Peru - Cusco, The Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo

As part of our adventure we got to spend some time in Cusco.  It was the jump off point for much of our vacation.  The main goal in Cusco was to get used to the altitude before our hike on the Inca Trail. Our first trip was to the market area of Cusco.  We walked in through the "meat department" and it took everything in me not to throw up.  The first thing I see is a cows snout.  Just the snout...not the rest of the cow...well, maybe the rest of the cow was there but I couldn't look.  I kept my eyes down and tried not to lose my lunch.  I felt much better when we made it through this area. The rest of this market had your regular items of grains, veggies and the most amazing bread.  The bread was the size of the small tire and it was so good.

Overlooking the city was the White Christ.  It was donated to the people of Cusco from the Muslim community.  It's a stunning site to see.

Our tour took us the Ccaccaccollo Community and Planeterra-Sponsored Women's Weaving Co-op Centre.  This area was founded in 2005 with the help of G Adventures donations it helps the local women to sell their beautiful textiles to local visitors.  We got to see how these women weave and dye the wool from alpacas.

Ollantaytambo was an amazing site to see.  We got to climb a number of tiers to get the most amazing view of the area.  The local market at the bottom of the ruins was wonderful and I bought way too much stuff.  We spend the night here before headed onto the Inca Trail.

Peru - The Amazon Rainforest

Part of our G Adventure Tour took us to the Amazon Rainforest.  We flew from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado where took a 2 hour boat ride down the river to the Tambopata Resort.  We had beautiful little villas to stay in with indoor washrooms (trust me, after being on the Inca Trail, this is huge!!) and no electricity.  We we're totally cut off from the world.  No Facebook.  No Email.  No Phone Calls.  That in itself, was a wonderful change.

Our first afternoon at the resort, our G Adventure guide, Edwin, took us on a walk around the resort to show us some of the bugs, animals and plant life living in the Rainforest.   He took us back along the same trail again at night to show us the different critters and bugs that come out after hours.  It was a little creepy but totally amazing experience.

Our next day we hiked into a lake where we took a canoe around it to check out the local wildlife.  We got to see a Black Caimen which we were told was quite rare.  We had a Great Egret follow us around the lake only to almost get eaten by the Black Caimen which I would have really needed to have some therapy to recover from.

Our last night in the Amazon we went onto the river to look for Caimen's around the shorelines.  We did see quite a few and we even got to see two sloth's hanging from the trees.  Our guide, Edwin has the most amazing eyes.  That guy could see everything!  Before we headed back to shore, our guide took us into the middle of river and turned off all the lights and motor on the boat and we just sat under million of stars taking in the moment. It was a special moment.

I hope you enjoy my favorite photos from the Amazon.

Peru - Inca Trail

This year, my husband and I celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary and we were trying to think of something special to do to celebrate this milestone in our lives.  We somehow decided that we would travel to Peru and visit this magical country. We booked with G Adventure Tours for their Amazon to the Andes tour.  12 day tour of Peru which includes a 4 day hike of the Inca Trail and a visit to the Amazon Rainforest.  Our experience with G Adventures was great and exceeded our expectations.  Our guides Richie and Leo for our 4 day trek were super and I can't say enough about how great they were to help us.  What was even a bigger surprise, was the fabulous support team we had with us.  The cooks and the porters were great.  The food on our 4 day trek was beyond anything I could have imagined.  Our cooked baked us a cake on the trail!  On a stove! With icing.  I can barely cook a hot dog camping without burning it.  Every single one of these people make our experience even greater.

This is a vacation that is totally out of my comfort zone.  My idea of roughing it, is a 4 star hotel with no spa services so hiking for 4 days and living in a tent for 3 nights is really pushing my limits.  Hiking the Inca Trail was the toughest physical experience I've ever gone through.  The altitude was a major factor.  The sheer climb for me was a challenge but making it to Dead Woman's Pass on the second day of our trek was a high point for me but the icing on the cake was getting to the Sun Ruin's on Day 4 to see Manchu Pichu appear through the cloud cover.  It was a magical moment and worth everything we went through.

We had the greatest group of people in our trekking group.  The encouragement from every single person in the group was amazing.  When you needed somebody to help you get to the next level, they were there.  Needed somebody to share a laugh with, they were there.  Cheering you on when you were coming up to Dead's Woman's Pass, they were there with hugs and high fives!  When you had been throwing up for 8 straight hours having them keeping you motivated to keep you going to make the Sun Ruins...they were there.  Thank you to this great group of friends.  These people made this experience one of the best of my life.

I hope you enjoy some of my favorite photos from my latest adventure.