Machu Picchu, Cruise around Cape Horn, and Iguassu Falls
Mike and Judy Henderson
January 31 to March 1, 2017
We received a brochure from a cruise line about a cruise from Lima around Cape Horn and up to Buenos Aires. While we didn't go with that cruise line, it did start us looking and we finally chose this cruise with Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
We also signed up for the pre-cruise package trip to Machu Picchu and a post-cruise package to Iguassu Falls.
We looked at other cruise lines and some had a diversion to Antarctica but those either left out some of the stops or were longer cruises so we decided to forgo the Antarctic visit.
1/31/2017 - 2/1/2017 We're on our way again! We're flying to Lima, Peru via Latam Airways, a south American airline, departing at 8:20pm. Traffic in LA can get bad at rush hour so we had the limo pick us up at 4pm. Here we are, packed and ready to go.
We were heading opposite the rush hour on our way to the airport and we arrived in lots of time.
We were very impressed with Latam. The check-in was very smooth and everyone we encountered was very nice. We were able to use the lounge while waiting for our flight to be called.
The airplane was the newest Boeing - the 787 - and was equipped with the lie-flat seats in business class. Once we figured out how to work them, they were great - comfortable and long enough that you could stretch out.
It was about an eight hour flight to Lima, and while we had the lie-flat seats, it's very difficult to sleep on an airplane.
The sunrise over the South American continent was spectacular.
As it got brighter we could see the mountains that run down the spine of South America. We're close to Lima here.
And then we were in Lima. Here's our 787, still painted LAN, although newly merged with TAM.
We cleared customs, picked up our bags, and, Jack, from Regent was waiting for us in the arrivals area.
Our bags gathered, we were escorted us to a mid sized bus which took us to the hotel. Traffic in Lima is terrible, and the drivers are what we would call "aggressive" - they cut in front of another vehicle and come within inches of each other. But to them, it's just driving. No one is going very fast, however, because of the traffic. This picture doesn't do justice to the traffic.
We did finally arrive safely at the hotel - a very lovely modern hotel - Casa Andina Private Collection.
It was about 10am when we arrived at the hotel and normal check-in time is 2pm. The offered us a "deal" for early check-in for $30 per room. Feeling like we did after a night on the airplane, we took the offer - as did everyone else on the bus;-) Our room on the 15th floor had a king sized bed.
After a short nap we showered and then went exploring the neighborhood.
We found a nice Peruvian restaurant and chose a couple of their dishes with the help of the waitress.
The scallops cooked with parmesan cheese were elegant.
Then back to the hotel and another nap. Later we went down to the hotel restaurant for a light dinner and met another couple on the tour. We had to be at breakfast at 5:30 in the morning so it was off to bed.
2/2/2017 Preparing for our 6:30 am departure for the airport we got up at 4:45. Breakfast at 5:30 and in the lobby by 6:30. Here's some of our group waiting to leave the hotel in Lima for our flight to Cusco.
It was about an hour ride to the Lima airport.
Where we caught our flight to Cusco.
About noon, after an hour and a half flight, we arrived at Cusco.
The Cusco airport is located at an elevation of about 11,000 feet. Since the air is much thinner at that altitude, the pilot had to land at a fairly high speed - exciting.
We collected our baggage, which Regent then took to the hotel while we went sightseeing.
Our sightseeing guide, Fidel, introduced himself to the group. He was with us for the next two days, including our trip to Machu Picchu.
Our first stop was for lunch at Papacho's by Gaston Acurio. Apparently Gaston Acurio is a well-known chef in Cusco. The food was good and the service was excellent.
As we were leaving the restaurant, there were some Peruvian girls in native dress and with baby alpacas, who would pose for pictures with the tourist, for a tip. Judy posed with them, and the alpaca.
And a close-up. The baby alpacas were very docile and didn't mind being held.
After leaving the restaurant we went to the main square in Cusco. Here we are loading into the van that we'll use during our visit to Cusco. We are headed to the Plaza de Armas, the main plaza of Cusco.
There are two churches on the plaza. Here's a panoramic view of the plaza.
We did not go into this church:
We did take a tour of this church, but photography was not allowed. It's a very large church, much larger than it appears in the picture because there are two "wings", one on each side. The interior is quite elaborately decorated. You might wonder why there's such a "grand" church in an out-of-the- way city such as Cusco. This city was the center of gold and silver mining back in the time of the Spanish conquistadors - and the church reflected the wealth of the area.
Our adventure continues here