Sunday, May 23, 2010

Peru Itinerary

As mentioned earlier, we traveled the southern circuit of Peru as shown in the zoomed out map below. The adjacent map shows all the places we visited on this trip (listed in detail below).

Day 1:
  • Landed in Lima, Peru (A). Caught a local flight to Cusco (B)
  • Checked out Cusco (Korikancha Temple, Plaza de Armas) and Sacsayhuamán (more Incan ruins)
Day 2:
  • Took a private taxi to check out the Incan ruins at Sacred Valley: Moray, Salineras, Urubamba and Ollantaytambo (C)
  • Then took the Peru Rail from Ollantaytambo (C) to Machu Picchu Pueblo, also known as Aguas Calientes (D) where we stayed the night
Day 3:
  • Caught the first bus (5:30am) up to the entrance to Machu Picchu (D)
  • Hiked Waynapichu at the 10am slot (there are 2 slots: 7am and 10am, where only 200 people are allowed in each slot per day)
  • Took the bus back down to Aguas Calientes and then the Peru Rail train back to Ollantaytambo (C). Our private taxi was waiting for us there, and took us back to Cusco for the night (B)
Day 4:
  • Checked out the Sunday market at Pisac (near Sacred Valley)
  • Caught the overnight bus to Puno (E)

Day 5:
  • Took the commuting boat (not a private boat) to Uros (floating) Islands in Lake Titicaca - half day
  • Could have taken a taxi to check out the Sillustani Chulpas in the afternoon, but we just chilled around the Plaza de Armas (central plaza)
  • Took the overnight bus to Arequipa (F)
Day 6:
  • Checked out the Monastary of Santa Catalina (didn't impress us much - was the same nun's quarters repeated over and over again. It certainly was peaceful.) and Museo Santuarios Andinos, home of Juanita, also known as the Ice Maiden. Juanita was around 12yrs old when she was sacrificed for the Gods on the volcano Mt. Ampato.
Day 7:
  • Started our 2-day 1-night tour to the Colca Canyon - the deepest canyon in the world (twice as deep as the Grand Canyon at its deepest spot). Passed by a Vicuña reserve (a relative of the llama/alpaca, whose fur is the most sought after :(
  • Stayed the night in Chivay (G) after enjoying the natural hot springs and watching a dinner-folk dance show
Day 8:
  • Checked out the beginning of the Colca Canyon, and watched Andean Condors ride the thermals at Cruz del Condor
  • Came back to Arequipa (F) for New Years Eve celebrations at Club Déjà vu
Day 9:
  • Wandered around the empty streets of Arequipa on New Year's Day and the peaceful neighborhood of Yanahuara, which has a great vista point (called Mirador) to check out Volcano Misti
  • Took the overnight bus to Nazca (H)
Day 10:
  • Took a short plane ride on a 6-seater Cessna to marvel at Nazca Lines
  • Then it was on to another short ride, on a commuter bus though, to Ica (I). We stayed in Huacachina, which is an oasis town 3 miles from downtown Ica
  • After lunch in downtown Ica, we checked out a couple of wineries (Tacama, Catador, etc.) where we tasted (and bought) some of their wines and pisco (Peru's national drink)
  • Then we rode the sand dunes of Huacachina in a dune buggy and also did some sandboarding while we watched the sun set over the sandy hills
Day 11:
  • After a great night and breakfast at Hostel Suiza, we took another bus to Lima
  • After watching the changing of the guards at Lima's Plaza de Armas, we went over to the Miraflores district for dinner before retiring for the night
Day 12:
  • Flew back to the US!

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