LASA Tour 2009-10
Mon 21 Dec 2009 - Tue 12 Jan 2010 30 °C
Well luckily the bus was waiting for us at the border but it was a hassel you don't need in the middle of the night.
It was a bit more complicated to get here than I expected as the bus stopped at Piura and there were no buses until midnight. Piura seemed very rough and I was keen to leave so we took a bus to Chiclayo which is half way and from there got a bus almost right away to Trujillo. I first visited Trujillo in 2005 and was pleased to be returning as I didn't have any photos from my first visit, but I guess now I still don't!
There are a few archaeological sites that are older than the Inca ruins. The first we visited was the Chimu mud city of Chan Chan. This dates back to 850 AD. It is really impressive and they are still excavating parts of it. Then we visited Huaca De La Luna. This is another great place. The city has five levels where each time they re-built the city they built it on top of the old one. Due to damage from the Spanish and looters you can see some of the original walls which have been built on by the more recent ones. They have also retained their original colour even though they are more than a thousand years old. I think it's time to moan about the photos again
Near Trujillo is Huanchaco and here they serve the best ceviche. It's also a good place to surf if you are in to that, which I'm not but the ceviche makes it worth the visit.
After a bus journey through the night we arrived at Huaraz. This town is next to Huascarán National Park and you can see the snow capped mountains from here. Huascarán is the highest peak in Perú at 6,768 metres but I didn't fancy climbing it.
To visit the National Park we took a bus to Yungay, this town was completely wiped out by the Ancash earthquake of 1970. Read the link below if you're interested.
We visited an amazing laguna called Llanganuco which is right next to the Huascarán peak.
The next day we done a trek to Churup Laguna. This turned out to be one of the hardest, and dangerous, treks I have done. The first three hours weren't tough even though they were all up hill. Then we arrived at the start of the churup mountain which is also in the national park. A worker told us it would only take an hour at the most to get to the laguna but stick to the right hand path as the other is dangerous. After another three hours of steep trekking I was beginning to think I had taken the wrong path. Then the trekking turned into rock climbing alongside a waterfall which made everything slippery. Even though we were so close they was no way we could make it as the climb was dangerous. We had our lunch on a ledge beside the waterfall. Then we discovered we couldn't get down! How did we manage to get up there? I was close to panic and Margarita was in tears. It was so difficult climbing down as we couldn't get any grip. There were two occaisions when it seemed it would be impossible but we did eventually make it back. Looking at the map at the front of the national park I guess I should of gone the right side of the waterfall but the path was not very clear. Also lucky we didn't stay stuck and wait for help as the park guard had gone home. Surprisingly I really enjoyed the experience but it could of been a disaster so hope I am more careful next time.
We also done a tour to the ruins of Chavin, the ride there was really scenic although the ruins themselves are not great as they haven't done a lot of excavation or restauration work.
Huaraz is a great place to visit offering lots of treks. I am definately coming back one day soon.
The bus ride to Lima took longer due to gearbox problems. This meant we arrived when it was dark and all the buses to Arequipa were full. The next day we went to take the bus, they all leave from the Victoria area which is a real dodgy place. We were in a restaurant ordering lunch when a man stopped and picked up 50 cents from beneath our table and gave it to me. I thought this was strange and when I looked over at our bags the one with the passports and creditcards was missing. I ran as fast as I could in me sandals looking for the thief. Fortunately when I got to the end of the street a waiter was walking back with the bag. He had seen the whole thing and chased the theif. We had been very lucky.
This city is night to the volcanos of Misty and Chanchani, which I failed to get to the summit of three years ago. In that time the snow caps have disappeared.
We done the Colca Canyon tour which is three days and two nights. You get driven to Chivay and there are look out points nearby where you can take photos of the condors. I was disappointed as they were many tourist at this point and also the condors we spotted were too far away to get a decent photo. Then on to another town for lunch and then we trek down the canyon to some homes where you sleep for the night. The deepest part of the canyon is 4,160 metres but this part was around 1,500 metres. The next day we trek along the canyon to our next hut site. In this place were loadsa mozzies and they really enjoyed the meal I provided them. The final day was ofcourse the ascent back up. As soon as I had got to the top fours condors flew overhead, I managed to get a couple of photos. This made it the perfect tour. Is it time to moan about the loss of the photos again?
The first three days were spent in three different hotels as there was always something wrong. Even the one we stayed in had the smallest shower I have ever seen and a strange smell.
We spent days visiting the ruins and markets in Pisaq, Ollantytambo and Saqyshuaman. I love this places and there is even an new temple of the moon that has been discovered recently. As it was the rainy season there were showers most afternoons. We was planning on doing the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu. This is five days long and pretty tough. A guide advised us against it and the recent news has proved it the right decision not to do it. I was more disappointed for Margarita as I had done the Inca trail before. I promised her to do it on our next tour. Also I wanna visit the Wari ruins near Pikillacta as due to the rain I only got a brief glimpse. So we left Cusco after just five days but on the last day it rained non stop for over twelve hours so it was definately the right option.
The bus ride was a first for me as I had never had a leaking roof before. On the Perú side from Puno you can take a tour to the floating islands of Uros. Even though I had done this before it was good fun as the experience was different as the familys we visited were more fun. One lady got Margarita to dress up in her clothes and when we left they sang us songs in six different languages, including Japonese and English.
On the Bolivian side Copacabana had got a lot more popular than my previous visit. From here you take a boat to Isla Del Sol and walk from one end of it to the other which takes about three hours and has amazing views. The water is cleaner than the Perú side and the weather better too. We were told the we had to pay pasage in both the north and south end to the local community. Then near the south side two extremley old men were trying to charge us again. I explained to them that we had already paid and they said it was another cumminty. After I shouted at them they let us through without paying. Back on the boat I check our pasage reciepts and it turns out that the old men were right and I should of paid them and not the community before. Sorry old chaps. Especially as it's only 5 Bolivianos, less than 50p!
And one last complaint about me lost photos