A Trip to the Amazon
Next stop on my journey is Puerto Maldonado and the Amazon. We take a 10-hour night bus from Cusco and check in to Puerto Maldonado Hostel, a nice jungle lodge by the Madre de Díos river. There is nothing that calms me down than falling a sleep with the sounds of the jungle.
From the lodge, we do an early morning boat trip to see the parrots feed of clay. Beside the many parrots, we get to see the beautiful sunrise. We watch how the morning sun plays with the river and the Amazon, how it colours everything pink, red and orange. Another amazing way to start the day.
After our boat trip, it is time to go on a jungle walk. The boat takes us up the river. From here it gets very muddy. Never in my life have I been walking in so much mud. And if that wasn’t enough, we got mosquitos all around us, and it doesn’t really help that I showered in repellent. Once again, I will have to say that the jungle is no place for humans.
After an hour, we get to Lago Sandoval. From here we do a boat ride around the lake and this is when the animals start showing themselves. Monkeys, caimans, big odder and birds. It feels so good to see the jungle alive.
Rainbow Mountain and Red Valley
The day starts early. I get picked up at 4:00am in Cusco. From here it is a three-hour bus ride to get to the point where our hiking begins. It is a tough hike because of the altitude. Rainbow Mountain is located in an altitude of 5200 meters. I never been in such a high altitude and after an hour I start to feel altitude sickness for the first time on my journey. To help myself, I get a horse for the rest of the peak.
When I get to the top, it is actually snowing. But after a while the sun breaks through the clouds, and God it is beautiful. From the top, you can spot two amazing valleys and two glaciers covered in snow. I got colours all around me, not just the Rainbow Mountain but the valleys as well are covered in colours. Apparently, it is the different minerals like iron, cobber and sulphate that colour the mountains and valleys.
From the Rainbow Mountain, we take a different path down, going through the Red Valley. This is definitely one of the most impressing hikes I have ever done. The colours change from multi-coloured to red to green the further we get. In the end of the hike, I almost feel like walking through a scene from Lord of the Rings. It all looks like hobbit land.
The Magical Lake Titicaca
My first stop on the shores of Lake Titicaca is Puno on the Peruvian side of the lake. A city not really worth mentioning. It is the trips from here that make it worth going. The trips going to the amazing Lake Titicaca which is one of the biggest and highest placed lakes in the world. It is located at an altitude of more than 3800 meters.
From Puno, I do an all day boat tour. Our first stop is the incredible, mystical flooding islands. These islands where build by the Uros population many years ago at a time when they feared the invasion of the Incas. To escape, they build these islands made out of nothing more than reed. Arriving here, it feels funny and weird stepping out on to the island. It feels so soft underneath my feet.
The Uro islands are very touristic but somehow you still get a feel for the way of life of the Uro population. Just the way they organize the tourism so that each island gets a fair share of the touristic money. Each day the boat will visit a different island and it is the Uro population who decide which one to visit.
Our next stop after Uro, is the beautiful island Taquile. The nature here is just incredible and perfect for a good walk around the island and the indigenous population on Taquile are famous for their clothing, dance and traditions.