Colca Canyon: Yanque, Chivay, Andean Condors and being a tourist again

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Uncategorized

 

Andean Condor in flight.

 

So we made the trek from Arequipa to the Colca Canyon (Yanque) without much trouble.  The car sure doesn’t like passes at 15,000 feet – but we pushed through.  The Colca Canyon is a huge place where Inca used to farm, and locals still do on terraces all the way down.  On different terraces they grow different things due to the weather changes at different levels.  We spent the day driving the canyon, as well as seeing Andean Condors in the morning.  We stopped at several of the tourist spots to play tourists as well.  The Alpaca are everwhere here.  What’s amazing is while you are driving you’ll come across Alpaca, Burro’s, and sheep crossing the road, or grazing in the open spaces that you are driving through.  I haven’t seen an actual fence in days – the animals can roam free. Read More

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Iquehue, Arica, Arequipa Peru (made it, but protests here)

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Peru


This will be a shorter blog post as we spent nearly 12 hours in the car today getting to Arequipa, where we were met with burning tires, boulders strewn in the roads, and people blocking all traffic.  Overall we are fine, although I don’t think I’ve ever been in the center or near this type of activity before.  Our hotel is safe as well as the car- so we might bunker here until Sunday then head up/out to lake Titicaca.   Read More

San Pedro de Atacama, Crossing at 15,700, Salt Flats, Valley de la Luna

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Chile

 

Walking in Valley De La Luna – San Pedro de Atacama

So we’ve spent about four days in San Pedro de Atacama at 8,000 feet doing some pretty amazing things in the great outdoor desert.  The Atacama desert is one of the driest places on earth and has 10% humidity, making it great of star gazing, as well as having nearly nothing grow.  I was sort of shocked a bit when we arrived into the town as it was bustling with tourists, tour operators, travel vans, etc.  We have been off the tourist path for awhile, staying in very small towns with hardly any of the tourism features that you find here.  It was a good place to experience some new things and we had a pretty good time.  On the down side, our hotel (if you can call it that) basically had open windows in our room – no big deal expect that it gets really cold at night and our room would be an ice box in the morning when we woke up.  I guess you take the bad with the good.

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Tilcara and Pumamarca. Life at 8500 feet

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Argentina

  

Mr Llama “nothing to see here, move along…”

Well, our last town in Argentina. It is sort of sad, but we still have a bunch of more exciting places to go. Tilcara is one of the many towns along RN9 to Bolivia, with lots of old Inca ruins nearby. The drive from Cachi to Tilcara started off with driving up to 11,060 feet, then driving down into lush green land at 4500 feet, then back to 8500 feet. For most of the drive, we were above the clouds. In Cachi, it was sunny and cloudless, but in Salta/Jujuy, it was cloudy, and gray.    Read More

High Altitude Driving, Crazy Roads:  Salta, Cafayate, Cachi RN40 Argentina

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Argentina

 

a great door in Cafayate, had to go retro

 
Well its been a busy week or so, mostly without internet access.  We have been around the Salta region checking out the less travelled tourist path – mostly which turned out really nice.  We stayed for a couple of days in Cafayate in a very small Hostal that Cindy found.  Basically I think we were staying in the back of these peoples house.  We always evaluate a place by the bathroom, this one combined the shower with toilet and sink – so I guess you could take a shower, bush your teeth and goto the can all at the same time.  Add little to no warm/hot water to the mix and you get the picture.  But for $50/night for all four of us it was a deal.  Cafayate is a very small place, kids playing soccer in the street, people riding bikes and horses into town.  It’s also the start of Argentine wineries so there were lots of bodega’s along the road and various wine shops available.  They even had wine flavored ice creams.   Read More

Zipping Across Northern Argentina- Iguazu to Salta – RT16

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Argentina / Travelling

 

Hanging out in Salta.

 
Well we were in Iguazu Falls at the northern “shoe” portion of Argentina and our plan had always been to get across to Salta – before heading over into Chile and up into Peru.  Salta is an amazing place – we took the boys today to go see children mummies that were sacrificed by the Inca 500 years ago and planted on the peaks of the mountains – 22,000 ft.  It wasn’t a “sacrifice” as you would think of the ugly movie ones.  The Children were given a drink / potion that basically knocked them out – how out no idea.  But then they were planted in the ground atop these mountains at 22,000 ft.  The bodies basically are frozen in time which is amazing to see – it’s not the traditional “mummy wrappinigs” that you think about – it’s basically a child in children’s clothing that has been buried sitting upright in the ground – in a sitting position.  You can see their face, lips, eyes, teeth, etc.  All is there.  Read More

Iguazu Falls, what an amazing place.

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Argentina

  

 Finally, after three days of driving, we reached Puerto Iguazu.  Yesterday, we visted Iguazu Falls National Park, which if you ask me, is the most beautifal park I have ever been to. Over five kilometers of outstanding waterfalls, with a lush rainforest in the background. Plus, it acts as a natural border between Paruguay, Argentina, and Brazil. Niagra falls it tiny compared to this.

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La Sportiva Shoes, the good, the bad and the ugly…  Visiting La Boca, Puerto Madero

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Argentina

 

Old Training Ship – about 19 Trips around the world for Argentine Navy.

 

Ok – I typically don’t write or comment about products in general.  But I’ve spent about 1/2 the day dealing with a broken shoe lace and it’s sort of put a twist in my shorts.  This is my secon pair of this exact La Sportiva Shoe – the first pair split in the leather so JAX did an exchange for this pair.  Personally, my expectation is that a shoe should be designed to last more than three months.  My first pair I got a summer out of them doing all sorts of scout related things, but then the leather split right before our trip and they were a no go.  Since the shoes fit my feet so well I elected to simply get the same shoe so I didn’t have to spend $125 again.   Read More

Buenos Aires – Adventure Continues – over 1/2 way in our travels

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Argentina

 

Gavin gets a new hat! People come up to him and start speaking spanish because of his jersey they think he’s a local.

 

Well it’s official now – we are over 1/2 way on our journey through south america.  Technically it was last week (9th) that’s the 1/2 way mark, but last night we were talking about all the things we have done in the first three months, sort of wondering what’s coming in the next three.  We leave on Monday to head to Iguazu Falls – should be a three day drive, then back down to Salta Argentina for about a week, then we will cross into the Atacama desert and into Chile on our way to Peru.  It’s always sort of stressful to plan out where you think you will be and calculating travel times, distances, where you think you can find gas, etc.  But we think we have a tentative plan for the next two or three weeks until we cross into Chile.  I think that crossing is at about 14,000 ft.  We also have to start dealing with Peru’s altitude issues so will slowly aclimate back to being at higher altitudes.  We have been working out regularly by running around our local park, doing pushups, situps, etc. – all hoping that we can do more advanced hikes on the next phase of our journey. Read More

Montevideo and Colonia, Uruguay

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Argentina

 

An old car in Colonia

 

So, Uruguay. Most people think,”oh, just another country in South America. It is not worth visiting.” Those people have it all wrong. Uruguay is a small country in South America with a population of 3,500,000, with 1,500,000 of those people living in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. With lush forest in the NW near Brazil, it is a great place to vist.  Read More