Saturday, November 15, 2014

Our Peru adventure

This is the route we took
We just returned from our two weeks adventure travelling around Peru - We had so much fun!

Here's what we did:

We flew in to Lima from Santiago de Chile.

In Lima, we stayed in a very touristy area called Miraflores (and played with bunch of cats!!).

After a couple of days in Lima, we took the overnight bus (21 hours!!) to Cusco by Cruz del Sur bus.

It wasn't as comfortable as our Buenos Aires to Mendoza bus but much better than our Kakarbhitta to Kathmandu bus trip!

Cusco is at about 3,400m which is almost as high as top of mt. fuji. I was a little worried about the altitude sickness because I thought I was getting altitude sickness in Darjeeling, India (back in March) and that was only 2,000m (...turned out I was just getting sick from the cold).

But because we were slowly climbing up, it wasn't too bad when we got out of the bus in Cusco (in terms of high altitude).

We were both taking Sorojchi pills (which is just a headache pill) just in case though. A couple of times I had minor headaches but nothing serious.

Cusco is a very touristy town but still it is very beautiful, especially around the square. We stayed in a hotel overlooking the Plaza De Armas and had an absolutely amazing view.

  (>>more photos from Cusco)

After two nights in Cusco, we took a shared minivan to Ollantaytambo (about 1.5 hours from Cusco, paid 20 soles per person one way but it should really have been 10 soles each, damn!).

We then caught the IncaRail train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes - other option was to take Peru Rail but it was slightly more expensive.

We've also heard that Peru Rail is a foreign owned while IncaRail is locally owned thus more profit stays in the country.

We stayed in Aguas Calientes for two nights.

To be honest, I did not like Aguas Calientes as much as some of the other cities in Peru, it's too touristy and very expensive, nothing like the rest of Peru.

But this was the closest town to Machu Picchu, so to get to Machu Picchu really early in the morning (to beat the crowd) we kind of had to stay here.

From Aguas Calientes to Muchu Picchu, we could either hike up the mountain or take a shared mini bus. We took the latter (we still had to get up at 4am! - no idea what time those hikers got up in the morning to get to Machu Picchu by 6am !).
Early start, before the sunrise
Packed breakfast from the hotel!
Already so many people!!
Machu Picchu was.... simply amazing. Apart from the minor incident with the French (or possibly German) lady - which I won't go into..., the day was perfect..!!

  (>>more photos from Machu Picchu)

Green Point
After two days in Aguas Calientes, we took the same route back to Cusco.

We had about five hours before our bus to Arequipa, so we walked around in Cusco and hang out at the square.

Oh, and we had the best vegetarian lunch at Green Point. This is a vegan restaurant in Cusco, we loved it! - highly recommended.

Vegetarian lasagna
Lomo saltado but with fake meat!

With full tummies, we took another overnight bus (approx. 10 hours) from Cusco to Arequipa.

Arequipa is the second most populous city in Peru and it is beautiful. And the food here is excellent, they are known as "BBB" (Bueno, Bonito, Barato!) So needless to say, we had some delicious, beautiful & cheap food.

  (>>more photos from Arequipa)

We were also lucky with the accommodation in Arequipa.

"La Casa de Ana" was run by a super friendly Peruvian lady, Ana and it was a really nice place to stay.... and she had a CAT!!!!!!!!

A really friendly one.

After three days in Arequipa, we were on the move again. We took yet another overnight bus to Ica.

Ica is in the middle of desert. It is a very hot, dusty and chaotic city. But we really wanted to see Huacachina - the oasis in the desert.

  (>>more photos from Ica)

And we were glad we came. The city itself was very noisy with full of tuk tuks and lots of honkings but the oasis was very interesting and pisco tasting was kind of fun!

After three days in Ica, we returned to Lima, Peru.

The end. 

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