Touring Peru

Here an overview of my itinerary and the highlights of our trip through Peru (starting on Saturday, December 01)


Day 1 to 4
Arrive Lima - Pisco - Ballestas Islands - Huacachina Oasis - Nazca - Option Chauchilla Cemetery & Nazca Lines flight

Day 5 to 7
Arequipa - Chivay - Colca Canyon - Cruz del Condor - Arequipa

Day 8 to 13
Cuzco - Sacsayhuaman - Sacred Valley - Pisaq - Ollantaytambo - Inca Trail - Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cuzco

Day 14 to 16
Puerto Maldonado - Amazon Jungle - Cuzco

Day 17 to 19
Puno - Lake Titicaca - Uros, Amantaní & Taquile Islands - Puno

Day 20 to 21
La Paz (Bolivia)

Good bye Ecuador and welcome to Peru

After almost three months in Ecuador, it was finally time to say good bye on Monday, November 26.

Together with Andrew, a guy from the UK whom I met in Vilcabamba, I was boarding the bus in Loja that would take us to Piura, in the North of Peru.
After one night in Piura I continued straight to Lima (15 hours in the bus...), where I will join another Tucan Travel tour group this Saturday.
At the moment I am trying to have my camera fixed and I am confident, that I will soon have some more pictures to share with you!
Oh, bye the way, I really like Lima and unlike what most people had predicted to me, the weather is even sunny and not dull and foggy all day. Lucky me….

Vilcabamba, the valley of longevity!

No wonder Vilcabamba in the south of Ecuador is such a popular stop along the “gringo trail” between Ecuador and Peru….. the area is so beautiful and tranquil with a very agreeable climate all year round and some great hostels!
I stayed in Izhcayluma, a great place run by two German guys, have a look at their little paradise (and it is not even expensive!)

At the bus station in Vilcabamba I met Stacey, a girl from the States who is also travelling on her own and as she was going to stay at the same hostel, we decided to share a room. The next couple of days we spent relaxing in our hammocks, getting some really great massages and going for some hikes.
It was my idea to go horse riding and I convinced Stacey that we should do the one day tour.
Well, she didn’t really like it that much but it was actually my horse that decided to fall into the river (while we were crossing the river that is…) and I got really soaked!
Fortunately nothing happened to neither me nor the horse, I only got quite a big bruise on my left tight and my camera got wet as well, until today it is still not quite working yet....

Horse back riding with Stacey

Granja organica Susudel

While in Cuenca I had met Fernando, a young agro engineer, who runs an organic farm in Susudel. As this tiny village was on my way to Loja anyway, I decided to stop by for a day and experience some Ecuadorian farm life! My father will probably not believe me that I did this voluntarily..... but it was an interesting experience.

Fernando and his wife mainly produce dried fruits and meat, different sweets and jams as well as tea, which they sell in some shops in Cuenca and on the local markets around Susudel. For me the village life looked almost like out of a museum, all the work is done manually with oxen and only a few (like Fernando) own a tractor and machines!

Around Susudel

The farm and Fernando in action

Ingapirca and Parque Nacional Cajas

Parque Nacional Cajas

Another day trip I made was to Parque Nacional Cajas, which is located near Cuenca on 3100 - 4500 meters altitude. As you can get easily lost and as the weather does change quite often and suddenly, I went with an organized tour and we did two nice hikes along some lagoones and saw the different vegetation at the various levels of altitude.
I also met Neil and Coralie, a very nice French/UK couple, with whom I watched the football game between Ecuador and Uruguay the next day (unfortunately Ecuador lost...)


Ingapirca is Ecuador's most important Inca ruin and was strategically placed on the Inca trail between Cuzco and Quito. Local people have used most of the original stone material of the site to build their houses and therefore not much is left of the old buildings and you can mainly see the foundations of the site.


From Guayaquil I continued my journey south and after a four hour bus ride got to Cuenca, the third biggest city in Ecuador. It was almost love at first sight... the many colonial buildings in the old town, the churches, the cobblestone streets, the nice plazas and the rivers; have a look at the pictures yourself!
I really enjoyed Cuenca a lot and had I known the place before, I might even have done my volunteering work here...
In Puerto Lopez I had met Alfredo, an Ecuadorian-Swiss tour guide, who gave me some nice tips for Cuenca, so I stayed with Belen in her private house and had the best spaghetti in the restaurant of a Swiss girl from Appenzell! Should you ever visit Cuenca, ask me for the directions!

I stayed five days in Cuenca, enough time to visit some places around Cuenca (see next entry), to go to the hairdresser (now I have really short hair again...) and to buy a famous Panama hat; they are not from Panama but from Ecuador and Cuenca is one of the best places to get them, did you know that??!!

Impressions of Cuenca



Guayaquil is the biggest city in Ecuador, located at the coast with a hot and humid climate all year round... I spent three days in town and really enjoyed it a lot.

Actually I only planned to stay until Monday morning, but just minutes before I was leaving the hotel, Tim a Belgium guy that I had met earlier on my Galapagos cruise, called me because he was stranded in Guayaquil for the day... so we spent another day sightseeing and eating delicious ceviche and seafood!


La Ruta del Sol

From Galapagos I was once more returning to Quito before taking the bus to the coast of Ecuador. I started my trip down along the coast (La Ruta del Sol) in Manta, not a very special town but with a nice and very clean beach. I only stayed there for one night before taking the bus to Puerto Lopez.
Puerto Lopez is a pretty seaside village and the starting point for visits to Parque Nacional Machalilla and Isla de la Plata. The vegetation and animals on the island are similar to the Galapagos islands and therefore it is also called Galapagos for the poor (the park entrance fee is only 15 dollars compared to 100 dollars on Galapagos plus you can do Isla de la Plata in one day).
In the Machalilla park you can visit Agua Blanca, an indigenous community where there is an archaeological site and a sulphur pool with therapeutic mud..... after such a mud bath you are supposed to look at least ten years younger, of course I had to try it!
Also in the park is Los Frailes beach, for many the nicest beach in Ecuador. Unfortunately the weather wasn't that great but I did take a short bath nevertheless.
After three days in Puerto Lopez I had about seen what there is to see and I therefore continued further south along the coast to Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city.

Los Frailes Beach

Agua Blanca with sulphur pool

Puerto Lopez and Isla de La Plata

Boat tour around the harbour of Manta