I have come to a conclusion that when there is a bus ride that is more than 12 hours, a Cama (bed) seat is a must whenever available. It is a 20++ hours journey by bus from Cuzco to Lima but it felt like nothing because the seat was so big and comfortable. Buses from each company arrive at its own terminal so I again had to take a cab to the Pariwana hostel in Miraflores area. Lima is a big city but pretty easy to navigate, at least for the places that I needed to go. I had some shopping to do as my luggage broke and I left my bath towel in Cuzco. I was told by the hostel staff that the cheapest place to shop for almost anything is the Polvos Azules in Central which is a 15 min collective ride away. I got a large rolling luggage for 75 soles (which broke one month later, you get what you pay for) and a bath towel for 20 soles. Peru is a pretty rich country from what I see the cars on the street and the public infrastructures. Almost every traffic light has the countdown timer for pedestrians in town. There is not a lot to see in Lima other than the Governmental office building around the central square that I don’t even remember the name. But I still think it is a nice city to stop for a few days. I stayed for two nights then continued to head north to Mancora which is a small beach town. I chose to stop at Mancora because I saw a lot of hostels listed on hostelworld.com and figured it might be a nice place to stop for a day and it turned out right. The weather was perfect and the town was lovely. Walking on the beach after meal was the only activity I did. Oh yeah and lying on the hammock by the pool in the Loki hostel wasting some time. Life is simple and good!
Near the central square
Mayor's office building I think?
Loki hostel in Mancora
Posted in Peru
Tagged Lima, Mancora, Peru
I originally intended to visit Copacabana for the Isla del Sol and then Puno for Lake Titicaca before Cuzco. However there was some strike and road blocks happening at the Peruvian side of the border and the custom office had been closed indefinitely because some Canadian mining company wanted to do some mining in Lake Titicaca. The strike had been going on for about a month when I got to La Paz. I didn’t want to get stuck in La Paz and wait since I found nothing to do in town so I took the detour through Arica in Chile and then Tacna and Arequipa to get to Cuzco. The whole journey took almost 24 hours but I took a break in Arica as it was already getting dark when I arrived. I want to say that the border crossing on this route between Bolivia and Chile is a real pain. Even though both custom offices are at the same point, it is the longest border crossing I have ever experienced especially when entering Chile. Custom officials take their time checking out everyone’s passport and every bag is checked by the police officer. The bus ride from La Paz to Arica was also an ordeal with the heating constantly on even when the ambient temperature is not cold. I got sick after leaving Chile because of the homemade chocolate I ate in La Paz and had a tough overnight bus ride from Arequipa to Cuzco where I puked in my cramped semi-cama seat due to the fact that I was already sick and the quick ascend from sea-level to more than 3000m.
Despite the fact that I got sick and had the worst Chinese food that gave me diarrhea, I love this town from the bottom of my heart. My bus from Arequipa arrived around 5am. City center is so far away from the bus terminal that I took a taxi with my seatmate from the bus as we were heading to the same hostel, Pariwana Hostel. I was so sick that I just wanted to have a quick meal after some sleep so I picked a Chinese restaurant steps away from my hostel. The wonton soup was ok but the chifa (fried rice) was cold and tasted pretty bad. I did not complain as I was too tired to argue in my broken Spanish. This cold stale chifa later gave me a real bad diarrhea for three days that my family traditional medication could not cure. The diarrhea was at last cured by the medication that I bought from a pharmacy in town. Back to topic, after consulting with the travel agency at my hostel, the cheapest way to get to Machu Picchu is to get a cab to the town Ollantaytambo then take Perurail to Aguas Caliente which is 20 minutes by bus below Machu Picchu. July is peak season so train ticket needs to be booked in advance. I stayed for one night at Aguas Caliente and woke up at 3am to catch the bus up to Machu Picchu as I wanted to do Wayna Picchu which only allows 400 visitors a day. I think the term “fml” describes my visit to Machu Picchu very well as it was raining the whole time while I was climbing Wayna Picchu which is not easy to do. And July is supposed to be a rainless month in the region. Muddy trail, slippery narrow steps, rain water drenched jacket and jeans and the cold at 7am, I hate my life. I stayed at the top of Wayna Picchu for about two hours to wait for the rain to stop so I can take better pictures of Machu Picchu. Because of this, I barely had time to explore Macchu Picchu cause my train back to Ollantaytambo leaves at 2.30pm. Overall, it was a very rush and uncomfortable visit of Machu Picchu because of the evil rain that happens in the driest season in the region. Putting Machu Picchu aside, I found very delicious local food in Ollantaytambo and Cuzco for only 3.50 Soles a meal which includes a soup, main course and a drink. It’s the place where you see no gringos but locals. I love the local food in Cuzco!
Some church around Plaza de Armas
Another one in the same square
Nice work on the hills
Ruins at Ollantaytambo aka Sacred Valley
Navigating thru Machu Picchu
Wayna Picchu sits on the peak
Beautiful mountains view
View from Wayna Picchu
The entire Machu Picchu
Looks like the head of a robot
Breathtaking view of this beauty
From another angle
As soon as my tour in Uyuni ended, I hopped on to the night bus that comes to La Paz. More than a third of the journey was unpaved road but the bumpiness was tolerable probably because I was tired. After about 8 hours of bus ride, I finally arrived at the highest capital city in the world. The city of La Paz, sitting at 3600m altitude, is a very nice city to visit. There is not a lot to do in town and the tours available were not my cup of tea. So I only stayed for two nights. I think the most famous tour to go with is “The World’s Most Dangerous Road” aka the death road where you ride a mountain bike downhill. After some research on the internet for the sceneries of the tour, I decided not to go as the scenes that I have seen in Salta were a lot more scenic than this death road. Other tour that a lot of people do is the jungle tour which I had already done in Brazil. So what I did in this city were just trying street food and stock up some supplies such as shampoo and sunscreen. I also had a haircut here for just US$2. The method and tools they used really reminds me of the haircut I had when I was a child.
A bridge connecting two pedestrian streets
Some high-rise buildings in the city
City hall building
A snow capped mountain