Wednesday, 3 March 2010

The Peruvian Way...

Lake Titicaca & Island of the Sun
A few hours away is Lake Titicaca (bordering Bolivia & Peru) and Copacabana (Bolivia side) which is worth a few days and will break up the trip to Cusco. From Copacabana you can catch a very long boat ride across to the Island of the Sun for a few days of chilling out at 4000 meters altitude! It is not far away from mainland it just the large boats only seem to be equipped with 50 hours power motors so you might as well be swimming! You can hike across the Island and also camp for free. Not much else to do on the Island except for relaxing and drinking some mate with the odd Argentinian passing by. I spent my last few days of 2009 here and had some unreal weather with spectacular sunsets.


Cusco is a party town but also has allot to see and obviously the gateway to Machu Picchu. You can organize your MP trip once you arrive. I stayed at Loki one night and also the Southern Comfort Hostel which is out of town a little but a nice and friendly hostel run buy a Canadian. It's slightly cheaper then Loki (stayed for 1 night only) and the people here are travelers and not simply on a binge month or 2 away from home. I also spent a few nights at Casa de la Grina which had a nice feel to it at the top end of town. You can visit a number of archeological sights which are all around Cusco. I enjoyed a quad bike tour immensely as it had rained the whole night before hand so getting covered in mud was on the agenda! I only paid 110 local for a good 3-4hours. It's cheaper if you round up a few from the hostel. 

I Blogged my shenanigans for Machu Picchu a month ago so see the earlier Blog if you want to read up on this. Also, check out Ciran's Blogs as he is a writer who I traveled with for a few weeks and his stories are more in-depth, correct literacy and you get to see my travels from another angle!

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Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Backtracking to Bolivia

La Paz, Uyuni and The Salt Flats!     (tips for sis)
Heading North? I would recommend making your way to Bolivia from BA via Mendoza (wine country) and up to the Salt Flats and (the Old South). I came down from the North (Peru) but if I was doing a trip again I would start at the more expensive countries first (i.e. Brazil, Chile & Argentina) as you appreciate everything more when your not looking back at how much cheaper the beer was in the last port-of-call. I didn't get to Mendoza either as I ran out of time, however everyone I have meet over the last few months have pointed the rolling hills of this wine region to be the pinnacle of their trip. 

After hearing some good reviews of the Salt Flats whilst in Peru I decided to jump on an overnight bus from La Paz and head down south to sus it all out. I was lucky to get straight off the bus and find a tour group leaving the same morning and with a pretty decent group of fellow travelers. Unfortunately the tour organization was not so good…in-fact the worst run tour I have ever been on! A good tour company to go with is apparently ACE Tours (got this from some other travelers) but we went with Oasis Tours who are the spawn of Satan himself so steer clear! Tours are booked from Uyuni or you can pick up something on the Chilean side however it more expensive as your pausing Chilean Pesos rather than Bolivian. I am not going to dive into it too much as my traveling compadre, Ciran the Irish Berliner, has already written such a brilliant and captivating story of these scandalous Bolivians and our shenanigans to follow over the next few weeks on the road so I shall just point you to his "Award Winning Blog" (in Ireland) -

La Paz, also another party town so only a few days here unless you want to spend all your time at Route 66 - an unusual bar for ex-pats. I stayed in both the Hostel Republica and Hostel Austria (which is the cheaper one of the two and is worth a look). Both are near Loki Hostel where I spent most nights drinking my first few rounds. Make sure to do Death Road and go see JC (owner) at Radical Rides. He should sort you out and tell him I sent ya but considering the amount we drank that night it's likely he will not recall me but recommendations will get you a cheaper price! I cant recall how much we paid but it was all around the same but they had good safety gear and decent bikes. Ciran has also written some good notes on this so check it out when heading over or if you just want a laugh!

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