S: Trip to Peru - April 2011
FC: PERU 2 0 1 1
1: Machu Picchu | April 2011
3: The Fitch and Sparkman Itinerary: April 1st (DAY ONE!) – Arrive in Lima April 2nd – Fly to Arequipa and take a tour of the city April 3rd – Take a bus to Puno April 4th – Full day boat tour of Lake Titicaca, including Taquile Island and the Floating Islands of Uros April 5th – Take a sightseeing bus ride to Cusco April 6th – Tour of the Sacred Valley, including Pisac and Ollantaytambo April 7th & 8th – Tour Machu Picchu April 9th – Tour the City of Cusco April 10th – Fly to Lima and take a bus to Paracas April 11th – Relax in Paracus April 12th & 13th – Take a bus to Lima and fly home
4: Saying of the day... "DAY ONE!" | LIMA We stayed at Casa Andina, ate on "Pizza" Street and drank our first Pisco Sour. YUM!
6: AREQUIPA is a bustling city with lots to see. After flying in, we explored around ourselves before meeting up with our guide in the afternoon.
7: Funny moment of the day... attempting to ask for separate checks and getting two fish instead. Something was lost in translation!
8: Our guide, Blanco, first took us to Carmen Alto, where you could see a beautiful view of Volcan Misti and Arequipa. We walked through an older neighborhood, then received a tour of the Santa Catalina Convent. This convent originally housed the daughters born second in Spanish families, who were forced to become nuns at the age of twelve. We ended our day at a restaurant named ZigZag, where we had three different types of meat cooked on a hot stone...alpaca, beef and pork.
10: VIEW FROM CARMEN ALTO OF VOLCAN MISTI
11: VIEW FROM CARMEN ALTO OF AREQUIPA
12: Our third day was spent mainly on a bus from Arequipa to Puno. Those bags in the picture below the bus...full of LIVE chickens! The scenery was pretty bare with many shanty towns along the way. We stopped and stretched our legs in a small town with a cathedral.
13: That night we went to La Choza de Oscar for dinner and a show. The food in Peru, no matter where you went, was always presented beautifully. We had a lot of fun tasting the local fare, drinking some interesting cocktails, listening to the music and watching the dancers.
14: Day 4 was spent on Lake Titicaca with our guide, Percy. First, we visited the floating islands of Uros where everything is made of reeds. We visited with one family and received a lesson on how the islands are built and learned about the various trades they practice. We found that tourism has changed these islands, making them much more commercialized, but were humbled none the less.
16: TAQUILE ISLAND | April 4
17: Next, we visited the Taquile Island. We made the long uphill trek to the main square, which was very difficult considering the elevation is about 14, 000 feet. At the top, we had lunch... some of the best trout any of us had ever tasted.
18: TAQUILE ISLAND
20: We spent April 5th on a sightseeing bus ride from Puno to Cusco. During the first part of our trip we stopped at a street-side market, a museum and St. Peter's Church
22: ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK OF RAQCHI | Highlight of the bus tour
25: Archaeological Park of RAQCHI
26: WE ENDED THE DAY IN CUSCO, WHERE WE TOOK IN SOME OF THE NIGHTLIFE
27: HIGHEST IRISH PUB IN THE WORLD | Paddy's Pub
28: APRIL 6TH - We met up with our guide, Ruben, for a full day trip through the SACRED VALLEY
29: After a rather stressful ride along wet, narrow, curvy roads, we arrived at our first stop...the PISAC RUINS. The terraces were breathtaking and the grave sites dug high up into the hillside were amazing.
30: Ruben took us to a wonderful little place for lunch
32: NEXT STOP...OLLANTAYTAMBO | April 6
33: We definitely got our exercise in PERU!
35: We stayed in Ollantaytambo, so after our guided tour came to a close, we did some shopping and exploring of our own.
36: Early on the morning of April 7th, we took a train to Aguas Calientes. This is the base town for Machu Picchu, where we would stay one night. | We had the ENTIRE TRAIN to ourselves! There were more attendants than passengers!
37: After the two hour train ride, we took a very scary bus ride up to Machu Picchu. The road is shown below...YIKES!
39: During the first part of the day, Ruben gave us a guided tour of Machu Picchu
40: Then we got the chance to explore on our own
42: THE ATTENTION TO DETAIL IS INCREDIBLE
45: MACHU PICCHU'S SUN GATE
46: WILDLIFE OF MACHU PICCHI
47: LLAMAS & VISCACHA | & MILLIPEDES, OH MY!
48: URUBAMBA RIVER, AGUAS CALIENTES | April 7
49: MARKET, AGUAS CALIENTES |
50: On April 8th, we had the whole day to ourselves to explore Machu Picchu some more. Randy, Steve and Kelli decided to hike Wayna Picchu. Sadly, Julie had to stay behind due to issues with her knee. The hike is a very steep climb up what seems to be a never ending staircase. The total elevation gain is about 1,200 feet. In places it is very narrow and a bit nerve wracking...but, OH was it WORTH IT!!!
52: VIEW OF WAYNA PICCHU FROM MACHU PICCHU & THE INCA BRIDGE | April 8
53: TEMPLE OF THE CONDOR
54: We returned to Cusco on the evening of April 8th. On the morning of April 9th, we met up with Ruben again and went on a Cusco City tour. We visited some Inca ruins, the main cathedral and Sacsaywaman. We ended the day with some AWFUL wine, a deck of cards and A LOT of laughs!
56: SACSAYWAMAN | April 9
59: SACSAYWAMAN | April 9
60: On April 10th we flew from Cusco to Lima then took a bus to our last stop in Peru...PARACUS. Our hotel was gorgeous! Relaxing at a beach resort was the perfect way to end our vacation. We took advantage of the on site restaurant, walked along the beach, swam in the pool, soaked in the hot tub and rented wave runners one afternoon. | Peru was an awe-inspiring place to visit and sharing that experience with good friends was the icing on the cake. We all hope to make another visit someday and bring the kids along. Beautiful scenery, interesting culture and history, wonderful food and friendly people...what more could you ask for?
61: OUR BEAUTIFUL RESORT IN PARACUS, LA HACIENDA BAHIA | April 10-12
62: PARACUS | April 10-12