Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mel & Sandie 50th Anniversary trip to South America

Sandie and I decided to celebrate our 50th anniversary with a trip to South America. We left 2/4/12 and returned 4/5/12 after covering the entire length of Chile, a swing thru Argentina, and the last week in Peru with daughter Traci. We traveled by bus and stayed in hostels. A great trip!

First stop was Santiago, Chile. This dinner was around $3.

                                                           Walking aorund Santiago

First fries, meat on top, then lay a fried egg on top. Vertical food, right?

Heading south to Chillan, we spent a few days in a ski area. This was a fun hot springs.

Our ski lodge hostel was below this overlook. A fun hike!

A completo! Hot dog with lot's of toppings.

We enjoyed Lake Villarica.

Lot's of people climbed the Volcano.

This "hostel" was a really nice small hotel. From here, we took the 800 mile ferry ride thru fiords, islands, glaciers, from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales. Four days on the boat.

Fares - Per person - Less is better, right? We paid $420 including passage, bunk, and all meals.

The route - We visited Torres del Paine national park after the boat ride.

On the boat.

Hang out with the Captain anytime.

Cruising up close to this glacier was exciting.

End of the boat ride.

Going hiking in Torres del Paine N.P.

The lodge we bunked in is on the left.

We hiked three days (3, 15, and 12 miles) returning each night to sleep in the lodge.

This big snowslide came down while we watched.

Lot of ice! Grey Glacier

We hiked the two left side routes of the famous "W" trails.

Only way to get to our lodge.

Crossing the Straits of Magellan by ferry was fun.

A top goal for me was to make it to Tierra del Fuego.

We visited Ushuaia, the last stop on the continent.

Parilla's - BBQ places are popular.

Typical of the buses we rode.

Most hostels organize fun activities like these.

Penguins at Punta Valdes.

Seal Lions and Elephant Seals.

We had a lot of fun strolling around Mendoza, Argentina.

Switchbacks on the way over the Andes from Mendoza to Santiago.

We loved our time in Valparaiso, Chile. Now we're heading north from Santiago.

A lot of Valparaiso sits high above the ocean and several really old cable-cars are in use.

Entry to cable-car.

Hostel owners, Renee and Carolina.

Most fun horseback ride I've ever done. Riding beaches and dunes and racing continuously.

After ride BBQ.

Chile and Peru both claim the rights to making Pisco. It's alcohol distilled from fermented grapes. The most famous drink made from it is the Pisco Sour. We toured a couple of distilleries.

We rode bikes to the oldest distillery in Chile (old days Pic below).

San Pedro de Atacama (in the Atacama desert) was one of our favorite places. Note the snowboards being used for riding the dunes.

Hostel Wi-Fi area.

Nightlife in San Pedro.

Sandie was a bit nervous getting off the bus here after dark.

Salt flats, villages, and high lakes tour day.

13,000' lakes with 20,000' volcanos.

Eiffel design church in Arica, Chile.

We did some "kickin" at this beach for a couple of days.

We arrived alive in Puno, Peru after a harrowing bus ride over the Andes. We were at 15K' for three hours on nothing but switchbacks. There were many parades going while we were there.

Plaza in Puno.


Fun at the Coca leaf museum.

We were so happy that Traci flew to Peru to spend the last week of our trip together.

Visit to the Uros People Floating Islands.

Crossing Lake Titacaca to visit the Uros People and Isla Taquile.

This Inca Express bus took us from Puno to Cuzco with interesting stops.

Shopping break on the bus trip - 14,000' where we're standing.

Inca ruins.

Cuzco main plaza.


Cuzco main plaza.

View from our Cuzco hotel.

Ollantaytambo is a very impressive Inca ruin site. This is where most people depart by train to Machu Pichu.


Leaving for Machu Pichu.

Looking down from Huayna Pichu (9,000' peak shown in almost all Machu Pichu photos).

Climbing Huayna Pichu.

That's the Machu Pichu ruins below at 7,700' elevation.

The road to the left of the ruins is used by the shuttle-buses.

Classic Pic. with Huayna Pichu behind.

Hiking an Inca trail to the Inca Bridge is a lot of fun.

We also wanted to climb this peak (Old Machu Pichu or Machu Pichu Vieja) on the opposite side from Huayna Pichu. This one is 10,000' elevation.


Looking across at Huayna Pichu from Machu Pichu Vieja.

On top of Machu Pichu Vieja.

Ruins on top of Huayna Pichu.

End of trip - Lima, Peru