Over the past four weeks we have been travelling around Peru. We started our adventure in Pantoja (northern Peru and the start of the Amazon jungle) and ended it in Puno (Southern end on Lake Titicaca). Again we will ask ourselves the six questions with an addition of two more things (thanks for the suggestions Nanna).
Favourite city or town and why?
Mum: Cusco. It was a really pretty town, not too big and just the right size. We have been staying in some very ‘rustic’ places in the jungle which were fascinating but it was great to see houses again with walls and pavements etc! It has some very pretty plazas and churches etc. and the setting, nestled in the mountains was lovely. The crisp mountain air after the humidly on the jungle was a welcome change and the whole place has a feel of an alpine town.
Dad: I really enjoyed Cusco because it had a lot of great Incan ruins and our airbnb was a welcome relief to the jungle accommodation!
Alex: I really enjoyed Pantoja as it was really chilled out and I had some great memories there that I will never forget. Despite not being a city, there was always something to do and I met some lovely people and made some great friends.
Georgia: My favourite city was Cusco. The main reason I liked it was because it was really pretty and had really nice plazas
Dylan: Pantoja because I met some new friends and we had play fights and played with the moon ball.
Mum: Not technically in Peru but only a couple of miles outside. When we were making our way to Peru on a boat down the river Napo we were the only gringos on the boat apart an old hippy called Dada. The boat got stuck right in the middle of the river. After about ten minutes of not moving some locals decided to get up and try and rock the boat by jumping side to side. This was hilarious in itself but water started coming in and it wasn’t actually making any difference so eventually two locals jumped in the river to try and push it free. Again no joy so they started trying to ask others to help. Not many offers came up but eventually the chants of ‘gringo, gringo’ got to Matt and he had to strip off to his boxers and get in the river to help push. Luckily with Matt’s super strength the boat did eventually move and we could get back on our way.
Another funny memory is the family mega strop on the walk around Pisco ruins. Dylan and Georgia where being extremely miserable and doing a huge amount of moaning about walking. Matt got fed up as he really wanted to enjoy this walk through the mountains so stormed off. I continued to make two very miserable children walk up huge massive mountains to prove a point. We kept bumping into Matt all over the ruins and no one was really speaking to each other. However we then realised we were a long way from any transport and weather was changing pretty quickly!! Suddenly we were surrounded by a horrendous storm which soaked us all. Nothing like a bit of drama and adversity to bring us all back together and we eventually found a way off the mountain and flagged a taxi to get us back home!
Dad: We were on a jungle trek right in a thick marsh land area. Suddenly Georgia started screaming, I looked up and she was waist deep in stinky jungle water and mud. I think she thought an anaconda was goping to get her as she was making so much noise. We got her out and all laughed afterwards!
Alex: When we were flying to Cusco we had to stop off at Lima International Airport. It was four in the afternoon and none of us had had lunch so we decided to have a McDonalds. We had already ordered when dad suddenly realised that our flight left in half an hour and we had to go through another security check. We had to wolf down our food then run through security we then went the wrong way with ten minuets before take off. Luckily we got on the plane as check in was closing. Later on the plane, we all laughed for ages about how we all ate so fast.
Georgia: When we were staying in the Amazon we got taken to meet an Amazonian tribe. They were all wearing traditional clothing and we had to dance and sing their traditional songs with them. It was very silly and a bit embarrassing but when we watched the videos back it was hilarious. Dad looked so funny dancing with the tribe leaders as he is SOOO MASSIVE compared to them and towered over everyone. He says we are not allowed to show anyone the videos!
Dylan: When mum and dad were sorting out our immigration to Peru a crazy old man called Dada tried to teach me yoga. I failed!
Mum: I think probably the best meal was our Steak dinner in Cusco for Alex’s birthday. The food was great; I had a lush Pisco sour and lovely steak. We also had great food in the jungle, the places were extremely basic and not sure about the hygiene but the chicken tasted amazing. It was so fresh as I’m sure they were only killed each morning as needed!
Dad: I really enjoyed my mixed grill in Ambrassodor espesialy the “chicken guts” but the steak and sausage were awesome.
Alex: On my birthday we went out for steak. It was the best steak I have ever had and with hand cut chips I was stuffed after a great day.
Georgia: I have gotten to eat lots of Pizza in Peru. There are pizzerias’s everywhere. Also on Alex’s birthday o got to have Steak and pasta at the say time. It was AMAZING!
Dylan: After two weeks of eating nothing but grilled chicken, rice and plantain (banana) mum and dad took us to a pizzeria. It was AWESOME. I ate so much.
Mum: There were a few lows along with the highs; being so extremely bitten in the jungle so my whole body was covered was pretty bad, at the same time I had conjunctivitis and also an infected killer bee sting so looked and felt pretty minging! Also the accommodation in Santa Coltilde was really really bad. Like scary bad. Me, Dylan and Georgia has to sleep in one single bed and everyone was crying as was so horrible and didn’t want to put our skin on the bed as was so dirty! I’m sure British prisons are cleaner, bigger and feel safer!
Dad: When we were in Belen market (jungle produce) in Iquitos we took a wrong turn and headed down a hill. I then realised that we had a police escort and I started to get worried. We then left and I felt safe. It is the first time I felt genuinely concerned for our safety in the whole of South America.
Alex: When we were in the jungle I got really bad pink-eye and when I woke up I could not open my eyes so Georgia had to get mum as we were in our own room. I felt so disgusting and unfortunately we went to see the sloths and I was paranoid that I would give all these beautiful creatures conjunctivitis but there cuteness did make me feel a bit better. Also when we went Piranha fishing (I did really enjoy it) I caught one but it jumped off the line and bit my trouser and nearly my leg. To add to it, in Puno it was chucking it down and we were all so cold. I slipped on a tile floor and my bum hurt sooo bad. I was so cold and it just made me colder.
Georgia: I really hated Santa Coltilde as I had to share a single bed with Mum and Dylan. Half the bed was covered in something looking like blood and the pillow was so gross I preferred not to use it. Also in the jungle I fell into a swamp full of anacondas and caimans, I hated it!!
Dylan: In the jungle we went for a night walk and I got stung by a killer wasp and it really hurt.
Mum: Definitely visit PERU if you can. There is so much to do. I love people and was just fascinated by all the different indigenous groups! There is Inca stuff; jungle, animals and even desert and beaches. Win, win!
Dad: In Peru there are few people that will try and rip you off, most perople are fair and friendly but there is ALWAYS room for negotiation on the price of anything, never take the first price offered.
Alex: Definitely go to Macchu Picchu. There are cheaper ways to get there but is a mission as you have to stay in Agua Callentae for two nights, have to walk for 11km on the railway and get a collectivo from Cusco but it was the most incredible thing ever. If you do go I would recommend tours (which there are loads of at the gates) but also going to the sun gate as you can get some incredible views of the whole Macchu Picchu.
Georgia: 1. DO NOT go to Santa Cloteil! 2. Go zip lining in the sacred valley as it is extremely fun and is really beautiful.
Dylan: Go to Pantajoha because you can meet lots of kids and can play games with them.
Best memory and why:
Mum: I’ve got loads again!
- Travelling between Ecuador and Peru on a tiny canoe through the amazon was I’m sure going to be the best ever way to travel between 2 countries and something I will never forget
- Pantoja; was scary (the jungle village where everyone carried machetes and we were the only gringos) but also fascinating. The children had a lovely couple of days playing and the evening when the locals took us on a boat to the beach to swim in the river was so special. The sunsets in the amazon were also incredible and we will never forget seeing the live pig killed!
- Watching Peru beat New Zealand in the plaza da armas in Iquitos. The whole city was going crazy, everyone wearing Peru shirts including ourselves. Peru is now our number one team for the world cup.
- Macchu Picchu; Macchu Picchu, Macchu Picchu. I am so so glad we made the effort to go. I was very pleased with myself that we found a cheaper way to go that still involved a good trek but the views and feeling when you arrive at the site will stay with us forever. Truly breath-taking and felt so incredibly spiritual. It was an extremely special few days with Alex and Dylan and I was so proud of how well they did with the whole thing.
Dad: Nothing will beat hugging a sloth (my spirit animal) as I have always wanted to see one and now I got hug it. When I was looking into its eyes I saw its soul and it could read mine. I was also relieved when I found out that the local people don’t eat them so they are still loads in the jungle. I also really enjoyed the zip-lining and quad biking!
Alex: I had some incredible memories from Peru but one of the best was going to Monkey Island and having a real wild monkey climb up my leg and sit on my head. Also hugging a sloth competes. Macchu Picchu was stunning and will win every travel report I do. On my birthday zip lining of a cliff in the Andes was incredible and petrifying at the same time. In the Jungle I got to carry a machete and cut down branches with it which was awesome.
Georgia: I loved zip-lining in the Andes although I was really scared. I love monkeys and at home I have a monkey collection and in the jungle we went to Monkey Island. A real monkey sat on my head and I loved it so much. Also hugging a sloth was amazing and it felt like I was holding a very furry baby as it sort of hugged me and I never wanted to let go.
Dylan: I loved Piranha fishing as I caught the biggest and it was really fun. Fishing is one of my favourite all time things! I loved Monkey Island and the monkeys sat on my head. Although Martine (one of the monkeys) was really naughty and tried to pull off my nose. I love sloths. I held one and it was really cute. I liked making friends in Pantajoha.
One hoddie (Mum)
One flip-flop (Georgia)
Tour groups pair of wellies (Dylan & Dad)
Several pints of blood to various insects
Pink-eye (all round)
Throat infection – had to go to the doctors; Mum was terrified I have caught a tropical illness ( Alex)
Infected finger (Mum)
Cold (all round)
Mass mosquito bites (all round)
Traumatized – Santa Coltilde and falling in Anaconda and Caiman infested water (Georgia)
Stung by killer bee (Dylan & Mum)
Sick (Alex twice) once on a small mini bus due to the erratic driving around mountains.
2ndtime waiting for a boat after taking Malaria tablets.