Peru 2006

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This trip was taken in late April and early May 2006 and included a few days in Lima, Cuzco, A 4 day hike along the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, and a resort near Puerto Maldonado in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest. Due to continuous flight delays (lots of fog in Lima delaying flights all over the country), we never made it to Lake Titicaca, so that will have to be saved for another trip.

Fog rolling in from the ocean to Lima. Note the highway next to the beach (it's there, hidden by the fog).

Yes, you can burn if suntanning on the foggy beach.

Surfing is popular in Lima, when there is no fog.

Hey, someone forgot to put the maple leaf in the middle of this flag! Or it could be Peru's flag...

The first delay of many with airlines due to the constant fog in Lima. This was only a short 8 hour wait today.

Welcome message on the side of a mountain, Cuzco, elevation 3300m.

Night shots of Cuzco.

Freshly-dyed llama wool.

Spun llama wool.

Weaving carpets.

Children playing. Note the building blocks behind made of mud and straw.

Terraced fields up the mountain and a small village.

There's terraced fields everywhere and they are only accessible by foot.

Popular 'frog' game where brass pucks are tossed and you score points for getting them into the holes or the frog's mouth.

Pets to North Americans, dinner to South Americans.

Corn and potatoes are staples of the Peruvian diet. Corn is also fermented into an alcoholic drink.

Why would anyone in their right mind build a storage building on the side of a mountain?!

Football is very popular in South America; we North Americans call it "soccer".

More fields, this time not terraced up the side of a mountain.

Vendors make their last sales prior to the start of the Inca trail. Walking sticks go for about US$1.

We started at Km 82 for the Inca trail. Machu Picchu is at Km 112.

Trail porters check in at the start of the trail. They are strictly limited to 25 Kg and will be weighed in and checked along the trail.

The first day of hiking is relatively flat and we pass a few ruins along the way.

Stopping at a stream to cool off.

Campground for the first night. Porters set up your tents and feed you 3 meals a day plus snacks.

Tent overlooking the start of the climb to Dead Woman's Pass.

View from the top of Dead Woman's Pass (because it looks like a dead woman), elevation 4200m and the highest point on the trail. We hiked up from the lowest point you can see.

Lunch siesta after the pass. Still one more pass to go today, although it won't be as high.

More ruins along the way and an excuse to stop hiking for a while.

The smoothness of the rocks indicate the importance of the structure. Also the forest quickly takes over the rocks if they are not maintained and cleared regularly.

On the second day we move from desert-like conditions to rainforest. That's bamboo surrounding the trail.

Sunrise over the campground on day 3.

It is strange to be in the rainforest and be able to see arid mountains and then snow-capped peaks.

Overlooking the back side of Machu Picchu mountain (bottom right corner).

More ruins along the trail. They sure liked building terraces on the side of mountains.

Beware of the Spectacle Bear (=Paddington Bear) that lives in the forest.

View from the ruin down to the river and train track, which is the only other way to get to Machu Picchu (no road access).

Squash plants are everywhere and are native to South America.

That sure most of been a lot of work to build.

Houses at another ruin along the way.

Due to a landslide along the trail just before Machu Picchu, we hiked down to the train track and stayed the night at Aqua Calientes, a small town at the base of Machu Picchu.

Here comes the train. I made sure to put some coins on the track just before the train came by. Note what the porters carry: this one has the camp stools on his back.

Just before sunrise at Machu Picchu.

You can take some interesting photos in the fog.

The fog was actually appreciated in the morning.

Machu Picchu at sunrise and Wayna Picchu (small mountain) in the background.

Garden at Machu Picchu; the soil was brought here from the rainforest.

Llamas roam the grounds, likely for the tourists to take pictures of them and to keep the grass short.

View of Machu Picchu from the steep hike up to Wayna Picchu. From Aqua Calientes you can take a bus up to Machu Picchu (30 mins and a lot of hairpin turns) or hike (60 mins).

Now off to the rainforest. This is a termite nest in a tree.

Giant spider web maintained by many spiders. It will capture large prey like birds.

Poor nutrient soils mean the trees need to stabilize with many base roots.

A tree that moves? The walking palm can move up to 10 cm/year by sending down new roots in the direction it wants to travel and by disconnecting roots behind its walking direction.

A boat ride in an oxbow lake.

Let's just see what fish live in this lake...

Tropical fish in the lake.

Giant fig tree. Note the root structure.

Cut down tree with the neat root structure.

Capybaras are the world's largest rodent and live on the riverbank. They are mainly eaten by Caimans (similar to crocodiles and alligators).

Our rainforest cabin. No electricity, so candles and torches are used at night. There was hot water heated by solar panels.

What's the difference between a moth and a butterfly? Moths land with wings open, Butterflies shut theirs.

Banana boat.

Freshly-picked bananas.


Palm tree with rather sharp thorns.

Dragonblood tree. Apparently the sap can instantly stop bleeding and will also help reduce fresh scars.

More bananas.

Opening of a cocca fruit.

So this is where chocolate comes from!

Night time caiman hunting.

Leaf-cutter ants carry cut leaves for 100's of m and then grow mold on them to eat.


Those teeth are sharp, but primarily to chew fruits and nuts that fall into the water. A pyranha diet is about 80% vegetarian.

I caught a pyranha too!

Lunch always tastes better when wrapped in a banana leaf!

Discarded stuffed rabbit at the airport.

Well that's a very cool pet!

While waiting for our flight back to Lima (another 8 hour delay), meant some dancing and games with kids to kill time.
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