Beware when you arrive at Lima Airport. You're first impression is that Peru smells of fish!. We received a very warm welcome with hundreds of paparazzi taking our pictures as soon as we walked out of the terminal. Or it might have been Peru's National Football Team behind us returning from winning a tournament in Japan. So much to see and not enough time to do it. We spent 2 nights around Nazca, including a flight over the lines. Read about these as a school-kid (Erich von Denekin), so great to see in real life. The airplane flight can be really rough so be careful if you're not a good flyer. Jonna and I were OK but everyone else on the plane puked like crazy and saw nothing. Cuzco has some nice architecture, but not much air. The journey to Macchu Pichu is great (along the river, keep an eye out for Torrent Ducks), but nothing can prepare you for the ruins themselves. Fabulous.

We stayed in the Hotel Libertador in Cuzco which has one wall in the bar that is original Inca stonework. We ate guinea-pig in one of the restaurants in the main square. My Spanish was coming along nicely by now, enough to explain to the barman in one bar that Jonna didn't like her Pisco Sour, because it was rubbish, rather than what she told me to say. "Tell him I'm not thirsty!!!!" Not only was it poorly made it also had a piece of scouring pad in it.

You'll find Cuzco full of 'travellers' who hate 'tourists' because they don't do things properly. You'll find them in the English Pub drinking bitter and eating chips. Sad

We took the 12 hour train ride from Cuzco to Puno. First class service and great stops along the way. At one of the stops we were still buying goodies from the stalls when the train moved off. We had to run after it and jump on and we really noticed the lack of air. We travelled in May, and be warned, Puno was freezing cold at night - we had to sleep in all our clothes.

Peru 1

This photo was taken down near Nacza. We watched dolphins playing in the waves. The area was a dry desert, but we still spotted a few lizards eking out an existence. We gave a lift back to civilisation to a student girl who was counting the dolphins. If we hadn't passed by she would have had to cycle the 15 miles back. Hope she got her degree.

Peru 2

The classic photo of Macchu Picchu. Its difficult to describe the feeling you get when you first see it. This photo was taken from the Moon gate which you can walk to in about 40 minutes.

Peru 3

Going from Cuzco to Puno there is a stop point half way where the trains going in either direction can pass on the single track line. At this point the Mariachi band that accompany you from Cuzco get on the other train to go home. This is one of my favourite photos, despite it being completely accidental that I got the reflection (and even worse it was pointed out to me by a friend! - I hadn't even noticed )

Peru 4


Our second visit to Peru was as part of our year long epic and we started by crossing into Peru from Chile to Arequipa. From here we visited the Colca Canyon before going to Cusco for Macchu Picchu and the Amazon jungle at Puerto Maldonado. The same trip to Puna saw us heading into Bolivia. This lovely beastie was our collectivo from Arica in northern Chile to Tacna from where we caught a bus to Arequipa to meet Rob and Helen who we would be travelling with for nearly 3 weeks.

Chile 1

The Colca Canyon provided some great bird watching including these mighty Condors which attract dozens of observers every day. We stayed nearby in a nice spa hotel with natural hot pools of varying temperatures.

Peru 5

Our 4 night trip into the Amazon was fantastic with tons of birds and wildlife to compensate for the bad weather. The river is brown and muddy but where it has broken up to form ox-bow lakes they eventually go clear and still to provide great views like this. We were looking for giant otters here but they didn't show. Both the lodges we stayed in had open sided rooms, direct onto the jungle. Awesome. We visited the world's largest known clay lick for parrots and we experienced parrots and macaws in large numbers. 

Peru 6


I returned to Peru in September 2012 with my mate Rob, to take a crack at climbing a 6000m mountain. Read all about it here  


People often ask what is your favourite country or what country do you recommend people should visit. Whilst not my favourite (that would be telling) Peru always tops my list of where everyone should go. It has so much to offer from colonial cities, amazon jungle, Macchu Picchu, the Nazca lines and so much more. It was the so much more we were after this time with a start in Lima, before heading north through Huaraz, Trujillo and Chiclayo to explore the many civilisations that lived here, but are much less well known than the Inca.In Lima itself there are mud brick complexes being uncovered and restored. These are called Huaca Pucllana


Moving up by bus to Huaraz we explored Chavin de Huantar. Difficult to photograph but impressive to explore with underground rooms and beautifully carved stone statue.


  A brief break from ruins came with a climb to 4600m and a lovely glacial lake. Hard work but rewarding.


Further north after more bus journeys we looked at the Temples of the Sun and the Moon, and the Royal Tombs of Sipan and numerous other smaller sites. Many of these are now being restored and I suspect these areas will begin to appear on more holiday itineries in the future for the more adventurous traveller. We gatecrashed a hotel with a rooftop swimming pool to await the departure of our night bus into Ecuador. You can’t always get away with this, but it worked this time. 

See more of Peru here

© Paul Hyland 2012