Peru travel story

I wanted to organize the visit of Peru entrusting me to a tour leader that offered the opportunity to get to know this country in a slightly different way compared to the classical proposals that abound on the internet, that is to associate the most natural aspects of the place with those classic sites that Peru offers. A off-road tour, though more expensive, allows you to reconcile the two things and so it was.
Arrival to the capital Lima, an obligatory passage, and visit to the city, a short visit also because there are not many points of interest. The Miraflores district is certainly the most modern, elegant and sought after with its large avenues and day and night life. In the center of the city are the points of greatest tourist interest, the area of the great institutional buildings, the colonial-style cathedral, the central and popular Plaza de Armas and the National Archaeological Museum. The latter certainly deserves a visit, here are collected the main and most important findings found in many sites of the country. The visit follows an inevitable historical path that begins around 4000 years BC. until the Inca disappearance.

Ballestas islands

After this short stay in the capital, we start south along the Pan-American road until we reach the town of Pisco where we embark for visiting the Ballestas islands. This excursion is generally an obligatory passage for all those who visit the country and we see, large numbers of tourists crowd at the pier where many boats of 20 people take passengers to the islands that are about 40 minutes from the coast. Undoubtedly a very suggestive natural show, the islands are made up of real islands and a large number of small and large rocks without vegetation. The continuous erosion caused by the ocean and the wind shapes the islands creating arched passages, caves, small angular and dangerous inlets, high spiers emerging from the sea, all populated by an incredible amount of animals, the birds are so many to cover whole floors and rocky ridges, you can see cormorants, goslings, gulls, pelicans, etc. many on the ground but also many in flight. There is no shortage of penguins, seals, sea lions and sea lions that occupy a little 'all the small spaces available given the rocky nature of the islands, often there are diatribes for the best positions. A concentration of animals and wild nature really difficult to see so easily in other areas of the planet, this thanks to the huge amount of fish present in these waters due to the Humboldt sea current. Many animals in little space also create other consequences such as the presence of large amounts of guano with a consequent unpleasant odor. The visit does not last long and the high number of spears in the area means that it is often necessary to wait for your turn to enter and visit the small most interesting bays.

Paracas Reserve

From here we continue towards the Paracas Reserve, a desert and wild area that can be traveled only by off-road if you want to reach the most interesting points. The area is dotted with hills of rock and dust, through gorges and passages you reach the area of the great sand dunes, beautiful heights that the wind shapes continuously creating fantastic designs and scenarios. Continue until you reach the ocean coast with spectacular views of rocky cliffs overlooking the sea, vast deserted beaches that the ocean erodes with its strength and red-billed vultures circling in the sky. Arrival in the evening in a hotel inside a large vineyard discovering the oenological tradition of Peru, its vineyards and its famous distillate, the Pisco.

Nazca

The following day, dedicated to flying over the lines of Nazca, these famous and great drawings in the desert of which the meaning is not known with certainty, which opened the door to fancy conjectures. Along the Panamericana road there is a point that touches some drawings and it is possible to stop and admire them from a platform raised from the ground (about 15 meters), but the vision is only partial. There are several airlines that leave from the small airport of Nazca, all adopt single-engine pairs of 6-8 seats including the crew. The interior space is contained and the noise annoying but worth it. The fly-over provides a double passage for each design, the plane is tilted first on one side and then on the other so as to allow all passengers to see the drawings well. The vision is good even if the contrast is low and this generates some difficulties in taking good pictures. In fact it seems incredible how this pre-Incas civilization of Nazca managed to create such large and perfect drawings from the ground as the monkey, the colibri, the astronaut, the spider, the condor, etc.

St. Fernando Reserve

The next stop is the reserve of St. Fernando, another desert and wild area to discover off-road. Even here large stony and dusty but suggestive spaces, the morning mist creates unusual sceneries between valleys and mountain peaks with reddish colors. You reach the area of the great sand dunes as in Paracas, dunes designed by the wind with soft curves to walk pleasantly on foot, and here is an unexpected and close encounter with a fox of the desert ..... Arrived on the ocean coast, here appear a wild landscape consisting of inlets, coastlines overlooking the sea, islets, rocky languages inhabited by birds, sea otters, penguins and sea lions.
The tour continues south along the Pacific coast up to Matarani where you start to climb to reach Arequipa. This is the stretch of road that can create some problems just because you climb at high altitudes to reach the plateau about 2,300 meters above sea level.

Arequipa

Arequipa, declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is a splendid colonial city called "white city" due to its constructions in volcanic white tuff. The city is surrounded by three impressive volcanoes that reach 6,000 meters above sea level, its historic center is lively, full of important buildings and baroque churches, shops, restaurants and various venues. The majestic 17th century neo-Renaissance cathedral overlooks the Plaza de Armas heart of the city, including the Jesuit Monastery and the Santa Catalina Monastery, which are important examples of colonial architecture. Interesting is the Museum where the pre-incaic mummy "Juanita" is preserved, through which the complicated rite of human sacrifice of these populations has been reconstructed.
From Arequipa to Chivay to reach the Colca valley through the Patapampa pass at 4.900 meters, a passage that physically feels for those not used to these altitudes.

Colca Canyon

Chivay is a passing town for tourists but I assure you that it represents the true Peruvian reality and deserves a visit. Here the rhythms are slow, the simple people, the poor housing, the market in the city center with the meat area, with the fruit stalls, of clothing items, of hot dishes cooked on the spot is the mirror of what are the habits of these populations. From Chivay it starts to reach the Colca Canyon deep 3,270 meters is the second highest canyon in the world, almost twice that of the Colorado (Gran Canyon), a show !!! From here you can observe comfortably (there are platforms specially equipped) and Andean condors who get up in the morning taking advantage of the air currents ascensional canyon. These, which are the largest birds in the world, make close passages to the observation points allowing a perfect view.

Titicaca lake

The journey continues towards Puno through the "puna" desert plateau, at an average altitude of 4000 meters, in the landscape of the Central Cordillera where you can see colonies of flamingos and Andean camelids, at the edge of the colorful lagoons. Stop to visit the preincaic necropolis of Sillustani, used by the Tiahuanaco andines for the burial of kings, whose tombs have been partially destroyed by looting and lightning. Finally we arrive in Puno, a city on Lake Titicaca, a huge lake that looks like a sea is so vast, only here we are at 3,800 meters of height .... According to an Andean legend, from the foam of Lake Titicaca emerged Manco Kapac and Mama Ocllo, the founders of the dynasty of the Sun. Together they set out on new territories in the Andes, giving rise to the culture and history of the Inca people. At the port of Puno many tour operators organize day trips that include two destinations, the floating islands and the island of Taquile.
The floating islands are located in the nearby little bay of Juli and are immersed in an area where a robust rush is growing a fundamental element of the ancient population of the Uros. The reed came and is used to create floating islands where everything is based on this vegetable, not only the creation of the base of support of the individual islands, but also the "terrain" on which to walk, the huts in which to live, the beds and shelves, boats for sailing and fishing, some tools, etc. The inhabitants of these islands have abandoned the difficult life of their ancestors based above all on fishing, the simplest and most profitable tourism. The boats that take tourists (of the lances with about 20 passengers) head in the various reed islands avoiding overlaps. The group of tourists arrives on one of these islands and is welcomed by men, women and children in traditional clothes. The visit consists of explaining how the islands are built and maintained, illustrating the daily life and then proposing handicrafts as souvenirs, all very touristic, even if of some interest. From the islands we leave for the island of Taquile which requires a couple of hours of navigation. Once you get off the island, you go through a panoramic alley that crosses the island before reaching the town. Along the way you can admire interesting views of the terraces and intersect local women and men fully dressed in traditional clothes !!!. Arrived in the small town, women offer products of their crafts that consists of various clothing based on sheep's wool or alpaca. In the small square, with a panoramic view of the lake, there is a small and simple church, next to it there is an emporium of a cooperative that manages the production and marketing of fabrics and items produced on the island. And it is here that I learned that the local tradition wants only men to work with crochet.

Tinajani canyon

From Puno we depart with destination Cuszo crossing the pass La Raya which is located at 4.300 mt. Now the altitude is no longer afraid, the physique has become accustomed. Along the road we turn to reach the Canyon of Tinajani, a beautiful canyon created by an Andean stream that over the millennia has worked on a plateau highlighting rocks below by the intense red color, erosion that led to the formation of high cliffs and the separation of parts of rock so as to create the highest pinnacles, a true spectacle of nature. Covering it all with the off-road you can admire the various stretches of cliffs, large rocks and inland valleys. At the end of the canyon here is an area where Puja grows, an endemic plant that the Milanese botanist Antonio Raimondi discovered towards the end of the 800 in the area of Chavín of Huantar, in the north of Peru.

Cuzco

After the visit to the canyon, take the road to Cusco and start the road of Andean Baroque, a path that sees some churches representative of this architectural style that derives from the European baroque brought to its time by the Spanish conquistadors. The chapel of the virgin purified in Wari, the church of St. John the Baptist in Huaro, the church of St. Peter the apostle of Andahuaylillas, considered the Sistine Chapel of South America, and finally the Church of the Society of Jesus in the main square of Cuzco. This city is the focal point of a whole series of excursions to discover the Inca civilization that here had its cradle. Not far from the city we visit the Inca fortress of Sacsayhwaman, a splendid archaeological site where you can admire the great constructive capacity of the Inca who could also work large rocks to build walls, buildings, temples, etc., without the use of aggregating mortars making them fit perfectly, a feature that gave the buildings a good resistance to earthquakes. Other sites around Cuzco are those of Tambomachay where few buildings have remained, and that of Quenqo, now a disordered set of rocks with some caverns. The Moray site is very spectacular where the Inca have exploited the favorable conformation of the territory to make large inverted conical terraces in which various plants were grown, practically large nurseries. Another show are the salt pans of Moras, an incredible quantity of settling tanks placed on the side of a mountain from which flows a water rich in salts that the Inca had already learned to use. Even today, the processing for the recovery of salt is done manually with the use of simple tools such as shovels, rakes, septa, etc.
Always present in the various travel programs we find the Andean village of Chincheros where, in the colonial church, you can see interesting paintings and frescoes from the 1600s of the famous school of colonial painting cusqueña. In the square outside, many women sell clothes, fabrics and colorful clothing made with fine wool.
Always present in the various travel programs we find the Andean village of Chincheros where, in the colonial church, you can see interesting paintings and frescoes from the 1600s of the famous school of colonial painting cusqueña. In the square outside, many women sell clothes, fabrics and colorful clothing made with fine wool.
Cuzco city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with churches and palaces built on the foundations of the Inca temples is another treasure trove of history. Of this desire, on the part of the Spanish conquistadors to emphasize the religious supremacy of Christianity, there is evidence in the church and convent of San Domenico, built on the Inca temple dedicated to Viracocha whose walls were covered with gold leafs, In the internal cloister of the convent are visible the remains of some temples with walls that thin upwards, examples of the trapezoidal architecture of the Inca. The stone blocks are interlocked in each other in such a precise way, without aggregating mortars, that it is not possible to distinguish the point of conjunction.
The city also offers other interesting buildings such as the cathedral, also built on the foundations of what was one of the most important palaces of the Inca period, and the Church of the Society of Jesus, a great example of the Andean Baroque, both overlook the central Plaza de Armas heart of the city. To visit absolutely the characteristic district of San Blas called "of the artisans". Between its narrow streets, with sidewalks that sometimes do not reach 50 cm, there are many and varied craft activities, small shops or laboratories where you can see how the products are created as clothing items also custom-made, shoes, frames, wooden products, costume jewelery, paintings, etc. ideal for looking for a gift or a souvenir produced locally and not imported from who knows where. In the Art workshops, paintings continue to be produced following the style of the Andean Baroque, reproducing and interpreting the classic iconography of the past. In the workshops the masters guide groups of artists specialized in a specific part of the work that eventually leads to the creation of collective works and, for this reason, rarely signed; a person in charge prepares the canvases on which he will have to paint, another traces the drawing, then there are those who prepare the background colors, the shadings, the incarnates and the rich golden decorations.

Machu Picchu

And here we are facing the most famous archaeological site in South America. To reach it you must use a narrow gauge train that starts from the town of Ollantaytambo. The latter also has an important Inca site, impressive terracing that develops on the side of a mountain on top of which is the temple of the Sun in addition to other buildings with military and defense purposes. With the train you reach Aguas Calientes, a country literally stuck in a narrow valley, built only for tourism purposes, so full of restaurants and hotels because it is from here that the buses that go up to Machu Pucchu. Since the early morning long queues are formed at the stop of shuttles departing for the site, fortunately they are very frequent and operators are very fast in access operations. The dirt road winds through the thick woods and after a noticeable series of hairpin bends you reach the entrance to the site where, inevitably. there are other long lines to enter. Once inside the visitors tend to disperse and the feeling of crush is greatly reduced allowing you to enjoy the spectacle of this site. The fact of re-entering the seven modern wonders of the planet is fully justified, needless to describe it, rivers of ink have been spent for this, an aspect that fascinates and amazes is its position, being surrounded by large cliffs and high mountains its realization must cost a lot for the population considering that it is not a question of four houses or a little more but of an entire city at the time. The site also has its own charm due to the fact that often the surrounding mountains are shrouded by clouds, in particular the mountain seen in the background of the photos called Huayna Picchu or Wayna Picchu that can be climbed for a view from the top of the site. that I have not dealt with.


Peru photo albums

Albums with the most interesting photos of the places visited in my trip to Peru 

Peru photos gallery

Photographs slideshow collected in a single gallery with the most characteristic shots

Peru curiosities

There are several curiosities as the nodes of Quipu or the rare orchids of the Andes .....

Lima climate

Lima climate graph
Climate graph of Lima, month by month, sunny days of rain, precipitation, etc.

Cuzco climate

Cuzco climate graph
Climate graph of Cuzco, month by month, sunny days of rain, precipitation, etc.

Newsletter Alisei


Peru in depth

St. Catalina

St. Catalina Monastery of Arequipa, a citadel inside the city where the novices and nuns ....

Floating Islands

Characteristic floating islands of the Uros, population that lives on the Titicaca lake ....

Andean Baroque

Baroque Andean with its churches full of paintings, statues and golden altars .....

Wild Perù

Video slideshow with photos that tell the wild and little known nature of Peru.


Trips near Peru

Argentina

Exterminate plains, big mountains, glaciers and lots of wild nature in this country

Barbados

Beautiful island linked to English traditions, from white beaches and surrounded by a sea of infinite shades.

Brazil

Great nation of many realities and cultures, a journey that is all a discovery ....

Los Roques

360 atolls that a supreme hand has laid out like stardust on a coral reef ......

Martinique

Caribbean island of the Lesser Antilles together with Guadeloupe and Dominica, French protectorate ......