Peru trip

Andes, Marcavalle, Cusco, Chanapate, Qotakalli, Killki, Wari, Araway, Pikillaqta, Inkas, Amazonian, Tawantinsuyu, | Lima, Peru, Pizarro, Miraflores, Embajadores, Museo de La Nacion, Sante Domingo, San Francisco, La Catedral, | Cuzco, Pisac,Pisac Royal Inca, Pisac ruins, | Chinchero, Salinas, Moray, Ollantaytambo, Sacred valley, | Macchu Picchu, Lost City, Bingham, Ollanta, Sacred valley, Aguas Calientes, Cordillera Blanca, Urumbamba, Ittihuatana, Huayna Picchu, | Royal Inka II, Mountain Sickness, Sante Domingo, Coricancha, Cuzco, Inca, La Catedral, Jesus Maria, El Triunfo, Cuzco visitor ticket, Saqsaywaman, Q'enqo, Tambo Machay, Pucu Picara, Coca tea | Puerto Maldonado, Yellow Fever, Rio Madre de Dios, Cuzco Amazonico Lodge, Caiman, Sandoval, Macaw, Tapir, Humming birds, Butterfly's, Brazil nuts, Monkey's, Coca leafs, Lima, |

** Click Images to enlarge **

mascara-viva After migration of people out of Asia some thirty-thousand years ago, cultural development in the southern Andes began some ten-thousand years ago. The hunters and gatherers 12000 BC, who preceded the high altitude farmers 7000 BC were first. Their development took place in, a region extremely remote from Marcavalle the ultimate location of Cusco. The hunters and gatherers were followed by the Chanapata, Qotakalli, Killki, Wari, and Araway. The Wari were an important presence during the middle period of the Andean cultural development, establishing urban centers, such as Pikillaqta. The founding of Lucre signalled the beginning of the Inkas. The Inkas ruled for a relatively brief time 800-1533 AC, but during this time they brought together advances from the coastal, mountain, and Amazonian cultures that preceded them. However, the factors that gave rise to the Incas' development would not have been of particular interest to scholars, if not for the size and complexity their culture reached. One of the primary bases for the Inkas' importance lies in the size of their empire, Tawantinsuyu - The empire of the four Quarters of the World. The four directional lines (north-east, north-west, south-east, and south-west) that divided Tawantinsuyu into the four quarters originated from a point in Cuzco, the capital city and symbolic center of the Inka world. Tawantinsuyu reached from the extreme southern part of Columbia, south to the central part of Chile and the northern part of Argentina, including the high plateau (altiplano) and the mountains of Bolivia. The development of the Inkas from the small Cuzco valley demonstrates their uniqueness. Their developments in technology, social organization, economy and ideology were unequalled by the cultures that preceded them. They borrowed heavily from other cultures in the region, but in doing so, put their own distinct stamp on everything they borrowed. Because they effectively incorporated other cultures into their own, their ideology and particular system spread consistently for three thousand kilometers from the capital, Cuzco. The buildings and urban centers of the Inkas, build with knowledge out of the Tiahuanaco culture, are unbelievable, and can be found up to two thousand kilometers from Cuzco. Their stonework, done with copper, bronze, and stone tools, some originally covered with gold, is unrivalled. Their jewelry and ornamentations from pure gold are marvellous. In 1532 with the cruel invasion of the Spanish under Pizarro, the independent development of the Inkan culture was interrupted. They conquered the Inkas, murdered the rulers, and attempted to change the Ikan religion, destroyed all the Temples, using the foundations for Catholic churches and robbed the gold, silver and jewellers. Less well known, but equally true, is that the Inkas were the last in a long series of unique Peruvian civilizations spanning thousands of years.

Childeren Our tour operator was Nuevo Mundo and we started in Lima, the capital of Peru. Almost a third of Peru's 24 million inhabitants live in Lima, making most of the city overcrowded, polluted an noisy. Lima's location gives it a climate and environment that can only be described as dismal. The coastal fog, known as graúa, blots out the sun and blanket the city buildings in a fine gray mist. The city was founded by Pizarro in 1535 and several times destroyed by earthquakes. The suburb Miraflores is the best place to stay. Many of the best restaurants, shopping centers, and entertainments area's found here. We stayed in hotel Embajadores, Jan Fanning 320, very close to the beach and the Av. J. Larco, a very good place to stay.
In Lima we visited the Museo de La Nacion, Janvier Prado East 2465, which offer a permanent exhibition of artifacts from the first inhabitants of Ancient Peru up to the Inca Empire, in chronologically order. You can clearly see that some preceding cultures made finer arts than out of the Inca period.
The collection of the Gold Museum was on journey to Bolivia so we didn't visit the Gold Museum.
The construction of the Church Sante Domingo began in 1540 and finished in 1599. The structure survived the earthquakes reasonable well but much of the interior was modernized late 18th century. There are pleasantly quiet cloisters in which you can walk and relax.
The Church and Monastery San Francisco is famous for its catacombs and library, where you can see thousands of antique texts, some dating back to the time of the conquistadors. The 1970 earthquake caused consideral damage but much has been well restored in its original baroque style. The underground catacombs are the site of an estimated 70,000 burials.
-La Catedral- The original cathedral completed in 1555, was soon deemed to small, and an another planned in its place. Work on the new Cathedral began in 1564 and the building was still under construction when it was consecrated in 1625. It was ready in 1649 but badly damaged during the 1687 earthquake and almost totally destroyed in 1746 by an another earthquake. The finally reconstruction, which is still going on, is based on the original plans. The church is very impressive. Remarkable is that almost all the buildings from Spaniards are damaged by earthquakes but non of the Inca's buildings.

Pisca ruin's From Lima we flew to Cuzco (on domestic airports you have to pay US$4.00 tax) and we travelled direct to Pisac, 32 Km from Cuzco. We stayed there in Pisac Royal Inka Hotel, an old farmhouse, 1.5 Km from town. The climate is pleasant here because the elevation, 2000 meters, is 1400 meters lower then in Cuzco, a very good place to become acclimatized. The Inca ruins 600 meters above our hotel are among my favorites, partly because the walk there is spectacular and partly the site is less visited than others on the tourist circuit. Pisac is particularly well known for its agricultural terracing, which sweeps around the south and east flank of the mountain. Sacred valley Above the terraces are some cliff-hanging footpaths, well defended by massive stone doorways, steep stairways, and at one point a tunnel carved out of the rock. Walking along these paths is exciting - the views are wonderful and a pair of hawks often accompanies you. On the top you will find the well-build rooms, temples and ceremonial baths of the Inca's. On the way back to the hotel we joined a Peruvian country side wedding-party, its really an experience to see how these colorful people merry-making between the pigs and chicken. Some US$ for the bride and they will never forget you.

During a sightseeing trip along the beautiful landscape we visited the local Sunday market at Chinchero and Inca ruins. Chinchereo is a typical Andean Indian village with a Church build on Inca foundations, a massive Inca-wall of 10 huge, trapezoidal niches and the market is full of local people dressed in traditional garb, trying to sell or change some local goods.
Present Inca's Via the beautiful but rough road we drove over the highlands to Salinas, very old Inca salt-mines which are still in use. From above its giving spectacular views over the snow-white salt pans. From Salinas you have also a nice view over the agricultural terraces of Moray dated from the time of the Inca's.
Ollantaytambo is at the end of the road as far as the Sacred Valley is concerned, it is a major Inca site topped with a temple. The site which looks like a massive fortress, is one of the few places where the Spanish lost a battle during the conquest. The Spaniards saw this site as a fortress and not as a temple, which is the reason they didn't destroy it. The enormous stones used for these buildings were quarried from the mountain side 6 Km away, high above the opposite bank of the river. There are many theories how they transported these stones, but non of them sounds very realistic. Below the site is the village of Ollantaytambo, build on traditional Inca foundations and the best surviving example of Inca city planning. During our visit there was a meeting going on from Inca's of many different places in the country, very interesting to see all the different colorful dresses.

Machu Picchu Machu Picchu the Lost City of the Inca's, is South America's best known and most spectacular archaeological site. Despite the tourist influx, the site manages to retain its air of grandeur and mystery and is considered as a highlight for all visitors of Peru. It is not mentioned in any of the chronicles of the Spanish conquistadors and archaeologists today can do no more than speculate on his function. In 1911 a American historian Bingham stumbled almost by accident on it. From 1912 to 1934 a couple of archaeologists cleared the city from the thick forest around. Despite all the studies, knowledge of Machu Picchu remains sketchy. We took the early train from Ollanta through the Sacred valley to Aguas Calientes, from where we took a bus up to the ruins. The location of the ruins, on top of the mountain surrounded by the higher snow-capped mountains of the Cordillera blanca is wonderful, the views in the 1000 meters lower sacred valley with the Urubamba river breath-taking, and the remains are really mysterious. Bingham has given names to some locations within Machu Picchu, Temple of the Three Windows, Temple of Sun, Serpent Window, The Royal Tomb, Caretakers hut, Ittihuatana a astronomical pillar and much much more, it is all mere guess-work of the real functions. Beside Machu Picchu an another Inca town Huayna Picchu is found, it takes one hour climb to go there. Question, were are all the artifacts out of Machu Picchu, I didn't found them in the museums? We had a very good late lunch down in Aguas Calientes before we took the train back to Cuzco

fertile In Cuzco we stayed in Hotel Royal Inka II , a good hotel in the center of town. Every morning we use a lot of Coca Tea, made of Coca leafs, which helps against AMS, acute Mountain Sickness, which is a serious problem for some people. Drink extra fluid and eat a lot of sweets, avoid alcohol, eat light but high carbohydrate meals and try not to over exert yourself.
First we got some sightseeing in town and we visited the colonial church of Sante Domingo, the remains of Coricancha, once the Inca's richest temple forms the base of this church. All the precious stones and metals were looted by the conquistadors. According to the Spanish records the temple walls were lined with some 700 solid gold sheets, each weighing about 2 Kg., the octagonal font was covered with 55 Kg solid gold, there were life size gold and silver replicas of corn that were ceremonially 'planted' by agricultural rituals, solid gold altars llamas and babies as wel as a replica of the sun. Within months of the arrival of the first conquistadors, this incredible wealth had all melted down and the priests and rulers were murdered. Various religious rites took place in this temple. The mummified bodies of several previous Inca's were kept here, it was an observatory and the priests monitored major celestial activities. Most of this is left to the imagination of the visitor, but much of the perfect stonework does remain and ranks with the finest Inca architecture in Peru. The curved, perfectly fitted walls six meters high withstood all violent earthquakes without any damage but destroyed most of Cuzco's colonial buildings. The enormous stones are so precise fitted that it is impossible to put a piece of paper in between. Today's site is a rather bizarre combination of Inca and colonial architecture, topped with a modern protective roof of glass and metal.
-La Catedral- Started in 1559 and taking almost a hundred years to build, the cathedral is Cuzco's main church and also the city's greatest repositories of colonial art, The church is combined with two other churches. To the left the Jesus Maria and to the right the El Triunfo church dated from 1536. The church is full of paintings made by painters from the Cuzco school of art. Special is the painting of the Last Supper by Marcos Zapata. This depicts a supper consisting of the Inca delicacy, cuy, or roasted guinea pig!
For all the museums, churches and Inca sites you need the Cuzco visitor ticket, a personal certificate which will be a original souvenir.
Old woman -Saqsaywaman- this huge ruin is the most impressive in the immediate Cuzco area. Although Saqsaywaman seems huge, what today's visitor sees is only 20% of the original structure. The rest is tore down by the Spaniards and used to build their own houses in Cuzco. The Inca's envisioned Cuzco in the shape of a Puma with Saqsaywaman as the head, the 22 zigzag walls forms the teeth of the Puma, and are also a very effective defensive mechanism. It phenomenon Nazca come down handsomely, because it only possible to regocnize the Puma from the air.
-Q'enqo- consists of a large limestone rock completely covered with carvings, including the zigzagging channels that give the site its name. Tunnels are carved below the boulder, and there's a mysterious cave with altars carved into the rock.
-Tambo Machay- This small ruin consists of a beautifully wrought ceremonial stone bath and is therefore popularly called El Baño del Inca
-Pucu Pucara- is a small and last site in the range, the name means 'red fort'
Museo Histórico Regional offers a exhibition, chronologically arranged from the pre ceramic period to the Inca cultures. There is also a Nazca mummy, a few Inca weavings and some small gold ornaments excavated from Coricancha.

Waiting boats Very early in the morning we flew to Puerto Maldonado in the Amazonico Area, a beautifully flight over the snow capped mountains. On the airport is a checkpoint for Yellow fever certificate and personal from the Amazonico Lodge was waiting for us. First we got some sightseeing and explanations about the stuff on de market. With a long dug-out canoe we left the modern civilization for a couple of days. Down-river, over the Rio Madre de Dios, we visited a very old abandoned steamship which lays trapped in the middle of the jungle, stranded many years ago. Four star Hotel We arrived at the Amazonico Lodge after a 2 hours, it consist of a specious main lodge and 43 native made huts, each with a porch and hammocks, two beds, a primitive bathroom, oil lamps and mosquito netting, and fortunately no electricity. A beautifully place in the middle of exotic tropical forest with a lot of bird calls. After lunch and some relax in the hammocks we made our first hike, two hours, through the tropical forest, with explanations about the exhuberant fauna and flora from a native guide. After a good dinner we were looking by flashlights for Caimans sleeping on the sandy shores but we saw only one!
Very early in the morning we started with a trip to Sandoval lake, first by canoe to the other side of river, then a beautiful 5 Km hike through the virgin forest to the lake. Don't have high expectations of seeing Jaguars, Tapirs and other mammals - most likely you won't. We saw only one Macaw, a young Tapir, and some Hummingbirds but we walked in clouds of butterfly's, some large approx. 15 cm and others only 1 cm in many different colors. Sandoval lake Close to the lake there were two small canoe's waiting with which we rounded this wonderful lake. Its really breathtaking to see the high trees rising up out of the lake reflecting in the water. We saw a lot of unknown colorful birds quarreling in the trees. The same way back to the lodge, in the afternoon we visit Monkey island and a native farm at the border of the river. I took some Brazil nuts with me for the Monkeys and soon they known in which pocket they can find it. The native farm is more or less a mess. We were very lucky that we got no rain during our trips in the rain-forest and the paths are not too muddy, probably its really helps that we offered some Coca leafs to the Inca gods in Cuzco. Back to the lodge it was dark and because we leaving tomorrow very early we have to pack our luggage by light of the oil lamps which is not easy.

The next day we flew to Lima where we spend one day in the Embajadores hotel before we flew home.

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