Peru Journals

Peru - I'd rather feel the Earth beneath my feet

A June 2001 trip to Peru by Armand

Quote: The ever-changing circumstances of traveling in through the south of Peru.

Peru - I'd rather feel the Earth beneath my feet

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Overview

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The highlights of Peru aren't the Inca Ruins at Machu Pichu, or the lively, lovely and exciting town of Cuzco. Although it has good hotels and interantional cuisine. It isn't Lima, the buzzing capital with shopping malls, nor Nazca with the mysterious X-Files called the Nazca-lines. And the Islas Ballestas, you might wonder? These islands where penguins, seabirds and sea lions go on holiday? Nope, and it isn't even Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake at 3800 meters. Go to Peru to be amazed by its people, the indians living high in the Andes. They are colorful, hospitable and completely incomprehensible. Their language isn't Latin-American Spanish, though some know the words for...Read More

Mayan Palace Riviera Maya

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Hotel | "Sonesta Posada del Inca"

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The Sonesta hotel group has three hotels in Lima. The one we visited was in San Isidro, a residential area. The rooms are not typical, but well furnished. They are spacious with great double beds, minibar and cable-television set (also with American channels). If you want deluxe, try the Chimu-suite. It has its own kitchen. The location is not that good. It is about half an hour taxicab drive away from the old centre of Lima (Plaza de Armas) and about twenty minutes of walking distance to Miraflores, one of the shopping areas where you can also find the nearest MacDonald''s.... On the other side are banks (also with ATM) and supermarkets nearby, so you won''t starve. The hote...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on July 23, 2001

Mayan Palace Riviera Maya
Km 48 carretera Federal Cancún
Cancun, Mexico 77710
1 800 292 9446

Shell Vacations Club at the Legacy Golf Resort

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Hotel | "Sonesta Posade del Inca Yucay II"

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Great! This hotel, in the heart of the Sacred Valley of the Inca''s, has rooms in both an old monestary (one of which seems to be haunted...) and in the old hacienda across the road. In the latter we stayed, in room 306 where Simon Bolivar also has slept. The rooms are very good, spacious with good bathrooms and antique furniture (not the beds). The plus of this hotel is that it is just a 15 minute car drive away from Ollantaytambo, where you can catch the train to Machu Pichu. You can travel to Ollantaytambo by minivan from the hotel. The train takes about 1.5 hours to Machu Pichu. You can also take this train from Cuzco, in which case it will take around 4-5 hours till Machu Pichu. Y...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 23, 2001

Shell Vacations Club at the Legacy Golf Resort
6808 S. 32nd Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85042
(602) 305-5500

Hotel Storyville

Hotel | "Hostal Pukara"

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This cozy little hostel is a favorite of backpackers. The owners are very nice, the rooms a bit small, but clean and with their own bathrooms and hot water showers. It has also a very nice rooftop breakfast restaurant.

It is also just around the corner of the main shopping and eating street of Puno and its Plaza de Armas.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on July 23, 2001

Hotel Storyville
1261 Esplanade Avenue
New Orleans, Louisiana 70116
866/786-7984

Los Apus Hotel & Mirador

Hotel | "Los Apus"

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In an old colonial building, this fine hotel has nice rooms. They look a bit like rooms in a ski-resort, which is no wonder, since they boast a Swiss management... The breakfast here is great (French ''pain au chocolat'') and is included in the price. The rooms have good beds, television (with American channels) and good bathrooms. It is located very near to the main plaza (Plaza de Armas) of Cuzco, with its many restaurants. Try to get one of the rooms on the second or third floor, because the first floor tends to be rather noisy (you can hear the people in the room above you walking around on the wooden floors). On the first floor, there is also the boiler room, so the rooms are rath...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 23, 2001

Los Apus Hotel & Mirador
Atocsaycuchi 515
Cusco, Peru
51.84.264243

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La Casa de Melgar has hotel rooms inside an 18th century building. This means thick walls, curved ceilings, three patios and open hallways. The style also blends Spanish and indigenous. The rooms downstairs (around the patio, where you can eat you''re breakfast or plan the next part of your trip) are original, with highdomed ceilings. Further to the back are newer rooms, build in the old style. They are rather noisy, though.

The location is perfect. One block down is Santa Catalina, the famous must-see monestary. If you turn the second corner to the left, you''ll walk straight on to the Plaza de Armas, which in Arequipa is especially beautiful with lots of restaurants.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 23, 2001

Uros Floating Islands (Islas Flotantes)

Attraction | "The Uros Indians of the floating islands"

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In the times of the Incas, the Uros Indians fled. They build islands out of reed and pushed off on the lake. This way they maintained their own identity, while other tribes where Incanized. They also steered clear of the Spanish conquistadores. This means that still, the indians maintain their lives as fishermen, dress the way they did hundreds of years ago and floating around on the lakes. You can visit them from the city of Puno, it is about an hour boat trip. If two families get into a fight, this is easily resolved by cutting the island in half, and the fueding familes drift -literally- apart. This also means, however, that it isn't sure which island you will visit, once you get there. ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 23, 2001

Uros Floating Islands (Islas Flotantes)
Lake Titicaca
Puno, Peru

Nazca National Reserve

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Attraction

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The Nazcalines are world famous for their mysteriousness. On the plains there are straight lines (almost perfect) and figures named: a monkey, a condor, a dog, an astronaut and a spider. They can only be appreciated from the skies, which has led to many a theory. There is the popular belief that the site is a landing place for UFOs. Find out for yourself what you believe. First try flying over them. It costs about 50 dollars for a half an hour flight. Be forewarned: don't eat to much before the flight... If you have seen them, then go to the lecture in the planetarium of the Nazca Lines Hotel in Nazca. The lecture focuses on the theory of Maria Reiche, a German scientist who studied the lines fo...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 23, 2001

Machu Picchu Inca Archaeological Site

Attraction | "Machu Pichu"

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Machu Pichu is presented as the main attraction. This 'Lost City of the Inca's' was discovered by American archeologist Hiram Bingham in 1911, hidden for almost four centuries in the Peruvian jungle. His experience must've been a lot different from the one you'll have. Now there is a bus service from the train station at Agua Calientes up the mountain to the entrance of Machu Pichu. There you can get a guide. Also you can have lunch at the expensive Machu Pichu Resort. If want to eat cheap, you'll have to eat at Agua Calientes. You aren't allowed to take food or drinks into the ruins. Actually, Machu Pichu was a disappointment to us. Perhaps this was because we had seen so many pictures of Mach...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on July 23, 2001

Machu Picchu Inca Archaeological Site
Above The Urubamba Valley
Cusco Region, Peru

Islas Ballestas

Attraction

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Beautiful. These rocky islands are home or holiday destination for thousands of birds, including Jan-van-Gent and humboldt-penguins. Also they are the home of hundreds of sea-lions, living in several colonies. The surrounding waters are infested with large shoals of shrimp. Prepare to be amazed.

The trip takes you also to El Candelabra, a sand/rock drawing not unlike those on the high plains near Nazca. The Candelabra is also best seen from the skies or from farout on the ocean. Nobody knows who drew it or with what purpose, although theories abound. Yep, some gather it was the aliens again. Busy little grey people, weren't they?

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 23, 2001

Museo Oro del Peru (Gold Museum)

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Attraction | "Lima - Museo de Oro"

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The best you can do is take a cab down to the museum. It is a private museum in the 'rich area' of Lima (Montericco). Rich is also the best word to describe the collection of the museum, or better yet: two museums. The topfloor is a weapons museum with its main attraction: the sword of Pizarro the Spanish conquistador. You'll have to search for it, though, because the museums (both of them) are cramped full with all the collections. The most famous part of the museum, however, is not the weapons department but the 'gold' and artifacts part. Downstairs you'll find art from almost every civilization ever to inhabite Peru. Chimu golden statues are placed next to Nazca-mummies and Inca-knifes. You'...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 23, 2001

Museo Oro del Peru (Gold Museum)
Calle Alonso De Molina 1100
Lima, Peru
+51 (1) 435-2917

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An unexpected adventure is taking the local bus (think 'Greyhound on a budget') from Lima to Pisco. It is a five hour drive with the bus company Ormeno. Our bus left about half an hour late. It moved through a big gate on to the street and turned sharply left, just to enter another gate. Driving along the building site it went to another gate, where another group of passengers got on. Then the bus turned back to a street and moved very slowly. In front of the bus were two men, shouting the names of cities where the bus would go. "Pisco... Pisco... Ica... Ica...". The men also 'attacked' tourists with their destinations. 'Really, it is very nice in Pisco, won't you go with us,' I imagine they sai...Read More
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When we visited Peru, the country suffered a severe earthquake. It isn't the first to hit the country and won't be the last, but still, it can mess up your travel plans.

Not only be prepared to travel by other means than you wanted to (we had to use the plain to Arequipa in stead of the Panamericana, which was blocked by boulders). An earthquake also changes the weather.

We had planned to fly to Lima from Cuzco, but the Cuzco-airport was closed because there was too much mist and clouds. This change in the otherwise beautiful Cuzquener weather was brought about by an earthquake (aftershock of the bigger one in Arequipa).