Friday, August 13, 2010

On the Gringo Circuit

With the high adventure portion of the trip behind us Andrew and I met our girlfriends in Lima. After a couple of days there we headed to Machu Picchu. A taxi, a plane, a collectivo (group taxi), & and train later and we were in Agua Caliente. This town at the bottom of the valley where Machu Picchu lies is quite a tourist trap. Just to get out of the train station, which is the only way to get there, you must navigate a maze of trinket and baby alpaca sweater vendors. Everything was about 4x the cost of Huaraz.

We lucked into some extra tickets to MP and so we were able to spend 2 days seeing the ruins. AMAZING! The ruins are set in one of the most beautiful jungle valleys you will ever see. The intricate stonework and massiveness of the place blew me away. On our second day we went up Wayna Picchu. This is the mountain that you see in background in all the pictures. There are ruins near the top of it and it gives amazing views of both the main area and the surrounding valley. There are now only 400 people per day allowed to go there. We were numbers 180 and 181 and were even in line at 4:50AM!!!!! Anyway we had a great time.

Last night we left Agua Calientes and today are taking the night bus to Arequipa in the south of the country. We hope to go to Colca Canyon which is said to be twice as deep as the grand canyon. Also there is supposedly a place where you can reliably see condors there as well.

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