Category Archives: Sightseeing

Travelling Peru – Bustrip from Puno to Cusco

From Puno we drove nearly ten hours to Cusco, the center of the old Inca Empire. Ten hours seem to be a long time to spend in a bus but as I said before the touristic buses in Peru are really luxurious and time passes by very quickly. On our trip we visited some old pre-Incan ruins in the morning.

Some time later we passed the highest point of this journey at 4335 metres above sea level which was also the watershed between Puno and Cusco.

water shed between Puno and CuscoAfter another two hours drive we stopped again for lunch. I have to admit that those organised lunchs were often too touristic for my taste and most of the time I would have prefered to choose my own place. That’s something I will consider for my next trip. Especially because I love to eat very local and enjoy trying new food. The places we went offered mostly the same range of food targeted at the average tourist.

After lunch we visited the Incan temple area Raqchi which is meant to be one of the older temples. I was very fascinated by the size of the main temple which must have been huge.

Raqchi ruin PeruRaqchi ruins in PeruAnother thing which blew my mind was the fact that the Inca placed their buildings and especially their temples according to the sun. So for example the sun would have risen and sunk within this corridor at midsummer and midwinter. Their connection to the sun and the earth was just incredibly deep.

Sixtine Chapel of AmericaContinuing our trip we stopped one last time for the so called Sistine Chapel of America – Andahuayillas. The church is worth every visit. The painting on the outside is just a hint on the beautiful paintings in the inside. With its paintings and later altars, the church symbolises the merge of Incan and Catholic religion very well.

In the evening we finally arrived in Cusco. We stayed in the San Agustin International which was perfectly located in the center of the city.

Travelling Peru – Puno and the Titicaca Lake

After two nights in the Colca Valley we headed off to Puno around midday and arrived there in the evening. The touristic buses are really comfortable and driving for six to ten hours really isn’t that much of a problem. Especially because the buses stop regurlaly at different sights on the way.

In Puno, we stayed in the Royal Inn which is directly around the corner of the main square. Arriving late that evening we stayed in the hotel for dinner and went to bed quite early. The next day we met our guide early in the morning – this became a habit on our trip –  and set off to the Titicaca Lake.

Titicaca LakeWe boarded one of the touristic boats and started our journey to the floating islands of Uros. The islands are made from sea weed growing in the lake. People layer it up until it is fat enough to carry them and their houses.

I have to admit that I found it very interesting to see how people lived on those islands. It was truly fascinating. However, I got the feeling that people only still live on those islands because so many tourists come there every single day craving to see the “original living”. The younger generations are leaving the islands to study and work in the cities if they can afford to do so.

floating islandssea weed boatAfter we had explored the islands by foot and with hand made boats of the locals, we headed towards Taquile another island on the Titicaca Lake.

Taquile is famous for its nitting men. Following their customs men learn to nit when they are little and keep nitting until they are adults. The nitted hats and clothes of the people on this island are very traditional and show for example if people are married or not. A white and red hat for example means unmarried while a red hat means married.

Taquile island - Titicaca LakeWalking up the steep hills of the island we felt the altitude. With nearly 4000m above sea level the Titicaca Lake belongs to one of the highest lakes in the world. Not only the location but also the size of the lake is impressive. From the center of the island one has a fantastic view over the lake. If the sky is clear you can even spot the mountains of Bolivia.

On the Taquile island we had one of our best lunch of the whole trip. Our guide took us to a local bar where we ate delicious grilled fish with potatoes and rise – so yummy.

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After lunch we walked back down to our boat and drove to Puno. We took the chance of a free evening and explored the inner town. Right next to the cathedral is a former kind of monestary complex where you can find nice shops and a great café.

Puno, PeruAfter just one day, we left Puno the other morning continuing our trip towards Cusco.

 

Travelling Peru – Colca Valley and the Condor

We stayed two nights in the Colca Valley. The Kilawasi Lodge is located in Yanque a little village within the Colca Valley. Like the other villages and cities, Yanque has a central square with a colonial church. But more than this, the Kilawasi Lodge is a perfect spot for exploring the surroundings either by hiking or with local tours to the colca canyon.

colonial church in Yanque - Perucolca valley - PeruDue to the altitude and all the new impressions each day, both of us were quite tired.So, I very much enjoyed the calmness and relaxing atmosphere in the valley.

After our drive from Arequipa to the Colca Valley we checked into our hotel and dropped into bed very early. The next morning we had to get up at around half past five so we were ready for our bus to the edge of the canyon where we watched the condor fly.

peruvian condorperuvian condorperuvian condorI loved those birds. They look so majestic with their wings wide spread gliding through the air. Although it is a very touristic spot and can get crowded easily, it didn’t take away the fascination of watching those beautiful animals.

We were lucky with our guide who suggested to get off the bus before the main viewing spots. Instead of driving there we walked along the edge of the canyon to the viewing platforms. In doing so, we could spot not only the condor but typical flowers and other birds of the Andes.

In the afternoon our hotel offered a guided hike to an old inca ruin nearby. Although I was quite tired and suffered from a headache, I went along.

colca valleyI just couldn’t get enough of the views. Imagine people working on those terraces years and years back in time. It left me with deep respect for all those civilisations who were able to live high up in the mountains.

The hike took around three hours and led us to an very old, probably incan or pre-incan ruin called Uyu Uyu. On the hike, I definitely felt the altitude having to stop much more often to catch may breath.

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incan ruin - colca valleyThis old ruin was my first encounter with the inca culture on our trip and I was already deeply fascinated. It’s simply unbelievable for me to see such buildings while knowing how long back in time they existed.

 

Travelling Peru – From Arequipa to the Colca Canyon

From Lima we took the plane to Arequipa which is normally a one hour trip. Well… in our case it took us five hours because the flight was delayed for four very long hours. I did get to know the airport in Lima very well.

So unfortunately we arrived very late in Arequipa and missed our city tour which was planned for the afternoon. Our mood wasn’t that good as you can imagine arriving so  late in a city we didn’t know. However our hotel and later our dinner compensated a bit of our disappointement. We stayed at La Hosteria which was a very nice hotel, with which I fell in love at first sight.

Having stored away our luggage we headed into town for dinner. Do go  to Zig Zag at least once. It might not be the cheapest option but is a real treat. The city really impressed me and I am definitely going back there exploring more than just the inner town by night.

From Arequipa we headed off the next morning to the Colca Valley. We took a small bus tour with a lovely guide who made the six hours drive pass very quickly. On top of his explanations the breathtaking landscape made this day to one of my favourites.viqunas on the high plateau of the andes

viqunas on the andean plateauhigh plateau of the andesWe spotted viqunas, wild lamas, and alpacas grazing on the andean plateau. Later on this trip we passed the highest point of our journey at 4830m above sea level. I have to admit, that I was a bit worried before our journey about how well I would handle the altidute. Listening to our guides, drinking loads of water, breathing deeply and just relaxing, I felt  well all the time. The first four days on high levels I had constant headaches though which then suddenly disappeared.

Another thing which fights altitude sickness, is drinking a lot of coca tea or even better a tea made out of three different andean herbes.

andean teahighest pointWhen we passed the highest point we went down into the Colca Valley where we had a great Peruvian lunch.

chivay - Colca valleyNext to Chivay a town at the beginning of the valley, we had lunch in a very touristic hotel. However, this meal was really nice because our guide taught us to make our own peruvian starter out of very solid potatoe mash and some tuna, vegetables and mayonnaise.

Apparently the local women made this dish during the war to keep up the strenght of their men.

food-colcaAfter lunch we drove further into the valley and ended our trip at some natural, hot springs. Here we finally could relax and just enjoy being on a completely new continent and in an amazing country.

Colca Valley