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Just back from Peru
#1
Had an amazing trip to Peru including hiking in the Amazon jungle and in the Andes Mountains. Includued 4 days hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchou.  Will post some photos soon, Still trying to recover.
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#2
I am sure that was an amazing vacation.
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#3
We flew to Miami, then to Lima Peru. Over nighted in Lima then flew to Port Maldanaldo which is the north east corner of Peru where the Amazon river starts.

From Port Maldenaldo we boarded what they called "canoes" for our 3 hour trip up river to our first stop Rufugio Amazonio. (Amazon Refuge).

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On the way up river we saw Capabaras, (large rodents) along the shore.

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Upon arrival we had to hike half an hour through the jungle to get to the lodge.

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The lodge was huge and everything is open to the jungle.

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More later...
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#4
You have some of the most interesting trips Mac!
Governmental dependance makes for poor self reliance.

"What could possibly go wrong with a duct tape boat?"  Cody Lundin

The best defense against evil men are good men with violent skill sets.
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#5
Being retired and having the time and money makes it possible to do bucket list kind of things. We are trying to do as much as we can while we are still healthy, because you never know what's gonna happen.

Meanwhile, we arrived at the lodge mid day. They typically do an early morning (5 am) hike, a mid morning hike, a mid afternoon hike and and evening hike. We got in on the mid afternoon hike and evening hikes.

The next morning we were up at 4:30 am for an early morning hike to the climb the canopy tower to watch the sunrise over the jungle.

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We were back for breakfast at 7:15 am, then out again for a three hour hike at 10. Back from lunch at 1:15 then out at 3 pm for another 3 hour hike. Back for cocktails at 6 ish. Dinner was at 7:15, evening hike at 8:30. Back by 10:30. In bed by 11 pm. It was a long day.

On our hikes we saw Red Howler monkeys and spider monkeys as well as scarlet macaws and other critters.

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The next morning we were up at 4:30 again and on the boat to go 5.5 hours further up river to the Tambopata Research Center. It's the furthest up river you can go (in Peru) and is a national research center funded in part by eco tourism. Only a couple dozen people are allowed at a time to be there.
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#6
Wow. Awesome stuff.
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#7
continued...

We got to Tambopata about mid day and was able to go on the mid afternoon and evening hikes.

Saw a spectical owl, wood pecker etc.[/size]

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Being open air, little critters get in everywhere....

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They have big trees there...

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Also saw some more monkeys

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#8
We hiked an average of 10 miles a day on hikes in the jungle from sun up to sun down.

One of the highlights of the trip was to the clay lick. Tambopota has the largest clay lick in the world where thousands of birds come at dawn to lick the clay to get the minerals. We were up at 4 am to travel up river to get there before dawn. They have a blind set up about 75 yards across the river.

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Later in the day we went to a pond to observe more critters...

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#9
Nice Pics, sounds like ya'll had a fun retreat.
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#10
The last day we were up at 4:30 am for the 5 am/6 hour ride back down river. Got on a plane and flew to Cuzco. Was met at the airport by our guide who took us to the hotel. After checking in, a walking tour of the city.

While Lima is the capital of Peru, Cuzco is the second largest city and was the center of the Inca Empire. It is located in a valley at an altitude of 9,000+ feet. They recommend a couple days to get acclimated to the altitude before heading to higher altitude. Both my wife and I had headaches the first day in town but I don't know if that was because we were up early, the stress of the long boat ride/plane trip or the altitude. We never had trouble breathing or suffered any affects after that.

The downtown district is fairly modern but outside the city is strictly third world shanty towns. Tourism is the main industry in Peru. They get millions of visitors to Cuzco and Machu Picchu every year. The main language is Spanish but most shop keepers, restaurant and service industry people speak English. Loads of Europeans in town and the universal language seems to be English. WE never had a problem communicating with anyone.

Being the center of the Inca Empire there are ruins everywhere. And everywhere there was a ruin, the Spanish when they arrived in the 1500s, tore down the temples and build churches on them.

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View of the city from a surrounding ruin.

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One of the 16th century cathedrals

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The precise stone work of the Incas made the Spanish brick work on top of it look crude

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A retaining wall with hand fitted boulders.

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