Monthly #6 October: The Highest Mountain of Ecuador & Crossing Borders to Peru
Always when I write our monthly summary, cannot believe how quickly the time flies, especially when traveling.
At the beginning of October, we were still in Ecuador where we overall spent five weeks when we count one week in the Galapagos Islands. The plan for the first days of the tenth month was pretty demanding. In Riobamba, we had to acclimatize first before visiting Chimborazo National Park. Chimborazo, the highest mountain of Ecuador is towering above the city, and we wanted to get closer. And biking from the Chimborazo's slopes sounded like an adventure we've never done before. The car brought us almost to 5000 meters from where we could enjoy a great journey down without pedaling. In Riobamba, we also had a nice base in Mansion Santa Isabella Hotel.
From Riobamba, our steps led to Cuenca, a UNESCO city. Although the historic center is pretty, we enjoyed more its surroundings - the most important Inca ruins in Ecuador, Ingapirca and also Cajas National Park - a place we were not sure we want to visit, but so glad we did.
On the 8th October, we added another stamp to our passports when we left Ecuador and crossed borders to Peru. We took an overnight bus to Chiclayo (we haven't seen that many tourists during our travels as here in the bus to Peru). Chiclayo is mostly transport hub for those who arrive in the country by bus, but we were really surprised how dirty streets around Chiclayo are. Unfortunately, we were about to discover that this city is not an exception.
Probably under the impression that Peru is one of the most visited countries in South America, we both have thought that it will be tidier, but it is true only in the most touristy places, not in the cities which don't see that many visitors. In Chiclayo, we visited the museum and Moche archeological site Sipan.
From Chiclayo, we took a detour to Chachapoyas, and we understood that thanks to huge distances in Peru, we will be taking overnight buses more often. Chachapoyas and overall this part of Peru are very often overlooked by short-term visitors, but it is worth a visit not only because of ruins of Kuelap but also because of one of the highest Peruvian waterfalls Catarata de Gocta and a beautiful landscape. We were hosted in the hotel Casa Kuelap, a nice place in the city center of Chachapoyas.
With another overnight bus, we arrived in Trujillo, nice colonial city and also a base for those visiting famous ruins of Chan Chan. Here we also had a feeling that people care a little more about their environment as all the trash from the streets disappeared, at least in the city center.
Next stops were Caraz and Huaraz, cities we couldn't wait to visit, especially because of the mountainous surroundings. We did several one-day hikes, to Laguna Paron, Laguna 69, Laguna Churup and we also took a tour to slowly disappearing Pastoruri Glacier. We were also thinking of doing one of the most famous multi-day hikes in the area, Santa Cruz trek, but as all afternoons were rainy in Huaraz, we decided not to, as we must admit that the idea of camping in cold and wet conditions did not entice us.
Here we definitely decided that we want to see Amazon. We booked flight tickets and the next day we were sitting in a plane to Iquitos, a gateway to Peruvian Amazon. You can visit Amazon in many ways and at many places, but we wanted to get a bit deeper to see more wildlife and also be away from one day tours.
Pacaya Samiria National Reserve is one of the largest protected areas in Peru, and we were camping here for seven days. It was great although we had to put away our comfort as it was so hot, we had to wear long sleeves and rubber boots to protect ourselves against mosquitos and other poisonous animals. What we experienced this week was something completely different from what we've done before. It was only two of us plus our guides (as not many people travel to the area for that long) and we don't know if anytime soon will happen again that we won't see other travelers for five days. We were deep in the jungle where it was only us, our guides and animals.
But more about it later.
Let's see where will November take us.