Peru

Macchu Picchu! Climbing Huayna Picchu too!Trekking to Machu Picchu

Posted by Lauren Rock Mon, July 31, 2017 14:13:22

The train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes is a beautiful ride filled with excited passengers all anxious to see the historic sanctuary and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Machu Picchu.

The scenery changes rapidly as you go from the highlands of the Andes and it's glacier topped mountains, to the tropical mountain forest that Machu Picchu sits amongst and towers above.
Blog imageBlog imageOnce arriving to Aguas Calientes (the town at the base of Machu Picchu) you take a bus up to the historic sanctuary.
Blog imageThis hillside is across from Machu Picchu and is believed to have ruins underneath its thick jungle canopy. Notice the train station at the bottom of the valley.

Exit the bus, go through the entrance gate, and...Blog imagewind through the maze of rocks and ruins...pass the resident llama,
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and before you opens the entire site. Far too grand for any one picture to capture.

Blog imageHere is a series of photos of the area. Notice the architecture - all stone, all hand carved. It's just breathtaking what the Incans could envision, plan and create!

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Many people asked, did you climb Hyuana Picchu? Yes, I sure did! Here is my "report" and a few pictures:

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That mountain overlooking the site is Hyuana Picchu and yes, you can climb it. It is reached by a winding trail made up almost exclusively of steps. It's steep but well worth the effort!

Starting out and upwards....
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Blog imageDid I mention that the trail is mostly steps?! ;-)
Blog imageBlog imageBlog imageThe view from the top looking down over Machu Pichhu and the road you take to reach it.

Blog imageGoing down...
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In summary I'd say Hyuana Picchu is worth it if you have the time. You can not do it and see Machu Picchu itself in one day.

You have to be in good shape, bring plenty of water and get tickets months in advance. You are rewarded with a great view and sense of accomplishment. As well as a furthered appreciation for the artistry of the Incan builders.

I hope you have enjoyed this snapshot of Machu Picchu.
Want to visit Peru? Contact me. I will prepare a trip tailored to your wishes.

I am also creating a custom small group tour for early June 2018. Experience the culture, history and majesty of the Sacred Valley first hand as you journey to Machu Picchu. Your guides will be highly experienced professionals who are also local Queuchuans and excited to share their history, knowledge and love of Peru with you.


Contact Lauren Rock 404-372-3403 or
laurenrock@dynamic-escapes.com



Ollantaytambo - Gateway to Macchu Picchu and A Living Incan City Trekking to Machu Picchu

Posted by Lauren Rock Thu, July 27, 2017 15:03:35

Dominated by two massive Inca ruins, the quaint village of Ollantaytambo is the best surviving example of Inca city planning, with narrow cobblestone streets that have been continuously inhabited since the 13th century.

Blog imageIt is also a great example of the Incan's engineering prowess. The irrigation system they put in place still operates today.

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While the train to Macchu Picchu leaves from Ollantaytambo, don't neglect it in your rush to get to the better known destination. Ollantaytambo deserves a few hour of your time before boarding the train.
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Next stop, Macchu Picchu!



I hope you have enjoyed this snapshot of the "road to Machu Picchu".
Want to visit Peru? Contact me. I will prepare a trip tailored to your wishes.

I am also creating a custom small group tour for early June 2018. Experience the culture, history and majesty of the Sacred Valley first hand as you journey to Machu Picchu. Your guides will be highly experienced professionals who are also local Queuchuans and excited to share their history, knowledge and love of Peru with you.


Contact Lauren Rock 404-372-3403 or
laurenrock@dynamic-escapes.com




Magnificient Landscapes and SceneryTrekking to Machu Picchu

Posted by Lauren Rock Fri, July 21, 2017 16:06:05

My last past focused on the culture to be explored in the Sacred Valley. This one shows just a sample of the magnificent landscapes and scenery that surrounds you as well.

Herds of Alpacas and Llamas abound while glacier covered mountains beckon in the distance.
Blog imageNotice the "emergency donkeys" on the trail. They follow along carrying water, oxygen and a ride to whomever may need it. Happily no one did!

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The locals' "backyard". These ladies had laid out their weavings for us to peruse. The other main "industry" is Llama and Alpaca herding, potato growing, and Guinea Pig farming. However most people are living a subsistence lifestyle and do all this for themselves, not for sale to others.
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It took us hours to hike from the town up to their home. A walk they take in far less time and make everyday. Including the local children who do so unattended by adults and often in charge of younger siblings.

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Our guides treated us to a flute serenade to celebrate our getting to the pass at just over 14,000 ft.
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I hope you enjoyed these shots though Peru is a place where pictures really don't do it justice!

Want to visit Peru? Contact me. I will prepare a trip tailored to your wishes.

I am also creating a custom small group tour for early June 2018. Experience the culture, history and majesty of the Sacred Valley first hand as you journey to Machu Picchu. Your guides will be highly experienced professionals who are also local Queuchuans and excited to share their history, knowledge and love of Peru with you.


Contact Lauren Rock 404-372-3403 or
laurenrock@dynamic-escapes.com








Living History and Culture on the trail to Machu PicchuTrekking to Machu Picchu

Posted by Lauren Rock Fri, July 21, 2017 14:33:26


One of the main groups of people in Southern Peru are the Quechua. Direct descendants of the Incas, they weave threads of their culture with Spanish influences to create a rich Peruvian culture of art, architecture and music. Here is a sampling of the cultural riches you'll experience on the way to Machu Pichhu:

Blog imageBlog imageDemonstrating how local plants and resources are used to make they dyes and prepare the Alpaca and Llama wool that are used to weave beautiful sweaters, gloves, blankets and everyday clothing.
Blog imageThis hole was originally caused by a meteor strike. The Incan people built this site - Moray - into agricultural terraces.
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The Maras Salt Farm. Each square plot is tended by a local who prepares the plot, scrapes and separates the dried salt, and packs it for sale and ultimately shipment around the world.Blog image
Locals at work on their plot while the dried salt waits to be packed. Everything is done by hand.Blog image

Most homes are still built the old-fashioned way, by making adobe bricks out of the mud. The process takes days but the result lasts for years.Blog image
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The local plant used to make the rope...
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Various types of Quinoa drying as part of the harvest process. The food here is amazing - so fresh and so good!Blog image

Incan pottery shards can be found on most walks.Blog image
I hope you enjoyed this look at the history and culture of the Sacred Valley. There is so much to discover and explore! If you want to visit Peru yourself please contact me. I will prepare a trip tailored to your wishes.

I am also creating a custom small group tour for early June 2018. Experience the culture, history and majesty of the Sacred Valley first hand as you journey to Machu Picchu. Your guides will be highly experienced professionals who are also local Queuchuans and excited to share their history, knowledge and love of Peru with you.


Contact Lauren Rock 404-372-3403 or
laurenrock@dynamic-escapes.com


Many thanks to Mountain Lodges of Peru who provided me with space on their week-long Lares Trek to Machu Picchu. I look forward to creating a custom trip with them for my clients to enjoy in June 2018!



Cobblestones and Incan historyCusco

Posted by Lauren Rock Thu, June 22, 2017 17:10:41

Cusco is a charming city located high in the Andes. The base for exploring many famous sites such as Machu Picchu and The Sacred Valley, Cusco is worth a visit in it's own right.
The Cathedral at night
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The entrance of the main Cathedral

Blog imageIncan architecture. Notice how these stones are fit perfectly together without any mortar. These angles, lines, the polished surface...all original and done by by hand in 1000 ACE.
Blog imageThe Temple of the Sun. Again, notice the way the stones fit together. This temple was built to capture the direct line of light from the Equinox
Blog imageThe courtyard of the Temple of the SunBlog image
Blog imageBlog imageBlog imageBlog imageOur lovely room at the El Retablo hotel. Thanks to Mountain Lodges of Peru for arranging this space and providing me with space on the Lares Adventure Trek which starts tomorrow! Machu Picchu here we come!Blog image
I hope you have enjoyed this snapshot of Cusco.
Want to visit Peru? Contact me. I will prepare a trip tailored to your wishes.

I am also creating a custom small group tour for early June 2018. Experience the culture, history and majesty of the Sacred Valley first hand as you journey to Machu Picchu. Your guides will be highly experienced professionals who are also local Queuchuans and excited to share their history, knowledge and love of Peru with you.


Contact Lauren Rock 404-372-3403 or
laurenrock@dynamic-escapes.com



Howler Monkeys, 110lb rodents, and more!The Amazon

Posted by Lauren Rock Wed, June 21, 2017 18:35:12

The Amazon jungle basin is place where pictures and video really do speak louder than words. The videos are too big for the blog, so they are on my Dynamic Escapes Facebook page, visit and have a listen! The pics are here though.
Blog imageSunrise over the riverBlog imageLook in the shadow and you'll see that ROUS (Rodents of Unusual Size) really do exist. This is a Capybara - the largest rodent in the world. She weighs in at around 110 pounds and is the size of a goat.
Blog imageWhite CaimanBlog image
Huge treesBlog image
One of the larger Heron varieties
Blog imageZoom in on the turtle and you will see a butterfly on it's head. The turtles and butterflies have a symbiotic relationship - the butterfly cleans the turtles eyes and gets salt in returnBlog image
Canopy tower and walkway bridgeBlog image
Getting pictures while on a swaying walkway hundreds of feet up is not easyBlog image
Land snail
Blog imageThese are Agouti - the size of large rabbits but with deer like hindquarters
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Many thanks to Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica for gifting us this lovely cabana, complete with private plunge pool
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I hope you have enjoyed this snapshot of Peru's Amazon rain forest.
Want to visit Peru? Contact me. I will prepare a trip tailored to your wishes.

I am also creating a custom small group tour for early June 2018. Experience the culture, history and majesty of the Sacred Valley first hand as you journey to Machu Picchu. Your guides will be highly experienced professionals who are also local Queuchuans and excited to share their history, knowledge and love of Peru with you. Then join in the optional jungle extension and experience the rain forest first hand!


Contact Lauren Rock 404-372-3403 or
laurenrock@dynamic-escapes.com



Finding the "bad" so you don't!Paracas

Posted by Lauren Rock Sun, June 18, 2017 08:10:36

Fam(iliarization) trips aren't all fun and games and good online reviews aren't always matched by reality. I take my role of researching places for my clients seriously. As part of that I purposefully stayed at different hotels while in Lima. Both are highly rated on multiple internet sites. Both are in desirable areas, both are bed and breakfast style . One was chic, modern, clean, spacious and took pains to make guests welcome. Big things like air conditioning and a nice bathroom plus little things like filtered water, coffee and tea being readily available made for a great stay. The other place was older construction but instead of being quaint it smelled of must, was very noisy, had bugs crawling all over the teeny bathroom, a loud creaky fan, furniture so old you couldn't safely sit, water for purchase only and forgot about our wake up call and breakfast! 2 similar ratings, similar price, very different experiences- I know which one I would want my clients to experience! My next example of the importance in first hand knowledge came on the journey to/from Lima and Paracas. There are 2 major competing bus companies that tourists take. I rode one to Paracas, the other back. Both companies used large double decker Mercedes brand buses. On the way up we embarked from a clean, organized terminal just was much like an airport experience. On board were pillows, blankets, reclining seats, tray tables, a private screen to watch tv, plug in and use the internet and stewardesses providing a pre departure safety briefing and then later lunch. It was like flying business class! The 2nd bus company departed from a storefront on a dirt road. The bus that pulled up looked just like the first but once on board the seats were torn and ragged. Old pillows and blankets littered the floor. Instead of private screens there was a single tv blaring a horrendous gory zombie movie, no staff ever appeared and the bus was late. I couldn't wait to be released at the end of the ride! Again, both companies are rated as "the ones" to use but there were clear differences in quality, comfort and experience and only one that I would book for my clients. As I write this I am in the Lima airport awaiting an early flight to Puerto Maldonado- gateway to the Amazon. I had not planned on such an early start but the airline changed the flight time on us - I have since learned that this local airline is infamous for last minute changes, yet another lesson learned through first hand experience. Hopefully there will be no more "negative " news to share. But be assured that good or bad I will always tell it like it is- my clients deserve no less. My next stop is the Amazon rainforest. No wifi there but I'll blog again once back in the "real" world.


Want to visit enjoy all the "good" in Peru? Contact me. I will prepare a trip tailored to your wishes.

I am also creating a custom small group tour for early June 2018. Experience the culture, history and majesty of the Sacred Valley first hand as you journey to Machu Picchu. Your guides will be highly experienced professionals who are also local Queuchuans and excited to share their history, knowledge and love of Peru with you.


Contact Lauren Rock 404-372-3403 or
laurenrock@dynamic-escapes.com

PENGUINS in Peru! FLAMINGOS on the Beach! Prehistoric Geoglyph too.Paracas

Posted by Lauren Rock Sat, June 17, 2017 18:33:58

A small fishing village about 3 hours from Lima, Paracas is an up and coming tourist destination. The main attractions are the Islas Ballestros and the Paracas National Reserve.

Islas Ballestros: Nicknamed the “Poor Man’s Galapagos “ this island chain is rich in birdlife in the THOUSANDS! Circling above, nesting on the cliffs. And yes, you read the headline correctly, there are Penguins.

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The Humboldt Penguin, found only off the coasts of Peru and Chile.

Blog imageWhy must my blog insist on turning some pics sideways?

In addition to the penguins there are Blue Footed Boobys, Peruvian Boobys, Guanay Cormorants, Neotropic cormorants, Red legged Cormorants, Inca Terns, the Tendril, Peruvian Pelicans and sea gulls.

Blog imageAll the white and black specs in the foreground, background and sky are birds.
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Amidst this amazing array of bird life are giant red spider crabs above the water line.
Blog imageAnd beautiful star fish below,

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And of course the requisite Sea Lion and Fur Seal. (blending in the with rocks on the lower right).

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The islands are accessible only by tour boats that make regular visits each morning (only, the PM is way to windy to safely go out). Along the way you get a good view of El Candelabra. (Which is really right side up despite the blog program's insistence!). Carved around 300 years BCE this prehistoric geoglyph can only be seen from the water. It stands about 595 ft. tall and is dug 2 feet deep into the hard sandstone hill (not sand dunes). Theories abound as to who built it and what it represented to them. A sign for seafarers? The Mesoamerican world tree? No one really knows.


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Found in the hundreds along the shoreline, these majestic birds are another treat to be had in Paracas. They can be found along the shore line of the Paracas National Preserve: This vast desert abuts the shoreline – those are not sand dunes in the background.

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Blog imageBlog imageIn addition to the sea life at the coast, within the preserve are 300 million year old sea life fossils all over the ground.
Blog imageThis is true desert, no rain, no sand dunes, no cactus. The area is so unique that NASA used it to train for Mars missions.
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The Preserve boasts dramatic coast line views and cliffs of multiple colors due to the rich Iron content, salt, quartz veins and other minerals that attest to the volcanic history of the area.
Blog imageI debated whether to include Paracas, but I am glad I did. The town has a ways to go infrastructure wise but the natural beauty is worth it.

Thanks to the Doubletree Paracas for granting me a travel agent rate that made staying at their beautiful property a reality.


I hope you have enjoyed this snapshot of Paracas and it's environs. Want to visit Peru? Contact me. I will prepare a trip tailored to your wishes.

I am also creating a custom small group tour for early June 2018. Experience the culture, history and majesty of the Sacred Valley first hand as you journey to Machu Picchu. Your guides will be highly experienced professionals who are also local Queuchuans and excited to share their history, knowledge and love of Peru with you.


Contact Lauren Rock 404-372-3403 or
laurenrock@dynamic-escapes.com