Peru, Land of the Incas
By Donna Rombough
From inside our thatched-roof cabana deep in the Amazon, we were awakened by the early morning sounds of the rainforest. Peering from under our netted, canopy beds, blue skies peaked through the thick, lush green of the towering vegetation. Birds of countless varieties chirped and cawed and all at once the jungle came alive on this glorious morning.
We took a thrilling walk on the canopy of the rainforest. Climbing 155 steps, we walked along the swinging walkways making our way across the top of the jungle ceiling. Later we had an evening boat trip up the river in search of caimans lazing along the riverbank, birdwatching for some of the Amazon’s many colourful species, seeing the resort’s resident tapir and a visit to a botanical garden kept us enthralled.
Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a must see. The Incas built this spectacular complex high in the mountains and it is a masterpiece of engineering and architecture that served as a sanctuary and retreat for the Incas in the 15th and 16th centuries. When the Spaniards invaded the area, they did not find Machu Picchu as it was well above the clouds and out of view from the valley below. And oh what a view it provides!
After being greeted by a Peruvian band at the train station, we were led to our private Craig Travel car for the journey from Cuzco to Puno… lovely upholstered chairs, tables with crisp white tablecloths, lovely silver cutlery, wine glasses, an exquisite gold lamp at each table and a beautiful fresh rose. Impeccable wait staff passed out menus for lunch. It was simply delightful! All along the journey, we were spoiled with magnificent scenery; mountains, farm lands, llamas, alpacas, sheep, Holstein and Swiss brown cows and many waving workers. We were even treated to a delightful fashion show aboard. We had an opportunity to disembark the train for a short shopping stop at local market stalls along the way. We had to shop fast…and we did!
While staying at Lake Titicaca (the highest navigable lake in the world), we made the short journey to the Uros Islands. These islands are man-made from reeds. We were greeted by the local people and met our island guide, Sulema, who gave a wonderful account of life on the islands, how the islands are constructed and how the people live and work. There is no electricity, no phone or internet, no plumbing as we know it. It is a very different life.
The women sang for us and we had an opportunity to ride on a 2-storey reed boat… delightful! Next, we departed for Taquile Island for a delicious lunch, a song and dance performance and a demonstration on the exquisite weaving and knitting that is unique to this tiny island. The women weave and the men knit!
On our morning drive to the Colca Canyon, we passed gorgeous terraced hills in stunning greens, snow-capped mountains and primitive villages as we wound our way towards Condors Cross in hopes of spotting the famous condor. We were lucky. Several condors were flying low in the canyon. These birds are large, with wings that stretch nearly 10 feet from tip to tip. When in flight, they glide on air currents to soar as high as a dizzying 15,000 feet. So majestic!
Our visit to the mysterious Nazca Lines was highly anticipated. The day was clear and the view spectacular! We flew into the desert before arriving at the Nazca Lines. The Nazca culture flourished between 50BC and 600AD. The fascinating lines in the sand picture coastal, highland and jungle fauna as well as geometric figures including trapeze and triangles. A simply amazing experience and just one of many on this fascinating journey to the land of the Incas!
Join Craig Travel on their next journey discovering Peru, Land of the Incas November 1st. Save $200pp* if you book and deposit by June 28, 2019. Contact Craig Travel for more information and to book 1-800-387-8890.