Lake Titicaca, La Paz and Salar de Uyuni

With the excitement and exhaustion of the Inca Trail behind me I was off towards Lake Titicaca, which straddles the border of Peru and Bolivia, for what was planned to be a relaxing few days lakeside before hitting the hustle and bustle of La Paz and paying a visit to the worlds highest salt flats, the Salar de Uyuni. Bolivia was the part of this trip that I was most unsure about – from stories of sketchy characters and neighbourhoods in La Paz to the extremely cold and dry environment of the salt flats, I was excited but also a touch nervous about what the next week was going to bring.  Continue reading

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Cusco and the Inca Trail

Well, after about four weeks of travelling through South America I was in Cusco, getting ready to go on the adventure that was the genesis of this entire trip.  I had secured one of the very limited and highly sought after Inca Trail permits in December last year, and I was set to hike 46km over 3 days and one very early morning, past ancient Incan sites, up and over Dead Woman’s Pass at 4150 metres, through the cloud forest and past the sun gate to one of the 7 wonders of the world, Machu Picchu. I was excited and nervous all at the same time – it was going to be a major physical challenge (particularly as I had spent the last 4 weeks drinking a lot of beer  and eating everything in sight) but I hoped one that I would conquer and be proud of for a very long time.  Continue reading

The Colca Canyon 

Only 5 hours drive from Arequipa you can find the world’s the second deepest canyon, the Colca Canyon. It’s well suited to trekking, if you’re into that sort of thing, and there are numerous tour operators in Arequipa who are more than willing to show you around its depths for two or three days. I did have a few doubts about my abilities, but I signed up to subject my body to the strains of a two day trek anyway – I was ready to really find out how well my body was going to handle exercise at high altitudes before hitting the Inca Trail! Continue reading

Arequipa 

I arrived in Arequipa at 5am, tired and bleary eyed after a long and cold bus journey from the sunny sand dunes of Huacachina. As with many overnight journeys that I’ve had on the trip, I wanted nothing more than a hot shower and a bed on arrival, but once again it wasn’t to be. Instead I asked for a blanket and resigned myself to snuggling up on the couch at my B & B until the sun rose and I could find somewhere that would serve me coffee and eggs.  Continue reading

Paracas and Huacachina, Peru

Before I knew it, my two days in cold and grey Lima were over and I was on my way down the coast in search of bluer skies. I had booked a bus ticket with a company called Peru Hop which would take me all the way through to Arequipa, with various stops and optional tours along the way. The first stop was Paracas, a small seaside town that was a short boat ride away from the Ballestas Islands, dubbed the poor mans Galapagos, which is home to sea lions, Humboldt penguins and a rather awkwardly named bird, the Peruvian booby. After that was Huacachina, a small backpackers haven nestled in the middle of the sand dunes just outside of the town of Ica.  Continue reading

Lima 

I have to admit, I wasn’t very impressed after an overnight flight flying into a dreary, grey Lima morning after 10 days in sunny Cuba. But Lima was only the beginning of an adventure around Peru that was about to begin. From the sprawling city of Lima I would be off to sunny Paracas for a boat ride out to the Ballestas Islands, then to Huacachina to check out the sand dunes and the Pisco vineyards. After that would come a visit to Arequipa to trek through the Colca canyon, before finally flying to Cusco for the Inca Trail. Peru was the biggest portion of my 8 week South America trip and I wasn’t going to let one foggy morning put me off!  Continue reading

Cuba – Vinales and Trinidad 

After our introduction to Havana, we were on the bus for our tour through Vinales, Cienfugos and Trinidad. After a few days in the chaos of Havana, I was actually feeling quite relieved that we had booked into a tour. As far as tours go, it was relatively chilled with just accomodation, transport and breakfast in the casa particulares paid for, with the option to join in with the group for activities and dinners along the way.  Continue reading