May highlights in Peru
As I get closer to the end of the trip, we have been moving around more and I’ve been more focused on just taking things in and putting off blog posting! Hence, the month of May went by and now I am sharing some highlights!
Paracas on the coast
I thought Hauanchaco was the last time on the coast, but I couldn’t stay away. I was lured by reading about Isles Ballaestas and Paracas National Reserve where Humboldt Penguins could be seen. I had been having a hard time getting over a cold and sinus congestion at the high altitude of Hauraz, so I took a solo week while Jason went off backpacking into the mountains.
It was a special week for me. I appreciated being on my own again and following my own pace. I found I needed some good rest and saltwater therapy. Paracas surprised me with the diversity of marine life adjacent to a dry desert coastline mostly devoid of vegetation. I was again able to follow my passion for learning about the environment and ecology of the area. The Humboldt current was at work again. It was a joy to see a different species of penguin and so much more wildlife. Surprisingly, the water was warmer then expected because it was a protected harbor, so everyday I was in the water swimming and floating. It was so relaxing. I had some delicious ceviche too!
Did you know that Peru is considered a mega diverse country as well as the USA? 17 countries which have been identified as the most biodiversity-rich countries of the world, with a particular focus on endemic biodiversity. To qualify as a Megadiverse Country, a country must: Have at least 5000 of the world’s plants as endemics
and have marine ecosystems within its borders. To learn more: http://www.biodiversitya-z.org/content/megadiverse-countries
Amazon Basin Trip
We took a 5 day, 4 night trip in the upper reaches of the Amazon basin in Peru to an area adjacent to Manu National Park. It really was a dream come true to get to see this part of the Amazon rainforest. The bird life was plentiful and we were with such a congenial group and wonderful guide, Alex. It was a thrill to be amongst so much rich and diverse plant and animal life. We travelled down the Alto Madre de Dios river to a lodge in the rainforest and explored the trails from there.
We visited 2 canopy towers where the views at the top of and above the trees allowed us to gaze upon many macaws and other birds and monkeys. We spent one night at the “camouflage hut” taking turns looking out for tapirs coming to a clay lick to get necessary minerals. We were treated to a great view at dawn of a mother and young tapir. We also took a night walk were we checked out tarantulas and caimins. I would love to go back someday and explore more deeply into this environment. Here is a link to Jason’s write-up on our trip: Jason-Amazon Basin Trip May 12
Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley
Jason opted out on the Machu Picchu trip and explored other ruins in the Sacred Valley while I went for 2 days. Button Buddy and I rode the train and had a fine time exploring around Aguas Calientes and heading up to Machu Picchu. I tried to get up to see the sunrise up there but 500 other people were in line for the shuttle bus before me! I still got up there around 6:30 in the morning. Even though it is super touristy, it is truly a stunning and dramatic site. I had a great time birding around the trails around the edges of the area, seeing some beautiful tanagers I had never seen before.
I am finishing this Blog Post from a hostal in La Paz, Bolivia where we are poised to fly home back to the states tomorrow. It is bittersweet because we just left visiting my sister Debra and her family in Cochabamba where we had a lovely ending to our trip. We are excited to come back to the NW summer and see our friends and family and work in our community garden. I’ll post about our time in Bolivia after we get back home!