Peru 13: Colca Cañon and southern Peru Coast

Following a relaxed Xmas time in Arequipa, we still wanted to observe the Condors at Colca Cañon and then make our way southwards into Chile.

Nach einer ruhigen Zeit in Arequipa hatte wir noch den Colca Cañon vor uns, wo die Chance, Kondore zu sichten, sehr gross war. Also machten wir uns auf den Weg dorthin, bevor wir dann entlang der Küste Perus auf Chile zusteuerten.

Leaving Arequipa we drove back to Tambillo and turned north passing through Huacán and Huambo before we got to the the Cruz del Condor viewpoint above the Colca Cañon.

We arrived at the viewpoint towards afternoon and were lucky to see some Condors flying along the deep canyon.

There was a possibility to camp in the older parking area although we found a small track going further down – here we decided to spend the night with a splendid view of the canyon. The surrounding mountains reached between 5600m to 6300m and, although our site was lower down at approx 4000m, it turned out to be a cold night, only tempered by the hot tea with a shot of rum before we retired.


Next morning we drove up to the viewpoint at around 10:00, the time when it is expected for the Condors to have sufficient thermals to rise from their perches. We saw only 4 in the distance after the mist had lifted and were grateful for the previous afternoon’s sighting. Many tourist groups gathered at the viewpoint and also we  were required to pay the substantial entrance fee of 70 Soles pP (especially considering that we did not see any Condors close up). However, we were rewarded with some hummingbirds feeding on the flowers on the canyon edge.

We returned to Arequipa via Maca, a small town with a quaint old church and known for the women wearing skilfully embroidered clothes and hats.


We continued via Chivay, Chucura and Yura to Arequipa, where we spent another night at Grace Valley hospedaje, conveniently situated around the corner of Plazavea supermercado so we could still do some essential shopping before dark.


Next morning we continued south through La Repartición, La Joya, Moquegua, Camiara to Ité on the coast.


On our way to La Boca del Rio,  we found a convenient wild camping spot at the deserted Club de Pescadores along the beach just below the main road, a few kilometres before we got to the town.

A pair of seagulls were repetitively diving towards me while photographing, although I could not spot their breeding spot.


Next day we travelled past Tacna and crossed the border into Chile without too many problems. The Chilean customs officials were thorough in their search for fresh fruit and vegetable, which cost us one apple and two potatoes after scanning the luggage. Even our top box was scrutinised. The border crossing took approx. one and a half hours.

Eventually we stayed just north of Arica at Camping Josefine where owner Paula, ably assisted by her lovely 6 year old daughter, runs the site. Not the best camping site but adequate for a night. The beach area, 2km away, teemed with terns and gulls.


This post covers 26th – 29th December 2016

Peru 12: World’s deepest Cañon and Xmas in Arequipa

Peru has the highest Andes mountain peaks in South America – not surprisingly also the deepest Cañon in the world. Cañon de Cotahuasi is very remote and difficult to get to – and we did not expect the surprises along the way.

Wenn wir schon die höchsten Gipfel der Anden bestaunen konnten, wollten wir uns den tiefsten Canyon der Welt nicht entgehen lassen -allerdings mit ein paar unerwarteten Überraschungen auf dem einsamen Weg dort hin.

Once we had left Nasca we took Ruta 30A eastwards via Puquio, a road with many curves and wild Vicuñas grazing. Underway we met Axel & Erika in their bright yellow Unimog who are already travelling for 3 years with their dog.

The day ended with us camping wild at Laguna Yurira at an altitude 4400m – we were prepared for a ice cold night as it started raining a few drops. Following a quick supper we crept into our roof tent to shelter from the cold. Since we could feel tingling in the hands and feet and had altitude headache, we decided to take some Diamox as it has been a climb of almost 4000m within a day -not good.  In the morning we observed some Andean geese, Yellow-billed Teal and Giant Coots (as well as one lonely sheep -we named him Shaun). Less and less herds of Llamas were seen.

Next morning we carried on along the 40A and turned off close to Rocruzca onto Ruta AR105, a small and rough road. At the turnoff our details were recorded at a boom -not to sure for what purpose.We discovered some southern Viscacacha (chinchillas), cute with their curly tail.

As we drove along AR105 the area became very desolate and remote – virtually no people left except one herdsman who walked up a hill when he spotted us photographing. A few provisions made his day.

Towards afternoon a thunderstorm was developing, dark grey and threatening, but beautiful. We were reaching a height above 5000m.

The temperature dropped and suddenly our road was obstructed by a small landslide. We could not squeeze by and had to start shovelling and rolled some boulders out of the way which we barely managed. As we were shovelling the first sleet came down and then it turned into a snowstorm within the next 30 minutes – giving us just enough time to reach a reasonably level clearing where we could park.

We could not see any tracks any longer, it got dark and within a short while we were covered in about 5cm of snow. At this point we decided to call it a day and crept into our tent. The altitude here was 4900m ( we managed still to come down from the 5100m we had reached an hour earlier). Not knowing how long we may be caught in the snow, I decided to restart the vehicle twice during the night and let it run for approx 20minutes.

Luck was on our side – next morning the Cordillera de Huanzo mountains were clear, the snowing had stopped and within two hours of brilliant sunshine enough snow had melted for us to see the road again. We continued albeit a little nervous about further landslides as there was no oncoming vehicles we could ask.

The road continued through the mountain ranges, up and down winding passes and  through little remote villages like Puyca, Alca and Tomepampa.

Finally we reached the  Coatahuasi Cañon (3535m deep), where we stopped and camped at Mirador Bañadero del Condor with view of the distant town of Toro.

This viewpoint/camp can accommodate maximum 2 vehicles and there was even a loo! 200m further is a lookout from where at times Condors can be seen bathing below a small waterfall high up on the opposite wall -we were not so lucky.

We found the journey to the Cañon exciting and one of the most remote and quiet areas in Peru. The cañon itself was maybe a little disappointing as we had envisaged grandeur like the Grand Cañon in Nevada or Fish River Cañon in Namibia. Cotahuasi is different – not so visible.

We continued through Puna landscape past the Nevado Solimana (6323m) and Nevado Coropuna (6613m), the landscape dotted with hardy green plants looking likes stones.

Wind picked up while we drove through the Pampas de Majes where we could barely make out the sandstone petroglyphs Toro Muerto in the distance -not the day to explore further due to incredibly strong winds and dust.

Barren mountains lined a very fertile and dark green valley with vines and rice. A lot a cacti grew on some of the slopes, the mountains pink and grey.

Near Tambillo we turned into the stony desert and camped under clear skies full of stars, faintly aware of only a very distant rumbling of trucks along this stretch of road.

Soon we reached Arequipa and found a pleasant place to stay, Grace Valley B&B with Diana and her mother running it and making us feel very welcome -especially since it was Xmas.

While in Arequipa we could get the vehicle serviced at Mitsui Toyota on short notice,a professionally run workshop with one assistant in sales speaking English to translate. We relaxed in the comfort of the client lounge with view of the workshops.

While in Arequipa we found our vehicle’s starter batteries failing ( the Landcruiser VX100 has two in parallel that are best replaced as a pair) and we managed to get two suitable replacements (Panasonic brand to get a one year warranty in all the countries we were due to visit).

We also found that from Grace Valley we could reach the old city on foot and the Arequipa Clinic by taxi, all very conveniently. Although it is possible to stay in the vehicle roof tent at the B&B, we suggest taking a room as the traffic noise can be loud. And maybe you are lucky getting the same blanket on your bed – a very homely feeling for us from Africa.

It was a pleasant stay at Grace Valley and Diana tipped us off to book at Zigzag restaurant for Xmas dinner – an excellent suggestion. We toured the old city, had a haircut and looked for a laundry. The central plaza was abuzz with families showing their kids the nativity play – little Jesus was missing (it only appear on Xmas Eve after the mass).

Shoe lace specialist merchant.

Unfortunately the Santa Catalina monastery closed early and we missed seeing the inside which we believe is worth seeing. This made our decision easy to relax with a sundowner of different Pisco cocktails before going to supper.

Santa Catalina Monastery

We decided to stay the 25th and got served a traditional hot chocolate, turkey and Italian cake  for breakfast.

When in Arequipa for Xmas – stay up after midnight, as this is the time when the fireworks everywhere started which lasted two hours.

This post cover the period 17th – 25th December 2016

Peru 11: Reserva Naçional de Paracas and the Nasca Lines

Although the coastal area of Peru is mainly desert, we found a visit to the Paracas National Park attractive as it reminded us of our home country, Namibia. Having a closer look at the mysterious Nasca lines reminded us of books of Erich von Däniken we had read many years ago. So we decided to have a closer look.

Ein Flug über die Nazca Linien klang reizvoll. Hatten wir doch über die von Däniken Theorien gelesen, dass diese Linien und Geoglyphen für oder von ausseridischen Wesen stammen könnten.

The PanAm Sur to San Vicente de Cañete is a good stretch of highway with many holiday developments along it. It is close enough to Lima to be conveniently reached for weekends.

Past Chincha Alta we briefly stopped in the town of Pisco. This area was hit by an earthquake during 2007 but most is reconstructed. The famous Pisco liqueur is distilled in this area and shops along the road offer many variants of it.

We turned off  into the Reserva Naçional de Paracas, then visited the small natural history museum past the entrance gate before exploring the coastal desert park itself.

After some calamari at La Tia Pili in Lagunillas (a fishing village in the park) we camped near Playa de la Mina on the parking area – all new toilets had been built at various places in the park, but the water was not yet connected. We spent a cold and quiet night with many Inca terns and Peruvian Boobies breeding in the sand cliffs nearby.

Next day we toured through the park, realised that entry to the harbour Puerto General San Martini is no longer possible (mining export?), then enjoyed the beautiful dark red beach at Playa Roja, drove past “La Catedral” a natural formation near Playa Yumague.

We camped at Mendieta Playa meeting Christian and Sarah from Austria who were enjoying kayaking around the formations. The fishermen left at sunset and we had this wonderful spot to ourselves and it was a good time to observe Royal Terns and both, the American as well as the Blackish Oystercatchers.

Early morning we walked up the cliffs and had a wonderful view of the rock formations and observed breeding Peruvian Boobies, Red-legged Cormorants, Black skimmers and red-headed Turkey Vultures.

Mid morning we decided to proceed down to Laguna Grande, a fisher settlement and then took a path through the dunes eastwards back to the PanAm. The area was desolated and incredibly barren but scenic.

Past Guadalupe we reached Ica where we turned off to Laguna de Huacachina with plenty dune buggies racing on very high dunes – adrenalin galore for the visitors. The laguna itself looked rather dull and polluted.

As we drove further south on the PanAm Sur we passed the viewing tower which we ascended to have a view of the three Nasca line formations that can be seen, albeit not very well. They were supposed to be the hands, the lizard and the tree. We could really only make out the hands(but had a good view from the air next day).

Reaching Nasca we made a flight reservation for early morning and then put up our camp at Hotel San Marcelo, negotiated the use of a bathroom and enjoyed their pool.

Next morning we left early to the Nasca airport and took the flight across many of the Nasca formations.The arid area is colourful from the air, Nazca itself not the most beautiful town. The first geoglyph we identified was the whale.

Besides the many geometric figures and lines, which reminded us of landing strokes and signage for alien craft visiting ( although apparently used by the Nazca for rituals praying for rain) we could clearly make out the “Astronaut” figure cut into a hill side and the large monkey geoglyph.

Other animal figures included the hummingbird, Condor and spider.

It was a rough flight but worth getting a proper overview on the extend of the many geoglyphs,lines and symbols drawn into the landscape at Nazca and we could not but wonder, how they were made without an aerial view at the time, as they are really only clearly recognisable from the air. As we returned we had a glimpse of excavations dating back to the Nazca people and the entry points of the Cantalloc aquaducts built by the Nazca.

This post cover the period 14th to 17th December 2016

Peru 10: Along the Northern Coast to Lima

Note from the Editor: We have upgraded WordPress and suddenly all line breaks are omitted which makes the text difficult to read – we apologise for this inconvenience until we find a solution.          .


The northern coast of Peru is barren and mostly desert. Nevertheless it offers much to see in the form of museums,pyramids, temples and adobe cities of past civilisations.

Die Nordküste Peru entlang des Pazifischen Oceans bietet viel Sehenswertes. Überreste vergangener Zivilisationen zeugen von Besiedelungen weit vor den Inkas und Moche.

We left our favourite camping site Swiss Wassi at Zorritos where I tried to solve my Apple-harddrive storage problem without much success but got my backup drive operational again.

 Around Mancora

We drove through Mancora, did essential shopping in Sullana, then drove via  Piura and the Desierto de Sechura, past Lambayeque and Chiclayo (in very strong winds-dust & sand everywhere) and decided to call it a day in Pacasmayo where we found camping at El Faro Adventure Resort -beautifully overlooking the ocean and known for its very good surfing and windsurfing conditions (one of the longest wind-surfable waves in the world). Jenny, the owner explains that it was started by her father and today her sons are also involved. For US$40 you could rent all windsurfer gear from Jaime, the instructor.

Beautiful view -super waves

El Faro -The Lighthouse

Next we made our way via the village of Magdalena de Cao, celebrated because of Señora de Cao – probably the only female queen of the Moche period and her grave was not plundered and the mummy intact.

Xmas was coming -also to this remote region

Her grave was in the El Brujo Archaeological Complex, with its Moche temple and grave at El Brujo (400-800AD)

Then our route took us back via Santiago de Cao to the camping site in Huanchaco, where we made our base again at Huanchaco RV Gardens Hospedaje

Meeting Willi & Gabi Cordes again -nicknamed the “bomberos”due to the fire red vehicle.

From here we explored  Chan Chan – the biggest adobe city in the world where part of the mud walls are still preserved and it is possible to see the extend of this once flourishing city during the Chimú Kingdom period.

It is an Unesco Heritage site since 1986. This city was only captured by the Incas 1470 after they cut off the water supplies to the 100 000 inhabitants.

South of Trujillo we visited the pyramids Huaca de Sol y Huaca de la Luna, the biggest adobe structures built in the Moche cultural period. Approx 130 million adobe bricks were used, each with the signature of the provider in it. As with Chan Chan the years of very wet El Niño period wreaked havoc with the mud constructions, which are now under roof to a great extend while being excavated and partially restored.

Research has revealed that these temples where used mainly for blood ceremonies where captured warriors blood was drunk by the high priests of the Moche. The ancient city in the area, Cerro Blanco, is named after the whitish vulcanic peak behind Huaca de la Luna.

We carried on via Chimbote and to the coastal town of Tortugas, where we had a special lunch at Restaurant Tarawasi. Run by Julian, a Spaniard, and his Peruvian wife, they cooked up a tasty meal of seafoods.

They have rooms to rent but unfortunately there is no camping, so we continued through Huarmey and stopped again on the coast,where we had previously camped at km228 before Barranca. The local fisherman welcomed us once more to his beach area.

Scenic but a lot of litter spoils the setting – a manifestation of the world-wide problem of pollution of the oceans and with that the remote coastal areas.

At 7am the fishermen launched their boats and we decided to push on to Lima – along the PanAm running along the dunes dropping straight down into the ocean.

We were not looking forward to visit the 30mill inhabitants of Lima, but our entry into the city was smooth and with luck we found Llantas Heintz without too much of a problem – here we hoped to find the same Coopers tires to replace the burst one. We were not disappointed: an absolutely professionally run operation, third generation Japanese owned operation and within 2 hours we left with 2 new Coopers tires, wheels balanced and rotated. If ever you have a need for new rubbers -try them.

After successfully getting new wheels we proceeded to the suburb of Miraflores where we camped in the parking space of the Hitchhikers and Backpackers Hostal . We parked and slept in our vehicle – only annoying part was that each person entering has to ring the bell -which goes virtually right through the night and is next to the vehicles – we had quieter nights on our trip. Bonus: very close by was an excellent Sushi place (Edo Sushi) and we really enjoyed having something different to eat after 8 months on the road.

Hitchhikers and Packpackers Hostal

On the following day we decided to do a walking tour with one of the walking tours organisations starting at Kennedy Plaza, Free Walking Tours – it is a service which is tip based and you decide how much it was worth to you. The walkabout was most interesting, well organised and professional -worth doing.

We visited  the central Plaza where the presidents palace is, did some Pisco tastings and sampled different chocolates. We visited the Mario Vargas library, the old post office and railway station as well as churches in the area.

Before we departed, we visited the 3-storey computer centre close to Kennedy Plaza and finally got some advice of how to fix my Apple-external harddrive problem. About 100 shops offer all you need in computer and communications at this centre.

This post covers the period 7th -13th Dec 2016

Peru 9: Through the Cañon del Pato and along the coast to Zorritos


The Cañon del Pato road runs through the tunnels originally dug for a train track. Driving it today is an experience of a different kind.

Diese Strasse bietet genügend Aufregung: schmal und durch etwa 20 Tunnels direkt in den Stein gehauen. Nichts für schwache Nerven-es fällt steil ab und Gegenverkehr in den Tunnels veranlasst plötzliche Bremsmanöver. Trotzdem sollte diese Strecke gefahren warden, den sie ist landschaftlich spektakulär.

We left Caraz and took the road known as Cañon del Pato. It leads through many short tunnel sections, which were originally dug for a railway line. The dropoff into the Rio Santa is at times deep and steep but scenic.

A private toll road of the Projecto Chavimoche shortens the distance to the coast considerably and is in good condition.It helps to skip Chimbote on the coast and ends on the Panamericana Norte. We passed Trujillo and camped next in Huanchaco at the Huanchaco Gardens RV Campsite where overlanders meet.

It has a pool and clean ablutions inside a room made available to the campers. Along the beach and pier there are many restaurants and the traditional fishing boats made of reed can still be seen (Caballitos de Tortora).

The pier reminded us of back home in Namibia, Swakopmund. In one of the many seaside restaurants we had a good meal of prawns and calamari.

Next day we were back on the Panamericana Norte. Originally we intended camping in Bayovar, decided against it on gutfeel and ended in the Estuario de Virrilá where we wild camped and which has an enormous amount of seabirds, the town’s light visible across the estuary. At these beaches sea turtles lay off their eggs.

The route then took us to Piura with a shopping stop at PlazaVea and on via Mancora to Zorritos on the coast where Bernd and Marion Frauendorfer were patiently awaiting us to continue joint travels into Ecuador.

At Zorritos we camped at Swiss Wassi, where Jaques and Melba run a very nice overlanding stop and Melba makes a mean Pisco Sour on request. We also booked her for a lobster meal one evening in their house-delicious!

Also meet Colossus, the naked Peruvian dog.

This blog covers period 11th – 15th August 2016

Peru 8c: Parque Huascaran LLanganuco Sector


Sector Llanganuco
The dirt road starts near Yungay –a town which was heavily hit by an avalanche from Huascaran after an earthquake in 1970 and the scars run deep as 18000 people were buried alive – see

Only one church tower remained standing-the massive cemetary visible behind it today reminds visitors of this tragedy.

The winding dirt road took us past two lagoons.

Our Landcruiser diligently climbed high up the pass to 4730m with spectacular views of the highest peaks in the Peruvian Andes. The views are difficult to describe-we let the pictures tell the story.

We returned to Jaime for another pleasant night’s stay on the farm, getting ready to tackle the Cañon del Pato.

Peru 8b: Parque Huascaran – Ulta Sector

Sub Sector Ulta

Next day we entered the second section of the National Park.

We entered the Parque Nacional Huascaran at the turnoff at Carhuaz into the sub sector Ulta.

We then took the winding pass into Peru’s highest mountain region, from where we could see both the Huascaran Sur 6768m as well as Huascaran Norte 6652m and other peaks like Ulta 5484m etc.

The road is tarred and well accessible and reaches a tunnel at the top through which the park could be exited/entered from the other side of the mountain range.

The views from the top were stunning.

The day ended by us camping just before Caraz on the farm of Jaime and his excellent camping site called Guadelupe Jaime Veliz.

It is on their farm, it had good Wifi and excellent baños which were in the process of being extended to cater for larger groups. Jaime was so kind to even have our kettle brazed in town the next day while we re-entered the park.

Peru 8a: Cordillera Blanca and the Puya Raimondii im Parque Huascaran

Both the Cordillera Blanca mountain range as well as the rare Puya Raimondii are worth a visit to the Parque Huascaran in Peru.

Viele Reisende hatten uns empfohlen, die schneebedeckte Cordilliera Blanca sowie die seltenen Pflanzen des Parkes zu besuchen. So machten wir uns dorthin auf den Weg und sind nicht enttäuscht worden. Auch ist der Park beliebt für Trekking. Die wilde Landschaft wird wohl einer der Höhepunkte unserer Reise bleiben.

Parque Huascaran can be entered at 3 different gates, necessary in order to see the various attractions. We started at the Carpa Section.

Carpa Section
Driving towards Huaraz we first entered the Carpa section close to Pachocoto and were permitted to sleep in the parking lot for the night and use the baños at the gate in order to enter the park early in the morning.

Close to the parking lot is a little lagoon with some birds which made for entertaining bird watching, especially the quarrel between an Andean Gull and a female Giant Coot.

The sunset was also spectacular from our location, the evening icy cold.

Driving into the park we soon came across the rare Puya Raimondii in clusters and up the hill slopes.

This unique plant reaches an age of around 40 years and only flowers once in its lifetime, then dies.( Puya raimondii, also known as queen of the Andes, Titanka or Puya Raimondii, is the largest species of bromeliad. It is native to Bolivia and Peru and is restricted to the high Andes at an elevation of 3000 – 4800 m- also see )

A bonus was to spot the giant hummingbird that is assumed to pollinate this plant on one of the flowers.

We continued towards the parking of the Pastoruri glacier which we reached finally by horse. The Nevado Pastoruri is 5240m high.Unfortunately this glacier is receeding due to global warming.

On driving back we briefly stopped at the clear blue Ojo’s (eyes), water holes with bubbling gases coming up from deep below and at some rock paintings on the way.

We journeyed to Huaraz and stayed at the Real Hotel Huascaran for the night where we slept in our vehicle on a large grassy area behind the hotel and paid for the use of the bathroom(S09° 30.7751 W077°31.8703).

Peru 7: Route Cusco, Ayacucho, Huancayo via Lima to Barranca and Huaraz

Our next goal was to drive towards the Cordillera Blanca. Four mountain passes over 4000m taught us a valuable lesson.

Ab Cusco ging es nord-westlich in Richtung Cordillera Blanca. Am ersten Tag in Richtung Abancay schafften wir nur 177km, denn die hohen Pässe nahmen viel Zeit in Anspruch. Auch der Wagen wurde ausserordentlich beansprucht –bei Ankunft in Ayacucho waren die Bremsen mehr als hin, vollkommen überhitzt (Beläge sahen glasartig geschmolzen aus) und wir mussten 5 Tage in Ayacucho verbringen bis Ersatzteile aus Lima kamen.

First day from Cusco in the direction of Abancay only allowed us to cover 177km – slow-going mountain passes and the exit from Cusco took quite some time. We camped wild (S13.588387, W072.833262) and enjoyed the scenery of the Salcantay mountains in the distance.

Similarly we continued next day at a slow pace and covered the next 4000m pass with winding tarred roads (8hrs for 285km), ending the day camping next to the Rio Pampa (near Chincheros), nice and warm at the river +30°C after we had 6°C in the mountains during the day. Unfortunately some small sand flies bugged us during sunset.

Leaving for Ayacucho we drive over 2 more 4000m mountain passes and passed through scenic Puna landscape and saw our first large and flowering Puya Raimondii plant. Finding an orange Taratula along the road was a highlight -beautiful!

When we arrived in Ayacucho the brakes of the cruiser were finished –a grinding noise made us realise that the passes have worn them down completely. Although being a Saturday, we get assisted at Toyota at 12:30pm and the mechanics confirm what we suspected – new brake pads will have to be ordered from Lima on Monday and the discs require skimming down. We had no choice but to book into a hotel in town.I realised that I had to change my style of driving in the mountains: use the gears more and the brakes less. The vehicle being heavy and an automatic made the brakes wear very fast in the mountains – and driving passes in Peru, we could take no chances, brakes had to be 100%. We had them very thoroughly checked every 5000km from then on.

We found the Ayacucho Plaza Hotel convenient as we could park the vehicle safely inside and within 5 minutes reach the centre of town. In the Plaza we were surprised by the number of ice cream shops selling tasty and creamy ice creams. Just in front of them inca women were preparing artesanal ice cream by turning a dish constantly inside a larger dish filled with ice – we counted more 12 ice cream places around the plaza.Heaven after not having any for so long.

Furthermore did we learn that Ayacucho is know for its 33 churches and a beautiful plaza.

After the brake pads arrived and the vehicle was inspected for the repair, it turned out that the discs were already too thin to be skimmed again – new back drums and disc assemblies had to be ordered from Lima, creating another 2 day delay. This was bad news, but at least Toyota in Ayancucho was on the ball and very helpful -also found one person with basic English skills with whom we could communicate.

We used the time to explore more of the area including watching a traditional firework display and music in front of the church next to our hotel.

Finally we left on Thursday morning getting lost for more than 90minutes to find the right road in the direction of Huanta. The road was narrow, mountain passes and curvy and on multiple occasions we had to reverse as trucks had to pass. That evening we found a wild camp side on the banks of the Rio Mantaro on the small campo of farmer Marcelino for Soles20,-. (S12.598943 W074.672082).

Marcellino brought us fresh prickley pears when we arrived and next morning early bode us farewell with a pot of freshly cooked wild papas (potatoes). He only farms with natural products.

The road to Huancayo consisted of more mountain passes, an area with many mines and heavy traffic past la Oroya, large mining operation for lead and copper. The road was congested at a construction section and came to a total standstill. We decided after 315km in 11.5hrs that this was enough at wild camped in the mountains on a stream with temperatures at 5°C at 4485m –not a pleasant night, but we had no choice (S11.596414 W076.247511).

In the morning it was a freezing 2 °C when we got up and continued towards Lima, which we decided to pass on the Panamericana and continued to Barranca on the Pacific coast. At km228 we turned off to the Punta Bermejo where we again camped wild close to a fisherman’s hut (S10.567237 W077.904945). Just up the hill is a scenic point with Pelicans, Comorants, Gennets and Seagulls. Unfortunately a lot of plastic spoils the otherwise tranquil point. Plastic pollution all over Peru is a major problem.

Next day we refuelled at Pativilca and continued across the Cordillera Negra towards Huaraz (4477m pass) through very rugged landscape with large chili plantations where we entered the National Park Huascaran late afternoon although the sign at the turnoff indicated that the park closes early afternoon.

The ranger permitted us to stay overnight in the parking lot and made the baños (toilets) available. The site is at 4164m (S09.888989 W077.305008), not ideal for overnighting but it did not affect us too much as we had slowly adapted through the previous days. However Karin suffered more, especially in the morning at -1 °C.

Peru 6: Puerto Maldonado for a trip into the Amazon Jungle


We still had jungle fever, especially due to the cold nights in Cusco.This time round we decided to drive to Puerto Maldonado and not fly.

Uns hatte der Urwaldtrip nach Madidi besonders gut gefallen, jedoch wollten wir mehr Papageien und auch die Riesenottern sehen. So machten wir einen Abstecher nach Puerto Maldonado und von dort aus zu dem Lago Sandoval.

We had heard about the scenic road going down the escarpment from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado and that the tarred road was in very good condition –which it was indeed and the mountain passes are spectacular.

As we drove the landscape changed from barren and cold mountains covered in snow  to the lush and green forested escarpment ending in the jungle around Puerto Maldonado. Here we camped at the Anaconda Lodge with Donald and Wadee Traeris with a small Thai restaurant run by the Wadee.

Next to us our closest neighbours were 4 Tarantulas that were territorial and came out after dark, resident Agoutis and the red howler monkey Oscar. Unfortunately an open-air disco had opened close to this property with blaring music into the early morning hours, even during the week. For this reason we cannot recommend to stay here in a tent or rooftop tent despite the fact that it is within walking distance to a mariposario (butterfly farm) and it being possible for us to leave the vehicle.

Our guide Luiz Salazar came to the lodge to negotiate the various outings and work closely with the Anaconda Lodge. Next day at 5am our first outing was boating up the Rio Madre de Dios to a claylick of parakeets and parrots.

Following day we went by boat for 30min downriver into the Tambo Pata National Parque from where we went on foot for 1.5hours to reach the shore of Lago Sandoval. Luiz then paddled us to Sandoval Homestead Lodge, a small lodge run by an indigenous family. For lunch we were served chicken with rice and egg rolled up in leaves plus fresh fruit juices.

The afternoon we rowed around the lake, saw various birds, black caymans and freshwater rays.

Next morning we started at 6am, came across an Anaconda in a bush under which we passed, observed families of giant otters fishing and playing plus many birds.

During the afternoon we walk we came across a dead coral snake(very venomous) and leaned how Brazil nuts grow (only in the wild on tall trees and Agoutis are the only animals cracking the nuts).

Our evening outing by boat brought us again close to the giant otters and we observed a marvelous sunset from a viewing platform at the rangers post. No boats are allowed further in on Lago Sandoval. No motorized craft are permitted on the lake which results in the lake being very quiet and serene.

During an evening walk we searched for insects and came across a seldomly-seen  armadillo.

Next morning we started at 5am, rowing across the lake to see Macaws which we saw flying overhead and observed Capuchin monkeys.

Boating back we also saw large white Caymans on the riverbank.

On the return journey to Cusco we again wild-camped at a stream halfway up the escarpment and finally arrived back in Cusco mid day.

This blog covers 19th July to 27th July 2016