to see and do
• Rainbow Mountain/Vinicunca (local name): Rainbow Mountain is a real geological phenomenon; Its seven different colors arose over millions of years from sediment layers, which are now brought to the surface by plate tectonics. Fortunately, Vinicunca has been a secret for so long that there is almost no information about it. This makes it a very mystery place to go and turns out to be an affordable trip. See "insider information" at the bottom of this page.
• Laguna 69: Starting in Huaraz, the center of all hiking enthusiasts, a beauiful 1-Day-Hiking-Tour (3hrs hike one way) leads to Laguna 69. It is a picturesque turquoise see at an altitude of 4,680m. On your way, you will come across impressive grasslands, fascinating mountain landscapes, stunning glacier walls and magnificent waterfalls. Simply amazing!
• Machu Picchu: One of the New 7 World Wonders is the well-preserved 15th-century Inca citadel situated on a mountain ridge. For more information, see the detailed article below.
• Colca Canyon: The Colca Canyon is considered to be the world’s second deepest Canyon and situated about 100kms northwest of Arequipa, where tours are usually booked. The Colca Canyon offers spectacular scenery and hiking opportunities. Furthermore it is home to the famous andean condor that usually can be watched in the mornings
when the canyon is heated up by the sun. It’s also possible to reach the canyon individually by public bus on the route Arequipa – Chivay – Cabanaconde that occasionally reaches an altitude of almost 5,000m. After arriving in Cabanaconde you can look for some cheap hostel accommodation, organize a map and explore the canyon on your own. There are dozens of trails which lead past several villages. Spend your nights for less than US-$ 10 in small guest houses/homestays and take your time to explore the beauty of this fascinating landscape. Check out our photos and videos to get an impression.
• Iquitos: Iquitos is the largest city in the eastern Peruvian Amazon region and only accessible by river and air. If you want to explore the Amazon rainforest this is the place to go! Some very adventurous travelers buy a hammock on the local market and try to catch a free spot on one of the cargo ships that go all the way from here to Manaus (Brazil) or even further downstream the mighty Amazon river to the atlantic coast.
23.11.2016 - Lena & Chris
Insider Tips for
02.12.2016 - Lena
Machu Picchu belongs to the new 7 world wonders and has to be seen! If you're planning to visit Machu Picchu, make sure to check the availability of your ideas first. Some stuff you can do up there is fully booked months before. Therefore, you should have a fix date for visiting Macchu Picchu.
If you don't want to do an (organized) hike (e.g. Inka Trail), you can also go there by yourself. Due to the fact that there is no direct connection to Machu Picchu, you have to go to Machu Picchu Pueblo (it used to be called Aguas Calientes), which is a small village at the foot of the mountain. From this village, you can take the bus to the famous inca ruines or walk 1,700 steps.
There are several options going from Cuzco to Machu Picchu Pueblo:
1st option: take the train. Perurail is the only operator offering a 3.5hrs trainride from Poroy/ Cuzco. There are different classes of services (Expedition, Vistadome and Hiram Bingham), but even the cheapest class was a really great train. Tickets can be booked online at www.perurail.com (cheapest US$60 one way) or in a PeruRail Store in Cuzco. They always have 2for1 offers if you book it in person!
A downside to this option is the limited train schedules.
2nd option: take bus/taxi/colectivos to Ollantaytambo & train to Macchu Picchu Pueblo. This is the way we did it. We took a Colectivo Van from the Paradero Pavitos (Cuzco) to Ollantaytambo. These colectivos usually leave within 10 to 15 minutes or whenever they are full. It costs about US$3 and usually takes about 90 minutes. This probably might be the most conveniant option. Taxis also take about 90 minutes and should cost about US$30. Busses take about 2h and cost US$2,5, but you need to switch your bus once in Urubamba.
From Ollantaytambo you can now take the PeruRail or IncaRail (www.incarail.com) to Machu Picchu Pueblo. Tickets can be booked online (cheapest US$50) or in a store in Cuzco. Don't miss to take a 2for1 offer if you book it in person!
3rd option: take the bus to Hidroelectrica and walk along the tracks. This is totally the cheapest option to get to Machu Picchu Pueblo. Take the bus from Terminal Santiago in Cuzco to Santa Maria, the colectivo to Santa Teresa, the colectivo to Hidroelectricia (ca. 8hrs!) and walk along the tracks for 2-3hrs to Machu Picchu Pueblo. Even though this seems illegal, it is not. Make sure to start as early as possible, so you won't have to do the hiking in the dark! It might be about US$9 one way.
In my opinion, you should definitely spend the night in Machu Picchu Pueblo and take the first bus (US$9 one way) to the famous inca ruines called Machu Picchu. It is also possible to hike up for free in about 2hrs. Busses run from 5:30am to 5:30pm at 10 mins interval depending on demand. The tickets are available near the bus departure (Plaza Principal) in a small ticket booth. Machu Picchu entrance opens at 6am and closes at 6pm.
Entrance to Machu Picchu: It is important to bring your passport! Otherwise, they won't let you visit Machu Picchu! When leaving Machu Picchu, you can also ask for a Machu Picchu stamp in your passport.
Tickets cannot be bought at the entrance gate and must be bought in advance. They are only valid for one single day. You can buy tickets e.g. on the official government website (www.machupicchu.gob.pe). Important to notice are the discounts students get with an ISIC card - they only pay half price for the entrance to Machu Picchu! Before buying the ticket, you should think about climbing Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Montana (limited to only 400 people per day). From these two Mountains you are able to enjoy a whole different view of Machu Picchu.
Time Schedule: One day is totally enough time. If you spend the night in Machu Picchu Pueblo and catch one of the first busses in the morning, you will have enough time to explore Machu Picchu. The tourist busses usually arrive around 10am, so you might take your pictures as early as possible to avoid having the crowds on your photos. Thus, I recommend doing the hikes to Huayna Picchu or Montata after 10am (after having enjoyed the ruines).
Don't forget: Sunscreen, hat & water! You might also take your lunch with you because the restaurant at the entrance is really expensive.
tour should come with oxygen masks which you might use. But in case you need oxygen, you should stop your hike immediately and get down as soon as possible. You can also rent a horse in Quesiuno, which will take you almost to the top (last 15 minutes is by foot!). Note: A horse always comes in set with a horse-guide, so you don't need any riding skills. Anyways, the path is easy to find and it is hard to get lost. You have an awesome view on the Asungate Glacier and magnificent mountains around. Going back to your car might only take you 1 to 1.5hrs. A ride back to Cuzco is another 3hrs.
Important: Make sure to take enough water, sunscreen and a hat with you as the solar radiation is extremly high! Ask if breakfast and lunch are included in your tours, you will need the energy from your food. Well then, enjoy!
Insider Tips for
08.12.2016 - Lena
Rainbow Mountain is a real geological phenomenon; Its seven different colors arose over millions of years from sediment layers, which are now brought to the surface by plate tectonics. Fortunately, Vinicunca has been a secret for so long that there is almost no information about it. This makes it a very mystery place to go and turns out to be an affordable trip. But how do you get there?
Back in April 2016, nearly all tours were offered from Cuzco, Peru. You could do a one to multiple-day trip to this spectacular mountain. Doing a one day trip, this is not supposed to cost you more than 130 Soles (10 Soles entrance fee included). Otherwise, you should hire a car and do this on your own. Your journey will start in the very early morning (around 5am) and ends in the afternoon. They usually pick you up from the main plaza in Cuzco and take you to Quesiuno (GPS coordinates: 13°52′13.67″S 71°14′32.3″W), which is a 3hrs ride.
The hike: From an altitude of 4,300m in Quesiuno, your 2-3hrs walk is going to start. It is a really challinging hike to Vinicunca because it ends at 5,035m (16,500ft). Do not underestimate the alitude! If you get in any trouble during your hike, every guided