Following is a map showing the major places we visited and descriptions and
links to pictures of these places.
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Our trip begins with a flight from Phoenix to Houston, then on to Lima, where they seriously say
"it never rains", we arrived at about 12:30 AM. After we arrive in Peru, we are informed that it
is not safe to drink the tap water, to only drink bottled water, which is free and readily available.
After a boring tour of the city the next day and a nice dinner that night, it's time to get serious
about Machu Picchu.
From Lima, it's a short flight to Cusco (Cuzco), Peru, elevation 11,300 feet! We check into the
Monasterio Hotel, advertised as "The world's first oxygenated hotel", re-pack our luggage for an
overnight stay and two days of hiking at Machu Picchu. The unneeded luggage stays at the hotel,
we'll pick it up on the way back. Up early the next morning, catch the train, up over the continental
divide and on to Machu Picchu. After you're over the divide, it's about a two hour ride downhill all
the way following something that starts out as not much more than a drainage ditch, and when
you get to village at the bottom of Machu Picchu, it's a raging river feeding the Amazon.
When you get to the village at the bottom, look out for the beggars, you jump on a bus and up
more switchbacks to the sanctuary lodge, check in, put on some hiking clothes and walk into the
park. Once in the park, you know you are in a very special place known as "One of the eight wonders
of the world". It gave me a sense of great awe and inspiration!
The sanctuary lodge only holds about 100 people, all others must go down to the village at
the bottom by 3:00 PM. After that it is so quiet and peaceful.
One of the best beers in Peru is "Cusqueña lager", it is wonderful!
After Machu Picchu, we return, by train, to Cusco, re pack our luggage and get ready for our flight
the next day to Ecuador and on to the Galapagos.
Galapagos has been divided into two sections for manageability.
The next morning it's flights from Cuzco to Lima to Quito. When we arrive in Quito,
we are informed that the tap water in Ecuador is also unsafe to drink, that only the
bottled water should be trusted. We also learn that our hotel (Swiss Hotel) gives out
one complemtary bottle per day per person and that additional bottles are $2.00 each!
Luckily, there is a grocery store at the corner that sells bottles for sixteen cents
each. We also learn that there is a twelve percent tax on food and drinks at the hotel
and a ten percent "gratuity" added in. Our guide informs us that the waitresses
never see that "gratuity". After his advice we tip five percent in cash and they
The next morning it's a flight from Cuzco to the costal city of Guayaquil, a short
stop, and off to the Galapagos. We land on a narrow short blacktop runway, hard hard
brakes, and full reverse thrusters and end up at the other end of the runway and no
way to turn off, so a u-turn and taxi down the runway we just landed on to get to
the terminal! Hop on a bus and off to the harbor to meet up with Explorer II.
An overnight trip north, near the Columbian border, to Otovalo and a market.