Just a short update on how this travelbog is growing are going…
With almost 25.000 hits the statistics recognized 133 different territories. The dense populated big modern countries are easy to get on the world map. But tiny islands lost in the middle of a vast ocean with maybe a population of a couple of hundred persons are harder to reach as well as some devastated countries in war It’s very satisfying to see that also they find the way to our blog.
The top 10: Italy, Belgium, Spain, United States, Argentina, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Brazil, Colombia
Some others that caught my attention: Zimbabwe, Syria, Nigeria, Mozambique, Brunei, Palestinian Territories, Guam, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Benin, Mayotte, Tanzania, French Polynesia, Ghana, Nepal, Azerbaijan, Bhutan.
Thank you all, the Hermes’Journey goes on…
Categories: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, U.S.A.
Tags: Adventure, Blogger, TOURISM, TRAVEL
When the Arawak where pushed out of the Bolivian jungle and got later at the Uru-Uru Lake a second time overruled by other pre-hispanic civilizations, they not only after centuries changed name from Arawac to Uro but were forced to forget almost everything they knew to adapt to their new home. Tired from both migrating and adapting to new territories they took the existence of living at the lake just a step further. With the knowledge of living at the Uru-Uru Lake in Bolivia, the tribe made a final decision and start a life on the Titicaca Lake at some 300km north from the city of Oruro. The now called Uros found a hard life but secure home on ‘homemade’ floating islands made out of dried totora reeds and drift in order to defend themselves far away from the mainland.
The lacustrine lifestyle, drifting with the wind at 3812MASL, brings them new contacts and trades with lots of civilisations, such as the Aymara that lived at the shores of Titicaca. Today as we speak, the Uros have dropped their anchor at the shore of Puno, a rather small village on Peruan soil. The islands, all 49 of them, floating 5km away from Puno lakeshore are still the home of lots of Uro families. By every marriage one island is build, a two year long task to make it and from that moment on a lifetime job of repairing and rebuilding every three months. A high and sweaty price to pay in order to maintain tradition and cultural heritage.
Uros survive on fishing skills from their ‘Caballitos de Totora’ reed boats, totora reed roots for alimentation, diverse handcrafts and of course… these days on tourism. A visitor can get a boat ride to the community and observe the daily life of a civilization out of time. He has the opportunity to buy some of the finest handcraft, visit some of the islands and experience the sensation of standing on a floating island which moves by every step taken. It’s a proud tribe, drifting towards the future remaining and celebrating their cultural legancy. Puno itself offers lots of folkloric celebrations and festivals, typical Peruan fruit and vegetables markets, booksellers at the corner of each street and a food court at the central meat market to enjoy some local dishes in between the blood dripping cadavers. Yummie! 😉
– A boat trip to the floating islands of Uro just costs 10Nuevos Soles and the entrance fee is 5NS. It is one of those places in the world that offers an unique opportunity to see something singular. A must do when crossing the border at that side of Titicaca Lake.
– Q’oñi Wasi is a nice familiar hostal right in the center of Puno close to every market and just 10 min from the harbour. Here you will find any kind of information about tours to the floating islands and other touristic attractions close to Puno thanks to a very prepared staff.
Prices with Wifi and kitchen included:
- 15/20 NS dorms
- 30 NS single
- 50 NS doble
After many years reading and dreaming about it, finally here we are. Our feet now touch its sacred ground, our eyes stare astonished at the greatness of its people. Machu Picchu, the Lost City, where magic, mysticism and hard work gave life, centuries ago, to one of the 7 new world wonders.
We take the bus from Cuzco at 7 in the morning and, after 8 hours driving, we finally get to the Central Hidroelectrica around 3 in the afternoon. From there we start our trekking along the railways in a gorgeous scenery surrounded by nature in order to reach Aguas Calientes and spend the night there before hiking until the park. A real pilgrimage of hundreds backpackers looking for their Mecca.
It is still pitch black, 4:00am. We get up very early in the morning to be among the first ones to get to the gate. The bridge that opens at 5:00am allows you to the steep stairways, the only access by foot to the ruins. For a little extra on the entrance price you can also climb one of the two mountains that surround the valley, Montaña Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu, where we experienced one of the most breathtaking view ever.
Once we got to the top of Montaña Machu Picchu at 7:30am, we have our well deserved breakfast enjoying speechless the panorama in front of us. The clouds that were covering the sky lending the valley that mystic atmosphere which it is known for, suddenly disappear. The sky acquires a deep blue colour and the sun lights up the silver river running through the Urubamba valley, slowly revealing the ancient Inca ruins that rest silently under our feet.
I am not going to give a full description of the archaeological site of Machu Picchu, of its culture or historical meaning because this is something you can easily find everywhere surfing the net, in books or works of those who dedicate their entire life to the secrets of this complex civilization. I will just provide some useful tips on how to get there and enjoy its essence without emptyingyour wallet. After that I will leave pictures speaking for me and showing what nature and men can create working together and living side by side.
- For travellers with a low budget: the best and cheapest way to get to Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu Town, the starting point for the hike till the ruins, is to book a transfer from Cusco till the Central Hidroeléctrica. From there you have to walk about 2 hours along the railways. It is an easy and pleasant trekking along the impressive Vilcanota-Urubamba river. Prices for transportation vary from 60 to 80 Nuevos Soles, according the agencies and the number of days you want to spend there.
- If your budget is not that low and you feel like walking for a few days across the Sacred Valley, you can consider the option of doing the popular Inca Trail (3-4 days for 400-500 dollars) or the newest and cheaper Jungle Trail (4 days for 200-250 dollars) combining trekking, bike and bus.
- To enjoy completely the experience you need a full day going around the ruins and hiking the mountains, so be sure to get to Aguas the day before, spend a night in one of the many hotels or campsites to have a good rest, recharge the batteries and be ready for the hike early in the morning. Have a look to the Hotel Ecomapi (20 NS per night per person) for a basic accommodation in the centre. The park closes at 5 pm so, unless you want to take the night train (50 dollars) back to Cuzco, you will need a second night in Aguas. The next day you can go back to the Hidroeléctrica and take the bus back or stay a few days more and get deeper into the Sacred Valley. This is only up to you and to your muscles. 🙂
- There are thousands of agencies in Cuzco that will almost stalk you with tours or transfers back and forth between Aguas and Cuzco. Spend a few hours if it is necessary to have a general look to the different possibilities and prices in order to get the best offer.
- With the ISIC card you will get the 50% of discount in the entrance fee, so remember to carry with you your student card and for 12 dollars you will receive your personal International Student Card(you can find an ESIC office in the main square of Cuzco, in front of the cathedral).
- As far as the ticket is concerned, you can buy it online (but probably you will be charged of an additional fee for the service), in the official agency of the archaeological park in Cuzco, or directly in Aguas. We suggest you to buy it in advance in order to guarantee your entrance to the mountains and to the ruins since there is a limited number of people per day that are allowed to enter.
As of January 2014, Machu Picchu entrance fees for foreign visitors are as follows:
|Machu Picchu (standard ticket): S/.128 nuevos soles (approx. US$50)
|Machu Picchu and Site Museum: S/.150 (approx. US$58.50)
|Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu: S/.152 (approx. US$59)
|Machu Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain: S/.142 (approx. US$55)