakes, frogs, spiders and caimans. On finding the caimans our guide Carlos purposefully stomped off into the water towards it. We tentatively followed and were relieved when the large reptile eventually slipped away disinterested.
Someone chose the spiders. Not the tarantulas but the tiny ant sized spiders which if caught on your skin will lay eggs underneath which could eventually lead to you having thousands of spiders living inside you....
For me it was the time spent in the relative calm of the ranger station at the entrance to Manu Park. Carlos, in a very grave voice, started to warn us of the dangers of the snakes of the jungle. The next 5 minutes contained phrases like: 'minutes to live', look under your bed' and 'highly toxic'. The ferociously venemous Fer De Lance snake for example - which we did come across at one point - and several others. But he saved the best for last - the Bush Master. This snake, highly poisinous, will attack on sight and repeatedly bite its victim....

But we never saw it. In fact the most dangerous moment was possibly when a jaguar came prowling round our camp once we were all in bed.. We never saw it - and once we´d heard this, nightly loo visits became a thing of the past.

One evening we spent a couple of hours around sunset on top of a platform overlooking the oxbow lake. Marsha got bitten by a bullet ant - apparently it only takes about 10 bites to kill someone and so she was reasonably careful as to where she put her hands after that. As the sun set a huge 4 metre Black Caiman set off across the water below. Later the stars came out and were reflected beautifully on the still lake below. All the time a cacophony of belching and squawking filled the air.Marsha_s_Jungle_322.jpgMarsha_s_Jungle_323.jpgMarsha_s_Jungle_335.jpgMarsha_s_Jungle_336.jpgMarsha_s_Jungle_337.jpgMarsha_s_Jungle_338.jpgP6096303.jpgP6126534.jpg

Throughout the days Carlos proved himself a master at identifying animals, birds and trees. He named everyone one and backed up his claim with a picture in a book he carried. Not only by sight, but sound, smell and footprint, animals were named. We came across many different species of monkey. Each time we became absorbed by their tree-top antics.Brown Capuchin Monkey in Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Brown Capuchin Monkey in Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Coming back the boat had a few problems with the lack of depth in the river and going upstream. More than once our boatman had to navigate over ridiculously shallow water and weave in and out of the debris of upturned trees in the water. A couple of mornings there was blanket fog making the journey almost impossible until it cleared. As we journied back up stream we stopped at a hot water springs that naturally occurred in a stream off the main river. Soaking up the warmth for an hour was lovely. Meanwhile, back in the boat the driver took the opportunity to neck a whole bottle of rum and was blind drunk by the time we returned!! One new driver later, and we carried on upstream, back to the bus, up the cloudforest, out of Manu National Park, over the 4200 metre pass and back to Cusco.

Endless birds, spiders, snakes, huge ants, caimans, Giant otters, a jaguar, metre length rodents, amazing vistas all amounted to a wonderful week in the jungle. Terrifying at times but spotting a jaguar or watching as countless macaws gather together or admiring giant otters and caimans from the safety of the boat made it a highly recommended trip.

Some more photos:
Cock of the Rock. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Cock of the Rock. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Marsha_s_Jungle_024.jpgHawk. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Hawk. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Feeding a wild piglet. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Feeding a wild piglet. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Natural paint. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Natural paint. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Marsha_s_Jungle_062.jpgMarsha_s_Jungle_070.jpgGiant rodents in Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Giant rodents in Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Marsha_s_Jungle_105.jpgMarsha_s_Jungle_143.jpgMarsha_s_Jungle_187.jpgMarsha_s_Jungle_236.jpgHeron. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Heron. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

The tour group in Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

The tour group in Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Kingfisher. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Kingfisher. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Our oxbow lake rowers. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Our oxbow lake rowers. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Marsha_s_Jungle_306.jpgMarsha_s_Jungle_342.jpgMarsha_s_Jungle_343.jpgCrusing through the fog. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Crusing through the fog. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Marsha_s_Jungle_348.jpgPatrick with Machete. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Patrick with Machete. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Marsha_s_Jungle_365.jpgJungle child. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Jungle child. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Patrick in the hot springs. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Patrick in the hot springs. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Marsha_s_Jungle_399.jpgGreat Egret. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Great Egret. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Humming Bird in action. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Humming Bird in action. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Marsha_s_Jungle_420.jpgPablo, our chef, dressing up. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Pablo, our chef, dressing up. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

P6096277.jpgOur boat. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Our boat. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

P6096296.jpgP6106391.jpgP6106392.jpgStorks. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Storks. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

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Jaguar footprints!P6116430.jpg
Black Skimmers. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Black Skimmers. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

P6116441.jpgP6116464.jpgKingfisher. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Kingfisher. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Huge Bullet Ant. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Huge Bullet Ant. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Heron in flight. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Heron in flight. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

P6126475.jpgP6126498.jpgPrehistoric Bird. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Prehistoric Bird. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

P6126517.jpgP6126523.jpgP6126522.jpgSpiders web. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Spiders web. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Tree Frog. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Tree Frog. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

P6126544.jpgUs at the oxbow lake. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Us at the oxbow lake. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

The tour group. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

The tour group. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

P6136571.jpgInternational airport. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

International airport. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

In the jungle. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

In the jungle. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Spider´s lunch. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

Spider´s lunch. Manu National Park, The Amazon Rainforest.

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Posted by Patrick H. 14:26 Archived in Peru Comments (1)

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