Discovering Cusco

Truth is that I had never heard of Cusco and had very little idea what to expect. This was a pre-arranged tour so research wasn't necessary and I let the experience just sweep me along. Looking out over Cusco. So it came as a bit of a surprise that this provincial town and ancient Inca … Continue reading Discovering Cusco

Pressing on to Puno

We departed Chivay for the Colca Canyon which descends more than 10,000 feet and is the deepest canyon in the world. Despite low agricultural prices which make farming unprofitable, people still cultivate some of the canyon's many terraced fields. Cactus at Condor Cross The Colca Canyon is also home to Condor Cross (Cruz Del Condor) where Andean condors make daily … Continue reading Pressing on to Puno

Up to Abra Patapampa & down to Chivay

We set off from Arequipa in a small bus with a new guide. Peter announced he would be our doctor and gave a detailed lecture on preventing altitude sickness. I had brought a prescription but opted for the recommended combination of coca leaf, dark chocolate and mineral water. I soon had a big wad of coca … Continue reading Up to Abra Patapampa & down to Chivay

To Peru’s White City in the black of night

The 10-hour Nazca to Arequipa overnight bus trip was not a pleasant experience. There were no stops and the bus ground slowly on with lots of sharp turns and -- judging from the sound of the engine -- big hills. Maybe it was better that we couldn't see anything. The only alternative was to backtrack to Lima … Continue reading To Peru’s White City in the black of night

Peruvian textiles

Handmade textiles are a big part of Peruvian life. Alpacas and llamas provide the fibre which is often hand-dyed using traditional methods and is spun, woven, embroidered and knit into all kinds of products with both traditional and modern designs. Mummies are still clad in their 2,000-year-old shrouds and museums display some amazing examples of similarly-ancient … Continue reading Peruvian textiles

Nazca’s desert mummies

Compared to flying over the Nazca Lines, our visit to the Chauchilla Cemetery, an open-air Nazca burial site and Indiana Jones movie location, was decidedly subterranean. It was in use for about 700 years, from 200 to 900 AD. Nazca mummy with impressive dreads Chauchilla has been legally protected since 1997 but local grave robbers (huaqueros) … Continue reading Nazca’s desert mummies

Nazca Lines, Geoglyphs & Biomorphs

Ahhh… the big day… our flight over the Nazca Lines. Safety standards are said to be high for these flights, a co-pilot is required and they claim to have rigorous mechanical checks for the aircraft. Apparently this was not always the case but these flights bring in a lot of cash and they don’t want … Continue reading The mysterious Nazca Lines

Even if you’re not a birder, the Ballestas are remarkable

Wonderful visit to the Reserva Nacional Islas Ballestas. Only protected since 2010, the area was once covered by guano up to 70m thick. The nineteenth century guano trade created modern "input-intensive" farming and guano is still mined though in much lower quantities. Before the birdshit came the birds and they are still there in vast quantities and configurations, … Continue reading Even if you’re not a birder, the Ballestas are remarkable

Acclimatizing in Lima

This was a first for us  -- a package tour put together for a group of friends, neighbours, relatives and assorted hangers-on. It was treat to be picked up at the airport and not face the unease that comes when arriving in a strange city at 2 am. Next morning we were right at it and had three … Continue reading Acclimatizing in Lima