Trip to Peru

Nazca Lines, Ballestas, Cuzco, Machu Picchu, Posada Amazonas, Lima

August 6 thru August 14, 2003

This was the second tour that we have been on and we were quite pleased with the services and the people we were with on this 9 day tour of Peru.  We used General Tours and we really appreciated the services that the tour managers provided to get us around Peru.  Unlike the China tour, we were alone with the tour gide for much of the journey.  We got passed off from one local guide to another, but they were all very friendly and knowledgable. 

We started in Lima and then headed for the desert and saw the Nazca lines, Huacachina Oasis and Paracas.  The Nazca lines were of special interest to us, as we had read about them since we were kids.  We took a four seat Cessna plane ride to be able to see the lines and, although Joan got airsick, it was a sight of a lifetime.  We went on a boat ride to the Ballestas islands and saw a tremendous amount of birds and sea lions.  We then went on to Cuzco to see the Inca ruins there and then on to the tremendous site of Macchu Picchu.  Then we went on to the jungle, taking a flight to Puerto Maldonado, a bus trip, then a canoe ride to the Posadas Amazonas, where we stayed for three nights.  Back to Lima, for a day tour, then back home.  Wow!

Lima, the capital, was our port of entry and had a Spanish colonial charm.  Here is the cathedral in the central square.

From Lima, we drove many hours south into the desert to see the Nazca lines.  These were made 1500 years ago by an ancient civilization.  The reasons for these lines are lost in time.  They are made in the desert and can be seen by no one, unless viewed from the air.  How could people 1500 years ago see them?  That's the mystery. Click here to see more information about Nazca.  We saw them by going up in a four person Cessna and flying over them.  There are many drawings of animals and geometric shapes.  Unfortunately, Joan got airsick and we weren't able to photograph them (I was taking video).  The picture below is the only one we have of the lines. 

From Nazca, we drove to Paracas where we went on a boat ride to the Ballestas Islands.  These are rocky, uninhabited small islands where all kinds of birds and sea lions rest and mate.  Here's a shot showing both.

Another interesting site in the southern desert is the oasis of Huacacina.  It's a remarkable vision to see a beautiful spring-fed lake with palm trees and hotels, in the middle of a sandy desert.

From the desert, we flew to the mountains to see Inca country.  Cuzco, at 11,000 feet was the base of operations in Inca country.  The high altitude did affect us and we went slowly, just as we did in Tibet in the previous year.  Here's a view of Cuzco from the hills overlooking the city.

From Cuzco, we visited Sacsayhuamin, sitting on top of the hills above Cuzco.  It was a temple built by the Incas and was also used as an Incan fortress during the Spanish conquests.

From Cuzco, the highlight of the trip was a train ride to Machu Picchu.  This Incan city in the clouds was long forgotten until discovered in the 20th century.  It is truly a site to remember.

The last part of our trip was a trip to the jungles of eastern Peru.  We flew from Cuzco to Puerto Maldonado and took a jungle bus and then a canoe ride to get to Posada Amazonas, an eco-tourism lodge in the middle of the jungle.  There was no electricity and therefore no hot water.  We stayed for three nights and made many hikes into the jungle to see wildlife.  Here is a great shot of a monkey, shot from a tower, which allowed beautiful views of the jungle from above the forest canopy.