Category: Destinations

Gold Museum

The Gold museum isn’t just a room with gold bullions labelled with dates; that’s how I imagined it. We visited on a Sunday, which had the added bonus of free entry. They also let you take photos, the only museum we’ve been to in South America where we could. The only downside was, being free…

A short detour to Bogotá

Our “plan” for this whole trip was to visit Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. When it came time to leave La Paz for Quito we decided to splurge and fly… The bus would have taken about 58 hours. Even though we were splurging, we still wanted the most economical flights possible. Turns out the cheapest flights…

Valle de la Luna

Just south of La Paz is Valle de la Luna, another alien landscape caused by erosion and time. We had an afternoon to kill waiting for a flight to take us out of Bolivia. So we visited a tour agency and said “we would like to go to Valle de la Luna please”. Forty minutes…

La Paz grows on you

Okay, so we’re kinda cheating by writing only one post about La Paz, since we were actually in the city about six times. We found that it’s a good (and neccesary) base for transport in all directions for the rest of our adventures in Bolivia, since we had no time/ interest in visiting the Eastern…

Stuck in Rurrenabaque

The remote town of Rurrenabaque, gateway to the Bolivian jungle, is notoriously difficult to get to. You can catch the bus. It weaves down from the altiplano and through the yungas region. Depending on the weather, the trip can take anywhere between 14 hours and 3 days, as rain turns the road to thick mud.…

The Amazon in Madidi

A few hours upstream from Rurrenabaque, our jungle adventures began. We read reviews and recommendations, and compared prices, then somehow came to decide upon Madidi Jungle Ecolodge. Zero regrets. We emailed the company to say that our flight to Rurrenabaque had been delayed, they met us off the transfer bus from the airport in the…

Coroico

While everyone else who biked the Death Road caught a bus right back to La Paz, we decided to check out the area. Oh, how I wish we had more time to spare! Coroico is a fantastic town. The road from the animal refuge to Coroico is just like the Death Road, narrow with a…

Death Road

Bolivia’s most infamous road, on a bicycle. The Yungas Road, or Death Road, weaves its way from the altiplano near La Paz down into Bolivia’s Yungas region. In 67km or so you lose 3600m in altitude. Despite being the only route to the jungle for 70 years, the road is a dirt track, barely a…

Walking around Uyuni

There’s nothing to do in Uyuni. Uyuni is a strange town. Set in Southern Bolivia surrounded by some of the most extreme landscapes in the world. It’s remote, dry and dusty, and gives you the feeling you are on the edge of civilisation. Uyuni is also the mandatory stopover for visitors to the Salar and…

Salar II: The Deep South

We awoke for an early breakfast before returning to the 4WDs. Day two of the Salar tour leaves the salt flat and ventures further south towards the border. The already bizarre landscape turns completely alien as the salt gives way to mountainous volcanoes. We drove for about 30 minutes or so along a sloppy, saline…

Salar de Uyuni

A trip to the deep south of Bolivia and to some of the most extreme landscapes I’ve ever seen. We went on a three day tour from Uyuni with Red Planet Expeditions. If you’re really pressed for time there are also one day tours, but I wouldn’t recommend it. There’s just too much out there,…

Tiwanaku

All that remains of a culture that predates the Inca by a thousand years. Tiwanaku is the ruins of a great city, just 70 kilometres or so from La Paz, near the eastern banks of Lake Titicaca. It’s a good day trip to get out of town, so once again we found ourselves on a…

Copacabana for Easter

Copacabana, Bolivia, is a small seaside tourist town- except it’s on a lake. The horseshoe bay is a mix of sand and pebble with a flotilla of swan-shaped peddle boats awaiting passengers and dozens of boats moored in the bay. Most of the boats are 12 to 20 seater tourist transports, used for tours to…

Dia Del Mar

Bolivians can hold a grudge. Bolivia is a landlocked country, but this wasn’t always the case. They lost their strip of coastline to Chile after the Pacific War in 1883. That has never really sat right with Bolivia. Despite having tax free access to Chile’s ports, many Bolivians see the lack of sovereign access to…

Into Bolivia

Fun times at the border. We made it back from Uros and onto a bus bound for La Paz via Copacabana. The bus trip is best described as strange. After a couple of hours travelling we stopped at a cambio (money exchange lady) near the border to swap our Peruvian Soles for Bolivianos, then drove…

Floating Islands of Uros

Twenty minutes by boat from Puno is the community of floating islands of Uros. Fun fact: there are loads of buses that leave each day from Puno to La Paz. We lazily strolled into the terminal after breakfast and looked for a bus. Turns out, all the buses either leave at 7:30 in the morning…

Too long in Puno

What are you doing in Puno? Just passing through… Puno is a city on Peru’s side of the vast Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake at 3800m. Despite the prime location, for most visitors Puno is simply a bus stop for moving between Peru and Bolivia. Because of this, Puno has a pedestrian plaza…

Amazing Amantani Island

We leave Chifrón for Amantani island! After stocking up on supplies (advice from Footprint), we travelled back down the rocky dirt road to the boat dock at Chifrón. There just happened to be a wooden boat full of people, ready to go. The water was calm and the scenery spectacular. Begin off topic rant I…

The Capachica Peninsula

Capachica is a quiet, scenic peninsula to the Northeast of Puno with next to no international tourism… except us. The mini bus from Puno was easy to find, we hopped in a taxi and asked him to drop us at the bus ‘station’ for Capachica. We were taken to a random intersection near the water,…

A Trip to Sillustani

Enormous stone towers signify the dead. 30km Northwest from Puno are the ruins of Sillustani. There, you will find huge stone funery towers, in a dramatic setting on a hill overlooking Laguna Umayo. The general consensus on the internet is it isn’t worth the effort to try and make your own way there. This would…

The Inca Trail Day 3

Day 3: the lazy day. Different tour companies schedule differently and stay in different camp sites, but for us day 3 was the easy day. Only a half day hike, and almost all downhill. Over this side of the mountain, the landscape drastically changed. We were now in humid cloud forest, more or less tropical…

The Inca Trail Day 2

We are woken at 6am by Juan with a cup of coca tea. We pack our stuff and emerge for breakfast. Day 2 is the difficult day of the trek. From our camp we ascend to 4200m above sea level at Dead Woman’s Pass. Then, 600m down the other side, before ascending the second pass…

The Inca Trail Day 1

Inca Trail in the wet season: beautiful green scenery, fewer people, and just a bit of rain. First thing’s first, there is a train to Machu Picchu. It leaves from Ollantaytanbo and will have you there in just a few hours. Or, you can hike the famous Inca Trail. This four day hike takes you…

Cusco 3: totally ruined

Lots of ruins. Our new hotel is 3km from the centre. We made our way by local bus to a cafe full of Peruvians for breakfast. Renée found this blog, the anti lonely planet guide to Cusco, and we have been using Amanda’s advice for our activities. Basically, she rebukes Lonely Planet’s advice that the…

We arrive in Cusco

We arrived in the Inca capital with nowhere to stay. I was actually surprised by how little the altitude affected me in Colca Canyon. For whatever reason, Cusco seemed to hit me more. You know when you’re drunk and you run, or do any physical exertion, and you are left unusually out of breath? That’s…

Colca Canyon without a Guide

North of Arequipa, Colca is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. The Colca Valley is an incredible natural environment. Yes, I admit it. Hiking in Colca Canyon was my idea. Pretty much every tour company in Arequipa offer tours to Colca Canyon. You have the choice of day tours, where you barely get off…

Tourists in Arequipa

A beautiful colonial city; our first day in Arequipa was a bit of a disaster. We ended up staying an extra day in Haucachina because I got sick. We took the night bus from Ica, having decided to skip Nasca entirely. The bus meandered down the coast of Peru before turning inland for the 2400m…

Pisco Tasting in Ica

The Ica region is famous for its Pisco. Tour companies will take you around to bodegas (think cellar doors) to sample the goods. If you are going to take a group tour it is worth asking exactly where they will take you. Most will only make two stops. Instead of the group tour, we got…

A desert oasis

Haucachina: a lagoon surrounded by hotels, backpackers, tour companies and dune buggies, in the heart of the desert. First impressions of Huacachina were hard to make. In spite of our best intentions, we arrived in the town well after dark. We checked in, ate in the on-site restaurant, and went to our room. Our accommodation…

Las Islas Ballestas

After a failed start due to poor tides, our trip to the Ballestas Islands left the following morning. It’s quite a feat of coordination; our company had 8 passengers, another company had 6, another had just 2 that day. There we were, on the Paracas promenade being placed into boat sized groups, along with hundreds…

Paracas National Reserve

The Paracas Peninsula is home to the Paracas National Reserve, one of the most important national parks in Peru. It encompasses the dunes to the East of Paracas Village, but 65% of the park is marine reserve, protecting the incredible bird and marine life. You can book 4 hour bus tours from Paracas for around…

Three days in Paracas

We spent three days in a lovely costal town called Paracas, on the South Coast of Peru, 250 km below Lima. I commented to Michael that Paracas is how I imagined Chincha to be, though maybe a little more tourist driven. It’s relaxed, easy going. Musicians busk in the street, everyone walks at a slow…

The Road to El Carmen

La Casa Hacienda San Jose is actually about 20 minutes by car from Chincha, in the El Carmen district. Driving along, Chincha quickly subsides into a rural agricultural landscape. Here´s what we saw on the road to El Carmen.

Chincha Markets

Our quest for breakast takes us to the markets! So, I get the impression that not too many tourists stop in Chincha Alta. The place is too busy, and too raw, to make its mark on the typical itinerary. Chincha has a huge, laberinthine market off the main street, half way between the Plaza de…

First Night in Chincha Alta

Busy, hot and gritty, with mototaxis careening through narrow streets. Chincha is not what I was expecting. To be honest I didn’t have a concrete idea of what to expect, but it has been a surprise. The whole place looks like it’s midway through demolition, with concrete facades and street frontages with nothing behind them.…

Purochuco

Purochuco is the site of pre-Incan ruins in La Molina, in the eastern suburbs of Lima. The site is a combination of museum and active archeological investigation. The place is small, but interesting. We visited purochuco on 11/2/2016, and the place was really quiet. It will cost 5 soles to enter, or 20 if you…

Michael on Lima

A magical land where coffee and avocados grow in backyards and lime is 40c/kg! Seriously, the abundance of fresh fruit here is astonishing. And all delicious. We have been staying with the family Renée did 13 years ago. It’s hard to overstate the welcome and generosity we received from Nancy and Quico during our week in…