Friday, January 20, 2006

Machu Picchu & Choquequirao - Peru

After Colombia we headed through Ecuador where spent a week checking out volcanoes and beaches. After that we headed to Peru spending a night in Lima before going on the holy grail of Machu Picchu (MP). MP & Choquequirao are the two most famous Inca ruins in South America, both of which are in southern Peru. Like many of the other treks in South America trying to capture it in words and pics is completely futile. There are only 500 trekkers a day allowed on the Inca Trail – this includes porters and guides. It’s 4 days of high altitude packing through the Sacred Valley. We had an awesome group of 14 people not including the guides and porters who did everything from cook meals to set up our tents. As usual I won’t get into all the particulars of the history, etc – plenty of stuff online. For me MP was a little overrated and extremely touristy but it’s one of those things you have to do while in South America.

The day after the Inca Trail a group of us proceeded to Choquequirao which is larger than MP but only 30% has been uncovered. This was the last refuge of the Incas fleeing from the Spaniards, secluded in a strategic geographical area between Andean mountains and the edge of the jungle makes it difficult to access and much more arduous than the Inca Trail. Although only limited excavation has yet been undertaken, ample evidence exists that Choquequirao was continuously inhabited and that construction continued after the arrival of the Spanish to Peru in 1532. Choquequirao appears to have been abandoned undiscovered by Spanish authorities. By 2008 they’re expecting to have it fully uncovered and working trails from MP.

After this we headed to Bolivia (see blog) to see some of the most amazing sights in South America.

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