6 weeks in Peru - Part 2
Hope you enjoyed Part 1 (Day 1 - 8)of 6 Weeks in Peru. We have tried to give you a snapshot of Peru.
We do not hear a lot about South America in Australia, as not many Aussies go there and there is not a lot of trade between us as they were colonised by the Spanish, not the British. It is also not the easiest destination to get to for Aussies. Before Covid Qantas used to fly Sydney to Santiago direct, but now we had to fly via Auckland to Santiago Chile then to Lima, which means a lot more travel time.
Hope you’re looking forward to part 2.
Left the boat at 4.30am at Natau and had a 2hr drive to Iquitos city for a flight back to Lima. We walked around Mirafloras, the tourist hub in Lima, to the beach and had lunch at the hotel and had dinner at a local pizza place with a couple we met on the boat.
We had a rest day in Lima. We wanted to go to the Inca Museum but there was a marathon, and many roads were closed and we were advised by the hotel staff it would be hard to get a taxi. We walked around Mirafloras and went out for dinner in a really nice restaurant with the couple we had dinner with the night before. Amazing food.
We left the hotel at 8.30 for a 12.30 flight to Jaen, a large town with enough flat land for an airport in the middle of the Andes. It was very hot and it is a 4.5hr drive to Gocta Lodge. Lorraine got car sick and we had to stop 2 times and there was a massive landslide that took out a 4 km stretch of road.
The roads are windy and prone to landslips. It must be scary in the wet season as rocks would be falling out of the cliffs. Road crews are working continually, as they fix one bit another part would slip. The Andes are eroding quickly and supplying the Amazon River with millions of tons of sediment. Different rock layers erode quicker than others, making road building a big problem.
Gocta Falls and Lodge
Gocta Lodge is the best accommodation at Gocta Falls. We are in their best room with a view of the falls. Compared with other accommodation we had booked it is good value and the food and tours are excellent. There are different accommodation styles that suits backpackers and lower budgets in the village.
The main tourists that come to Gocta are Peruvians from Lima with only about 20% other nationalities mainly from the US, Canada and Germany. For us it feels like we are in the back blocks because not many locals can speak any English. Some of the staff at the lodge speak good English, but many do not.
The lodge is at 2,000m and when we woke, we both felt a little lightheaded.
Lorraine was ok and the view of the falls from our room made the flight and the drive worth it.
We left the lodge at 8am for Kuelap fort which took about 2hrs. There is an amazing cable car that takes about 20min. The views from the cable car are impressive as you are about a thousand metres above the valley. It is a 2km walk mainly uphill at 3,000m so the altitude makes it hard going, with frequent stops to catch our breath. I was ok but Lorraine found the going tough.
The lodge does the day tours on set days, so we had no choice but to do it that day. In the perfect world we should have had an easy day so we could acclimatise to the altitude at the lodge and then done the fort. We arrived back at the lodge at about 4.30pm for drinks and dinner. The food is great, and the drinks are a reasonable price.
Gocta Falls: The falls is the third highest waterfall on the planet at 771m, and we will see different forest types because of the change in altitude, soil type and mist from the falls. The falls are in two parts, the top part is smaller and is about a quarter of the size of the main drop. When they measure waterfall heights it is from the top to the bottom straight drop. Gocta falls would probably win the highest in the world except for having the two parts. We had an English-speaking guide that we paid extra for.
We are going to the base of the falls, a 10km return walk. We leave at 8am to beat the crowd.
The walk was fantastic, we had a great guide and learnt about the area and the bush. It rained part of the way. The community built the walking track as the Peruvian Government is plagued by corruption.
We saw the national bird called Cock of the Rock. The bird in this area, the Chachapoyas, is a different colour with an orange head and body. In other parts of the Andes it is red instead of orange. It has a strange looking head.
We did a full day tour, with a visit to an amazing cave that the Chachapoya people used for burials. Parts of the cave had a round roof with limestone stalactites. The walk in the cave was about 0.5 of a km and was muddy with sticky clay, lucky they supplied gum boots. We needed torches and headlamps to see.
We then went to a small town nearby for a lunch of fried trout and chips. Great potatoes as you would expect. After lunch we went to a small village where there were 4 mummies placed on a cliff edge and they have been there before the Incas. Due to our sore legs, we hired a horse each and were lead down a rough track and only had to walk about 0.5 km to see the mummies. There used to be more but earthquakes made some fall down. A bit scary on the way back as there was a shower of rain and it made the track very muddy and the horse was slipping and finding it difficult.
We left Gocta Lodge at 8am as it is a 4hr drive to the airport and then we fly back to Lima and on to Cusco. It is a big day traveling, hope to be in bed at 10pm.