Posts Tagged ‘Rain Forest’

Costa Rica Journal

Well folks, if you were wondering where I have been for the past month, let me clear that up.  I have been in Costa Rica for an internship/tropical ecology class/field work.  So, although I haven’t posted in quite a while, I think I can make it up to all of you by posting my experiences from my journal here.  I will add my pictures to that in order to show you the fantastic place I stayed and the wonderful ecosystem with which I fell in love.  Starting tomorrow, right here, I will post a day from the trip each day.  If you have been following this blog for long enough, then perhaps you remember my virtual trips through Africa and South America.  Well, this will be much like that, except it really happened.  I only hope I can convey, to one degree or another, just how spectacular this place is.  I hope you enjoy it.

Also, just let me know what you think of the new setup and tell me if you prefer this one or the old one.

The new one is up now and here is a picture of the old one.

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Well, this is the week I have been dreaming of: we are heading to Machu Picchu.  This pre-Columbian Inca city is located 2,430 meters above sea level.  The site was built around the year 1460, but was abandoned as the official seat of Incan power around the time of the Spanish conquest.  It was never actually captured or located by the conquistadors.  It was “rediscovered,” by American Hiram in 1911.  Since then it has become an important tourist attraction and more recently, a UNESCO site.

Machu Picchu

The Amazing City of the Incas: Machu Picchu

We will bew following the Choquiquirao Trek instead of the Inca Trail, after a tip from http://besthike.com.  This trail has a number of benefits.  It is more remote, isolated, difficult and rugged.  The Choquequirao are amazing ruins which are en route to Machu Picchu.   We can climb through many different types of terrain, habitats and climates: on Salcantay, the highest mountain in the region, cloud forest, and humid jungle.  There is far more contanct with indigenous Quechua peoples.  Also, there is a good chance to see condors.  Finally, it is less expensive than the Inca Trail.

Like all hikes to Machu Picchu, the hike begins in Cuzco.  Here we hire a local guide and pay for a couple of days at Machu Picchu.  After a few days of acclimatizing we move.  Chachora was our first stop.  We spend the night in our tents tired after a long day full of logistics.  We then travel to Choquequirao, grand ruins of the Incas.  These ruins are built on a ridge overlooking the grand Amazon jungle.  It is an amazing view.  We spend the rest of the day scrambling around the ruins and camp nearby.  During the next day, we move to Yanama.  The terrain has become very steep.  We are moving through cloud forest.  Blue Morphos flutter about in the slanting sunbeams.  Somewhere deeper in the jungle, macaws screech.  Wetness pervades through everything.  Tatora is our next stop and then Santa Teresa.  This again goes over rough terrain.  Our last stop  before Machu Picchu  is Aguas Calientes.  Here we rest after a week of hard trekking.  Next day is Machu Picchu and everybody is restless. 

Finally, after a long night, we move to the grand city of Machu Picchu.  We come over the final ridge and see the city in all of its splendor: on fire with the rising sun.  We almost run to the ruins.  Here, we plan to spend two full days.  Most people don’t even spend a full one!  The bricks are cut perfectly.  They amaze all of us.  The rocks are cut so well that even today, there is no mortar holding them up and you cannot stick a piece of paper between them.  After a day of scampering around the ruins, we take up a stay on the hills surrounding the ruins.  Before we go, we eat a wonderful dinner of guinea pig and alpaca, local delicacies. 

On the next day, we hike up to the peak overlooking the ruins: Hayuna Picchu, well carved steps show us the way up and once there, we are treated to an amazing view.  Condors flew over the ruins and on one of the farming teracees sat a llama, which frequent these hills.  We spent another day before heading back, our hearts still high from the amazing views, culture of the Incans, and high altitude.  It was everything we imagined and more.

Tomorrow we head up to Guyana to see where Arthur Conan Doyle had the idea for The Lost World.

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