Colca Canyon, Peru

IMG_9010We eat some awesome breakfast served by our hostel, of banana pancakes, caramel sauce and met our guide Angle. There are a total of 3 of us going on the tour from our hostel, a guy named Itzy, Mateo and I. We take a bus out to a small town, Cabanaconde, this is our starting point and also ending point. We will make a full loop of 26 kilometers and 3,500ft down into the canyon and back up. On the bus ride I started feeling sick, I have never had motion sickness, but I ended up throwing up on the bus ride there. My entire body is not up to par, we get lunch and shortly after it’s out onto the ground again. I decide to hike anyways, even with the rough start to the day, we were already there in town. We hiked down into the canyon about 4 hours and about 30 minutes up the other side int to the small village San Juan De Chuchow.

Sun Setting over the Colca Canyon, Racing day light.

Sun Setting over the Colca Canyon, Racing day light.

The great canyon.

The great canyon.

My knees were all shaky from the decline into the canyon. With the six hour bus ride, not really eating any thing all day and with the dusty trail, I felt so wasted. This small village mostly runs off solar power energy and just recently received power out to it but most houses are dark at night, power is too expencive, there are only about 25 residents. We stay in a hostel and eat dinner, the hostel is really a house with a couple extra guest rooms. I’m feeling really exhausted so I sleep imeadately it was the dirtyest dustyesy hike ever. My intestines were rocking the whole night so I didnt sleep well, I felt like death. The next morning we started the three hour hike, we left early at 6 am to catch the world cup game at 11.It amazing how even in the most remote places you can always have a cold beer and watch a live world cup game.

Dinner tonight.

Dinner tonight.

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On our way to the Oasis

On our way to the Oasis.

We made it right on time, I enjoyed a swim at half time. Then the rest of the groups of hikers started showing up, by the end of the evening there were about thirty hikers in the hostel. I was still pretty low on energy, and we slept early for our hike back up and out of the canyon. They called this place the Oasis. It surly was, there was a swimming pool, plenty of shade and beautiful separated rooms to sleep in. We departed at a grueling 4:30 am after some coca tea and bread. Although we were the first hikers to start up the mountain, we were passed by many groups. You could see the head lights the other hikers as they slowly caught up to us and passed by. It was probably one of the hardest hikes of my life, still recovering from stomach sickness and on the third day of hiking I had a rough time. Izty broke free from our group and kept on pushing on I had to take many breaks just to keep going. Finally we made it to the top and could see the view it was fantastic to watch the sun rise over the mountains and look back down into the canyon and know that we hiked that far.

Hiking out was awesomely beautiful

Hiking out was awesomely beautiful

The Famous Itzy and I

The Famous Itzy and I

Sunrise

Sunrise

Juan Carlos, our faithful hiking buddy.

Juan Carlos, our faithful hiking buddy.

Mateo and I

Mateo and I

Mate found gatos

Mateo found gatos!!

Vicuña they are a protected species of Alpaca that live only in the Andes

Vicuña they are a protected species of Alpaca that live only in the Andes

On our was back.

On our was back.

A bit like Leavenworth

Last Moments in Aguas Caliente

Last Moments in Aguas Calientes

Our hike back up the railroad tracks was great, we met up with a Dutch girl who was walking the same way and was on our bus before. We left early to get a dip in the river on the hike back up the tracks. This town felt much like Leavenworth, it wouldn’t exist if it were not surrounded by beautiful mountains, basically tourism and mountains fuel this town. It is pricy so leaving is a must, even pricey it is still Peru so a coffee is less expensive here than at home. Our bus ride was torturous, but still not as bad as the back of a truck for 6 hours with dust flying into our nostrils. Tonight we will be in Cusco again and deciding where to go tomorrow.

Hike back down the tracks.

Hike back down the tracks.

Arriving in to Hydro Electrica

Arriving in to Hydro Electrico

We were able to catch a game while while waiting for our combi to arrive.

We were able to catch a game while while waiting for our combi to arrive.

We have heard of this place called Colca Canyon here in Peru, the second largest canyon in the world. We will catch a 10 hour bus to Arequipa, stay the night, then early the next morning we will take a bus 6 hours to the Canyon. I have heard it is more beautiful than Machupichu, that is saying a lot. We haven’t decided if we will take a tour or do it on our own. We went and bought our tickets early, I am actually excited for our bus ride this evening because it should be a really nice bus, this time we spent a bit of extra money and got the nice seats that recline, and there is even a snack served. We parted from Luis’s house one last time, it was so nice to have a place to store our extra things and go to and from while traveling around the Cusco area, if only all our couch surfing experiences could be as pleasant. Our bus ride was nice, much like what I would imagine first class on an air plane would be like, but the roads around here are bumpy and ragged. So it was a shaky first class but still better than the regular seats. We arrived in Arequipa and walked 3 miles to the hostel, we crashed immediately, there will be no exploring the city today for us, although we had first class seats I didn’t sleep and it appeared Mateo did not either. By the end of the night we both decided we would be booking a tour, my planning juice is near out. Tours were only slightly more expensive than going it on our own. I think we are both burnt out on planning and logistics of getting places.

Machu

We start the day early, 4am early to hike up to Machu Picchu. We eat and dawn our ponchos that I am so thankful we picked up the day before, because it is raining. The hike to the entrance is rough. A trail going straight up, and switch backs all the way. Lucky for us our lungs aren’t getting squeezed from lack of oxygen, the town is only 2000 feet above sea level and Machu Picchu is only 4000, not so bad. The rain is steady and the clouds roam about the mountain making our view white. By later in the morning the clouds disappear and our ability to see the whole mountain and the village is incredible. We end our seven hour tour with walking a small part of the Inca Trail out to the sun gate where we received a spectacular view of the entire city and all the mountains that surround the village. It was fantastic sight to see!

Up up and away poncho!

Up up and away poncho!

Incan Bridge in the background.

Incan Bridge in the background.

:)

:)

At first we were unable to Machu due to the rain and clouds

At first we were unable to Machu due to the rain and clouds

Clouds creeping away

Clouds creeping away

Yep kissing a llama at the piccu

Yep kissing a llama at the piccu

many different views if you look at the photo side ways you can see a face!

many different views if you look at the photo side ways you can see a face!

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on our way to the sun gate, the original entrance of the Incan's

on our way to the sun gate, the original entrance of the Incan’s

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8 hours in a combi once again!

We started our morning off early in search of coffee and snacks. We were dropped off by the taxi at San Pedro, a bustling market, it was not open yet. The life it had when we first experienced it now feels like a skeleton. We walk on and find a little older lady selling some thing we both are unaware of the contents of the cup we purchase. It was a mix of malto meal and… it was hot and tasty. I enjoyed it Mateo not so much. We continue on and find a small bakery off of a plaza. Good Coffee, and pastries.

They redirected the river while building the dam.

They redirected the river while building the dam.

Our mini bus ride will be about 8 hours today and an additional 3 hour walk to the town of Augas Calinente. The bus ride is long and bumpy, once we are off the main roads. We are left at the end of the road at some rail road tracks, it’s the blind leading the blind, no one really knows where they are going. We navigate by poorly done signs and make it up to a third set of tracks and fallow them for many hours along a river until we hit the little town where we will stay the night at the base of Machu Picchu. It feels much like Leavenworth.

On our rail track hike

On our rail track hike

Cheese

Cheese

The views are amazing

The views are amazing

The guiding river

The guiding river

This was all we brought, sometimes you just need a break from the larger packs.

This was all we brought, sometimes you just need a break from the larger packs.

Motorbiking, 2nd day of the Sacred Valley

The rooster crows early, during breakfast

The rooster crows early, during breakfast

 

Cheese

Cheese

We got an early start to the day, we still had a couple hour drive into to Cusco and needed to buy our tickets to Machu Picchu, and return the motorcycle today. We are going to visit an animal rehabilitation and refuge center. Ollantaytambo is a Incan town and agriculture site, it is the best representation of an Incan village left. Pisac is on our list too, not just the ruins but the whole town, it has one of the best craft markets.

Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo

 

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Pondering life, so this is what happens when a community doesn't have TVs.

Pondering life, so this is what happens when a community doesn’t have TVs.

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Survey marker Mateo was really excited about this!!

 

It goes from cold to hot in a moment.

It goes from cold to hot in a moment.

"A mountain over there!"

“A mountain over there!”

Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo

 

The Drive up to Pisac

The Drive up to Pisac

 

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Pisac

Pisac

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2014-06-28 at 13-16-19We found a good place to eat just before leaving town to begin our race to Cusco. I am in love with Peru, the mountains and valleys, the people and rich culture. I am so glad we made this our last country on our trip. My home sickness had fled and I’m ready for our next two and half weeks. I think about arriving in LA and having to find a job when I get home, and even the sound of having a cell phone is strange, uggh. Well that’s all for when I get home for now we have beautiful Peru a head of us. the animal refuge was much larger than I expected, with birds, llamas, Peruvian hairless dogs, bobcats, and Condors.

Animal Refuge, they had 5 rescued Condors

Animal Refuge, they had 5 rescued Condors

 

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Condors above us, lucky they are scavengers and only eat dead meat!

They had examples of how they naturally dyed Alpaca  yarn

They had examples of how they naturally dyed Alpaca yarn

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For demonstrations they have people from close by villages demonstrate and sell handicrafts.

For demonstrations they have people from close by villages demonstrate and sell handicrafts.

 

On our way back into Cusco

On our way back into Cusco

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The man him self looking over Cusco

The man him self looking over Cusco

We arrived back in Cusco after catching some extra sights to see, unloaded our motorcycle went to et our tickets, finished the night with pizza and went back to our couch surfing spot. Luis had let us keep the majority of our belongings at his house while we go venture off to different places, he has been really great. We will catch a direct bus to the town of Hydro Electrica, about an 8 hours drive, then hike to Aguas Calienté. This town is so called very touristy but only reachable by train or foot, no roads should be fun. Then the following day we plan on hiking to Machu Picchu.

Sacred Valley Day 1

Our first stop on our motor bike tour,  Chinchero Church

Our first stop on our motor bike tour, Chinchero Church

 

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Some of the beautiful mountains on the road.

Some of the beautiful mountains on the road.

Moray Incan agriculture site.

Moray Incan agriculture site.

Mateo's favorite steps of the Incans

Mateo’s favorite steps of the Incans, llama leggings and all

Down in the lowest circle, where the lowest temperature crops could grow.

Down in the lowest circle, where the lowest temperature crops could grow.

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Surrounded by awesome!

Surrounded by awesome!

 

Maras Salt ponds

Maras Salt ponds

 

Tasty Salt

Tasty Salt

Thes salt ponds have been around for hundreds of years, all this salt comes from the smallest salty stream

Thes salt ponds have been around for hundreds of years, all this salt comes from the smallest salty stream

After we finish at the salt pools we head down to Urubamba. We booked a hostel for the night. This hostel had no reviews on Hostel World it could be awesome it could be horrible. We also thought we would stay in a tent at the hostel, it was cheaper and we like tents. To wake up in the Andes in a tent would be awesome. We arrived in the town of Urubamba, and found our hostel. It was tucked away off the main road, down a dirt road. This place was perfect for Mateo and me, all of the facilities were outside individual rooms, the kitchen, living area, bathroom and the recreation area. It was cold, colder than Cusco, this is the highest elevation we have been at, still no elevation sickness. Our host Juan Carlos served us cocoa tea right way, tastes similar to green tea. The he served us some traditional Peruvian corn beer, tastes similar to kombucha, it didn’t taste like it had a significant amount of alcohol in it. Juan Carlos also thought that it was too cold to sleep outside and put us into one of the hostels rooms they had for no extra cost. We would be the only guests for the night! It felt so much like being in a cabin in the woods high up in the mountains. Juan Carlos and his wife Judith opened their hostel only 8 months ago, he did work for a hostel in Cusco. His small hostel is in competition with the big hotels in Urbamaba, there is only one other hostel in town. I think they will do great. We took the motorcycle a short distance into town and explored until it was dark. We had a delightful dinner with Juan Carols and Judith. Motorcycle riding really took it out of both of us, my butt hurts and my back too.

Hostel hang out with a cap fire inside

Hostel hang out with a cap fire inside

Mateo and I with our hosts Juan Carlos and Judith

Mateo and I with our hosts Juan Carlos and Judith

Mountain Flowers

Mountain Flowers

Made our way to Cusco

Our layover was horrendously long, 14 hours in Panama City, then to Lima Peru, then to Cusco. We made the best of being in Panama City and went to see the old city built by the Spanish, it is their first settlement in Central America. Then it got wiped out by pirates, pretty awesome for us to walk around it. 2014-06-25 at 11-19-23

2014-06-25 at 11-44-08We revisited our New York Bagel shop, where we eat and a watch a game. We turned down two taxis today, it should be easy. We wave you down, Taxi man you are sitting out in the middle of traffic,  you stop we tell you where we are going, we ask a price up front you tell us we get in shut the door and go there. Seems reasonable but yet some time we push shut the door and walk away. We made it back to the airport and slept until our plane was ready to go.

Exiting Panama City

Exiting Panama City

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Another overnight flight, they are rough on me sometimes. I sleep easy other times not so much. We were questioned about going into the high altitude right away, I hadn’t thought about it, one of the advantages of not planning you don’t always know there is risk involved. We arrived in a chill Cusco. I like the cold 61 degrees.

Market

Market

Amazing pizza VW

Amazing pizza VW

After meeting up with our couch-surfing host Luis, we opted not to sleep and catch up on rest, that can be saved for tonight we went down to the central area while Luis went to his travel school. He is a younger neat guy who is studying English and Japanese, very welcoming. We watch the USA Germany game at a Irish pub named Paddy’s, full of mostly USA fans and one German. We lose but still made it in to the next round I can’t believe it. I thought we would be out, nice to know there are more USA game to be had, this is the knock out round. Mateo and I spent the rest of the day researching what and where for our next couple days in Peru.

Cusco

Cusco

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City Square

City Square

Machu Picchu is on the agenda. We woke up early to go pick up our motorcycle that we will be renting for two days, this way we are able to not be on a tour bus and see more of the Secret Valley. Our motorcycle is a 250. Bigger than most motor cycles in the area. After finding breakfast we head toward the gas station. The motorcycle will not idle then it shuts down completely it has ran out of gas. Mateo hops a taxi and goes to the gas station, he gives the guy ten sols. Taxis are cheap here, normally 4 sols. We refuel and hit the road, the cobble stone is hard to drive on, Cusco is the oldest city continuously inhabited city in South America. It feels good and freeing to be on a bike and not a tour bus. We have many sights to see!

Final moments in Brazil!

Our last days in Brazil were spent with a new host right next-door to our Airbnb host. With so many people coming in our host set us up with a neighbor to stay with who had an extra room. They were great and provided us with far more than we expected!  One day was spent down by the river on a four wheel drive adventure. Another one of the days we watched the games and BBQed! Now we will be thinking ahead to Peru on our last leg of our trip!

River park

River park

Pool time
Pool time

Our Hosts

Our Hosts

getting serious

getting serious

The river wadding pool, it was a bit weird

The river wading pool, it was a bit weird

BBQing for one of our last times watching the games in Brazil

BBQing for one of our last times watching the games in Brazil

BBQ

BBQ

 

Even grandmas wear thongs here in Brazil.

Today is our beach day , American Out Laws party is tonight and the big game is just around the corner. We are hanging with all the Americans today and tomorrow. It has been blast meeting so many people on our journey. This trip has really pushed me out of so many of my comfort zones. The out Laws Party was a blast, and they put us onto the Brazilian news.

The Out Law Walk

The Out Law Walk

USA

USA

After all the hype from seeing all the USA fans we are both really excited for the age. This is one of the biggest reasons Mateo decided to make this trip! We are hoping USA wins but mostly we want a good game. The game was amazing, we couldn’t of asked for better seats or a more awesome crow surrounding us.

Pre Game March

Pre Game March

Me with some Portugal Fans

Me with some Portugal Fans

Manaus

Manaus

Our seats had an amazing view

Our seats had an amazing view

VIEW

VIEW

The stadium from out side

The stadium from out side

The best USA outfit I could find

The best USA outfit I could find

Just before a goal

Just before a goal

He Believes that we will win!

He Believes that we will win!

Amazon

we spent the day on a amazon river tour, it was great we had a lunch that even included salad. Our tour included a trible dance by some indidanous people. This was extremely actward for us it seemed more like a dress up party, it just seemed like we were exploring the people. Mateo was really uncomfortable me a little less so. We also swam with pink dolphins, it was no sea world but it was cool to be in the same water as these hungry little dolphins.  The lady would chum the water with small fish and we sat on life jackets and floated around her, then the dolphins would come up and eat the fish out of her hand. Our next event was stopping at a house on the river a young girl came onto the boat with a small furry creator with little black eyes and three long claws on each limb. It was a sloth! We had seats in the front of the boat so I was the first to hold this little sloth, he was so slow moving and just wanted to wrap his arms all around everything. Mateo held him and he blended right in with his beard. Seeing and holding the sloth made my trip here, Sloths are real!!