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Sleeping it off in Chachapoyas

Posted on Tuesday Aug 5, 2008

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After about 31 hours of bus travel from Ecuador we reached Chachapoyas. This town is deep in the Northern Peruvian Andes and is the center of a relatively unknown set of ruins. There are about 18 sites around the area and the 3rd highest waterfalls in the world.

So you'd think we'd be in heaven, hiking and seeing these sites, but no. The diseases bred on the buses overcame us and we spent about 3 days sleeping and trying to get well. We did pry ourselves out of the room enough to see some bits of the town and to visit Kuelap.

Kuelap is one of the biggest and oldest lost cities anywhere. After seeing it and the work that went into building it, I'm surprised it is not as popular as Machu Picchu. It must be the hard bus rides that stop the tourists, or just the lack of education. Check out some basics and photos of Kuelap for yourself http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuelap Here's a photo of one of the three entrance passages into the city.



Now we are in Lima and Sherrell's mom arrived late last night. We are still a little sick, but feeling better. The additional 27 hours of buses to get here didn't help. There are a lot more tourists in this part of the country, often dubbed the Gringo Trail. Not a lot of Americans though. I assume they are still suffering from disillusions of a falling economy. The international crowd is filled with Dutch, French, English and of course German. We've met a few Mexicans which is always fun and several other people from around S. America.

Because of all the tourists, it has been challenging finding places to stay so we've had to actually start planning ahead and booking things -- something that is difficult for us to do. Not the planning, but booking ahead. We prefer to stay in places that are super cheap but not nasty. When you book ahead you can get cheap rooms, but sometimes it is hard to avoid nasty. We'll just roll the dice and see how things work out.

First on the list is Arequipa http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arequipa where we will hang out and do a couple of tours before moving on to Puno http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puno where we will tour lake titicaca. After that its on to Cusco http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cusco which is a high city up in the sky -- and oh so cold! We'll probably try to book a tour package from Cusco through the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machu_picchu.

Keep your fingers crossed that all goes well and we return to Lima in time for Sherrell's mom's flight!