Crossing into Peru and getting to Cusco
08.03.2015 - 13.03.2015
We were leaving Bolivia extremely impressed with it. The landscape was beautiful, the markets colourful, cities lively and the hostels very cheap.
The crossing into Peru was relatively pain-free and with another stamp in our passport we got to Puno, a bigger town on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca. It was different to Copacabana, a lot busier and dirtier. We booked a tour to the floating Uros Islands and when we arrived we were greeted by singing 'native' ladies. We then got a 'tour' of the islands with a reed boat that was actually being pushed by a small motorboat. Overall, the man made floating islands were impressive as communities used to live on there, but now we are slightly dubious as to whether or not they still do and it all seemed slightly superficial.
Our next stop in Peru, Arequipa, is called the 'White City' because of the white marble used to make a lot of the buildings. Our journey from Puno was the worst one yet, we got caught up in a hailstorm then a thunderstorm in the middle of a national park with no where to take cover. The hail was incredible painful and it felt like marbles were being thrown at us. Arequipa, Peru's second biggest city was massive and we found out they had different districts many containing the same street name, making finding where we were supposed to stay very tricky. We arrived soaked, knackered and slightly pissed off at Arequipa. Luckily it redeemed itself, slightly. It had a lovely main square where we had delicious Peruvian food, said to be much better than Bolivia's. Overlooking the main square is Volcano Misti, a perfectly cone shaped volcano, that served as the perfect backdrop whilst enjoying dinner.
Our next stop on the way to Cusco was Chivay, a town located near the Colca Canyon. Because we got there so late and had to leave early the next morning, to get to our volunteering in Cusco, we only had a couple of hours to visit the canyon. It is very impressive, being twice as deep as the Grand Canyon and a shame we didn't get more of a chance to explore it.
We left early the next morning for a ride on a road that was in shocking condition. It was a gravel road with potholes and large stones sticking out. This, and the fact we spent a lot of the day climbing, made for very slow progress. We made it to Cusco after 12 hours of riding where we were staying for 3 weeks, doing some volunteering and both had some family coming over to do the Inka Trail.