Peru is a beautiful, diverse country with immense cultural history. From the deserts along the west coast to the lush grasslands of the Andes and the Amazon Basin rainforest to the east, Peru seems to have a slice of practically every every conceivable habitat within its borders. The capital, Cusco, was once the seat of power of the Inca empire. When the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, they were the largest empire in the world, stretching north to south along the entire Andean range. The legacy they left behind continues to shape the history of South America.
After checking out the beaches in Mancora, we made our way through Cusco to the Sacred Valley. There, we explored the Incan trails winding up the valley. The Inca were expert stonemasons and many of the terraces built during their rule are still in use today. Incan grain houses can be seen high on the slopes, where they could catch the wind and so preserve the grain harvest until such time as it was needed. We ran through the ruins of a rest house built for weary Incan travellers. Without horses, most goods were carried by foot. (They had llamas, but llamas can’t carry as much as a horse or a mule.) They say that the Incan rulers had fresh fish brought to them in Cusco from the sea by relay runners – a distance of 800 kilometers with nearly 20,000 meters of climbing – in under 24 hours! Point being: YiOu and I may have thought that our runs were bad-ass but a little historical perspective shows otherwise.
After paying homage to Machu Piccu and spending a few days in Cusco, we traveled farther inland to the Amazon Basin Rainforest. There, we spent 3 days aboard the Aria exploring the Marañon River. Special guest Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, joined our expedition and spoke about conservation efforts. Though the persistent 100% humidity may have claimed the life of my beloved Sony RX10 III, the opportunity to see sloths, piranhas, and a tremendous diversity of birds and plants made this one of our favorite excursions yet.