Peru Trip Report 1/2014
We were supposed to leave on the 3rd but there was a large snow storm expected so we arranged to leave a day early. Our 21 year old daughter, Allie, and I took a limo from the house at 10:30AM and my husband, Randy, Randy met us at Newark Airport for a 2:00 PM flight to Lima. We flew first class which was great.
After getting our bags and going through Customs Daniel Rojas 987708858 [email protected] from Orient Express met us and transferred us to the JW Mariott, The Orient Express hotel in Lima was under construction so that is why we stayed at the Marriott. Another hotel that should be considered is the “B” Hotel in Barranco. The Mariott is a great location but I would have rather been in Barranco. By the time we got checked in and settled in the room it was 12:30AM.
Tip: Daniel took the white part of the Customs form, that you need when you leave Peru, and paper clipped into each of our Passports.
We met Ada 961017319 ada_[email protected] from Orient Express at 10:00AM in the Lobby to start our city tour. We first stopped at Parque de La Mar aka KISS. It was a very Gaudi like huge sculpture of a man and woman kissing. In Spanish on one of the tiled walls it is written, “Making Love is difficult but you learn”.
Then we went to the Marina and the park and then on to Faro de la Marina to see the Lighthouse. We then drove through San Isidore and got off the van at Plaza Mayor. We saw the changing of the guards at the Presidential Palace, Cathedral and City Hall. Then we went into the Church of San Francesco and walked through the catacombs. After we got back in the van. Ada recommended we have lunch at El Senora de Sulco in Miraflores. It was delicious. We each had a drink that Daniel had told us about:
Pisco Sour, Chi Cha Morala-made with purple corn and Inca Cola. Ada didn’t leave until we were all settled in.
We then walked along the Pacific Ocean coast towards our hotel. On the way we saw exercise equipment all over and children’s play areas and tons of people hanging out. We went to the Larcomer mall across from the hotel by the ocean. We walked around and had coffee at Starbucks. We went back to the hotel at 5:00 and took naps until 7:00. We had 8:00 reservations at Madame Tusan in Miraflores. Ada recommended it. It was a funky Chinese restaurant and was delicious. When we got back to the hotel we “dropped” $180 at the Casino in the hotel. Oh Well!! Then we returned back to the room.
We got picked up at 10:00 by Vanessa [email protected] We went to a market, Mercado Modello de Surquillo, where Vanessa pointed out Peruvian vegetables and fruits (the largest fig Randy ever saw) and specialties from a Shaman. We then went to the restaurant Caplina and had a cooking class. Allie first helped make Causa which is potatoes and chicken. Then Randy helped make a passion fruit sour drink and I helped make a pisco sour. Then Allie helped make Lomo Saltado. which is a beef and vegetable dish with French Fries. We all sat down and ate our meal which was delicious. We had a really nice time. After we drove to Barranco. On the way we stopped at a restaurant on the ocean that Vanessa recommended, Cala, and made reservations on the terrace for tonight. We got to Barranco and went to Dedalo where they sell work from different artisans. Allie brought a beautiful bracelet. We then checked out the “B” Arts Boutique Hotel. We walked around a bit and through the square. We then got driven back to the hotel. In the lobby there is a store Huerta and Goischke where Randy bought ties. We went back to the room to nap. Allie went to work out and then came back to the room. Randy and Allie got into their suits but never went into the pool since it was outside and the water was cold so they went into the sauna instead. We went to Cala for dinner. The restaurant is right on the Pacific Ocean. Beautiful restaurant and great presentation and great food.
We got picked up by Daniel at 7:10AM. He guided us through ticketing for our 9:40 flight to Cusco. When we landed we got our bags and were transported to the hotel by Carlos and Mario the driver. We checked in to Hotel Monasterio which was an old monastery and very beautiful. We had a room with a little terrace and oxygen that is piped in to the room for altitude sickness. We also all took Diamox to help with the altitude sickness. We unpacked and then went across the square to MAP Café which is a glass enclosed restaurant in the courtyard of a museum Museo de Arte. Our driver told us to order Cabchi de Sates with pastry on top. It was a mushroom soup that was really good.
We came back to the hotel to get our rain coats as it was starting to rain. We met our guide Franklin in the lobby and first went to Koricancha which is a church/convent built on the foundation of Kornicancha. We drove to the Cathedral on the Plaza de Arnos and the Santa Domingo Temple. After we went to the San Pedro Market and walked around and bought a huge round bread Chuta Bread that the locals eat. We then drove to Museo de Pisco and we had a Pisco drink with Franklin. He walked back to the hotel with us so that we could give him some of the herbs that we bought from the Shaman in Lima for his sore throat. He also arranged for Randy to get a guinea pig dinner tonight at the restaurant we were going to Pacha Papa. They are known for guinea pig. We went back to the room to rest and get ready for dinner. We walked to the restaurant which was quaint. There was as out door patio and an inside part but we chose to eat inside as it was a bit cool out. Randy loved his guinea pig as did the other 2 couples in the restaurant. We were all getting a kick out of the guniea pig (and it's face and sharp teeth that are on the plate too) which you must order at least 2 hours in advance. We walked back and on the way a group of young adults were playing instruments and we stopped to listen in front of the famous 12 corner stone. When we got back to the hotel we had cocoa tea to warm up and help with the altitude sickness.
We got picked up by Franklin at 9:30 after a wonderful breakfast at the hotel. We first went to the Sacsayuaman fortress Inca Temple. We then drove to Puca Pucana Fortress. Then we went to Tambomachar Temple of Waters which is 12.600 feet the highest point of the trip. While walking in Randy admired a tapestry. On the way out Juan ran up to us with the tapestry and sold it to us. His wife Manuela made it and we paid $70. Then we went to Quengo which is a cave to honor Mother Earth. On the way back to Cusco we stopped at the Vicona Factory near Sachywnaman which sells alpaca items . We did not find anything there that we liked. We then got dropped off for lunch at Limo which is on the 2nd floor around the square. It has a Japanese influence and was very good. Outside the square there was a lot of festivals and celebrations as it is when the 3 Wise Men to Jesus arrive in Bethlehem. Many wowen were carrying Baby Jesus. After lunch Franklin met us at the restaurant and we walked to see 3 famous artisits work Mendivil, Merida and Polomino. After we walked back to the square and went to the Chocolate Museum. Interesting but not a must see. It was starting to pour so we walked back to the hotel. On the way we stopped at a few shops and went to the hotel to rest. Tonight we ate at Ciccolina which is less than 1 block from the hotel. It is a Tapas Bar and restaurant that makes homemade pasta. It was excellent. It was a happening place.
We got up at 9:00 to go to Sacred Valley. On the way we stopped at Awana Kancha an alpaca farm. We saw the various types of alpacas including seeing Ficonas which are kept separate from the alpacas. They had women weaving and they showed how yarn is dyed. It was very interesting. They actually had some nice items to buy. We then went to the Pisac Market. It was a huge market. We bought earrings, a retablo which is like a diarama and we had bread from the oldest bakery in the market. A little boy approached Allie citing that Obama is President, Michelle is his wife….and he said he had a collection of US dollars. We ended up giving him $1 but he wanted $2 for a whistle he was selling and then he didn’t want the bills because they were ripped a bit. He than ran off!!! We also bought a wooden Parchisi game. After the market we had lunch at Hacienda Huayoccari. It is the home of a wealthy family that has as amazing collection of art. We were the only ones there and it was like eating in a museum. The views were amazing, the food was amazing too. We had a 4 course meal. After, Allie and Randy played a game, Sap, where you throw coins into a wooden type box. It was fun. We then drove to Ollantaytombo. The rain stopped when we got to the top level of the Inca fortress that was abandoned when the Sapaniards took over. On the way back to Cusco we stopped at an artists home/gallery/studio Seminario. We met the aritst and his wife and sons. They make beautiful ceramic sculptures. We ended up buying a small piece. It was late and a long day. We were dropped off at 6:00. Allie and I went back to a store near the hotel to buy alpaca slippers and Randy went to the square to buy a tapestry that we saw at the alpaca farm earlier. They bought it to their Cusco store. We were all still full from lunch and Randy wasn’t feeling well, so we ordered in room service.
Randy did not get better and at 3:15 AM I called reception for a doctor to come to the room. He arrived in 15 minutes and said to get rid of the neausa he should go to the clinic for intravenous. By 4:00 AM Randy was in the clinic and hooked up to the IV. He felt much better once the IV of anti nausea medicine and Sipro and other antibiotics were in him. The doctor said he had a parasite, Gioridia Lamblia, which we think he got from the fresh water trout he had at lunch. By 7:45 the hotel staff picked him up and brought him back to the hotel. He showered and miraculously we were able to take an 8:15 transfer to head to Machu Puchu. They gave Randy antibiotics to take but no anti nausea medicine. I must say Orient Express did an among job in getting us the help we needed.
We left our bags at Montesario and only took small bags. We got picked up to take us to the 10:09 Vistadome train to Machu Pichu. Franklin accompanied us on the train. The train was really nice and we were served a really nice snack/breakfast. The views from the train were beautiful. Once we arrived we took the bus up the mountain to The Sanctuary Lodge which is the only hotel at the base of Machu Pichu. The bus ride was a little scary at it was windy and wet from the rain. And the cliffs we were driving on were quite steep. When we arrived we had lunch at the hotel. After we were taken to the Presidential Suite Room, a large 2 bedroom 2 Bath Suite. They upgraded us.. They were told ahead of time that Randy got sick. Randy did not feel great and went up to the room to lie down for a bit before we went out. At 2:45 we began our guided tour with Franklin of Machu Pichu. It was fascinating. It was raining quite a bit but that did not stop us. Randy was quite the trooper as he really wasn’t feeling well. At around 5:00 we returned back to the hotel and Franklin briefed us on the next days itinerary and said good bye over tea as we were quite wet. Allie and I went into the Jacuzzi for a short time as it wasn’t too hot. When we got back to the room Allie’s throat was bothering her and felt she needed something from the doctor. A doctor came up to the room and prescribed pills to Allie for her throat and also prescribed pills for Randy for his nausea. Both felt much better after they were medicated. Randy went down to the restaurant for soup and toast and Allie and I went to dinner together.
The next morning we slept in a bit, had breakfast and trekked up to the Sun Gate Trail. It took us about 2 hours round trip. It is located 2600 Feet above sea level. It was a beautiful hike with beautiful views and it wasn’t too difficult. We got down around 1:30 and had lunch. Thankfully it was not raining when we hiked but it started to while we were having lunch. Instead of hiking again in the afternoon we decided to relax in the Day Room until it was time to leave at 4:45. While in there we met a couple Mike and Tim and another couple who were also going on the Hiram Bingham train back to Cusco. We chatted with them and then at 4;00 we all went to the restaurant for Tea and snacks. We then boarded the van (for Hiram Bingham passengers only) to go down the mountain to the train station. It is quite scary as it was wet and steep. When we got to the station we quickly shopped in the market and got a photo album and a Chinese Checkers set. We boarded the incredibly luxurious train and as it happened we were sititng across from Mike and Tim. After ordering the main course we all went into the bar car for drinks. There was a 3 piece band playing and we danced and had lots of fun. The dinner was as 4 course meal that was truly memorable. We arrived at 8:00 and our driver was there waiting to take us back to the Montesario. We got back around 10:00 and were given the Presidential Suite. It was a very large room with 1 king and 1 double bed. We packed up for our departure the next day.
We left Montesario at 9:45 to go to the airport for our flight to Lima. Our flight left at 11:40 and we arrived in Lima at 1:00. We got Allie’s luggage and Daniel was waiting for us . He got us to our connection and he took Allie to the Ramada Hotel next to the airport for her to spend 6 hours at the Spa including a 30 minute massage for $70 as she had 9 hours to kill for her flight back to Newark. We then boarded our flight to Iquitos . Once we got there we were met by the guides of the Aria Cruise of the Aqua Expeditions line that we were boarding for our next 3 nights stay. They took us for a 1 ½ hour tour of Iquitos before getting to the boat. In the plaza, we got off the van and there was a guy entertaining who was a Michael Jackson impersonator, He actually was spot on. At 6:30 we arrived at the boat and were escorted to our cabin. It is beautiful. We then all had to meet at the lounge for a briefing about the boat and activities. We then had to get our life jackets from the cabin and meet at the gangway for a quick safety drill. There are 22 guests on the boat and 24 in staff. After we all went to the dining room and had a beautiful dinner . We sat with a mother Virginia and her 25 year old daughter Meredith. Then it was bed time.
We all had wake up calls at 6:30 and 7:00 breakfast. We ate until 7:30 and then due to the rain we could not go out on the skiffs so they gave us a lecture on life in the Amazon. The 3 things they need to live on in the Amazon is 1) salt for the fish 2) Kerosene 3) Matches.
They drink the water from the Amazon. In the morning they get a bucket of water. After the sediment settles down they transfer the water to another bucket to drink from. It was still raining but we all decided to put ponchos on and head out on the Yarapa River. We saw grey and pink dolphins. We also saw cappuccino, spider and squirrel monkeys. We saw locals fishing and they came up to the boat to show us the fish they caught including pirhanas. We went passed our guides village where he grew up and some young kids were selling crafts that they had made. We bought a Shaman doll that is supposed to ward off evil spirits. We passed the facility that Cornell University is working in to keep the wildlife of The Amazon going on and a young native that works there was holding a baby margay cat. Thankfully it stopped raining and we returned back to the cruise at 12:30. Randy went to have a massage as soon as we got back. I went to lunch and Randy met me after his massage. I then had a massage after lunch. At 3:30 we boarded the skiffs and traveled on the Clabero Lake. While looking for pink dolphins locals from a near by village, Timbe Palya,swarmed around our boat as they were in their homemade wooden canoes. We got off our boat and visited their village. We saw the community of 400. We went into a home and saw how they live. Then all the kids brought benches in the field for us to sit on. We sang songs to them and they sang songs to us and told us their names. We then gave them presents that we had all bought for them. I brought T shirts and gave them to the adults of the home that we went into. After, we got into their canoes and rowed down the lake to our boats. I got in the canoe with Amana and her mother. Amana graduated #1 in her HS class and her sister graduated #2. She will be going to Iquitos to the University as the government will pay for her for being #1. I payed it forward and gave her my Alix and Ani bracelet that my assistant Amanda had given me. Once we met up with our boat we all jumped into the Amazon with the kids from the canoes. It was amazing. We then got back to the cruise and got dressed for a 6:45 meeting and 7:00 dinner. We ate with a couple from Madison, CT Beth and J and then off to bed.
Got up at 6:30 for 7:00 breakfast. It was raining so they gave a lecture at 8:00 on the fish we would be seeing. At 8:30 we left on the skiffs on the Yanapala River. We saw Laughing Falcons, Black Fronted Nun Bird- Red Bill, Mealy Parrot, Hyla Frog- small and jumpy, Mccau- Blue and yellow, Saddle Back Jamaron Monkeys, Lesser Kiss Kady Bird- yellow, Noisy Night Monkey-they can’t live in Malaria areas, Capp Heron.
We got back at 11:15 and rested until 12:00. We then went to the lounge for a cerviche cooking lesson, towel folding demonstration, and Pisco making lesson and Anoconda Drink lesson. Then we had lunch at 1:00 and after rested until 3:30 when we went out on the skiffs again on the El Dorado River. We saw grey and pink dolphins, iguanas, sloths ( Randy spotted that one!!) and great Black hawks. We then saw a huge patch of giant water lillys. After we went fishing for red belly pirhahnas. I actually caught 1 and 2 cat fish. Randy tried hard to catch a pirhana but it never happened!! After fishing all 4 boats met and connected and we had bellini champagne drinks and chips and nuts. The guides there a few prihana in the water for us all to watch the hawks dive down to eat them. It was starting to get dark and the guide flashed his light to find a Cayman( Alligator family). The guide, in the brush, found one and got on the front of the skiff and picked it up for us all to see. It was a 1 year old spectator cayman. After we drove back to the boat in the dark and arrived back at 7:15. We all met at 8:00 in the Lounge where they introduced all 24 of the staff. Then they played instruments for us and we all danced to the music. After we ate dinner and then back to the cabin for our last night. We were amazed that the rooms were made up 3 times a day and the waiters knew which water we preferred and which wine we drank and what foods that we didn’t like. The service was amazing.
We got up at 6:30 and had breakfast at 7:00. At 9:30 we went on the skiffs for a 3 second ride and put on the rubber boots that they provided us. We did an 1 ½ jungle walk. Along with our boat guide a local, Hugo, of the village that we were hiking in came along too. We saw small ground stuff and a falcon and sloths. The local guide thought he saw a small falcon in the top of a tree so he takes his boots off and climbs up the tree like a monkey and slid down . It was just amazing. We went back to the boat to settle our bills and get ready to leave. We left the boat at 1:30 and they gave us box lunches. They dropped us off in Nauta Village. The van drove us for a 1 1/2 hour ride back to the airport. On the way we stopped at the Amazon Rescue Center where they take care of manattees to prep them for the wild. We got to the airport to find out that there was a 3 hour delay as the plane coming in had engine problems. We waited with a few other couples from the trip. Thankfully we had a 6 hour stop over in Lima before our flight left for Newark at 11:30 PM. We did our duty - free shopping once we got to Lima and went to the Lounge but by the time we got there they started boarding our flight. We got on the plan and slept the whole way on those comfy first class seats!!!
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Peru Trip Report 1/2014