Isla del Sol

Isla del Sol

Lake Titicaca is like the sea and its islands are strongly reminiscent of Mediterranean landscapes. The lake seems to be endless and to extend further and further into the distance like the sea. Its water is deep blue on sunny days and sometimes even on its beaches clear turquoise. The fact that we decided to stay in this atmospheric and stunningly beautiful landscape on the islands of Lake Titicaca was of course inevitable!

Continue reading

, , , ,

Llachon and Isla Taquille

Our Lovely Hosts

After Christmas had passed, we were more than ready to escape from Puno. Our main reason for coming to this region was to visit some of the local traditional communities in the area around the lake. Our first stop was to the Capachica Penninsula, where there are a handfull of tiny communities hugging the rocky mountains wich rise up out of the lake. Besides being nestled in such a gorgeous and untouched landscape, these communities are very infrequently touristed and the only accomodation available on the penninsula is homestay- which of course, is much of the fun!

Continue reading

, , , , , ,

Los Uros

Three Sisters

One of Peru’s top tourist attractions (after Machu Picchu) is the floating reed islands of Uros. We were less than excited about traveling to Uros, but of course we felt that we couldn’t come to Lake Titikaka without visiting this famous sight… The Islands have become very commercial, now relying entirely on tourism for thier existence and livelyhood. Still, thanks to the trusty Polaroid, this short visit was due to be one of the most memorable interactions with local people so far! One of the woman caught sight of my camera and asked about it- Of course, being a good photographer (and a mediocre Spanish speaker), I opted for a demonstation. It caused such a stir that soon all the islanders had gathered around each one yelling ‘Amigo, a mi, por favor!’ One after the other, I shot off the last of the pack of film, which regrettably I didn’t even get copies of before our boat was ready to leave… But the islanders were all so pleased with the unexpected souvenirs brought by the gringos, I’m happy to settle for memories!

Continue reading

, , , , , ,

One week in Hell

Lena on the Peke-Peke

From the highland of Cusco, we headed east for the sweltering jungle port town of Puerto Maldonado. Lena was less than excited, with the prospect of heat and mosquitoes awaiting her. We spent almost two weeks, sweating in hammocks, swatting bugs of all shapes and sizes, riding in rickety canoes called Peke-Pekes headed for strange jungle settlements miles from any roads… I will even admit: It wasn’t the most comfortable two weeks of my life, but it did provide an interesting glimpse at jungle life- The real thing; where everyone’s uncle is a Shaman, small-scale gold mining is the main source of income, and platanos (bananas) are the main source of nutrition.

Continue reading

, , , , , , ,

Sacred Valley

Panorama from Pisac Ruins

The area east of Cusco is called the Sacred Valley, because there are many ancient Inca ruins. We had just come back from Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu, on our way back to Cusco, and we almost passed the Sacred Valley but it seemed it would have been stupid, not to look. Although I was a bit tired of all the Inca ruins, which we had already visited, including Machu Picchu, which is of course difficult to beat, However, from the beginning of the travels I had wanted to see the Sacred Valley. So, we ignored our fatigue and the desire to recover at Casa de Mama a little longer and explored this famous area.

Continue reading

, , , , , , ,

Machu Picchu

The final destination of our Salkantay Trek, was of course the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. I think Machu Picchu itself needs really no introduction… For us, it was the culmination of five rough days in the mountains, and for me: many years of dreams and wondering what such a place could actually be like. I have marveled at the possibility of this place since I was quite young, and came a across some photo in a book somewhere long forgotten. The image stayed in my mind for many years and every time since I came upon a photo of Machu Picchu my childhood wonderment and curiosity never ceased.

Panorama of Machu Picchu Complex

Continue reading

, , , , ,

Salkantay

Apu Salkantay

Lena and I decided to attempt the Salkantay Trail, a 56 km trail beginning in the small town of Mollepata, passing through a 4,800 meter pass next to Apu Salkantay, and finally ending in Aguas Calientes, at the base of Machu Picchu. We made the trek in five days, with no guide, and have put together this report to document our journey. There is a lot of information (and photos!) here, and I have tried to include as much information as possible for someone who wishes to attempt this trek on their own, as well as portray our personal journey on this trail. This post is divided into sections, beginning with an introduction to the trail, followed by a day-by-day summary of our adventures.

The famous Salkantay Trek, named among the 25 best Treks in the World, by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine, is a trek open to everybody, with no limitation on spaces or permits (at least for now). Connecting the city of Mollepata with Machu Picchu, the Salkantay Trek is an ancient and remote footpath located in the same region as the Inca Trail where massive snowcapped mountains collide with lush tropical rain forests.

Located less than fifty miles northwest of the city of Cusco in south central Peru by the Cordillera Vilcabamba and rising to 6271 meters above sea level (20574 ft) Mt. Salkantay is an outstanding glacier-capped summit worshipped for thousands of years by local indians. The name Salkantay is a quechua word meaning “Savage Mountain” (From www.salkantay.org)

Jump to:
Salkantay Introduction
Day 1 – Cusco to Mollepata
Day 2 – Mollepata to Soraypampa
Day 3 – Soraypampa, Abra Salkantay, Huaracmachay, Chaullay
Day 4 – Chaullay, La Playa, Lucmabamba
Day 5 – Lucmabamba, Llactapata, Hydro Electrica, Aguas Calientes

Continue reading

, , , , , , , , , ,

Lena’s Haircut

The Before

OK, this is big news everyone… I know you are all dying to see Machu Picchu pictures, but this is way more important. We have all been waiting a long time for this day! Lena has finally cut her dreads… Of course we’ve captured the whole two-hour long ordeal in glorious stop motion. It was a pretty rough and tedious job for me, and I think pretty painful for Lena. I tried to be as careful as possible, but honestly, I wanted to be finished as fast as possible! In the end though I was pretty proud of my handsome work- Hopefully Lena is too. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time afterwards to have a fashion photo-shoot, so you will have to wait to see some more detailed photos of the amazing work. Trust me though, it’s very chic.

Continue reading

, , , , , ,

Last Days in Cusco

We have been in Cusco for over four weeks now, and what do we have to show? Not so much really (except some handy Spanish conjugations), but we do have a few more photos to share. This place has strangely come to feel a like home, and it will be sad to leave. Lena and I will be heading into the mountains tomorrow, towards Machu Picchu… Hopefully we will be back in another week or two with some more stories to share.

Quechua Women Weaving

Continue reading

, , , , ,

Cusco at Night

Our Street, Aktosycuchi

Finally after a month in Cusco, I was able to drag Lena out of bed into the cold night to experience Cusco at night. The moon was full and high and we waited until as late as we possible could so that there were fewer people and cars on the streets to disturb the photos! It’s a really beautiful city sometimes, and it’s strangely come to feel really a bit like home. Our nice apartment, going to school every morning, walking familiar streets in a foreign country, our favorite bakery, the insane San Pedro market, ruins just a few minutes from the house… It’s a really strange city, but it starts to get to you after a while and I think that though we are both excited to move on and see what’s coming next on this journey- We will both also be a little sad to leave this place…

Continue reading

, , , , , , , ,

prev posts prev posts