Blog | Admin | Archives

Peru Part 2

Well, here we are back at the bus station in Arequipa. First, an update since last time:

We made it to Puno without any problems — the bus ride out here wasn’t as luxurious, but it was still fine; there was time for two movies (the forgettable Norbitt and the surprisingly good 10,000 BC).  Puno, perched in the hills alongside Lake Titicaca, is a much smaller city than Arequipa or Lima, and the bus station is testament to this. Nevertheless, with some help of a local, we found a decent hostel near the city center, and spent some time around town that first night. Scott and I hiked up to a hill with a Condor Statue at the top to get some really nice pictures of the city at night.

The next day we meandered down to the docks to find a boat to take us to the islands on the lake. Most of the tourist boats leave around 7 am, and we didn’t arrive until 9, so we ended up taking a local boat to Taquille Island, home to some 2000 people, where we ate lunch. We then hit up Uros, one of the Floating Islands in the lake, basically a mass of reeds piled up that people actually live on. We then made it back to the city as night fell. That night I had what was for me the best food of the trip so far, a meat-stuffed chile whose name currently escapes me (sigh).

This brings us to today. For the last few days, we have been hearing reports of protests blocking the main road from Puno to Cusco, our next stop. This has caused almost all of the bus companies to cancel all of their Puno to Cusco routes. As we tried to figure out how to get to Cusco, we encountered a few options:

  1. Try to fly (unfortunately, all flgihts from Puno to Cusco were booked already by people quicker to the draw than us)
  2. Take a bus to Sicuani, hike around the roadblocks, and then take a Taxi or a local bus into Cusco (a travel agent reluctantly mentioned this option, which divided the group in terms of riskiness)
  3. Arrange our own buses around the long way — Back to Arequipa, back through Nasca, and then up to Cusco from there — a 28 hour trip plus whatever time it would take to find the next bus

We had all but decided to do the bus-hike option when we found out this morning that the protests have spread and that the bus we were planning to take the trip to Sicuani on had been cancelled. So, we started out on option three — first, we headed back to Arequipa. We had just purchased tickets to Nasca on one of the better bus lines when we heard about an entrepreneurial bus line that had set up a trip direct to Cusco via another less-travelled route. This option would get us to Cusco on time for our hostel reservation, and, assuming it works, takes away the possibility of us needing to find another bus in Nasca and paying additional money for a bus there. Despite already having tickets to Nasca in hand, we jumped on the opportunity to get to Cusco on time.

That bus leaves in about 50 minutes, and its packed with a bunch of people just like us, who until recently were scrambling to find out how to get themselves to Cusco before Inti Raymi on the 24th, so it should be a fun ride.

Leave a Reply