A Travellerspoint blog

Cusco & The Sacred Valley

sunny 24 °C

You wont find many better places in the world than Cusco. It is a great little city that really is everyone´s base camp for the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu. It was a slight slap in the face being back up at altitude after our time in the amazon.

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Ian Hudd you would have been proud of this edging.

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One of the women in the foreground must have told a ripiping yarn.

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The next day we were off on a trip through the sacred valley, visiting some little towns, markets and some archeological sites from the mighty Incas. Our last sleep before the Inca Trail was to be spent in a homestay in the village of Ollayantambo.

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Finally saw the mighty condor.

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Checked out the Incas fine work at Pisque.

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These kids said they would pose for me for some money...got the pic, then the bus took off...sorry kids.

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Anyway one more night to pump ourselves up for the next adventure...the Inca Trail.

Posted by chuddfi 06:17 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Amazon Adventures

Well kinda the amazon

sunny 24 °C

When you think of going to the amazon, you think of pissing rain, sleeping in hammocks so the caymans cant get you, and having no touch with the outside world. Not the way that we, and 99% of tourists do it.

A flight to a bustling city Puerto Maldonado, a quick bus ride to the port, and then an hour and a half boat ride down stream brought us to our Amazon adventure. Not exactly the most remote part of the Amazon basin im guessing!

Our accommodation was not what we expected for our ¨roughing it in the jungle experience¨.

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The next couple of days was spent going on little expeditions out into the surrounding jungle. It was great fun and we saw a wonderful part of the world. The river itself was just a river that runs into the Amazon in Brazil, but ive never seen a bigger river in my life, and once again soe cracking sunsets.

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Went fishing for piranhas...caught nothing but a stick.

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This little fella was lurking around.

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Then we hit the jungle on foot, and on random canoe docked in middle of jungle.

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Cant really remember, but either myself or the guide bravely lured this massive tarantula out of his hole. Never seen a bigger spider, except for the ones caged up at that animal freak show in Kuala Lumpar.

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Then over to monkey island to hang out with Mum's descendants.

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Fi showing off that she has had her rabies vaccinations.

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After a couple of great days out with nature, we were back on a plane and heading for Cusco.

Posted by chuddfi 05:54 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Lima

(the city, not Favre´s Mrs)

sunny 21 °C

Did you know that Lima is the second biggest desert city in the world behind Cairo in Egypt. Fascinating isnt it? I didnt know that upon arrival and in the cab was thinking ¨Geez bit of dust about¨. Not much to report here except that after 6 days lying next to a pool in Mancora, hanging out with 8 million Peruvians in Lima was a slight shock. And these pricks have the worst decision making when it comes to walking straight...so many of those awkward moments when you and the oncoming person go left, go right, go left...etc

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Lima went up a notch when we found the spectacular beach set underneath a massive cliff edge.

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Ok ladies and gents...hold onto your hats...on our last night in Lima we went to Circuito Magico de Agua. Which translates roughly to - the worlds biggest collection of fountains. But taking the piss aside it was actually quite impressive. Check out some of the fountains..

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They even had a light and music show in one of them.

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On a positive note, i suppose it means we dont have to take another photo of a fountain this trip.

The following day, we were to be surrounded by water again...but this time a murkier and more mosquito prone version...next stop the mighty Amazon river.

Posted by chuddfi 05:28 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Mancora

more fun in the sun

sunny 30 °C

So it had been over a week of climbing mountains and riding down mountains and all that, and we needed to get back to our home...the beach. Mancora is a lovely little unspoilt fishing and surfing town a couple of hours after the Peruvian border. What a place...the most perfect weather every day, little local bars and foodstalls and a real rustic feel to it. No big shops, no big brands...a real dream destination. And to top it off, the mother of all party hostels - Loki del mar.

I will let the pictures tell the story of our five days in this new paradise.

First up...this was our hostel...

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and this was Mancora

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and some cheap laughs to sign off with

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Next we are off to Lima...and then the amazon...and then the Inca Trail..and then Lake Titicaca

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Posted by chuddfi 16:40 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Cuenca

sunny 24 °C

Cuenca is Ecuador's 3rd biggest city. Not much to report here, just a nice little colourful colonial city to complete our Ecuador experience.

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This place actually had the best looking mannequins ive ever seen...Mount Waverley people, this one reminded me of Lauren Cortez.

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Went to a tourist attraction that rivals the Panama canal as the world's worst...the original city of Cuenca. Basically more ruins...lucky it was free.

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But you wouldnt read about it what we found there...after 3 months of hunting them down we finally found them....albeit in a cage....introducing the tucan!

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Posted by chuddfi 16:18 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Alausi (Johnny Aloisi)

I like trains...

sunny 24 °C

Righto im going to be honest with you all...im going to try and talk up going to a town and riding on a train.

Alausi is a small little mountain town that is famous for its train ride around The Devils Nose. We did 5 hours on a bus from Baños (just wanted to use the ñ again) to get here to ride the train and then get back on the bus for Cuenca.
It is a spectacular loop train ride along the edge of a moutain. Two years ago it was even more spectacular because you used to be able to ride this train on its roof. That stopped when a Japanese tourist was decapitated, ruining it for everyone...RIP though brother.

So here it is, hold onto your hats...photos of trains.

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Went to a train museum...toot toot

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Got a new fave photography trick...taking photos of photos.

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Anyway lets be honest this was simply a spectacular stopover on our route south. Despite all my pisstaking it was well worth it. That same day we got back on a bus and headed further south aiming for the city of Cuenca.

Posted by chuddfi 16:02 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Baños

Using the ñ key is so exciting...

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After the adventure at Cotopaxi it was time for the 4 of us honeymooners to head on down the road a few hours to the adventure capital of Equador - Baños. A ripping little mountain town with every activity from jumping off stuff, to riding down stuff, to flying over stuff, to rafting down stuff...you get my drift.

The town itself is quite a buzzing little joint, plenty of tour companies will take your dollars if you let them, and some really nice places to eat and sleep.

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Pretty sure they would whip you up anything made out of a llama or alpaca if you asked..and think Leah was asking. Where are you going to put all that sh*t?

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Not sure how this joint can justify this advertisement?

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Anyway the one activity i was looking forward more than anything was the sound of hooning down a mountain for 21km on a mountain bike. What a great day indeed. The most spectacular scenery for a bike ride (outside Le Tour). Take note it is not easy to take photos whilst riding down a mountain at incline.

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Stopped off for a cheeky cable car across the valley...$1 a head well worth it!

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Eventually we rolled into the finish line, an impressive waterfall indeed. Cant remember the name of it, but ive said in earlier posts you arent going to learn anything reading this dribble are you now?

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Did i mention our helmets were radical?

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The honeymoon was going well

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Got a bit too close, got soaked, and saw a rainbow...pretty.

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Anyway buggered if we were going to do any uphill riding after all that extreme fun.

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To finish off the perfect day...a rum party. This was just the first half of it...the bus ride the next day was always going to hurt.

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After a few bottles of rum, wine and plenty of beers it was time to officially say "The honeymoon is over", and Fi and i said our sad goodbyes and we were going it alone....down south to Alausi to ride a train.

Posted by chuddfi 15:34 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Volcan Cotopaxi

The best honeymoon i've ever been on...

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After a week of sitting on a boat and eating buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner it was time to do something active. So off we headed to big old Volcan Cotopaxi for a bit of a climb. We were joined by a couple of legends in Olly and Leah. They are a couple of misfits who are from England, but don't write them off for that, they have lived on Bondi Beach in Sydney for 8 years, so now they simply suffer from having their heads up their own arse. To top it off they were celebrating their honeymoon and we were more than happy to help them spice it up a bit by joining them. As it turns out we more than joined them as our time at Cotopaxi was spent sharing a room with them....hot stuff.

First day saw us head off for a little 'warm-up' hike at 3300m through the surrounding forest. We think the guide was just testing us out to see who was going to be useless the next day up the mountain.....we all passed his test.

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Olly the crazy bastard jumped into the near freezing water...well played.

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We just posed from outside the water.

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Day 2 and it was time to head up the big fella. Some stats for you. Volcan Cotopaxi is over 5800 metres high. Our guide drove us up the mountain a bit, and then the hike began...the goal being the refuge at 4800m. The weather (and our attitudes) weren´t good enough to attempt the summit climb like the great Jeremy Poustie and Milo Coker (Waverley Blues FC legends).

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So off we headed, once again chasing the Kenyan Fiona up the hill. With snow hammering in sideways it got quite hairy at times. Fi and the guide were out of sight and the rest of us were huffing and puffing up behind them.

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Eventually we hit the refuge, and waited for the feeling to return in our toes before running back down and getting in the car as quick as we could to get the hell out of there.

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I was in good shape up the top

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On the way back down we stopped off to check out a lake at 3800m but lets be honest it was so friggin cold we didnt care.

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In hindsight the below move was risky

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Then a spectacular drive back down to the hostel to finish the trip.

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next stop Baños...note that is the first time i have been able to use the ñ on the keyboard...a milestone i say.

Posted by chuddfi 14:56 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Galapagos Islands #5

North Seymour Island & Santa Cruz

sunny 26 °C

Our final full day on the islands saw us head to North Seymour island and we were treated to another moment where we just didnt know where to look. Once again the pictures should sum it up better than my dribble.

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The male friget bird attracts the ladies by getting his big red thing out. They were on the prowl this day.

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In the afternoon we hit another great white sand beach. A rare moment saw us witness these crabs ripping a live octopus out of the water. great show from the lads.

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Our last night aboard the Grand Odyssey, and sadly the next day our adventure was over. The 6 days certainly up there in the highlights of our trip so far. A special thanks to our boat mates, in particular Ollie and Bo whose photographic work has appeared amongst our own over the past few posts.

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Posted by chuddfi 21:40 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Galapagos Islands #4

Santa Fe & South Plazas

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Day 4 saw us head to Santa Fe island. The animal of the island being the massive land iguanas. Saw a shark swimming a couple of metres from the shore too, the place we were to snorkel in later that day.

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The island was also home to some photogenic cactus plants.

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And another tough afternoon

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That night we turned on the floodlights off the back of the boat and were treated to a crazy display as sharks circled and chased sea lions around, as hundreds of fish hopelessly tried jumping out of the water. A feeding frenzy was going on under that water, and along with our bottles of rum (smuggled aboard) we had front row seats!

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Posted by chuddfi 21:27 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Galapagos Islands #3

Floreana

sunny 27 °C

Our anticipation was growing to see a bright pink flamingo. I had never seen one before and was hoping we would see one. Sure enough a bunch of them were nice enough to be strutting around with their big sexy legs.

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This island is home to possibly the most beautiful beach we have ever seen. So beautiful noone is actually allowed in the water, on rocks or past the end of the sand...now that´s quality conservation. The beach is covered in turtle nests and obviously everything needs to be done to conserve those lads.

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Most of this day was spent under or ontop of water so the cameras didnt get too much of a hammering. A crazy manta ray jumping around as we entered the water got the blood pumping, and excitement grew as we circled around our first Galapagos turtle. Hope the underwater pics come up a treat!

Posted by chuddfi 21:18 Archived in Ecuador Comments (1)

Galapagos Islands #2

Espanola Island

sunny 26 °C

It´s safe to say that day 1 was just a warmup day and literally from the first step aboard Espanola Island we just didnt know where to look. Within ten metres we had dodged crabs, iguanas and sea lions and that was just on the concrete platform for the boat. I will let the pictures do the talking for this one!

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The island is home to hundreds of Blue Footed Boobies...a unique looking fella indeed.

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Anyway after a few hours of amazing wildlife we were heading back to the boat.

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Did i mention we were on a luxury boat?

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After that morning of fun we checked out what was under the water. A snorkelling experience with heaps of playful sea lions coming along for the journey trying to scare the crap out of us with their little fun moves underwater right at our faces.

After a night of navigation we were looking forward to waking up at Floreana island...with the hope of spotting some flamingos and maybe some turtles under the water!

Posted by chuddfi 21:05 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Galapagos Islands #1

Day 1 - San Cristobal

sunny 25 °C

In one of the luckiest strokes of the trip so far we managed to score a great last minute deal to the Galapagos Islands. A six day cruise and tour through one of the world´s most beautiful places....on a luxury boat! The Galapagos Islands have been created over time by massive volcanoes and hotspots that have seen the rise of these natural wonders. The place is famous for its wildlife and we were looking forward to getting up close and personal with some unusual fellas.

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After flying for 3 hours out to sea we landed on San Cristobal island. This island is home to a tortoise sanctuary aiming to boost the numbers of the population of these rare beasts. Whilst we were there we learnt of the problem surrounding Lonesome George who after many failed mating attempts is the last of his species. A reward worth thousands of dollars has been out there to find a female of the same species for old Georgie to mate with...but to no avail.

In sad news the actual day we arrived back in Quito after the tour the news reported that George had actually died on the Sunday. So we can say that we were there for the death of a species. Sad, but cool.

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Overnight we navigated to the stunning Espanola Island for Day 2 adventures.

Posted by chuddfi 20:49 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Quito

all seasons in one day

Our Ecuadorian experience got off to a poor start at best. Two and a half hours to get a passport stamped meant a night in a damp, crappy hotel on the border, and a couple of bits of pizza for dinner.

But the next day our faith in the place was restored as we rolled into the lovely (and horribly underrated) Quito. We were blown away by this wonderful city. Set at 2850 metres i huffed and puffed my way up sets of stairs and steep hills whilst the Kenyan Fi walked her traditional 5 steps in front of me (thinking of getting a leash for her).

The old town of Quito was built by the Spanish after the Indigenous heard they were coming so trashed the joint they had built just so the Spanish got nothing. A thoughtful surrender. The Spanyolas then proceeded to fill the town with plazas and big white buildings as they always do, and now thanks to Unesco we are looking at one of the world´s great cities.

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This lady is displaying the South American work ethic

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Hiring bikes appeared easy in Quito

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The guy that was making this building wasnt getting paid for his work, and cracked the sh*ts at his boss and got him back a ripper by adding a little piece to the angel.

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On one of the days we headed to the centre of the world! Latitude 0,0,0

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But stealing the show was the spectacular Basilica...

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After a day of running around we managed to score a last minute deal to the Galapagos Islands and were off the next morning.

Posted by chuddfi 20:11 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Popayan & Ipiales

Some quick visits to finish the Colombian adventure.

sunny 26 °C

To complete our wonderful few weeks in Colombia we did some quick visits to a couple of smaller scale towns down south, Popayan and Ipiales.

Popayan was a nice little colonial style town (again) we stopped at for the night to break up the travel.

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At dinner time its safe to say that either myself or the chef misread the menu. What i thought was grilled pork with tomato and pineapple on top, with a salad and mashed potato apparently read Pork with strawberry sauce and cherries on top, with chips on the side. This meal is officially the worst thing we have eaten on this tour.

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The next morning we hit the bus station at 4:40 for the 5am bus to the border. At 7:50 we were on the road and heading south. Ipiales is a border town that is famous for a massive church El Santuario de las Lajas which is built between the deepest gorge you will ever see. Well worth dumping the bags at the bus station and heading out check it out.

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And that brings to an end our Colombian adventure, after a night in a damp, sh*tty hotel the next day we were off to Quito Equador.

Posted by chuddfi 15:14 Archived in Colombia Comments (0)

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