Peru 2005

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All photographs Copyright Jeremy Poole 2005

The trip started with a brief tour of Lima, which was memorable if only for the Palm Sunday festivities that were taking place that day.

From Lima we flew to Arequipa, a pleasant city with grand colonial style buildings, and home of the famous Monasterio Santa Catalina, and the ice mummy "Juanita" not on display that day. Following our brief stay here we took a coach journey to Canyon Country, through the National Reserve Salinas y Aguada Blanca.

We stayed in the village of Yanque, near Chivay, and visited the nearby hot springs. The following moring we left the hotel early to arrive at Cruz de Condor at 8 am, where we shared the vantage point over the canyon with many of the tourist groups we had seen at the hot springs the previous evening! There were plenty of condors to be seen, warming up in the thermals before setting off on their day's hunting.

Next stop was Puno, for a visit to the burial towers at Silustani, the reed islands of Lake Titicaca and the Yavari project.

Cusco is another attractive and friendly colonial style city, with some significant Inca remains. It is the setting off point for trips to the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and other Inca monuments such as Ollataytambo.

Machu Picchu is the most important architectural site in South America, and Wanderlust readers voted it top in their own list of the "Wonders of the World". It was re-discovered in 1911 by an American archeologist, Hiram Bingham. He shipped many of the artefacts he found there back to the United States for study and conservation. Very few have since been returned. There are two main ways to reach Machu Picchu, on foot along the Inca Trail, or by train and bus. We took the train to Aguas Calientes, followed by a bus jouney up a steep hillside to the site.

A few of us elected to extend our trip by spending three days in the Amazon jungle. We flew from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado, then on by river boat, foot and canoe to the Sandoval Lake Lodge. The lake and surrounding forest are home to many species, including giant otters, caymans and many varieties of Macaw and other birds, not to mention insects, spiders, and reptiles.


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