The trip started with the arrival of my parents and their two friends from the States—they had a delay in Texas, so they actually arrived 2 hours late, around 1 am.  We picked them up, thanks to Integrity Tourism and Transport, and brought them back to Miraflores, so they could rest, shower and relax until our 4:50 am pick up to go back to the airport for our trip arranged and organized by Peru Travel Hub.

First stop on our trip was Cusco—upon arrival in Cusco, every suggests you rest and eat a light meal to help ward off altitude sickness.  Thankfully, most of us managed to not have any negative repercussions of the altitude except my mom.  My poor mom left a little bit of herself all over Cusco.

The next day, we took a tour of the Cusco & the Sacred Valley, with stops in Ollantaytambo, Písac, Sacsayhuaman.  The elevation is about 1000 meters less then Cusco, so everyone seemed to be in good spirits.

That evening ended with us taking a train to Aguas Caliente, where we stayed for two nights. Aguas Caliente is the little town where all travelers pick up the bus to MachuPicchu—there are no cars in this town, and the only way in and out is via train. We took the regular PeruRail there, which was quite rough and my Dad said that it was on a narrow track. The way back, we had the pleasure of taking the Vistadome train, where you had a panoramic view of the trip.

We then had the pleasure of taking the Cruz del Sur, a fancy Peruvian bus, to Arequipa, an overnight, 10-hour trip.  However, our bus was the nicest, fanciest travel I have ever taken! Our intent was to spend a couple of hours touring Arequipa, but we had some sick travelers and were exhausted, so we ended up heading directly to Puno (which ended up being about a 5 hour trip through the mountains, including our highest point of 14000+ feet).

We finally ended up in Puno, staying at a really nice hotel in right by the Plaza Major.  Thankfully, we were all acclimated to the altitude (or thanks to the soroche pills), and had a great night rest.  The following day, we headed to the floating island of Uros and then to a larger, more substantial island, Taquile, on Lake Titicaca.

Our last adventure was to the ruins outside of Puno, Sillustani, which was a beautiful site.  After this whirlwind tour of the eastern & southern part of Peru, we headed back to Lima (with a small detour in Tacna due to bad weather over Arequipa), where we spent another 5 days showing my parents and friends where we have been living for the past 7 months.

The next couple of posts are just a series of pictures from the trip we took over the holidays.  It was a great Christmas/Birthday gift from my parents, and we are forever indebted to them (not just for this trip, but you know what I mean, LOL).

For a more thorough look at our trip in Cusco and the Sacred Valley, please visit: HaveBooksWillTravel (although the site hasn’t been updated quite yet, it will be in the next day or so).