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Category: Peru Page 1 of 2

Iquitos, Peru, to El Coca, Ecuador by boat

I had decided I wanted to visit the jungle city of Iquitos as it was the biggest city in the world not connected by roads. Getting there would be easy, I could fly to Lima but I was really determined not to have to fly out. I didn’t want to go back to Lima a third time, nothing against Lima but I just didn’t want to have to return, and then it’s a long bus journey through the desert from Lima to Ecuador. I had had enough of deserts as I’d been in them for most of the past few months so I decided I’d visit if I could find a way to get to Ecuador direct from Lima. I discovered there is a boat, well four boats, that take you up the Rio Napo and across the border to Ecuador connecting with El Coca, which is connected to the road network in Ecuador. There were two very detail blog posts that described the route so I knew the journey was possible but I didn’t know if I’d be able to achieve it. I did know the journey takes 4-5 days and I was excited about experiencing an area not many people get to see.

Click here for information and maps about how to make the journey.

Buying the tickets

My first mission when arriving in Iquitos was to find the tourist information, iPeru, which is located on Jirón Napo just below the main Plaza. My back had spasmed, yet again at a time at a time where I needed t get information and could ill afford to sit and rest it, which always took me back to Coyhaique, Chile. I forced my self out and I was in a lot of pain when I entered the office so I tired to get it sorted quickly. The woman who helped me initially said she knew nothing about the journey but spoke to her colleague, who typed into a computer and soon printed me off a boat schedule. There is a slow boat and a fast boat. The fast boat took two days to get to the boarder, I have no idea how long the slow boat takes and it goes twice a month. The fast boat leaves on Tuesdays and Fridays but I wanted to confirm this. There was a number on the schedule so I typed this into WhatsApp and messaged them.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this but WhatsApp is amazing in South America, if you have bad Spanish it saves you from having to make calls and . Nearly all the agencies can be reached and by it which for someone like me who’s Spanish is not good enough to use on the phone I can message instead. I received a reply confirming the boat left on those days and that I could buy a ticket from the office in Iquitos. The travellers on the other blogs brought their ticket in boats but there is a risk that the boat might be full so I’d recommend buying in advance if you can.

The next day I went to the office which I was told is located near Calle Maynas and Calle Yavari. If walking from the plaza head towards Yavari and follow it up until it meets Maynas. Around two blocks from where the roads meet the tarmac road stops and it felt very sketchy, although I didn’t see anything to suggest it’s dangerous and the reciption showed me where it is on a map and didn’t say the area was problematic so don’t let this out you off. When you get to the T junction take a right and look for number 360, which is on the right on the corner of the next Street. In there you can buy your ticket, which was 215 soles, more than had been advertised before. I paid and was given instructions as to how to get to he boat.

The first thing to know is that the boat that takes you to the border does not start in Iquitos, it starts in a place called Mazán which is on the Rio Napo. Now the lady that sold me the ticket told me that i had Romeo to catch the 9am boat by leaving the same day if I got to the port at 6am but after speaking to the man on the hostel reception I decided to take his advice and leave the day before. It’s up to you but I’ll explain below as we go through the journey as to why.

Iquitos to Mazán – Day 1

It wasn’t necessary to leave early as the boats left all day. I took my time in the morning and went to get a last breakfast as I wasn’t sure what food I’d be eating for the next few days. I also wanted to take advantage of the WiFi. Annoyingly I was told that I could only use the WIFI for one hour and the food was disappointing.

At 11:30, packed and fully supplied. I brought crackers, biscuits, chocolates etc, things that I could eat without cooking and a 7 litre bottle of water. The water came in handy but the snacks were largely unnecessary in the end. This route is well travelled, at leat by locals if not gringos.

I took a tuc tuc to Puerto Lao, it cost 5 soles which is a rip off considering the ride I did next for 5 soles. You want to catch the fast boat to Indiana, but you can also say Mazan. There are at least three places to get boats here. I chose the wrong one and had to walk arcos the dodgiest planks I’ve ever seen. It’s almost as if a load of wood washed up in shore after a storm and they said, okay this will work for the dock. There was lots of people unloading the boats including live chickens balancing on planks of wood across open stretches of water as they came on shore. I was pointed in the right direction and had to climb down a steep bank until I reached a man who someone had gave me directions shouted at.

In the blog i had read the journey cost 8 soles and I was happy to pay 10, so when the man told me it would be 20 I laughed. He immediately reduced it to 15 and when I said 10 they laughed. It seemed of I wanted to go it would be 15. So I agreed and got on board. The boat was two thirds full at this stage and as it was a collectivo we had to wait until it was full. Despite it being a fairly grey day it was stupidly hot and even more so when the woman and her son sat next to me. The seats are really not built for Europeans. It took somewhere between 40mins and an hour to fill up and then we were off on my last stint on the Amazon river.

The journey took and hour and from my memory was largely uneventful. My big bag was strapped to the roof and there was a boy running around up there, which is impressive as the boat was not as wide as a bus. When we docked there were a tonne of people trying to get my custom for a tuc tuc. I walked past them but one man followed me. I said 5 soles to Mazan and he agreed so off we went. The journey was fun as it wasn’t quite proper roads but a road made of small concrete squares that seem to pass for roads in these parts. A lot of them are damaged which meant it was a bumpy but fun ride. I was dropped at the hostel I had requested which was the only one on maps me, Hotel Leydy. I’ll go into details in the next paragraph but my advise is to take a look around town as there are plenty of places to stay.

I was dropped outside of a building near the river which had stairs leading up. At the time I didn’t see the huge sign outside staying it was the hostel as on the map it appeared in a slightly different location. A women went upstairs and I followed. She showed me to a room at the front which contained a bed, no sheets, a table and a stool. There was a light and a plug socket. A window with no glass, right into the street although there were shutters. She said 10 soles (although in the morning this had gone up to 15), I asked for another room and she said no so I took it. Again I should learn to walk around town as after I dumped my things and took a little walk around to see what was available I spotted a tonne of other places. The toilet had no seat, which is not uncommon, and the flush was using buckets of water, again not uncommon, but this is the first time the shower has consisted of water and a bucket. The water was freezing but as it was so hot was really refreshing. And surprisingly quick.

I sat by the river but after covering every inch of my body with bug spray I could feel I was getting bitten so retreated inside the room to read. After dark I ventured out to see if I could use the WiFi at the Internet cafe. I couldn’t so I went to get some food. Essentially chicken and chips was on offer. The girl serving me didn’t seem to understand me, her mother (maybe) did better but the guys on the table next to me seemed to know what I wanted so between the four of us we ordered food, a beer and some sauces which ended up being 24 soles again different to what I thought I was quoted, but still it’s a fairly decent price. After I went to the “hotel” to go to bed. It was a hit fairly sleepless night and I was a little concerned about the lack of a mosquito net.

Mazan to Santa Clotilde – Day 2

The boat was due to leave at 9am and it was suggested in the other blogs that I should arrive early to get a seat. I awoke far too early for this as people seemed to be leaving and entering the hostel all night and lots of bikes pulled up outside. It’s surprising how loud things are when there is no glass in the window.

I took another “shower” and then went out in search of the boat. It had appeared overnight and wasn’t quite what I thought it would be. Attached to a floating platform which was accessible by walking down through the mud, I mean beach, and then across planks of wood balanced on, well it wasn’t scaffolding but it served the same purpose. If I fell I’d be in the water. I was enjoying the randomness of it all and the slightly dangerous situations. The only thing that was upsetting was that lots of good were being unloaded from other boats. There were chickens all tied together and then pigs tied to a stick by their legs and then left to lie in the sun. One pig was squealing, I’ll guess in pain, as it was unloaded. I can’t really criticise as I eat meat and animals are considered different in this part of the world so I don’t want to judge but it wasn’t pleasant to watch.

I boarded the boat, where most people had claimed a seat with their bag. I selected one that had good leg space and then swapped with a lady who had a child. It took me a few minutes to work out what she was saying and then we were off. The boat sped up the river at around 25-30km and hour. Our destination for the day was Santa Clotilde, the boat takes two days to get to the border so it stops overnight.

The boat journey itself was fairly uneventful. The boat sped along the river creating some breeze which was really welcome as the weather was ridiculous. I think we had one storm on this day, there was plastic sheeting either side of the boat which could be pulled down to keep out the rain. Some would get through but again it was welcome to counter balance the heat. The boat was long but small. We sat on what seemed like recycled car seats and other than a bathroom at the back, which I used once on this day, there was not much else to do. After watching the scenery for an hour or so and it didn’t really change much I delved into my book.

We stopped at most of the villages and hamlets along the way, to drop off and pick up people and packages that ranged from live chickens to well, I don’t know. When we did sock there was often a group of people watching and I watched back silently to try and capture a glimpse of life. Just before 11 I was handed a ball of rice and chicken wrapped in banana leaves. Lunch was provided as the boat would not be stopping.

We eventually reached our destination at 4pm and were told we needed to be back on the boat for 3:30am. The hostel was right by the water front. My room was better as it was not right at the front, it had a mosquito guard across the window and there was an actual shower and working toilet and sink in this one. Otherwise everything was the same. I waited out the storm that appeared with the other passengers from the boat and chatted in bad Spanish before heading out for some more chicken and chips and returned for an early night.

Santa Clotilde to Pantoja and then Nuevo Rocafuerte – Day 3

The boat was only supposed to take me as far as the Peruvian border town of Pantoja but I managed to get a second boat across the border that day. We will come to that later.

I awoke at 3am, finished packing and was surprised to find I was one of the last to get on the boat. The crew had set up a hammock for a lady with an injured foot as there was now less luggage and I needed to find a new seat as everyone had switched places. I was in a foul mood as I’d slipped in the mud boarding the boat and it was still too dark to access the damage. I’d basically only covered myself in cold mud but it wasn’t the best start to the day. Two of the passengers were a little late and the crew went to fetch them. We left just after 4am in the dark and it was very quiet on the boat. Today was much of the same, just following the river, stopping, dropping things off and picking them up. I saw boats and children playing in the water. There was one group of children playing football on a sand bank in the hear of the day. Each time play stopped they just jumped into the water to cool off and for back out again. The other passengers suggested I took photos but I don’t like taking photos of other people’s children without permission. It was a fun site to watch, and then they swam over to see the boat.

We were given breakfast which was a repeat of the chicken and rice from yesterday and socked for lunch. I’m not sure what I ordered but it was tasty and we were soon on our way again. Today was much more cloudy and we had our fair share of storms. I was exhausted to be honest with the early start and just plowed through my book. My bum hurt by this point and I was bored of sitting for so long. Although this I something not many people do and I was getting a look at life in the Amazon I was starting to get bored. If only I could speak more Spanish then I could ask questions. I’ll learn for he next time I return.

We eventually arrived at Pantoja at around 6pm. It wasn’t quite dark but the sun was setting. This was where I was a little concerned as I needed to get a stamp for my passport and find a boat across the border. There are no public boats that take this route but you can charger a boat and as this route is a way I to Ecuador there are people that are willing. I asked the crew where I could ask about a boat and they pointed me in a direction. I went to find one of the hostels in the town but was dithering as I wanted to see what the other passengers did, hoping that one might want to go across the border or point me where to go. They seemed to dither also so I walked towards a hostel. One the Way a man asked if I was going to Ecuador. I said yes in the morning and asked where I could get a boat, on the way another man said he could take me now. I was a little confused and concerned about the safety but he spoke to a woman in uniform at the docs and she pointed me towards the police station. This is where I missed a key piece of advice.

On both the blogs I’ve read they mentioned that they had difficulty getting the stamp, due to the officer not being available so with this in mind I wasn’t surprised to seethe immigration office closed. The police station was next door and I spoke to them and they said to wait as the immigration officer was at the dock. I waited 15 minutes but then decided as it was getting dark I’d stay the night and I didn’t want to keep the man in the boat waiting. So I left, and started walking, I can’t remember why but something made me turn around and I saw the lady from the dock behind me and she told me to come to get my passport stamped. I don’t know how she had gotten past me and I had assumed it was a man, probably because the other blogs had mentioned a man but I assume he’s been replaced due to his incompetence as the lady was really good at her job. I asked if getting the boat would be fine at this time and she said yes. And I got my stamp.

I returned to the dock and the price of transportation had risen to $25 now, I didn’t have much choice but to agree as I’d just been stamped out of Peru and it was still less than the $20-$50 quoted on the original itinerary. So I got on board. It was a tiny boat with no life jackets and the mans family, his wife, daughter and baby were on board. I assumed he was a skilled boats man and he wouldn’t kill them so I’d be fine. As we left on the dark river I started to think a little about the consequences of my actions. Here I was on a boat in the middle of the Amazon completely at the mercy of these unkind people. I decided I needed to trust and I had been told to take the boat so I didn’t have much choice. Obviously they didn’t kill me, they were really nice, and I think if they had I’d been seen getting the boat by the immigration lady who had my details on file, so I decided it was fine. Although the situation wasn’t helped by the storms i could see all over he sky. This did, however, make for a beautiful journey. I was told it would be 90mins to 2 hours but I think it took just over 3. It started to get cold, the engine kept stopping, we hit a sand bank and the captain was using a torch to spot fallen trees in the water and we come close to hitting some. Anyways I arrived in Nuevo Rocafuerte just after 9. The first hostel was full but the second had space. It was much more expensive here but I had a TV, private bathroom, WiFi, and aircon. It was too late to get my entrance stamp and the boat i needed left at 5:30am so I realised I’d have to stay here an extra day. I had hoped I’d gained a day but alas not. But it’s probably a good thing as I was exhausted. I brought a beer and some crisps which served as dinner and went to bed.

Nuevo Rocafuerte – Day 4

I awoke earlyish but decided to take it easy and sat with the Cartoon Network on in Spanish hoping I’d pick up some by osmosis whilst I sorted photos and updated the blog. Around 10am I decided it was time to get my entrance stamp as I’d been in Ecuador overnight and wasnt sure how long is have before it caught up with me. The immigration office was a little harder to find. It wasn’t quite in the location the map suggested and I had to ask a few people. I entered what I thought was the right building and was instructed to knock on a door. I did and after a couple of times I heard a noise, again the blogs I had read suggested it was hard to get hold of the immigration officer. So I tried the handle and opened the door to a bedroom with the officer inside. Had not expected that. He came around to the office with me and stamped my passport with no problems. With that i had the whole day free to waste before getting the boat in the morning. I decided to take a wonder around the town.

There wasn’t really much to see so I headed back to my room and after managed to buy some lunch at a local, I’ll call it an eatery. I spent the afternoon reading by the river watching the locals go about their business. A bakery opened so I brought what passed for croissants and Pan o chocolates for the next day and after starting to get bitten I retired until the next day.

Nuevo Rocafuerte to El Coca

I awoke at around 4:30 and got ready. Just before 5am the hostel owner kindly knocked on my door to see if I was awake. I left the hostel at 5:10 and walked the two blocks to where the boat waited. Someone checked my ID and my name was added to a list and I had to get on the boat alone unsupported which worries me as instead of mud this time there was water and I didn’t want to repeat the same mistake.

A guy took my big bag from me and stashed it at the front and I grabbed a seat halfway along. This was the most modern boat Id been on. There were TV screens which had the news on, but these were soon turned off, and just before we departed at 5:30am the boat blasted out a serian, which is did for much of the fist half hour. I’m not sure how excited I’d be living in the village but people do get up early here to work in the light.

The journey was pretty much the same as previous days, picking up and dropping off passengers. I saw groups of school children on boats in what must be a school boat. The police came on board at one point and made us all wear the life jackets and there were several groups of parents with children. At one point a little boy burst into tears because his mother was changing his sister in the toilet. I don’t know why but I gave him some of the chocolate bread and that immediately stopped him. He then hovered around for more but I didn’t want to encourage a habit. A little girl sitting across from me had seen the whole thing and later when I started eating another she stuck her hand out, I offered and the mother was happy for her to have some. As soon as she finished she stuck her hand out for more and started crying so I gave her more but after a third time I felt I was reinforcing bad behaviour. She later was held over the side of the boat so she could go to the bathroom. It’s funny how things are different here, that people will accept food from strangers, I do it and I think there is not the fear of poisoning or razor blades. Maybe people here have better things to do.

Again we picked people up and dropped people off. We stopped for lunch but I had enough food so stayed in place. It also rained a lot more today but the covers mostly kept me dry. It was again a long journey but I can’t think of anything else exciting that happened. Actually I don’t think I’ve tamed about how wide the river is but I think the land is pretty flat here and I get the impression it’s not very deep but it’s easily 100metres or more for most of the time.

We reached El Coca around 4pm and I headed to a hostel I thought was cheap. I couldn’t be bothered to compare prices so I just took the room which was nearly as good as the one the night before. I took a wonder to the bus station but it was the wrong one and with the main terminal being a further 3km out of town I decided to quit and get some food. Even tho it was a Friday I didn’t know anyone in the city so I headed back to the hostel early to sleep.

It had been a long journey and both an interesting and boring one. But I had travelled a route that not many people had and I had a tiny look at how people in the Amazon live. One thing that surprised me was the amount of villages there were along the river. But of course that is where the villages will be, not in the middle of the jungle. There were also a lot of children and not so many adults. I assume they must have been working.

How to make the trip Iquitos to El Coca

I made the journey in October 2018.

If you want you can visit The iPeru office located just off the main plaza in Iquitos, towards the river (Calle Naop marked on the map below). They did give me a time table but seemed to have very little other information. I’d just skip this part and message the number below.

Iquitos - iPeru Office

The timetable contained a number so I WhatsApped using my bad Spanish and Google Translate – +51 965 800 468 and I was directed to the ticket office at: Calle Maynas 360, altura la Cdra 17 de Yavari (and this is exactly as it was sent to me). My hostel helped me find the location on a map but here it is in Google:

Iquitos - Boat Ticket Office

Its about a 25 minute walk or you can pay a Tuktuk driver to take you there. I was trying to be cheap so decided to walk. Towards the end of the journey the road is no longer asphelt and the office, which was someones house, was not quite on the junction I had been told. I’ve put the pin in the general area, but it is there. I was on the corner and I had to walk up the road a little. The lovely lady drew me a map and I had my ticket after paying 125 Soles.

This boat takes you from Mazan to Cabo Pantoja on the border. First you need to arrive at Mazan. The lady who sold me the ticket told me how I could get there on the day at the boat leaves at 9am but I decided, with the advice of the hostel, to get there the day before. The collectivos that go to Mazan leave from Puerto Lao. There are several entrances and calling it a dock is misleading as its really just a lot of driftwood and boats tied together-so watch your step. There are a few different entrances and I had to ask a couple of times to find the boat, but as always people were friendly and helpful. The journey time is about 40min and I ended up paying 15 soles, initially I was told 20. I had to wait over an hour for the boat to fill up before it left and I was travelling at midday. Just remember this could be an issue if you are talking the next boat on the same day.

Iquitos - Pueto Lao

When the boat arrives in Indiana, there is only one destination, you will be met by Tuktuk drivers who will take you to Mazan. If you look at the map you will see how the rivers work and this is cutting off a longer journey. PAy no more than 5 soles and you’ll be whizzing through the jungle to arrive at the small town. I stayed at Hotel Leydy but only because it was mentioned in the other blogs. It was the only place I could find and was cheap for a room at 10 soles. I’d recommend walking around town, the hostel is basic and there are at least 3-4 other places which all looked nicer. You can buy food in Mazan, there are restaurants and shops. You don’t actually need to stock up on anything for the journey although maybe buy a big 7 litre bottle in Iquitos as once on the boat you won’t have a water supply and it is hot.

The boat leaves Mazan at 9am, so I wok up the next day and the water front was bustling. There is not really a dock but you will see there are two boats that have pulled up alongside a structure. I had to walk across precarious planks to get there and there will be people selling food on the water front. Lunch is included in the boat ticket. The boat will be here:

Mazan - Dock

When the boat leaves that’s it for the day. There is a rudimentary bathroom on board and it doesn’t stop until around 5pm. Well it does constantly to pick up and to drop off but you won’t be able to go ashore. My advice is to bring a good book as there is nothing to see but jungle. You will dock in Santa Clotilde and the hostel, included in the price is on the riverfront. We were told we need to be back on board at 3am. So listen to the time, it wont leave without you ut don’t hold everyone up. Again there are several restaurants and shops in this town so you can stock up on anything you need.

The boat sets off in the dark and its a long day. Breakfast is provided and there is a lunch stop where you can buy food. This time you get a chance to get on dry land. You arrive in Cubo Pantoja around 6pm. I can’t tell you much about the town as a man came up to me and offered me a ride across the border leaving right now. He told me where to get my exit stamp and do not leave this town without getting one. In the blog below people had difficulty getting theirs but for me it was easy. I was taken to the officer who was at the dock when the boat arrived. She told me to wait in the office. Sadly Google Maps doesn’t cover this town, but it is on maps.me, but take the path left form the dock, follow it up the hill and then when it swings tot he right follow it round and head to the police station. The immigration office is first. The lady came to find me, stamped my passport and I went back to the dock and jumped on the boat for $25. The man and his family lived in Ecuador.

Now its up to you if you want to do this. I was told later the journey is much more dangerous at night and it felt scary. I was told it would take 90 mins but it was more like 3.5 hours. The hostel when I arrived in Nuevo Rocafurte was much nicer, I had aircon and a TV but it was $15 a night, where as I think if I’d stayed in Cubo Pantoja it would have been much cheaper. Also the final boat to El Coca, which leaves every day, goes at 4am and arrived at 10pm I was too late to get my passport stamped so I didn’t save any time. All I know is this section across the boarder is the shortest but most unreliable section of the journey. There is no scheduled boat to take you across so you have to find someone willing. I was lucky and I suspect people go al the time and are happy to take you for a little extra cash but just prepare to be suck here for a few days. Again I wasn’t in Cubo Pantoja long enough to see if there were shops and restaurants but I can’t imagine there will be none as every other town had facilities and this one would too.

In Nuvevo Rocafuerte there are two hostels. I stayed in Hostal Yurag Wasi as the other was full. There are a few shops and restaurants along the river front and not much else. Although a bakery is among the selection. Again Google Maps doesn’t really help me show you where the Immigration office is and the dock. For the immigration check Maps.me. From whichever hostel you stay in walk one black away from the river and turn right. Its actually in the wrong place on maps.me so when you ge to the school keep walking and its on your left in a multipurpose government building. The police station is here. Again people on the other blogs complained that they had trouble getting the attention of the immigration officer. I walked into one of the buildings and was directed to a door inside the square. Stupidly I opened the door and it was the private room of the officer. He took me around to his office and soon I was on my way.

The hostel owner was nice enough to give me a wake-up call the following day for the boat to leave at 4am. You pay for the ticket on the boat and on this day there were a lot of seats. The boat does stop for lunch. I had stocked up on food at the bakery so I didn’t get off to see what what available and there is also a toilet on this boat. ITs a long day and we arrived in El Coca at around 5pm. This is a city and you are back on the road network so you wont have any problem finding anything when you arrive.

Costs in dollars:


Iquitos to Mazan – Boat: $4.50, Tuktuk: $1.5, Hostel $4.5

Mazan to Cubo Pantoja – Boat $37.72

Cubo Pantoja to Nuvueo Rocafurte – Boat – $25, Hostel $15 x2

Nuvueo to El Coca – Boat $18

Total – $121.22, plus food but depending on how you eat then it can be very cheap.

Further reading – I found these two blogs really useful when planning my journey so read up on additional information.

Mind of a Hitchhiker and Roaming Around the World who had made the journey in 2017

Chullachaqui Eco Lodge Amazon tour, Iquitos

I was in two minds as to whether I did an Amazon tour in Iquitos or not. I’d been doing some research before I arrived and everything I saw was hundreds of dollars a month and I’d done one before in Manaus in 2016, and honestly I didn’t have the best time. It’s not really the place to talk about that here as it was a different time and a different journey but the guide was a bit of an arse and we didn’t see many animals. I also find the jungle harder to take photos.

The hostel I stayed at, Flying Dog, offers tours via at Chullachaqui Eco Lodge and they were not only good value at 200 soles per day but had really good reviews online. I was introduced to the owner of the company when I first arrived and was hesitant to take the first tour offered and his sales pitch was quite good. He wanted me to take 3 nights 4 days and to leave the next day but my back pain meant I couldn’t think properly so I decided to leave the decision until the next day.

I ran into him again the next morning and said I’d leave the following day for 2 nights 3 days, I felt that otherwise it was too long and I needed to get back in time for the boat up the Amazon. Also if I really hated it then I wouldn’t be stuck in the jungle for so long and I could always ask to stay longer if I wanted. So I signed my life away and prepared to be eaten by mosquitos. To find out what I did for the rest of the day you can read the Iquitos post.

I awoke on the Friday and we didn’t need to be ready until 10am so I brought some final supplies and took my time getting ready. Just before 10am I met the Israelí Roman and I can’t remember his wife’s name, although to be fair 50% of names in any situation is high for me. I discovered that were on their honeymoon so it was another one I’d be crashing. I was getting good at this!

At 10am on the dot, things weirdly seem to happen on time, if not early in Iquitos, and it’s weird, we were whisked off on tic tics to the dock and led down to a speed boat which left pretty much as soon as we were on board. And soon we were speeding up the Amazon. The second time I’ve seen the river and the fastest I’ve sped along it. I didn’t take any photos as there is it much you can see other than water and jungle and at the speed we were going whilst bounding across the water i decided that blurry tress and river was not something I needed to add to my collection.

We travelled up the river, which already at this stage is huge. I looked at a map and every single piece of water I’ve seen since I arrived in Bolivia will end up in the Amazon river at some point. The basan is huge and it pretty much takes all the water from Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and northern Brazil. At this stage it must have been at least 100 metres wide, if not more. I don’t know how deep it is as the land is pretty flat, I check and I was only 78 metres above sea level, but considering it still has thousands of kilometres to go before it reaches the Atlantic Ocean it’s pretty impressive.

We made one stop along the journey and I jumped out to use the bathroom, which seemed to lead directly to the river. Meanwhile our guide had fallen asleep, I have no idea how considering how loud and bumpy the journey was. After two hours we docked on the side of the Amazon and were told that due to the water being low, I don’t know how it’s low as the river was huge, we would have to walk. We waited in the boiling sun whist the boat was unpacked. I don’t think I’ve ever been hotter and we were later told it was 40 degrees, and add to that the humidity.

We were told to follow the path which very soon ended at a small stream with a 2 metre drop. There was a log across the stream but I followed the Israelis around as we all didn’t think this was the path we wanted. It was. Very soon we the guys ahead were sinking into the mud and I tried to follow and avoid those patches where I could as we found a better places to cross the river. The next thing I knew I was knee deep in the mud. Pulling my legs out was t working and all I was succeeding in doing was losing my shoes. I fell forward and decided not to panic as I wasn’t sinking. Taking both my backpacks off and Kyong forward I realised I could easily free myself by bending my knee and raising my ankles. I was okay but now covered in mud, which luckily quickly dried in the heat and turned to dust. Our guide Raul caught up with us and showed us a route that we should have taken. Soon we were hiking along the edge of the jungle and reached a point where the river widened. From there is was a short boat trip up to the lodge.

We arrived and waited in the heat for a while as our bedding was being brought later and I realised that everything needed to be brought up here by boat. We soon met a Swedish guy who had been staying here for a few days by himself. He was lovely and had been travelling since May, volunteering in Valparaiso, which is one of my favourite places in Chile. We had lunch which consisted of fish, rice, salad and fruit and then made friends with a spider.

After we checked into our rooms. Tonight I’d be sharing with the Swedish guy and then we went to the hammock room to relax. I read desperate to finish the books I’d been reading for 3 months.

We went out our first jungle trek at 3pm and was told that we would be looking for sloths. It was just myself and The Israeli couple as the Swedish guy decided to relax. We jumped in the boat and used it literally to just cross the steam in the photos above. And then started walking into the jungle. Now here is the weird thing, the jungle doesn’t feel that much different to correct in England. Yes the plants are different, it’s stupidly hot and there are different sounds but the floor is covered with leaves and there are lots of trees.

I’ve tried to make trees look interesting and here are my best efforts.

Because the three of us were crashing through the jungle I expect most animals ran a mile and other than the ever present mosquitos and the odd butterfly there wasn’t much too see. The sky became really overcast and after an hour of walking and seeing nothing I started to think I’d booked myself on a bullshit jungle tour where they would take us down a trodden path and we would see nothing. Again I was wrong.

One reason that there were not many creatures on the ground is because this area now flood each year killing everything on the ground. This is new and started 5 years ago meaning the local village has largely had to relocate. Again global warming is really really evident and I fear for the world with the potential new Brazilian president who doesn’t care about the environment and people like Trump as this is just the beginning. Anyways I’ll save my preaching for another time. It wasn’t long before Raul spotted and iguana and with the help of his amazing binoculars, Nikon ones which I need to get, I saw it. I think it’s in one of the three pictures below but I can’t be sure. Mostly likely the top one. Maybe use binoculars?

We kept walking and then very soon afterwards we saw a sloth. Turns out animals in the jungle are like busses. You don’t see one for ages and then they all come at once. Despite the last being really close to the ground, we could almost touch her, she was surprising hard to photograph. I suppose it’s the camouflage. It was working.

Very soon after we stopped at a huge tree and then were told we were being watched. There was a little monkey in the tree. Bonus points if you can spot him.

And then we saw another Iguana, you might need the binoculars but it’s defo in this photo.

It started getting dark so we headed back to the lodge and I it looked beautiful in the dusk.

Next up was dinner, which was chicken and rice and became the recurring theme during my time here. And then we went out to spot tarantulas in the dark. Luckily for my my torch had depleted in my bag so I went with just my phone light. Perfect for stomping around the jungle in the dark. We actually spotted a tarantula in the room with the hammocks. It had been living there for 6 years and once they find a nest they stay there for life. If you leave them alone they won’t hurt you.

We put on our boots and since the frog incident I always really check before I put mine on. We walked about 20 metres and found out first spider.

Then our second

And then the third which has to be the biggest spider I’ve seen in my entire life. It must have been as big as both of my hands and I didn’t lean in for an ultra closeup.

We hadn’t even finished crossing the clearing before we saw a snake that had been killed a couple of days before. Apparently this one is killed by locals if they spot it because of you don’t get the antidote within a few hours it starts to give you brain damage. Some ants seemed to be enjoying a meal.

It was time to enter the jungle and we were in there for around two hours. The noise wasn’t defining but the jungle seemed to be more alive at night. This side doesn’t flood so there are more creatures to see.

A giant invisible frog that Roman nearly killed as its camouflage is so good he didn’t see it right next to his foot.

And more bugs including some fireflies

The night hike finished around 9pm and we were told that we would be woken at 5am for bird watching. With this prospect on the cards and I was exhausted after the long day I went straight to bed.

We were awoken to an Amazon chorus in the morning and bleary eyed I crawled out of bed, dressed and headed to the boat. A lot of fog had appeared over night so it was cool and almost cold when the boat was moving at full speed. Despite this we saw a lot of wild life and Raul knew a lot about the birds. We took a 2 hour trip down the stream, sadly my photos didn’t really come out well but here is an example of the experience.

After the boat we headed back from breakfast and a rest before a hike on this side of the river. But before it was time to say goodbye to our Swedish friend. Then we set out into the jungle on this side of the river and now it was hot. As I mentioned before this side doesn’t flood so much so there was much more to see on the Amazon floor. Raul in particular was trying to find us a snake but happily for me we didn’t see one. He also talked us through the plants and instructs on this three hour excursion.

We returned to the lodgings and had lunch and were joined two girls who had met in Lima, one was from Peru and the other France who had been living in Lima. We crossed the river again for another jungle trek to visit the water lilles and this time were treated to a lot of monkeys on the way. Again being high up in the trees they are hard to photograph but here are my efforts.

After around 2 hours we reached the lilipads. These are famous from the region and named after Queen Victoria by a British guy. Raul seemed proud of that although one assumes they must have had a name before the British showed up. Maybe not? Anyways they grow up to 3 metres in rainy season and can hold up to 45kg in weight.

We returned to the lodge stopping off in Rauls village, which is now hardly a village as many people have left. It was now getting really dark and I forgot I had my phone on me to illuminate so we had a fast trek through the increasingly dark jungle to get back. The sun sets early here.

I went to bed exhausted and covered in bites. The mosquitos had started biting me through my base layer so I took a different tactic to clothing the next day. I also think one got inside my mosquito net at night so I was covered in bites. Thankfully this wasn’t a malaria zone but I discovered I would be entering one next week so it was good information. After all the bites I was glad to be leavening. I really hate the bites.

In the morning I was told we were going pirañas fishing, so it was a good 2 hours to get there. We started off in the boat and I got to see a few more birds.

Then we hiked through the jungle until the lake, spotting a few more monkeys on the way but I didn’t stop to photo. At the lake nothing was biting and those that did were tiny, better for bare than anything else. I wasn’t really bothered about this fishing so decided to photograph the insects buzzing around.

Then it was time to head back through the jungle and after a long walk back in some of the hottest conditions I arrived at the lodge for the last time. Waiting for the return boat a new group of people arrived so the lodge was going to be busy. But it’s probably better for the walks to have smaller groups.

The return journey was nearly the same except the girls helped me with my bags as they had packed light and there was a storm on the way back so I got to experience getting wet, although the crew did a good job of keeping us dry and the water was welcome as it was cool. Soon I arrived in Iquitos and it was harder than you would think to get something to eat. I was getting the boat the next day so I got supplies, had a burger at a restaurant and went to bed after another long day.

Iquitos, Mariposario Pilpintuwasi and returning to Lima

I arrived in Lima from Huaraz around 6pm on Saturday, I rushed back to my hostel and arranged to meet Lisidey for some food that night in Miraflores. Lisidey didn’t speak any English and I thought it was time I tried to put my Spanish to the test again. I wasn’t quite sure where we were going but I was given the address of a shopping mall. I arrived first and the Uber dropped me off outside KFC so I waited here until Lisidey arrived. I was then taken to a very posh restaurant and she patiently used Google Translate while I ate a giant sandwich, which was delicious. I was a little sad that I only had three days in Lima as I had lots to do and lots to eat although my stomach was not happy through the duration of my stay. Somehow I managed to make myself understood and had a nice night.

I headed back to my hostel to discover 4 Belgiums in the room. They awoke and left early for a flight and I was left by myself. Today I had lots to do so I headed out and got myself a haircut, brought yet another new charger as mine had died again and some food. I wanted to do laundry but it was difficult being a Sunday so I headed back to Barranco to a sea food restaurant recomendéis by Alice. I finally had some prawns but due to lack of understanding the menú I’m not sure I ordered the best dish.

Later that day I was meeting another friend Ingrid. She kept pushing the meet up time later as she met with her family and when she arrived we grabbed a coffee near the main square. I soon discovered that she sang in the church choir and the mass started in 30 minutes. I’ve never been to a Catholic Church mass in South America, or actually anywhere, so I took the opportunity to tag alone and had a good time although I didn’t really understand anything. Afterwards we went for a walk along the beach as Ingrid wanted to show me the area.

I slept in the next day, having swapped beds to the prized bottom bunk, sorted my laundry and decided to just take it easy. I was meeting Ingrid again later as she had offered to show me the cat park and some of Miraflores on a walk she particularly enjoyed. I relaxed and tried to research Iquitos in the morning and then had a huge lunch at Roxys which seems to be he Peruvian equivalent of Nando’s but much much cheaper.

I also grabbed a doughnut from Dunkin Donuts which I couldn’t resist as they had an Elmo face.

I managed to get all my laundry done and jumped on the bus to Miraflores where I fían Ku saw the cat park, well Kennedy Park and realised I’d already walked past it three times. There were more cats than in a usual park but in my mind it was going to be full of cats that you wouldn’t be able to move so I was a tad disappointed.

We then went for a long walk along the coast. It was sadly another grey coldish day in Lima. Apparently in the winter it’s mostly overcast and cold, nothing by London standards as it hardly rains, and in summer there are beautiful blue skies. I was told it turned Spring when I was there and since I’ve left it’s gotten much better, trust my luck, but for today we had grey which is my least favourite colour for the sky and I didn’t take many photos. Still I got to find out a lot about the city and find out more about New Kids on the Block. Ingrid is a fan.

Ingrid had to leave to make lunch, again in Peru people tend to have lunch as the main meal and she and her flat mate cook on alternative days. Today was her turn. I’d arranged to meet another friend who grew up in Iquitos as i was desperate for information about the city and I had wanted to travel to Ecuador by boat and there wasn’t much about how to do this online. Sadly I didn’t find out much as my friend didn’t know but I did get a tasty juice and got to try new food.

The next day I arose fairly late and met up with Lisidey again for lunch near her work. We had ceviche and she was kind enough to pay, she insisted pretty hard and gave me a tour of the city centre. My Spanish was really bad still but it felt good to try. I didn’t take a photo of the food and I regret it now as it was delicious.

I then headed back to Barranco where I met with Ingrid for one last time. She was trying to hunt down a chocolate bar and i was craving ice cream so we went to a local posh ice cream shop and I had the best ice cream I’ve had since Argentina.

We then just hung out in the park on a bench for the rest of the evening. So one thing I’ve noticed and really like about South America is that alcohol is not a huge part of the culture. People can very happily hang out and chat and there is no need to get drunk, or drink tea or anything. People sit in the plazas and parks and just chat on benches. I’d not experienced this until now and it was actually really fun. I know that we do do this in the UK but it’s more common to go to the pub or other location.

After Ingrid left I walked past Papa Johns and realised I was hungry so happily brought a take away pizza and ate it in my dorm.

The next day I woke at 6am to catch the bus to the airport. The uber dropped me off at the bus stop and the bus was actually early and early to the airport. Where during checkin I was told I needed to pay for a bag despite having paid for one already. Stupidly when I booked he flight I used a company called Kiwi. I don’t tend to use third party sites outside of Expedia, Opodo and Lastminute. I normally go to the airlines direct but because I’d booked this late at night before Santa Cruz I’d just used the site for ease. I tried to contact Kiwi and it’s obvious this is a recurring problem and the airline seemed to know and there was another woman who had the same problem. Annoyingly I’ve booked another flight with them and the same airline but hopefully that will work out. Paying for the bag twice left a bitter taste in my mouth and Kiwi were useless in helping me. So I’ve just had to make a claim.

I was determined not to let it ruin the day and after I arrived in Iquitos I ignored all the taxi drivers shouting at me and jumped in a tuctuc to my hostel. The heat and humidity hit me as I left the plane as it was over 30 degrees and finally I was somewhere I’d be hot for a long time. The air flowing past when the tuctuc was driving did help to cool me down.

So Iquitos is in the middle of the Peruvian Amazon. It’s also the largest city in the work that is not joined up by road. This means there are roads in Iquitos, just not accessible from the main network. And as a result there are a lot of bikes and not many cars. So when I was rushing to the hostel it was like being in a race as the bikes were so loud. These shots were talent he next day but I think it gives you an idea.

I checked in and had to wait for my room but was offered an Amazon tour for the next day. I spoke to the owner and read the good reviews and decided to go, but I wanted to spend an extra day in Iquitos and I decided to take a three day tour, not the four.

When I got into my room my back pain handily kicked in. This always seems to happen when I’m stuck as where to go next, actually the last real time it happened and I needed to find information was in Coyhaique and that was early March. But I’d face the same challenge again. I waited a few hours for it to subside but it didn’t so I headed out to the information booth. I wanted to go to Ecuador by boat. I knew it was possible as I’d read blogs but no one seemed to have anything concrete. The tourist information was a few blocks but I was in so much time by the time I reached the plaza i had to stop. Luckily it had good views.

Once the pain had subsided I visited the tourist office. Initially the lady had no idea how to get there but she tapped on her keyboard and soon had a timetable for me. As expected the first boat left on a Tuesday and Friday which gave me time for the Amazon tour and I’ll provide more details in the next post. I messaged the number on the printout that night and it confirmed all my questions and I was given an office address where I could buy a ticket, which made me happier as I like to reserve if I can.

I went back to my room and I now had a friend who was French. He had just left the jungle and we went to have dinner together both opting for the fish which was delicious and the most popular dish on the menu.

After that it was time to turn in for the night as I had had a long day and lots to do tomorrow.

In the morning i first went to buy my ticket for the boat, which I’ll go into more detail in the next post and after I wanted to visit Mariposario Pilpintuwasi, a butterfly sanctuary across the river from Iquitos. It was one of the places I had really wanted to volunteer but I’ve obviously ran out of time. To get there I needed to get a boat and the hostel told me I could get a collectivo for 3 soles, the boats work exactly the same way as the cars. I jumped in a tuctuc and headed to Bellavista Nanay, which is a harbour at the mouth of the Rio Nanay. When I arrived there was a food market in full swing. I ignored the people who tried to get me in their restaurants and boats and walked to the harbour. One man who had ran alongside the tuctuc followed me and I told him I was in no rush and wanted to look around. Another man told me that the collectivos only went in the morning and wanted me to take a tour for 30 soles. I walked away and someone pointed me to the right place. I was soon on a boat and after a short wait I was on my way.

The sanctuary is on the edge of a town called Padre Cocha. When you get off the boat there is a whole line of tuctuc s waiting to take you to your destination. There seem to be more drivers than residents in the town so I don’t know how it works but it obviously does. I decided to walk, which was probably a mistake as it was stupidly hot but I wanted to see the town and take my time.

By the time I arrived at the sanctuary I was stupidly hot. I was happy to enter the trees and get in the shade, which is still hot but a little less hot. I was the only person there when I arrived and although I’d missed the tour times Gurden, the Austrian owner who is a big fan of British English over US English and had already won me over, gave me a personal tour. What was really great is that I was in no rush and neither was Gurden, so I was able to take my time, ask lots of questions and saw things others wouldn’t as Gurden was happy to tell me all about butterflies. I won’t tell you here as you should go and find out! Gurden left for South America in a similar way that I did but when her time was nearly up she cancelled her flight and paid $20 for a years work visa in Peru. I get the feeling she has never left. I would be i don’t know where I’ll work.

The first stop on the tour was the butterfly enclosure. The most interesting thing I learnt is that butterflies don’t have colours on their wings. It’s the way the scales reflect the light which gives the colour. Crazy.

Next we went into caterpillar enclosure. Did you know most caterpillars are not poisonous, so don’t kill them. They just look scary so you don’t eat them. Some caterpillars change into a butterfly in less than two hours and most locals on the Amazon didn’t seem to understand that caterpillars turn into butterflies. I was given so much information I can’t repeat it here but Gurden knows so much, I suppose she has lived here for many years.

Next it was time to look around the animal sanctuary. Apparently the government started bribing animals here years ago and the collection has now grown. Apparently one problem is that people try to sell exotic animals on the streets of Iquitos. Tourists buy the animals and bring them to the sanctuary thinking they are rescuing them. What they have done is create a trade that doesn’t need to exist as the seller will then go and capture another animal to sell to tourists. Never buy an animal on the streets. Yes it might die but many more will if you do!

Interestingly the was the site was set up i was in a cage the entire time and these monkeys were actually in the wild. They were hand raised and decide to stay around. They were very happy and chatty and followed me around the tour despite their sad look.

Next I was invited to go int he cage with the small monkeys. When I was in the Gerden had to take a call so I was locked in the cage for 20 minutes but I got the best photos.

And then the little guys got curious about the camera and leaned right in.

Next I got to see some sloths close up and I was lucky as they were sleeping close to the edge of the cage.

There was a pelican

And a cat

And I had a close up experience with a Jugar who I’m sure could have gotten through the fence easily if he wanted…

So apparently this is a cross between a horse and a hippo. I don’t know if it’s man bred or natural but it’s weird…

All in the tour lasted two hours and then I headed back to Iquitos. I had to wait a while for a boat but the colours were beautiful at this time of day.

I arrived back at the hostel at 4pm and realised I hadn’t eaten lunch. So I went back to the same area as the night before where the restaurants are all along the river front and had a late breakfast/early dinner.

Then it was time to head back to the hostel and prepare for the jungle the next day.

Laguna 69, Huaraz

After arriving at the hostel I was shown to a four bed dorm that for some reason no one else used during my entire stay. It always surprises me that people will not spend an extra 70p and will stay in an 8 bed dorm instead. I don’t like the bigger dorms as more people means there will always be someone coming in really late or getting up early and I’ve realised that I often get the smaller dorms to myself. I suppose some people sleep better and others must be on a smaller budget. Speaking of which I really need to learn to cut back.

I showered and then relaxed in the room before getting another pizza from the place I loved and then had an early night with some beers.

The next day I awoke late and then finally had a rest day. It was fairly uneventful with me stocking up at the supermarket, finding bread, which is not as easy to locate in South America as you might think, and setting up tours for the next day. I was torn between Laguna 69, Largo Paron (the lake from the Paramount mountain) and Laguna Churup. There are so many hikes out of Huaraz but I couldn’t do all of them. I opted to do Laguna Churup on Friday and one of the others the following day. Laguna Churup is only an hour from Huaraz and you can go solo via collectivo, also you have to climb up ropes which sounds fun. I found a girls blog crying about how dangerous it is to go down, there is another path you can take, so I wanted to try it.

To get to the other lagunas there is no public transport so you have to do a tour. I went back to the company I had used for Santa Cruz and got talking to a German girl. She suggested Laguna 69 as for Paron it really was just driving to the lake with no hiking. So that settled it for me. I was told the bus would pick me up at 5am so it would be yet again another early start. I booked the trek and returned to the hostel to prepare for the hike. I can’t remember what I did for dinner on this day.

The next day I awoke around four, dressed and was picked up around 5am. I was the first on the minibus and I was driven around the town picking up people until we met with a large bus where we switched seats. It was a three hour journey and followed most of the same road as the Santa Cruz trek. We stopped at the same place for breakfast but this time I had prepared food, paid the entrance fee again, I wasn’t sure if I should still have access from the time I went for Santa Cruz and the blogs suggested not but either way I didn’t have he ticket as the guide kept it.

After around an hour of travel we stopped at the same verde lake I’d seen before and then very soon arrived at the trail head. The guide gave the instructions in both English and Spanish and I was impressed that I understood the Spanish instructions which he spoke first. But since I’ve realised I don’t understand most people in real life. Still, it’s a start. The idea of the trek is that we all walk up to the lake, the guide will join but we don’t have to keep as a group. It should take 3 hours to arrive at the lake, which gives us one hour at the lake, 2 hours to return to the bus which will leave at 3pm getting us to Huaraz around 6pm. It’s a long day and we would be going up to 4600 in altitude. This is actually suggested as one of the hikes oh should do to acclimatise for Santa Cruz and Huayhuash treks. But I was doing it after.

I was one of the first off the bus and directed by the guide to start walking. I did and stayed near the front of the pack for the hike. It’s starts with a very short down and the first few kilometres are along the valley floor which rises gently.

The next section involves more up with switchbacks. It’s nothing tonight or steep compared to what I’ve done before but it’s definitely more taxing. There is a huge waterfall which drops into the valley and it’s up towards the waterfall where te path eventually heads. Above this you can start seeing the white mountain tops which safe up at 6000 metres, but sadly for me some where covered totally in cloud all day.

Just as I reached the top I took some shots of the valley that I had just walked up.

At the top you are greeted by another lake and after walking around this another valley. The path takes you around the edge almost in a half circle and then it’s the hard climb.

The last climb is hard not only because it is much steeper but also because it’s high altitude, it was hot and really hard to breath. On the climb I over took most of the people who were ahead of me and at this point there is only around 1km to go, the last is always the hardest.

The photo above is once is reached the top and was approaching the lake. I was up here at just over two hours, which meant there were a handful of others at the lake when I arrived. However I did start feeling terrible again so maybe I went up too quickly, but we will come to this later. But I had arrived!

I walked around the lake a little and found a spot to recover, be in peace and eat my lunch. I took a few shots from this perspective.

The as more people started arriving and it became less tranquil I went for a short walk around the lake.

I had noticed another path on maps me and because I had two hours here I decided to break away from the crowds and explore a little. More and more tour groups were appearing. The path led up to one of the 6000 metre base camps and I wasn’t going to try hiking all the way. It was a very narrow path with some big drops and I was a little scared, so I walked until a point where I thought it would be too steep for me easily to get down and I settled in to enjoy the views and get another perspective of the lake.

I would have stayed longer but I noticed that the clouds around one of the mountain was clearing more so I headed back to the lake to get some more shots.

I spent the rest of the time by the lake reading my book until the guide called it was time for us to head back to the bus. I couldn’t see a rush of people and I later realised that many of them had already left, maybe due to the altitude. I was feeling a little headache by now but going down always made things better. The route back to the bus was the same but the weather was better so I took more pictures on the return trip.

First it was time to walk back down the steep hill, then across the valley and around the lake. It was all quite far and I was surprised that is managed to walk up so quickly.

Back in the first valley I took more shots of the waterfall and the sun had appeared making it quite a warm hike.

When I arrived at the pickup point there were a lot of busses but none was mine. I was the first of my group to arrive and had overtaken many people on the way back. People started to arrive one by one and I realised I was in the correct place. I saw one guy being sick which was a shame. It was a tight road and there was some shouting going on as drivers tried to manoeuvre their busses. Still ours soon turned up and I got on board. We were delayed by two idiots who had gotten on the wrong bus as people looked for them. Somehow they were found and we drove to pick them up. I even tried chatting a little Spanish to the girl who was sat next to me.

I was feeling pretty exhausted and drained so was very happy to stop at the breakfast spot and to pick up some snacks as I felt they would help. They didn’t and by the time I got back to Huaraz i felt awful. I don’t really know how I did it but i needed supplies for the trek in the morning so I got cash, bread and went to the supermarket before heading back to the hostel. I stayed in bed for a while before I made dinner which was probably a mistake and went to bed with what felt like a fever. I cancelled the hike the next day and just stayed in bed. My stomach was hurting so I avoided food and didn’t really do much else. Luckily I had brought my bus ticket to Lima so I didn’t have to do anything. I did get out for a short walk and had a coffee which I’m sure didn’t help.

The next morning I felt better and got on the bus to Lima. I slowly tried eating different food and was able to stomach it. I still felt some pain but was he really much better. We made good time to Lima but then hit the city traffic which is just crazy and doesn’t seem to move. The bus visited three stops in Lima and I took the second one as I could get a bus to Barranco from here. Then it was plain sailing and I discovered I was the only guest at my hostel.

Santa Cruz Trek, Huaruz (Days 3 & 4)

It had rained heavily the night before but we awoke to clear skies. This was the first time on the trek. You can catchup with days 1 & 2 here. We were woken up at 5am with the sunlight, I put back on the clothes I’d worn for the two previous days which were by now pretty dirty, had a quick breakfast and again we were on our way. We continued along the valley which took a step drop as you can see with the photos of the lake in the background.

The path took us along the right of the valley and we veered off to see one of the glacial lakes. Before the we there we had to go uphill.

Reaching the too, for now, we found ourselves in a beautiful lush green valley. This is what I assume people mean by meadows.

From here the clouds were clearing at the top of the mountains and I got my best view of the Paramount Mountain. This is of course shot from behind and I waited a long time for the clouds to clear.

After reaching the end of the valley we were presented with one last climb that would take us up to the lake.

And then we reached it. Sadly the summits were still covered in clouds but the Sun was shining and the lake colours were beautiful.

We returned back to te first valley and this time walked down to the valley floor taking steep switchbacks.

It was really hot on the river and we had descended to less than 4000 metres by this point. The river was tiny but I can imagine it being bigger in rainy season but here you can see how this tiny river has eroded such a large piece of land.

We stooped for lunch by the lake and I took the opportunity to drink cool water from the stream. After lunch we continued downhill.

A little further on we got to walk around this lake which provided one of my favourite photos of the hike and even the trip so far.

As the afternoon continued we started to leave the snowcapped peaks behind and you can see the scenery begin to change. We made one final push to our last camp.

When I arrived there I met some puppies and this was the first camp to have a shop. Still no toilets but I treated myself to a coke.

Nothing exciting happened overnight except a little rain and we awoke again early for the final 10 kilometres, this time all down hill. Here you can see the scenery rapidly change as we decrease in altitude.

Again as in other hikes the river is now much larger and is further and further from the path which gets steeper and steeper.

And then the end of the trek was in sight.

After finishing we stopped at a shop/restaurant for some food. Our guide collected a box of puppies for her child and we happily jumped in the mini bus for the three hour journey back to Huaraz. I was dropped at my hostel but luckily I had booked another. I grabbed my things and very happily switched hostels.

Santa Cruz Trek, Huaruz (Days 1 & 2)

It was a four hour bus journey from Paracas to Lima and it flew by. We were under a blanket of grey the entire time and I was sad to find out that Lima is grey all winter. We were stuck in traffic for a long time in Lima and I took the time to work out there was a bus lane that ran the length of the city. When the bus arrived at the terminal i had a sad goodbye with Sam Na Alice who were flying to London the next day. They were staying in a hotel close to the airport and on Alice’s advice I was staying in an area called Barranco. I pushed past the guys aggressively trying to get passengers form the bus into taxis. I have a new policy which is if someone is shouting at me to get a taxi/restaurant/whatever I ignore them and go somewhere else. I was approached by another group of drivers when exiting the bus station and i overconfidently informed them I was getting the bus when I nearly tripped over. I arrived at the bus station and when asking the price a kind stranger tapped me in as I needed a card and I managed to get to my hostel for free. I was impressed.

My SIM card had stopped working a few days before so one thing I wanted to do in Lima was to fix this. The hostel directed me to the local supermarket and I was excited to find it had decent bread and all the things that I’ve not seen in other parts of Peru. Finally a decent supermarket. The Claro counter in the supermarket couldn’t help me but I was directed into Miraflores another district with a pin in my map and a description on the bus. I found the bus, found the shop, managed to explain the issue in broken Spanish and had a fixed sim. I returned to the hostel just before dark and just in time to have a goodbye dinner with Alice and Sam. This one time we decided to go to an expensive restaurant and I had several gins.

The next day I decided to take a walk into the centre of town. I went to the bus station with the intention of buying a bus card and there was an old man and his wife who now life in Mexico visiting old friends and family in Peru. They let me use their card to get on the bus and showed me how to get to the main plaza. I took a wonder around the centre of town.

Afterwards I decided to try and go to the cat park. I was told by the German girl staying in my dorm that there was a car full of cats. After walking for more than 8km I realised I’d been heading towards the wrong Kennedy park. I decided to give up and head back to Barranco as I had agreed to meet with Javier and Marina for a city tour.

I had an early night ahead of the long bus journey to Huaraz. The day before I contacted a friend who is seen had some hiking in Huaraz. I had wanted to do a trek called the Huayhuash which is an 8-12 day trek depending on how you decide to hike it. The agency that my friend had put me in touch with wasn’t doing the hike due to bad weather but they said a group was going on the Santa Cruz trek the next day. I decided to go for it and it meant I’d have a busy night ahead of me when I arrived in Hiaraz. The bus takes 10 hours and it’s a beautiful drive through the mountains. I snapped some pics on the way.

I arrived in town walked the 2km to the agency though some of the craziest Friday night streets I’ve seen in South America. Half of the main road by the bus station was blocked by a stage and crowd watching music. I soon found this was a little was out of town and the centre was hectic with so many people selling things on the streets there wasn’t really room to walk past. I arrived at the agency much later than I thought. I waited for a while and then was told there was time to check in before the briefing. Luckily my hostel was close by but despite the lovely people in my room I decided it was run by crazy people and the choice of either too hot or two cold for the showers was not to my liking.

I returned to the agency and met one of my fellow hikers who I’d share a tent with. I paid and then the rest of the group arrived. All of them were Israeli so yet again I was the odd one out. By this time it was 8pm and I’d need to get up at 4am the next day. I paid and went to a supermarket for supplies. I quickly had pizza at an Italian restaurant and then had to go through the process of repacking while chatting to the lovely people in my dorm and I managed to bed before midnight knowing I’d be up in 4 hours. Although I realised it was also now or never to book a flight to Iquitos and in the process I dropped my passport down the back of the custom made bunk bed. I was on the top bunk and he Canadian guy below me helped me retrieve it in the morning but there was a point when I worried it was stuck there.

I awoke at 4am and was picked up at 5am. I was exhausted and the day before had been crazy. In hindsight not the best way to start the hike. We drove around picking up the others and then for three hours until the breakfast point. After breakfast we drove for around another hour and made a stop off at this beautiful lake.

We returned to the minibus and proceeded to drive up the side of a mountain and over a pass. I think it’s the highest altitude I’ve climbed in a bus on a single road, well at least using switchbacks up the side of the same mountain. I hope the pictures below give some semblance of how crazy this road is. I took all the photos out he window of a moving bus. I had hoped that it would stop at the top to get photos and regretted not asking the driver to stop. Still it was a beautiful view.

Once we did reach the top and passed through into the valley the other side it was all downhill. Here we passed some crazy people cycling and stopped for a toilet break. It takes a long time to drive around these roads.

At around 11am we reached our starting point and while our guide, cook and horseman sorted things out two local girls had great fun causing trouble by taping us on the backs and running away. I do like how children here are not so scared of interacting with adults and the partners let them. I think it’s good for social skills.

Soon we were on our way and today was an easy day. A short 10km walk down and then along the valley to the first camp. And very near the start of the trail we saw some piglets.

Most of he trail was along he bottom of the valley which was grassy and sparingly like a peat bog. I hadn’t really been in a climate like this since Patagonia and the beginning of El Choro and it made for an interesting walking as I’ve been in various types of desert most of the time.

It was a pretty grey day which didn’t really help the pictures and as a result I took less. The valley was still beautiful but a blue sky always helps.

We soon reached the first camp and helped put up the tents. We were nestled in between lots of snow covered mountains but the sky conspired to stop me getting a great view of them. Some of us decided to go for an extra walk. I turned back early as I thought it would rain and when I was back at camp I managed to get the photos of he guys walking along the ridge. It got dark quickly and very cold soon after. I decided to head to bed as it had been a long day already and we were going to get 5am wakeup calla for the entire trek.

We awoke to thick fog on the second day. Had breakfast and left camp before 7am. Today was supposed to be the hardest day as we would be crossing the pass at 4700 metres. We all stuck together as a group but when the others stopped to climb on boulders I kept walking. I stopped to wait but then a group of French overtook me and not to be outdone and as it was only 2km to the pass I decided to push ahead and wait for everyone there thinking they could not be far behind. The patch turned to rock and weirdly became hard to follow. One of the other guides caught up with me and I stopped when he did before the pass as I thought my group might stop in he same place.

I was really tired and had probably pushed it too fast to reach this point as my head started hurting. I drank water and waited for my group as lots of pack donkeys passed in both directions. 20 minutes passed and nothing but the fog was starting to clear so I buddies myself and took photos.

I had been waiting for 40 minutes before the first of my group arrived. By this time I really wasn’t feeling great but the fog had mostly cleared creating some beautiful views. I accepted an altitude sickness pill and some pain killers but for me it was a little too late.i waited around as the group went first to get some shots and then headed up to the pass.

The next section was painful but it wasn’t to far so after a few stops I reached the the top and it was stunning.

I really can’t say it anymore but I love the mountains.

We waited at the top for everyone to arrive and were up there too long for me. I started feeling really sick and hasn’t felt this bad since Pico Austria. Luckily I knew the cute this time. Go down. Unluckily for me the group was going to stop for lunch first. It started snowing so we descended a little and our guide suggested I lie upside down to let the blood rush to my head. While I did this the sky cleared even more an allowed some of the pictures above and below. People tried to encourage me to eat but I felt so sick I knew it was not a good idea and I decided to start down before the rest of the group. This is probably the worst I’ve felt on a hike, excluding Pico Austria, and I had tears streaming down my face as I found the energy to fight a migraine and tried not to be sick. Surprisingly I took less photos which was a shame as this valley is up in my top 10 but I did manage to enjoy the beauty.

After a long climb down I started to feel better and eventually ended up in the second camp which is possibly the most scenic point of the hike. I had coca tea and went to lie down feeling weak but much better. I had dinner and went to bed but that’s normal for hiking. It’s freezing in the mountains and on this hike there were no lodges or communal spaces to there was no where to hang out. I’ll cover days 3 & 4 in the next post as there are a lot more pictures to come.

Paracas, Isla Ballesta and Parque National Paracas

We took an afternoon bus from Ica to Paracas. It’s two hours further north along the cost but the weather changed from a beautiful sunny day to a cold grey one during this journey. We arrived and walked along the sea front which was cold grey and drab. Think of a British seaside town in October just after the sun and all the tourists have left. Alice had booked an Air B&B just outside of town, 8km as it would turn out, so we stopped to get some supplies whilst Sam sat in a cafe and guarded our bags. After Alice and I wondered around town a little we found the only food store in town which was about 20 metres behind the cafe that Same was in. I switched with Sam and they brought the supplies as Alice had offered to cook for the next few days. Whilst sitting in the cafe Jaiver and Marina walked past and joined for a coffee-these are very small towns!

I booked us on a tour to see the Isla Ballesta starting at 8am which would get us back in time for the Parque National tour afterwards.

Then we jumped in a taxi which took us out of town along the cost to our beach accommodation. We drove further and further into an industrial complex, which I found quite funny, although let’s be fair the town itself wasn’t really much to look at. Hence why there are no photos in this blog. Soon the taxi driver pulled off to the left onto a really short dirt track that led to the beach. We all jumped out and a lady ran around the corner. She was shouting at our driver and insisted that we get back into the car. Turns out she was our host and he had come to the wrong place. It was about 50 metres from where we needed to be and we could have easily walked but she instead that he drove us.

Soon were in the house which was perfect. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to staying on the beach and it was amazing to be in an actual house for the first time since July. The day was pretty cloudy so I held off on the photos which you can see at the bottom of this post.

Alice and San set about making us all dinner. They cooked for me for the three days and I relaxed. We had delicious salad and vegetable dishes which was amazing as I don’t get many fresh vegetables here. After dinner we did our usual of retiring to bed at around 8.30, but this time it was slightly warranted as we needed to wake up around 6am for the tours.

The alarms went off far too soon and after a quick breakfast we were in another taxi to the town, this time organised by our Ai b&b host. I collected the tickets and then paid the various tax’s. There seems to be a fee for everything now. A fee to use the dock, a fee for the islands and a few for the park. I kinda wish it was included in the price we could just make an informed decision. When I was buying the tickets there was an option to use the bathrooms which I didn’t take for some reason and this would be something I’d later regret.

We were grouped together with people from other agencies on a small boat and sailed off into the Pacific on probably the greyest and coldest day I’ve had the privilege to witness. It take about 40 minutes to get to the islands, you stay there for a similar time and then 40 minutes back. I think about 20 minutes into the journey I realised I needed to use the bathroom, which was really not assisted by the cold. But we will come to that a little later.

On the way to the islands there were hundred go birds flying past and diving into the ocean to feed in fish.

We soon arrived at the islands and saw a lot of wildlife. There were a couple of penguins and seals we saw straight away but too far away to photograph. We then sailed around the various islands. The islands are protected and there is no fishing permitted. The reason you see industrial equipment is that every four years people come and take the birds poo away as it’s used for fertiliser.

And we did get to see some seals upclose.

After the seals we headed back to the coast and it stared to get really windy, rain and we were splashed by spray. All of this helped my toilet situation in the sense that it made me want to go more. It got to the point where I had no idea what was going to happen and Sam gave me a bottle which I tried to use twice which Alice and the very kind German man next to me protected my modesty. Although despite being in this desperate situation I couldn’t go. Typical. Although I think this journey has made me lose all sense of shame. I know there are more embarrassing things that you can do than trying to discreatly pee into a bottle in a boat full of people but it’s high on the list.

We reached the docks, i jumped off the boat and ran and a a disaster was averted. Remember kids always use the bathroom.

There was an hour to kill before the next tour started. We were told to meet back at the docks and I was surprised when no one else was really there. Our guide collected us and we soon joined a bus full of passengers which took us to the park via land. I had thought it was another boat trip.

The fist stop was a museum and a chance to see flamingos which when we got to the end of the path were so far away it was nearly impossible to see them. It was okay for me as I’d already seen a lot in Chile and Bolivia and I don’t think I’ll get better photos. The museum was interesting and told us why the Park was protected and a little about the animals there. Peru is one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet. Out of something like 32 different habitats the UN had identified Peru has something like 28. Don’t quote me on these figures I need to double check. But it gives you an idea.

I took these shots around the museum.

We then went and stopped at our first beach. There used to be something here know as La Catedral but sadly it was destroyed in be last earthquake. Still it didn’t take from the beauty of the place and i was happy the weather had began to clear.

Then we stopped at another beach, this time made of red sand and equally as beautiful.

Then for us the tour took a little turn for the worse. I was under the impression that it was only a couple of hours long but we were taken to a restaurant for lunch. There were a few around but our Dutch guide was insistent that this one was the only that was safe to eat at. It was obvious they had a deal with the tour and the prices were really expensive. We did eat as the tour stopped here for 90mins and what else were we going to do? If could easily have just gone back to town as that’s what it did after lunch.

Anyways I got to take a few more photos and watch the bay.

After we booked our bus on to Lima for next day and then headed back to the Air B&B to enjoy the sun and the rest of the evening of what had been a long day. I sat with a beer enjoying theses views.

Again I skirted the cooking and had an early night. Our bus was not stupidly early but it was early enough.


After a two hour bus journey from Nazca we arrived in Huacachina an oasis in the middle of sand dunes, just outside of Ica. The only one of its kind in South America and the first time I’ve been in a sandy desert similar to the Sahara. I’ve actually been in deserts for most of my time in South America but most have plants and the ground is hard and dry as opposed to sweeping sand dunes.

We took a taxi from the bus terminal straight to the hostel, that Alice had booked, which was almost paradise in itself. I was excited to see a supermarket on the way that I recognised from Chile and when I got to Lima I took full advantage of this chain. There was a cute dog in the hostel, a swimming pool and plenty of space to soak up the sun.

We took some time to relax, shower and work out our next steps before heading out to the oasis to catch the sunset.

The oasis was around a 20 minute walk from the hostel and here are some of the photos from the walk. It was already magical and I was excited to see my first proper oasis.

Suddenly after walking across all the sand there was a lake surrounded by trees and life. A small town has sprung up around the lake, which is largely hotels and restaurants for tourists. But it was like paradise in the desert. I could imagine how this must have appeared to people who had been walking through the desert for days especially after being in a dessert so long myself. Okay I had busses, accommodation and a supply of food and water but still…

We walked out of the oasis up into the sand dunes. Walking up into the sand dunes is possibly one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Sam was a natural and Alice went straight up but my legs were in so much pain and I felt that I was just sinking and going nowhere. I hate walking on sand at the best of times and after all the climbing I’ve done on my hikes I couldn’t believe how tough this actually was. Maybe I’ve not had enough beach experience?

There are lots of dune buggies which are driving tourists around at high speed. I really like these photos as it captures an element of solitude, which you really don’t get up on the dunes but sitting there drinking a cold beer and watching he sun set was one of the best evenings I’ve had.

Here is a view of the dunes without the sun taking all the limelight. Again I’ve never seen so much sand and to think that this is forever shifting in the wind and there really is nothing solid underneath. Well obviously there is but not for a long way down.

Alice was kind enough to snap some pictures of me posing. I think there is a good one in here somewhere. Nothing on Alice’s photography skills, more my posing.

I also took some shots of beer to add to my advertising portfolio.

Other activities available are sand-boarding and paragliding. We decided not to partake as beer was a much better prospect but also I’d broken the daily budget in Nazca.

Javier and Marina met up with is on the dunes, so we further crashed their honeymoon. As it became dark and quickly cold, it is a desert after all and you would have expected I would have learnt that by now having been in deserts for much of my eight month trip. We ran down the dunes, which is much easier than going up.

We all went for dinner and I opted for Lomo Satloado, which is basically beef in a soy sauce with some veg and chips with rice. It’s Peru so you have to get in the two types of carbs. But this is delicious and I love it. I’ve kinda stopped worrying about eating traditional food. I think at around 8:30pm we were all exhausted and ready for bed. Sam and I had one more beer at the hostel before turning in and people were still there relaxing.

The next day we woke up late at around 8:30, had a relaxing morning before heading back to the dunes. It was cloudy to begin with but the sun soon burnt it away and then the sand became really hot. I had to put my shoes back on as I thought my feet were burning. I stopped taking photos as I felt the sand was destroying my camera but it was nice to see the dunes on the day.

To be fair there is not much else to do here and we felt one night was enough. You can do wine tasting tours and I suddenly realised why everyone was just relaxing at the hostel.

We headed black to have one of the best burgers I’ve had in a long time. Although I’ve had a lot of good burgers here and also a lot of burgers in general. I like burgers.

After lunch we checked out and jumped on the bus to Paracas.


Despite paying extra for a special bed none of us slept on the overnight bus from Arequipa to Nazca. It was a bumpy journey with lots of turns and at one point I’m sure I looked out the window to see us driving along the side of mountains. I decided to trust in the driver and tried to sleep more.

We arrived in Nazca around 6am and were immediately harassed by companies trying to book us on a plane. I’d done 0 research as I seem to be doing more and more and my guide book is pretty old and talked about finding a good company to take the flight as there have been accidents. What I’ve since learnt is that the Peruvian government has stepped in and sorted out the safety. So if you come to Nazca just head straight to the airport and book your flight there. They all charge the same and follow the same routes and safety standards.

We decided to head to a hotel to try and get some coffee and to work out the next steps. Both Sam and I wanted to get on the plane. One of my goals of this trip has been to get on a tiny plane and I thought that some of the passenger plans I’d used would be tiny planes, but it’s 2018 and of course everything is now official. I was also disappointed that the plane did not have any chickens or a boat instead of a parachute but there is still time. Next I want to try a sea plane.

Anyways I’ve also always wanted to see the Nazca lines and getting in a tiny plane helped me tick off two things. After googling didn’t really get us anywhere and the guide books were out of date we decided to jump in a taxi to the airport. Upon arriving we were harassed by some sales people so I left Sam with them and went to speak to the Peru tourist information who were really helpful. It was here that o was told all the company’s were safe and in that time Sam had struck a deal so I said let’s just do it and I’m glad we did as the company was really good.

It was $75 for a 45 minute flight plus the tax of 30 soles. I think I’ve paid less to fly to Spain but hey this is a tourist destination. We were told the flight would be leaving in half an hour so I stocked up on water, went to the loo about 50 times and nervously waited. Luckily for us the weather was good but be warned they do have to wait for good weather and will also wait for the flights to fill up, so at the flight time we were told 10 minutes, then another 10 and another. We didn’t have to wait too long and by around 10am we were going through security. Not bad considering we had only arrived in town 3 hours before.

It was here that I met Javier from Spain who was on Honey Noon with his wife Marina. Marina had not wanted to go on the flight either and I couldn’t blame her. At that point I didn’t want to go either but I’m glad Sam was there as I’m not sure I would have had the guys to do this on my own. He also been on planes a tonne of times. There was also another couple from Spain and soon our co-pilot came to meet us and took us out to the plane.

After a quick safety briefing and some photos we were allocated our seats. Before you get on the plane you need to be weighed and it’s the first time since March I’ve had the chance to jump on the scales. I’ve actually lost a stone, or at least I had at that point, which is good considering the amount I’ve been eating. I think I’ve had a lot more in the last couple of weeks so that could all be a lost dream. Anyways we sat in the plane and awaited takeoff.

So we got to put on our headsets and it really felt like I was just in a normal plane. Despite the fact I’d get to operate the door controls and I didn’t even think about opening it once during he flight. It was actually really professional and our pilot and co-pilot ran through a tonne of safety checks before we hit the runway. From there is was fairly standard as we headed to the runway, there was a queue of planes and you could see them taking off and landing.

Taking off felt pretty normal although I didn’t feel the kick of the jet engines as you would on a normal flight and it was a little slower.

And then we were in the air. As I said it was a good day to fly as there was very little turbulence. The one problem is that they do right turns over the lines and tilt the planes as I hope you can see in the pictures below.

I don’t know if you can really see the lines in the pics above. I only brought my phone with me as I’d read that using your big camera to take pics can male you feel sick. Also it’s a distraction from the flight and I decided to just go with it and enjoy it.

I did feel a little weird on the turns but nothing too bad so I was great full for that but I was also very happy to land again. It had been fun but this was enough for me.

We landed found Alice, and then went back to town to find some food before getting a bus on to Ica. Javier and Marina joined us and coincidently they were getting the same bus to Ica also. So on we jumped for the two hour trip.

Arequipa and the Monasterio de Santa Catalina

We arrived back in Arequipa from Colca Canyon mid afternoon. Quickly jumping in a taxi Alice had reserved a bed for me in the hostel and I was lucky to get a dorm to myself after a bed malfunction. After grabbing my bag out of the storage, showering and repacking everything again I joined Sam and Alice on the roof of the hostel for a spectacular sunset.

I had been craving a burger but the option of Indian was put on the table and as I’ve only had one since I left Europe I jumped at the chance and I’m glad I did. We went to a restaurant called India, Indian Cuisine. It’s run by an Indian chef and is one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had. I have to hand it to Sam and Alice as they are amazing at picking restaurants. The naan itself was huge.

We retreated for and early night and I jumped into Netflix before going to bed at the late time of 10pm. The next day I woke early and based on Alice’s advice headed to La Despensa, a bakery near the monastery, which serves delicious coffee.

I then headed across the road to the Monasterio de Santa Catalina. It’s 40 soles to enter and well worth the price. Alice had recommended going early and getting the guided tour. I didn’t get the tour as they wanted 20 soles as I wouldn’t be part of a group which I thought would get in the way of my photography. The other reason to go early is that if you want to take photos without people wondering in then it’s the best time. I found it difficult and I arrived around 9am.

I took a lot of photos here as it’s one of the most colourful and beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen. I’ve only really split them up so you are not scrolling through 100 photos.

And of course I know nothing about the history as I didn’t take a tour. But they do have pretty flowers.

And pots and lots of other stuff.

There is also a fountain and I managed to get these rather cool pics of a bird flying around it.

And then there was more. This place is really huge and actually has some streets within the complex. I was actually here on a Sunday morning so the place was filled with the sounds and singing of mass.

I had finished at the monastery by around 10:30 so decided to head to two miradora that were in the guidebook. The guy at the hostel tries to convince me to take a taxi but they are both easily accessible by foot.

The first, Mirador de Yanahuara, is set in a beautiful, but busy with tourists, plaza. It’s worth going to have a look around and there are a few museums and restaurants and cafes close by. The second, Mirador del Alto Carmen, is a little further out of the city, and you really do feel like you are leaving the city as you walk there. I was annoyed that it cost me 3 soles to get in and whilst I was looking at the mountains and volcano that surround the city a tour group decided to surround me which ruined the tranquility of the place. There are a few stores selling food and some zip lining of that takes your fancy but I’d recommend slipping this one as the mountains are so big you can see them from across the city and this doesn’t really provide a better view.

I headed back to the city where is arranged to meet Sam and Alice in the main market. It was good to walk though the city as I’d not get had the opportunity to see much and the centre including the main plaza is beautiful. While Sam purchased a hat I had a wonder and after seeing several textile stores I decided it was about time I brought a needle and thread before I was left needing one again.

Afterwards I treated myself to ice cream and started catching up on this blog.

Before catching the night bus to Nazca we treated ourselves to a burger at another recommended location. Food is good in Arequipa. I decided to go for a double chicken and beef burger which was a little stupid when you see the size of it. But it’s something that’s been on my mind since I saw it in Sucre and now I’ve tried it I won’t do that again. Afterwards we took a short walk and caught the taxi to the night bus.

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