2022 Trip to Peru: Lima, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Puno and Sandoval Lake Lodge (Amazon)
June 11th to 27th, 2022
Lima was the base for this trip, arranged by Adventure Travel and Lima Tours - originally for March of 2020! We stayed at the Casa Andina Premium in Miraflores, initially and between visits to other locations in Peru, which we reached either by minibus or flights on Latam Airlines.
The weather in Lima was almost always humid, not quite fog, but close. The city overall is a bit gray, but Miraflores was nicer, and there are nice restaurants and parks near the coast. Two highlights of the first tour of Lima were the Aliaga House and the fantastic collection of the Larco Museum. We had a nice dinner at the Larco, and another fine dining experience at Astrid & Gaston.
Later in the trip, we looped back to Lima and visited Love Park, one of a number of themed parks along the waterfront, toured the bohemian Barranco district and ate at an excellent oceanside restaurant.
Cusco We flew to Cusco and stayed at the Palacio Del Inka, to which we would return after visiting the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. The Santo Domingo Convent in Cusco was built over the Inca Coricancha Temple, our first exposure to the Inca stonework, which was to be found throughout most of the sites we visited. We went to Sacsayhuaman, a fortress and battleground where the Incas resisted the Spanish conquistadores. Cusco and Sacsayhuaman
Ollantaytambo and Yucay
From Cusco by minibus, we first visted Ollantaytambo. This impressive site has long flights of stairs leading up the ruins, which were both a fort and an unfinished temple site for the Incas. At about 9000ft elevation, you can really feel the altitude going up those stairs, but it provides a great view of the valley.
After a nice stop for lunch, we went to the Living Museum of Yucay, a collective with individual craft demonstrations and shops: jewelry, chi-cha production, and a chance to feed the llamas. Ollantaytambo and Yucay
Chincero, Moray and Maras
The next day was spent at three sites in the Sacred Valley: Chinchero, Moray and Maras. As we went up the hill to visit the church and Incan ruins at Chinchero, we stopped at a shop where a man was carving intrinicate designs into guords. A parade marched by on a side-street and some sort of ceremony was going on in the plaza in front of the church.
Moray is known for its concentric terraces: this was an agricultural laboratory for the Incas, where they could work on developing varieties of potato and maize (thousands!). Maras is a system of salt evaporation pans, fed by hot springs, which has continued producing salt since Inca times.
A trip to the famous Machu Picchu site was next: we arrived by train from Urrubamba, stayed overnight at Machu Picchu and returned to the site the next day, then took the train back. Machu Picchu
Andahuaylillas, Pikillaqta and Tipon
From Cusco, we went to three nearby sites: Andahuaylillas, where we had to wait for Mass to finish before going inside Iglesia de San Pedro. The outside of the church seen in these photos is modest, but the interior has been called the Sistine Chapel of the Andes (unfortunately, no photos permitted inside).
Along the way, we stopped at one of the many roadside stops for Pan Chuta (indicated by yellow plastic bags), a local bread that we all shared and enjoyed. Pikillaqta was a pre-Incan walled city built by the Wari. Tipon had Incan terraced aquaducts, which still function today.
After circling back to Cusco, we fly to Puno to go out on Lake Titicaca. We visited the floating island of Uros and the solid rock island of Taquile and had excellent lake trout for lunch. Lake Titicaca
Sandoval Lake Lodge
After a return to Lima, a portion of our group continued on for the Amazon Experience: staying at Sandoval Lake Lodge in the Amazon jungle. We flew to Puerto Maldonado, took a minibus to a motor boat which took us up Rio Madre de Dios, then we hiked along a boardwalk path to get to a canoe which took us up the Tambopata River to the lodge on the lake (in the Tambopata Reserve). Lago Sandoval
Once there, we would go out on the lake, early in the morning and at sunset, and look at the flora and fauna: birds, caiman, monkeys...but the most entertaining were the river otters, a family of five, who we visited a few times.