Perú ~ May 2006

Return to Central & South America

May 3, 2006 we left for Peru, spending the first week in the Cuzco area. The highlight was of course Machupicchu, but we also visited the Sacred Valley of the Inca’s and many other historical sites. The stone work of the Incas is incredible. All of the pictures you’ve seen in National Geographic don’t even begin show the real beauty. The Incas were sun worshipers, so of course every site is on the top of a mountain. With Cuzco at about 11,000 feet, that meant a lot of climbing and very little air. But, we struggled up each site and it was always worth the effort.

The day before seeing Machupicchu we climbed Putukusi, a mountain directly across the Urubamba River from Machupicchu. It was steep and long, with many of the vertical stretches climbed by wooden ladder. Many times Rebecca thought she couldn’t make it, but with David’s constant encouragement three hours later we made the summit and found ourselves on top and looking down on Machupicchu. What a site!! A reward definitely worth the effort. The next day on Machupicchu we kept looking across at Putukusi amazed that we had climbed it.

The Amazon, WOW!! It was incredible. We left the cool Inca highlands and headed north to Iquitos. Totally different than Cuzco, but just as exciting. Our ride from the airport was in a bus with no windows and an open windshield. It was exactly what you would imagine for jungle fantasy trip.

We spent 3 nights at the very ‘rustic’ Explorama Lodge, 80km (50 miles), down the Amazon River from Iquitos, Peru; close to where the Napo River comes in. The lodge had no electricity, windows, or running water. We took cold showers from river water and slept in Mosquito nets. The thatched roof buildings were all on stilts, connected by covered walkways, and lit by kerosene lamps at night. Every day we had at least two excursions either into the jungle or down the river. All meals were included, and the food was fabulous. The lodge pets included a baby tapir, a baby owl, 2 parrots, and multiple very noisy scarlet and blue and gold macaws. The uninvited pets included bats, saddle back monkeys, and a couple of pink toed tarantulas.

On our excursions we saw numerous bird species, sloths, fresh water dolphins, iguanas, and frogs including one poisonous variety. We also visited a couple of local villages. Talk about minimal life style. It really made you appreciate what we have. We loved Peru and will miss it.