- A great first experience of South America. We had the most wonderful tour leader in Jamie Balza , very knowledgeable and a great trekking companion. Everyone goes on this trip to do the one day walk to Machu Picchu but it is all the other sights and sounds of Bolivia and Peru which really make the holiday that bit special. We had just crossed the border into Peru when we came across a local festival complete with two full size dance bands and costumed dancers. The event took place in a dusty field at the side of Lake Titicaca - the sounds and colours were just amazing.
La Paz is hard work when you first arrive. If you think you are suffering with altitude sickness , headaches etc ask for the emergency oxygen bottle $25 which all the hotels hold in reception. A visit from a doctor may cost around $70. Beware of taking the Saroche pill it is full of caffeine and may increase your blood pressure unnecessarily. You must have loads of rest and recover in time to leave La Paz by day 5 as the tour is full on from then onwards.
For those of you lucky enough to acclimatise quickly then the walk round the La Paz sunday market back streets is a colourful introduction. The bus trip out on to the Altiplano to visit the pre Inca site of Tiahuanco is a welcome relief from the noise of the city streets and the chaos of El Alto.
We had three trekking days which were all the more enjoyable due to the dry and generally sunny weather which we experienced throughout the September visit. Two nights on the Isla del Sol allowed us to experience sunsets and sunrises over Lake Titicaca perfect peace and quiet and some very good food. Generally we had good food throughout the trip with lots of vegetables and excellent fish and quinoa dishes. Don't eat a lot late at night as it is very difficult to digest large meals at altitude. Chocolate is slow to digest as well, we had a supply of Eat Natural cereal bars which were handy for lunch time snacks.
The only time we were troubled by insects was in Machu Picchu. When the sun shines there is a small sand fly similar to the flies on the west coast of South Island NZ which will bite exposed white legs - do not wear shorts !! The walk from stop km104 is very safe and is equivalent to a good day out in the English Lake District - eg the walk from Grasmere up to Fairfield - the difference being there is a coach to take you back to Aguas Calientes.
Take a very large flash card for your camera and have a great time.
Published on: 16 October 2016