Peru! June 2014

8 07 2014

I got back last week from 16 days in Peru.  We arranged a private tour with a Tour Company in Lima.  It was a very busy, but very fun whirlwind trip and we didn’t even see the Coffee and Cacao growing North or the Jungles of the Amazon to the East…
We went to Lima, Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, Cuzco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Ollantaytambo, Machu Picchu, Paracas, the Nazca Lines and even walked across a hand made grass suspension bridge.  We took thousands of photos but managed to trim it down to the top 500 or so :)

The whole shebang is here:

If you’d like to see it day-by-day, check out:

First – what everyone thinks of when they think of Peru:

Classic Machu Picchu
by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

The volcano Misti from Arequipa:

Monastery Bell Tower at twilight
by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

Vicuna!  The most expensive wool known to man.

Sometimes you get lucky!
by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

Andean Dust Devils and an active Volcano!

Andean Dust Devils
by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

Soaring at our eye level at the Colca Canyon!

Andean condor (Vultur gryphus) in flight
by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

The pageantry of Inti Raymi

Inti Raymi – 2014
by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

The Grass Bridge at Q’eswachaka

The Inca grass suspension bridge at Q’eswachaka
by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

The Nazca Lines

The Hummingbird
by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

The desert of Paracas

Peruvian Sand Dune
by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

The Sea life of Islas Ballestas

A bit crowded…
by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

All in all, a great trip!  I hope you enjoy this little taste.

Visiting Banos (del Agua Santa)

12 08 2012

Banos is a lovely town in Ecuador! We spent a day visiting waterfalls, touring the town, seeing the ACTIVE VOLCANO and ziplining!

Tungurahua Volcano:

by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

The town of Banos, nestled in the valley below the volcano

Baños de Agua Santa by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

The crazy guy that monitors the volcano, voluntarily – explaining what he does

Casa Del Arbol by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

Fresh milk, straight from the cow!

Fresh Milk – RIGHT from the Cow! by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

One of the lovely flowers in the the central park of Banos

Lovely Flower by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

Mrs Dragonspeed with a pair of nice boobies in her hands!

Everybody loves boobies! by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

The Banos Cathedral at night

Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Agua Santa by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to soak in the hot springs. It had been a long day and we were all pretty beat.

The whole set of pictures from the day can be seen at:…th/7718655272/

Baños de Agua Santa

5 08 2012

Hanging out at La Casa Verde The Hostel "La Casa Verde" was hard to find, but a nice place to stay.

April 10th, 2012 found us in the town of Baños, Ecuador The place comes complete with its own Volcano, a bunch of cool waterfalls and zipline opportunities!

All the photos can be found here:

Volcan Tungurahua

Tungurahua Volcano spitting out some steam and ash. About 4 times a day, there’s a nice loud booming sound as it vents a bit more. Nothing to worry about, they tell us! Hah!

Baños de Agua Santa

The town of Baños de Agua Santa aka. Baños. Nestled in the valley below Tungurahua, it looks idyllic but that whole Volcano thing is a bit creepy.

Casa Del Arbol

Our host at the "Tree house" explains the whole Tungurahua history and his volunteer efforts to monitor the Volcano. Nice guy, but I don’t know if hanging around in the shadow of an angry volcano is how I’d want to spend my days.

Casa Del Arbol

The group of us with the nice, crazy guy that watches over the Volcan Tungurahua.

Fresh Milk – RIGHT from the Cow!

Hidi tries some of the fresh milk, straight from the cow. Warm, and full of natural good fats! Of course I ended up giving the guy $2 … probably more than he makes from 5 LITRES of milk. Touristas!

Everybody loves boobies!

There’s nothing quite like having nice boobies in your hands! 😉

Hanging out at La Casa Verde

The Hostel "La Casa Verde" was hard to find, but a nice place to stay.

Hiking up Cotopaxi! April 9, 2012

30 07 2012

We met our driver, Lincoln at some ungodly early time in the morning and headed out from our hotel to start out on the “Avenue of the Volcanos” The idea was that if we left early enough, we might actually SEE some of them before the afternoon clouds came in.  We headed south from Quito and sure enough, the clouds had already covered the tops of many of the volcanos. That’s OK, the drive wasn’t too bad anyway.  We arrived at the base of the Cotopaxi National Park, and Lincoln registered the vehicle as entering.

Parque Nacional Cotopaxi

We drove up to a small building where we had a lot of the background of the volcano explained and a last chance to get some snacks, coca tea or water.   Our next stop was Laguna Limpiopungo.  There were some andean gulls flying around, but none of them close enough for a good picture.   We did see this one little lonely bird around 4200m though… Not sure what he is (Stout Billed Cincoldes, Cinclodes excelsior)

A lonely bird.

The parking area was at 4500m and the wind was whipping up a good chill.  It was NOT warm.  We got our gear on and began the hike up the side of the volcano.  Not much switchback stuff, just UP.  It was on loose, gravelly moraine so you basically gained 2 steps for every 3.   The going was tough.  It was my personal goal to hike 25 steps before stopping and sucking wind.   There were a couple of times that I just thought “Forget it.  I’ll meet them when they come down!”  But we all made it eventually!  4810m was the height of the shelter.

4810m Wow! We made it.

The Views, when the clouds lifted briefly were lovely!

Volcanic plains of Cotopaxi

It was a real surprise to run into a couple of nuns hiking up while we were heading down.

Hiking nuns

We did all make it down eventually, as the fog settled in and shortly before the hail started

Descending in the fog

After hiking the volcano, we headed towards Banos for the night.  We stopped at a lovely Hacienda for lunch

An old Hacienda turned guesthouse

The day’s pictures can all be found at:

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