August, 2007 Peru We left our boat at Club Nautico marina in Cartagena and flew to Lima, where we caught a flight to Cusco, Peru. Cusco is an interesting and picturesque city, surrounded by mountains, some of which are over 6,000 meters. The city itself is over 10,000 feet, and many people have altitude sickness upon arrival. Pat and I managed to avoid it. In the center of town there is a gorgeous plaza. There are many old Spanish churches and Inca ruins. We took a private tour in the Sacred Valley which included the Inca citadel of Pisac. The views from the mountains into the valley were stunning.
From Cusco, we took the three hour train ride with Peru Rail to Machu Picchu. The scenery through the Sacred Valley was beautiful, with views of snow capped mountains in the distance. The train arrived in Aguas Calientes, where we hopped on a bus for the 30 minute drive up to Machu Picchu. The road is built along the side of the mountain, and curves back and forth until you reach the top, and the views are dizzyingly high. The Incas built the the 2500 meter high citadel of grey and white granite in the mid-15th century, and it was used as a religious temple site and agricultural growing center. Machu Picchu was only recently discovered by US explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911. The citadel covers a large area, and it took us several hours to explore. The views are beautiful and serene.
From Cusco, we flew back to Lima where we stayed overnight. We stayed at the home of artist, Victor Delfin. Part of the home is operated as a B&B, and it is a lovely place. It is located in the Miraflores section of Lima along the coast. Victor created all of the art shown in the pictures below.
We then flew from Lima to Iquitos, Peru to begin our Amazon adventure. We booked a four day stay with Yarapa River Lodge, and we were greeted at the airport by our guide, Ricky. It was an 1 1/2 hr. ride to Nauti where we boarded their boat for a journey on the river. We had to switch to a smaller boat to reach the lodge, and the entire boat trip was over an hour. Along the way, we saw pink dolphins. We were the only guests at the lodge, and we were pampered with private tours and delicious food. Ricky and Milton, another guide, took us bird watching on the river where we identified over 75 species of birds. In our walks through the rainforest we saw 7 troops of monkeys - wooly, dusty titi, squirrel, capuchin, saki, pygmy marmoset, and wide eyed night monkeys. We saw several three-toed sloths. We took a night canoe trip, where we spotted caiman with our flashlights. We went piranha fishing and used raw beef to catch them. We had a ball!
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