GAP AdventuresDay 1
Up early again for a few flights to get from Trujillo to Cusco. Cusco is located at an elevation of 11,000 feet high in the Andes. We were warned about high altitude sickness, so far no one in our group has really felt it. After checking into our boutique hotel, the beautiful La Casona Inkaterra, we headed out for lunch and a few hotel inspections. Along the way we passed through the main square where a demonstration was happening, there were hundreds of people and many police men in riot gear. The protest was about the building of a local university. Cusco is a beautiful , although touristy city of about 400,000 inhabitants. In the evening we had dinner and a nice walk through town when it was all lit up.
Very laid back day today, which is really nice because the pace of the trip has been pretty frenetic. Started out with a 3 hour tour of some of the surrounding Inca ruins near Cusco. Then, had the remainder of the day to rest or do some shopping.
This morning we got on another flight to get to Puerto Maldonado, in the Amazon. Upon arrival we were picked up by a member of the check in staff who took us to their building where they do check in. They do this right by the airport because you then get on a boat which takes you 45 minutes downriver to the hotel in the reserve. At the check in building they had a lovely huge tarantula crawling around, and also had a butterfly garden. The boat ride was very nice as it helped to cool us down, the weather was 36 degrees with full humidity. After arriving at the hotel, we dropped off our luggage and went on an afternoon jungle walk. We were in two small groups, each with a nature guide. Our group got to see a Tapir, which is a large pig/anteater type of animal about 140 kg. It was friendly enough at first, but then decided it wanted to play and got aggressive. Our guide had to chase it away twice as it started to nibble at two in our group. Once it got dark we were back on the boat doing a night tour along the river, trying to spot wildlife. We saw some caymans (alligators basically) and had an amazing view of the stars. Meals were all quite good, and were served in the main house. Our cabanas were nice, with just screens to try to keep out the bugs. We slept under mosquito nets, and fell asleep to the sounds of the jungle.
Up early this morning to go for the canopy walk. We climbed up a 30 metre tower to get on the first of seven bridges strung between trees. It was a neat perspective to be at the top of the trees, saw many birds and butterflies. Also, there was a group of squirrel monkeys that played in the bushes around the hotel. Sometimes they got up a fair bit of speed swinging from tree to tree. In the afternoon some of the group went to Lake Sandoval and saw pirahnnas, caymans, birds and butterflies. I stayed behind and tried out the spa, had a fabulous cooling massage. Also played some games in the main house while waiting for the others to return. Early to sleep tonight as the generator shuts off at 10pm and it gets quite dark.
Mainly just a travel day to get from the reserve to Lima. Our boat trip back upriver to Puerto Maldonado had a bit of misadventure when the driver ran over a log and busted the motor. Another boat was called to come rescue us. A quick motor switch later and off we went again. Flight from Puerto Maldonado went via Cusco, had a nose wheel change and a short delay because of a lightening storm. Took off into the storm and had a bit of turbulence. Landed in Lima in the afternoon and had a bit of downtime before one last dinner together.
Whole day is free until our 8pm transfer to the airport. Wandered from the hotel towards the ocean, taking in a bit of shopping and got one geocache along the way. Late night flight from Lima to Houston.