A Travellerspoint blog

Copacabana to La Paz to Uyuni

bus travel, big city, bus travel

sunny 17 °C

Left copabana with Phil and Jackie on the bus to La Paz, a trip of 5 hours. The trip was for a long time around the shores of Lake Titicaca but we were high up in the mountain ranges and had had snow capped mountains most of the way down to La Paz. Half way down we had to get off the bus and travel across the lake on a little launch whilst the bus went over on its own barge. The trip was through the country and ok, lots of little villages, and in some areas it looked like the area was the holiday house area for the rich people from la paz, and there were also some picnic areas. close to la paz we came across road blockages, where women who have been unable to get propane gas blocked off the main access road into la paz by sitting acorss the road with their gas bottles. we had to go around the blockages through narrow little streets about 4 times and we achieved this until we got close to the main city where they had blocked the main access road into the city and there was no-where to go around them. The assistant driver got out and with some traffic management and some brute force he got us around7through the blockage and then it was a smooth downhill rapid descent into la paz. la paz is a pretty big city, pretty drab, lots of noise, traffic and people. Got dropped off at the bus terminal and then had to try and find somewhere to stay - got some pretty basic directions to the hostel area and on the way came across some people who had been on the walk with us - finally decided to go to the hostel where the young couple we had met previously and who were in la paz and after some juggling pedestrians, traffic and hills found the hostel and stayed there for two days. On arrival we found that the train we were going to take to Uyuni was not running due to a strike by the train drivers and luckily the yound couple had reserved us on a seat on the next bus to uyuni with them. without that we would have had to stay in la paz for another few days until the next bus and there is not much to see in the city. Had a day of walking around trying to buy all your presents and have sent two packages back - not sure when they will arrive. The one day in la paz was enough and after two nights there and two days, we left at 11.00pm on an overnight trip to uyuni. the bus was pretty comfortable and the seats lay back so you could stretch out a bit and there was a reasonable amount of leg room. Had reasonable tar road for a few hours and then onto a jarring corrugated road for the rest of the trip, across a couple of running streams, across washaways in creeks, stopping for freight trains in the middle of nowhere we made it into Uyuni around 7.30am. overall not a bad trip and we did get some sleep - me with the help of a sleeping tablet. Penny had a heater outlet right at her feet which became a bit uncomfortable until we were able to get the heater turned off.
Uyuni is a little town on the edge of the salt lake area and is the main point of departure for all the trips across the salt lakes. we are staying in a little hostel for US$10 per night. not much in the town at all apart from the tourist operators who hassle you all the time for a tour and the best pizas we have had the resturant is run by a yanke who meet a local in the states and move here,he diffently has the monopoly. we have booked our trip and head off tomorrow (tuesday) morning get to San Pedro in chile on thursday aftrnoon. San Pedro is another little place and we will stay there until we head off to Salta in Argentina. We are doing the trip with the young couple (kristy and adam) and just the four of us with a driver and cook and in a landcruiser. We have changed our travel route due to road blocks on the bolivian Argentina border.
Next installment the Lagos de sal and Ataccama Dessert.

Posted by PennyJohn 09:01 Archived in Bolivia Tagged backpacking Comments (3)

Cusco to Copacabana

Lake Titicaca area

sunny 22 °C

Left Cusco by bus, as the trains were all full owing to the landslide and people not being able to get to machupichu. The girls at the B&B gave us a nice farewell with lots of cuddles and then off on the bus to Puno. Double decker tourist bus for a 8 hours to puno and stopping every couple of hours for the normal tourist things to see. By this stage we have seen all the musuems, cathederals etc and just walked around the main plaza's whilst they had their tours. The trip cost around US$8 each so it is pretty good value including lunch.
arrived in Puno early evening and as we had bookied accommodation there got picked up from the bus terminal. Hostel was pretty good with nice hot shower and it was near the town centre and restaurants. There is not a lot to see or do in Puno and it is a pretty drab place. We did a trip out to the floating islands which was the only reason that we stopped there - it was a half day tour and you visit three islands. The islands are built up of rotted reeds that have matted together over the years and the people have been living on them for centuries. Unfortunately it is now over commercialised and really wasn't that good - each island is like a movie set all set out how it should be but the people don't actually live there anymore they live on houses on the islands nearby but is was still interesting how they used the totora reeds. The next day it was off to copacabana that is Bolivia so a boarder crosssing is involved. Again a nice tourist bus and we were lucky to be sitting at the front of the bus upstairs and met a couple from Avalon and we have been with them for a couple of days now. The boarder crossing was uneventful - you leave the bus on one side and then walk across no-mans land to the Bolivian customs and get your passport stamped and then another walk to the bus.

Copacabana is set right on the edge of lake titicaca, and we got accommodation at the Mirador hostal right on the lakes edge US$10 per night with great views over the lake. Had a day off the first day just walking around the town which is quite nice, and we had beautiful sunshine - something that we haven't had for a long time. We went out to Isle de Sol with Jackie and Phil fromm Avalon, and got dropped off on the north end - we then had a 9k walk along the ridge of the island at 4,000m to the southern end where we stayed in a great B&B right on top of the ridge looking down and over the lake.
Our room was right at the front of the house ovderlookking the view. We splurged out this night with a few beers and a meal in the hostel. For our accommodation, 3 bottles of beer, 1 bottle of wine, and our dinner and breakfast it cost about US$24 not bad eh! it was a family runn B&B and they lived in the house and they were really helpful and friendly. The island reminded us off rotto but a bit higher with lots of shelered bays and nice clear blue water. The next day we got a local boat back to the mainland and we walked 17k back to copacabana through villages and along the lakes edge - it was a bit longer than we planned but we made it and it was a nice walk through the countryside. Today we leave for La Paz again by bus and a 3 hour or so trip with Jacki and Phil so the next report will be either from there or after we do our next adventure depending on timing. Met another interesting couple on the island and again at tea last night - he is an Itilian 37 years old who has been living in Cape town for 12 years and sold his restauraant and has now been travelling for 5 years all over the world living off his savings. He has teamed up with an canadian/trinadad girl for the past 2 years and they have een to some pretty amazing remote areas. They are trying to get me into doing yoga as they both do it and she is a teacher -they did training in India for 12 months.
catch you all - us

Posted by PennyJohn 07:52 Archived in Bolivia Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Inca Trail

inca trail, machupichu, train and bus

rain 12 °C

The day before the walk we had a briefing and received our duffel bag, sleeping bag, and sleeping mat. We are allowed to only take 10 kg in total and the stuff we received weighed 5 kg. Also met the other members of the group, 15 in total - 2 canadians, 1 yank, 1 british, rest aussies - ages ranging from 22 to 69. On the day of the walk we got a bus from Cusco to the 82 klm mark on the train track which is the start point for the walks and there we met our porters, cooks etc. All the luggage, food, cooking stuff, tents etc for the 5 days is divided up between the 20 porters and they only carry 25 kg each. We started just before lunch time and were told that the first part of the track was flat, wrong, flat to the peruvians is quite hilly with lots of big steps and we knew we were in for something over the next few days. Had lunch overlooking a ruin, and it started raining as well - just what we needed. The rest of the first day was walking, walking, and trying to walk slowly to get accustomed to the altitude but everyone was still getting pretty exhausted and had to have breaks. Arrived at camp to find everything set up and a 3 course meal awaiting us including banana flombe!. Everyone slept well that night.
The second day we were warned was going to be the hardest and they were right. The walk was basically uphill all day with lots of steps and gaining altitude and lots of heavy rain. I had lots of trouble with stomach bug, and lost all my energy, so this day was petty bad. Penny was fine except for shortness of breath. Jose our guide stayed down the back with us and was a great support - it was a b terrible day!!!. Finally got to the top of 'Dead womans' pass and then had another 1.5 hour walk downhill to our night camp. Downhill really means downhill, lots of steps, lots of steep paths and its still raining. Got to the camp again everything set up - our tent was amongst two creeks which surrounded us with lot of mud. After all that the days views were still pretty amazing. dibble straight to bed and Pen for tea for another 3 course meal. Everyone slept well again.
Day three was no where near as the day before, but peruvean flat with some steep climbs and down hill section through man made tunnels and narrow paths. Had hail through this section and we got quite wet walking to our lunch break. After lunch started off in rain again still walking through pretty amazing cloud forrest, and surrounded by snow cap peaks that you had to keep an eye out for as the clouds wee continually coming and going uncovering them. Also lots of waterfalls. Arrived at our night stop, the rain had stopped and all had dried out. The camp was on top of a mountain range with unbelievable views in all directions - we had a nice camp spot here with a great view over the other tents to the back of machupichu.
Woke up early and went to the top of our mountain to watch the sunrise and as it came up it shone on the snow capped mountain around us - it was something pretty special. Our morning cup of tea was delivered to us on the mountain top. Had a ceremony for the porters where we gave them thee tips, and whatever they get they sure deserve, as they leve camp after we do and then they run/jog past you wherever you are on the trail with a big smile on their faces. The walk this day was basically down hill with just a few small climbs and after we had lunch we countinued the walk to the 'sun gate' which overlooks machupichu and had sunshine the first for a few days, where Jose congratulated us all on making the treck. From the sun gate you look down on machupichu and to us it was more the setting, and what we had done rather than seeing machupichu although it was pretty special as well. we then walked down to machupichu where Jose gave us a small talk on the history of the area. After that we got the bus down the the town where we visited the hot springs and went into town for dinner in a restaurant - a good night was had by all. We still slept in a tent that night alongside a quite fast running river - again everyone slept well.
The next day we got the bus up the mountain to machupichu, and found out that our trip up there would be cut short. We have had most things on this trip and now a landslide had come down from near where we had started the treck and washed away the train line so no-one could get in or out. Anyway we enjoyed our visit to machupichu and it is pretty amazing what the Incas did get up to and where they did it and there are still lots of mysteries as to what actually happened to them.
Came down from the mountain as word had got around that trains were going to take people to the landslide, and then we would walk around the landslide and bus into Cusco. This turned into quite an event - the train station was bedlam with everyone trying to get on the train and our guide Jose was a great help here as we were able to get a great sport at the front of the que but there was still lots of pushing etc trying to get into the station. After we got in, our group was still together at the front of the train line. Waiting for the train was a carnival atmosphere with a group of schoolkids singing, people standing on the tracks talking, and siting on the edge of the station with free coffee being handed out. This was most probably made better as one of the canadian ladies had some brandy which laced the coffee. We got on the train to have seats as we were irst onto our carriage, and then they just pilled everyone in there was people everywhere and by this time it was all quite good fun. After the train trip we arrived at the next staging point to find total bedlam, with buses, cars, trucks etc, waiting to transport people to the next spot for buses along a single lane goat track. Jose had ordered a bus to take us to Cusco but it couldn{t get through to us so we ended up on the back of a small cattle truck with all of us standing up in the back, dust everywhere, and going along singing songs, it was quite a trip. We went through the top side of the landside and could see where they were working trying to fix the line. Finally got to Cusco around 2.00am - not much done the next day although we met up with 2 girls from Perth and the british girl for tea as everyone else had left cusco.
Puno next installment - we will be thee for a day or so and then off to Copacabana

Hoo roo

Posted by PennyJohn 11:15 Archived in Peru Tagged luxury_travel Comments (5)

Cusco-Sacred Valley


rain 14 °C

A young couple who are returning to Australia from London have moved into the unit next door to us and we have got on well with them. Our two rooms share a common loungeroom and we had a good yack the first night we met them and have been with them doing the tourist thing since then. The first day we got a taxi out to an inca ruin about 10 k from the city centre and got dropped off by the taxi - we then walked around a couple of ruins there and when exploring a track trying to walk from the first ruin to the second we walked through a local village that is off the normal track that the tourist go as most travel around by bus or taxi so would not have walked along the track we did. The people were really friendly in the village - lots of smiles and laughing with us when we tried to talk to them. The first two ruins were at 3,800m and then we walked back to the third ruin down the windy road about 6k through roadside villages and rural areas. All the houses are mud brick construction with thatched roofs, and mud brick perimeter walls with all the normal farmyard animals running around the place. After the third ruin, and they are all different, we ended up walkiing into town and having tea at a 'chifa' chinese restaurant - bowl of soup with rice and vegetables seperate for S/- 8.50 each (around A$3.00) When we got back to the hostal the girl of the couple said she had a great day it was like walking around with her parents. I think they have adopted us a quassi parents. They are amazed that at our age we are doing what we are doing by staying in backpackers and walking around everywhere. The next day (yesterday) we did a full day tour out to more inca tours and had a good look at the Sacred Valley where the Inca's lived and the people still do lots of farming. It is a very pretty place with a stream running down the valley with lots of villages scattered along it. The houses in this ara are a bit better construction. Lots of farming with corn and potatoes being grown. The inca ruin we went to was pretty amazing, they had sort of built this buttresses up the end of a valley and you climbed up steps to the top where they had built a place to worship the sun god. It is amazing to see the size of stones and accuracy of the many sides fitting in to each other. Although in ruins it is still of pretty amazing construction. It rained whilst we were up there but just a steady drizzle so didn´t get too weet. Had a buffet lunch with everything you could imagine to eat. We got back to the city square around 6.30pm, and had tea in town - again around the $3.00 price range. Cusco is a really neat place with lots of the traditional clothing being worn and you can walk around with no problems whatsoever - could stay here longer. We haven't found the altitude too bad as we did take it easy when we first got here and Arequipa is pretty high anyway. Today is a rest day, to the markets, try and find a freight company to see the cost of freight, and catch up with Carolyn Whiting ( a friend from Perth) this afternnon. There are heaps of things to buy and at a good price, but the problem is carrying it around for another two months as we didn't have much space in our backpacks when we started.
Had a fun dinner with Cas Whiting and Dowd's who we haven¡t seen since Kununurra days. We have agreed to meet in Rome next time Ha!
Today (Saturday) was trek briefing and preparation and it is raining hopefully it will stop tomorrow for our 5 day trek. Catch you in 5 days.

Posted by PennyJohn 16:08 Archived in Peru Tagged backpacking Comments (1)


Lima to Iquitos

overcast 21 °C

we are off to the amazon tomorrow morning at 3.00am, you beauty. we have a flight to Iquitos then to the jungle lodge for two days so will most probably not have any contact until we are back in Lima on Tuesday afternnon so will check again then. Arrived Lima early this morning after an early start - had a walk around Miraflores, the area we are staying in, saw the beach area where the Amazing Race was recorded - looks nothing like the show it looks like all rocks. A great surf was running with a heap of guys out.

Will check on tueesday. If you get the correct address{s for rod and fern could you forward the messages to them. it is their e.mail addresses that are incorrect so you may have to ring them.

bye. mum and dad.

Posted by PennyJohn 15:14 Archived in Peru Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

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