Returning to Cusco from Puerto Maldonado, we crossed the Andes, topping out at over 13,000 feet above sea level. At the peak, it was snowing.
The Lonely Planet guidebook calls Peru’s Amazon basin “the best-protected tract of the world’s most bio-diverse forest.” Puerto Maldonado (photos) is in the southern Amazon zone of Peru, due East of Cusco near the border with Bolivia. It sits at the confluence of Rio Tambopata and Rio Madre de Dios. The Rio Madre de Dios continues through Bolivia and into Brazil where it joins with the Amazon. There are a series of jungle lodges along the banks of this river downstream from Puerto Maldonado. We chose to spend 3 nights at the Eco Amazonia Lodge.
This just in: Machu Picchu is amazing.
Right. So, I’m not going to presume that I can provide some insight to this incredible place that hasn’t already been documented in countless ways. I’ll settle for sharing a little of our experience in visiting Machu Picchu and some of the photos we captured. Again, you can easily find perhaps higher quality photos but these pictures represent what we saw and the way we saw it.
Cusco holds the claim as the oldest continuously inhabited city in South America. It is the foremost city of the Inca Empire with ornate cathedrals, cobblestone streets and Inca temple ruins. And it is the gateway to Machu Picchu which accounts for a constant throb of tourism and all of its attendant supporting commerce.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the Nazca lines? It’s one of the world’s remaining mysteries. The lines consist of 800 straight lines, 300 geometric figures and 70 spectacular animal and plant drawings. The area containing the lines is over 500 square kilometers, that’s right, a huge area. The scale of the drawings is such that you cannot visualize the drawings unless you are airborne. For example, there is a 180 meter long lizard and a condor with a 130 meter wingspan.