Tag Archives: machu picchu

In Search of: The Anticipation of Peru!

One of the best parts of travel is the anticipation that comes with an upcoming trip.  And right now, I’m full to the brim with anticipation.  On April first, I will be boarding a plane for Cusco, Peru!  Okay.  Not exactly accurate.  I will be boarding a plane for Mexico City, then Lima, Peru, then Cusco, Peru!  It’s going to be a damn long day.  But, seriously.  This will be the most awesome trip since the history of awesome.

Why, you ask?  Because I’ve wanted to take this trip for probably five years.  I even planned it.  Twice.  And finally.  Finally, finally, finally — I’m going!  My little self is doing kartwheels in my head right now.  That’s how excited I am.  (I would do actual kartwheels outside, but it’s a little late and kind of cold.)

I work at a private school, and we get two weeks off for spring break.  I had debated taking this trip over winter break, but I decided to move into my awesomesauce apartment instead.  It was a good move — I love the new place.  But the trip truly couldn’t be put off much longer.  My heart couldn’t take it.  Spring break it is!

My friend, Christy, and I fly out on the same day.  We’ll meet at the airport in Cusco and head off to start the adventure!  (I know.  Way too many exclamation points in this post.  But I can’t help it, peeps!!  Excited, I tell you.)  We’ll stay in Cusco a couple of days then be whisked away by train to Aguas Calientes.  Although Aguas Calientes has been described as the hole of all holes when it comes to tourist towns, we’re going to make it amazing.  We’ve got hikes planned up some pretty intimidating mountains (which include some pretty steep ladders).  We’ve got food plans.  Because you can’t visit Peru without tasting the guinea pig.  (Sorry Mr. Guinea.  You were a good pet.)  We’ve got early morning treks to Machu Picchu and photography and videos and dancing in the street planned.  At the end of our time together we’ll spend a couple of days in Ollantaytambo.  Who the hell knows what we’re gonna do there.  But I can promise, you’ll hear all about it when we do it.

After a week in the Cusco area, Christy goes home (sad face).  But I go to the Amazon rainforest (big ass happy face!).  Oh yes.  I’ll be sleeping in a room with 3.5 walls, staring through my mosquito net into the jungle at night.  Creepers.  But all kinds of amazing.  I’m going to climb trees!  I’m going to kayak!  I’m going to bird watch and hike and wander and get lost (but not too lost, ’cause I’ll have a guide).

I’m not sure the word anticipation quite explains what I’m feeling right now.  Freedom?  Exhilaration?  Child-like wonder?  But whatever it is — I’ll take some more of that, please.

Posted in Peru, South America, Trip Planning Also tagged , , , , |

Destination: Peru

Since watching the movie Medicine Man in the eighth grade, I’ve wanted to see the Amazon Rainforest. Something about this destination – rich with biodiversity, much of it untouched by man, humidity, rain, all of it – draws me in. So I’ve finally decided to make the trip.

Part of me is afraid that if I don’t go soon, we will have destroyed it (we being people: ranchers, loggers and the like). I hope that doesn’t end up being the case. Perhaps with carefully planned, sustainable ecotourism, business people in that part of the world will come to see the value of preserving the rainforest and sharing it with generations to come. But rather than delve into the political and economic implications of preserving or not preserving the land, let me tell you about my trip.

I plan to go next July. I thought about going sooner, but factoring in my schedule and the weather over there – July is the best match. I did a lot of research on the various countries which the rainforest encompasses and decided on Peru.

In my information gathering I found another amazing landmark in Peru that I absolutely can’t miss in this lifetime – Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu is The Lost City of the Incas. The Incas started building the city on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley around 1430 AD. Less than a hundred years later, during the time of the Spanish conquest, most of the inhabitants were wiped out by what is now thought to have been small pox. The city was lost to the outside world. In 1911, an American historian stumbled upon this miraculous city, led by a native Quechua boy. The site was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983. The first four days of my trip will be spent in and around Machu Picchu.

Then, I’ll be off to the Amazon Rainforest!  I plan to go with a company called Rainforest Expeditions. They run three Amazon lodges near Puerto Maldonado, Peru. The company runs environmentally conscious, sustainable ecotourism with local guides. The lodges originally started with a research project to protect the local macaw parrots. The research continues to this day.

I’ll spend the first few days at the Refugio Amazonas lodge, a few hours boat ride from Puerto Maldonado. Once there, I’ll spend time searching for camen, hiking the Brazil nut trail, taking in the view from the canopy tower and visiting Oxbow lake.

Next, it’s off to the Tambopata Research Center (TRC), 4.5 hours downriver. TRC is in the heart of the rainforest, more than seven hours by boat from the nearest town. It is rife with flora and fauna and is near the largest macaw clay lick in the world. I’ll spend my days hiking, checking out the palm swamp, the floodplains, bird watching and looking out for the local animals (monkeys, camen and the like).

The trip is going to be fabulous, and I absolutely can’t wait! I’m planning on taking this one solo, but if anyone is interested in tagging along, I’m always up for a good travel partner! Drop me a line.

photo credit: magnusvk

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