An all-women’s hike through the Amazon rainforest with two barefoot professors.
“Para bailar la bamba, Para bailar la bamba, Se necessita una poca de gracia …”
How perfect it was: dancing to an old favorite song played by new friends. Moises on guitar, Segundo on spoons, Juan on the metal flashlight, and Jorge on Bar, concocting superb pisco sours deep in the Amazon rainforest. The homegrown band, our jungle guides by day, had come together this night to provide the entertainment for a serendipitous celebration – the birthdays of two of fifteen women brought together for a two-week experience of the Peruvian Amazon.
Story and Photos by Libor Pospisil.
As I was sitting on the second floor of an open-air café, I looked out of a stony arch at the Plaza de Armas and needed no explanation as to how Arequipa earned its nickname, “The White City” (La Ciudad Blanca.) The Plaza, with its uniform rows of arches on three sides and an unusually wide cathedral on its fourth, was built completely from the local volcanic stone called sillar that happens to be… well, white. On the other hand, one should not jump to conclusions about Arequipa. Things usually turn out to be a little more complicated in Peru’s second largest city than a label might suggest. I realized that right in the café, where I had just ordered a local dessert, queso helado (cheese ice cream.) It has a sweet refreshing taste but no actual cheese—its deliciousness comes from coconut, vanilla, and cinnamon, none of which are in its name. “Queso,” referred only to its appearance.
Story and Photos by John Sundsmo.
This is the third article in a series entitled “Road to Machu Picchu.” My wife and I thought our visit to Peru was a once in a lifetime experience but the experience may have changed our minds. We began our visit to the Inca Sacred Valley in Cusco. While there, we went to the COSITUC main office and obtained tourist tickets to all 16 archaeologic sites and museums including the ticket needed to gain entrance to Machu Picchu. In the first article (Cusco to Pisac – Part One) we talked about our drive from Cusco through Chincero and Urubamba, to reach our destination for the night in Pisac. In Part Two we experienced the high Andes culture in Pisac’s Sunday market and explored the Inca Intihuatana and gateway to the Amazon at Kantas Ray. In this final article I cover our journey by car to Ollantaytambo and from there by train to Aquas Calientes which lies in the river valley directly below Machu Picchu. It is the departure point for buses to Machu Picchu.
Story and Photos by John Sundsmo
In Cusco, Peru (elevation 11,152 ft.): As we walked into the hotel lobby, Javier, the manager, greeted us in excellent English, “how was your flight from Lima?” I answered, “Fine, just a few bumps and an amazing view as we landed.” “Yes, the valley is beautiful this time of year but a month ago everything was very green. The view from our rooftop garden is very good. Will you have some tea? We recommend a special tea to help with the altitude.” My wife asked, “what’s in it” thinking it might be caffeinated. “Just coca leaves to help with the altitude sickness.” My scientist brain was quickly thinking, how much cocaine might be in coca leaves and how it might affect me. “Sure, I’ll try it.”…..
Story by Monique Burns
Ernest Hemingway came to the Peru Coast in 1956—partly to hunt black marlin, partly to oversee the filming of his monumental novel, The Old Man and the Sea. Sixty years after his visit, I, too, head to coastal Peru. None of my magazine articles have been optioned for Hollywood blockbusters. Nor will I fish for black marlin—much as I’d like to. But, make no mistake, I’m bound for adventure…