Just in case anyone wants know what we're doing right now... it's this! I copied all of this out of an email I sent to my family when we booked the trip...
Aug 31: Fly to Lima, overnight in Lima at a hotel close to the airport (we won’t be there long).
Sept 1: Early flight Lima to Puerto Maldonado – a jungle town at the confluence of the Madre de Dios and Tambopata Rivers. From there we take a motorized canoe up the Tambopata River to a Jungle Lodge. Once we get there we can learn about the Ecotourism Project and the Local Community of Infierno. Also our lodge is near to a 35 meter scaffolding tower which we can climb to see the rainforest canopy (and hopefully some birds!) up close.
Sept 2-3: Jungle Lodge. This place sounds really cool – there is limited electricity and no running hot water but it is made entirely of local materials, and is run/owned by a local community. We booked a guided canoe ride around the Tres Chimbadas oxbow lake to look for giant river otters, along with turtles, hoatzin, and wading birds. Also, we can go to a community ethno botanical center, and/or take some hikes through the rainforest. But the thing I think I’m the most excited about is getting to visit the Clay Lick – it’s where hundreds of parrots and parakeets congregate to ingest clay - it should be spectacular.
Sept 4: Jungle to Cuzco. Get up early and travel back through to Puerto Maldonado for our flight to Cuzco. The rest of the day we spend in Cuzco (probably just downtime getting used to the altitude – Cuzco is at 10,500 ft.)
Sept 5: Day in Cuzco – I’m sure we’ll check out the Cathedral, Temple of the Sun, etc. But I’m most excited about the Museum of Traditional Textiles. I’m also looking forward to some fine dining in Cuzco – apparently food is really really good and really really cheap.
Sept 6: Sacred Valley - we 'll catch a bus from Cuzco to the Sacred Valley (which is an area of Inca ruins close to the city) to check out the ruins and, most importantly, go to the Pisaq market – a market for local wares. Meaning lots of alpaca! I think I’m going to see some fabulous hand spun/hand woven/hand knit things!
(We are doing the traditional 4 day hike up to Machu Picchu)
Sept 7: the first day of the hike – We will spend the first part of the day meeting our group/guide/and porters (it’s illegal to hike the Inca trail hike unless you are part of a guided group. Plus this way we don’t have to carry everything ourselves – the porter will carry our tent, sleeping bags, and food). From there we have a 7.5 mile hike up through terraced areas, several distinct areas of ruins, and past views of the Urubama Mountain range and Mt. Veronica (18,745ft). Arriving at Wayllabamba for camp.
Sept 8: This is the day I’m most concerned about on the whole trip. We will hike 8 miles including the ascent up to 13, 828 feet (4,215 meters) at Pacaymayu or “Dead Woman’s Pass”. I'm terrrified. This will be the highest place either Matt or I have ever been. To put this into perspective – Mt. Whitney – the highest point in the contiguous 48 states is only 677 ft taller… That and the highest place either of us has been skiing is at 12,800 ft. Yeah. It’s going to be rough. From there we will hike down into a valley and then back up again to camp at the twin lakes of Yanacocha.
Sept 9: Today’s hiking is longer but less intense. We will cover nearly 9 miles but most of it is downhill. This part should be really cool – pieces of the path are original Inca paving, steps, and tunnels cut into the mountains – including a descent of over a thousand steps from an area known as the “Town of the Clouds”. We will end up at the town of Wiñay Huayna, or “Eternal Youth,” (which was named that because of the orchids that decorate the site with blooms year round) next to the Urubamba River.
Sept. 10: The last day of hiking – we will wake up at around 4am and hike 3.5 miles down through the rest of the jungle in the dark in order to reach the “Sun Gate” at sunrise. We will have our first glimpse of Machu Picchu as the sun rises over it. Expect to see lots and lots of pictures of this when we get back! We will take a guided overview tour and then have all day today to explore the citadel, or relax in the hot springs at our hotel in Agaus Calientes (the town nearby).
Sept 11: We decided to take the time and spend an extra day up at Machu Picchu. We can climb Huayna Picchu - the giant mountain behind it -the one that’s in all of the classic shots of the site, or just spend the time photographing and experiencing. We have tickets on the afternoon train back to Cuzco for the night.
Sept 12: Train to Puno, Puno. Today we are taking the luxury train south through the Andean Mountains and across the high Andean Plains to Puno – a town on the shore of Lake Titicaca. This is our one upgrade of the trip – we figured after spending a 10 days hiking in jungles and sleeping on the ground it might be nice to have a day of luxury rather than a day on a bus. It includes a 3 course traditional Peruvian lunch and a sight-seeing stop along the way. Should be pretty interesting.
Sept 13: Puno & Lake Titicaca. Here we’ll take a boat tour of 5 of the 32 Islands of Uros – which are manmade, floating islands constructed from layers of totora reeds. Best part is that we will be able to pick up some “traditional local handicrafts” – which I think means more alpaca. From here we arranged to do something really cool – spend a night with a local family on the Isla Amantani. Seriously. The island is in the center of the lake and we can hike up to the highest point to see both sides – Bolivia and Peru. Or we can just chill with the fam. I’m hoping that we end up with a spinner/weaver/knitter!
Sept 14: Puno & Lake Titicaca. On the boat ride back to Puno we get to stop at the island of Taquile which has both Inca and pre-Inca ruins. The local islanders still wear “time-honored clothing” and again make a good chunk of their living selling handicrafts. There is also a museum of traditional costumes on the island, which I’m hoping is as amazing as it sounds. The travel agent we were working with also said that the ritual ruins at the top of the island are a great place to watch the sunset over the lake. Then we’ll just head back to Puno for the night.
Sept 15: We’re on an early flight out of Puno back to Lima. We aren’t spending too much time here but hopefully we’ll have decent amount of time to explore the city.
Sept 16: Travel home!
They are leaving me for way to long. My "grandparents" had better spoil me rotten while the people are away.