Category: Travel

Oxapampa, Peru

Getting There:

Flights: There are flights twice a week from Lima to Oxapampa, in the department of Pasco, but its $300 USD each way.  By far, the most economical transport to the region is by bus, around ten hours trip time.

Buses:  Four bus companies make the run each day, traveling only at night.  This is because the road is heavily traveled during the day by logging and mining vehicles, and excessive traffic just passing through Lima.  It’s much faster and safer at night.  All buses leave Lima between 7pm and 8:30pm and arrive in “Oxa” about 6:30am.

  • La Merced – Blue Bus, located in the La Victoria district of Lima, Block 15. La Merced is an OK bus, but others are preferred.
  • La Molina – Pink and Grey Bus, also located at Block 15 of La Victoria
  • Labato – Green Bus, located in La Victoria, Block 21, Good Company
  • Movil Tours – Located on Javier Prado, just two blocks from Cruz del Sur bus terminal. It is a bit more expensive, but awesome service.  It is the only bus line of the four that offers 180 degree seats.  Since the busses travel at night anyway, it is a great time to sleep.  On my trip to Oxapampa, I took Movil Tours.  Going, I opted for the lower deck of the double decker bus, which was 80 Soles ($25) and the seats were a comfortable 160 degrees. I purchased the ticket on their website, and left the return trip open ended not knowing when I would travel back…. On the return trip, I tried the 2nd floor with the 180 degree seats for 110 Soles ($34). Definitely the way to go for a good night’s rest.  If sleeping isn’t your thing, both upper and lower seats offer a tablet style screen with movies, music etc.

While most are sleeping, the route to La Merced, and Oxa winds over the Nevado Ticlio Pass at 4,818 meters (15,807 feet above sea level) The tracks of the highest railway in the world are located at the foot of Ticlio peak.  The bus is heated, and the altitude is hardly noticible just sitting.

Upon arrival at the bus terminal in Oxa, there will be small moto-taxis or Tuk-Tuks as they are called in India, for 1 Sol.  They can take you to your hotel, or to the taxi stand for onward travel.

_DSC0285

What’s the best time to go to Oxapampa?

Climate: Average monthly weather in Oxapampa, Peru

On average, the temperatures are always high.  Night time lows are cooler though.

  • Oxapampa has dry periods in May, June, July, August and September.
  • On average, the warmest month is October, just in time for Octoberfest!
  • On average, the coolest month is July.
  • February is the wettest month.
  • July is the driest month

Typical of most towns, there is a main square lined with restaurants and hotels, as well as small tourist shops.   Oxapampa was founded as a German/Austrian community in the 19th century, which shows in much of the architecture throughout the city.  Its primary staple is ranching and coffee.  Oxapampa is located in the (Selva Alta) or High Jungle area where the mountain foothills meet with the jungle._DSC0261

_DSC0265

Above: Half Timber style architecture.

_DSC0279

I stayed a couple nights at Hostal Cruz, on the main square.  It was clean, with spacious rooms, gift shop, and offered tours.  My main reason for traveling to the region was to meet with a coffee producer in Huancabamba.  I actually stayed in Oxapampa on my way back to Lima.  This is my first post in a series however, because Oxa is the first stop. Hotel prices range from the cheaper hostal to over $100 per night at the Egg Resort.

_DSC0263

_DSC0274

The little booths are used during special events and festivals.  Hotels will fill quickly during festivals and concerts.

_DSC0275

_DSC0276

Andean woman passing through the park.

_DSC0277

_DSC0278

_DSC0280

_DSC0281

_DSC0283

Mopeds and motorcycles are numerous, and a main form of transport for many people.

_DSC0286

Woman taking a break on her D’Onofrio Ice Cream Tricycle.

_DSC0287

Rustic table and stools.

_DSC0272

The church by the main square.  In older photo’s this church was covered with white siding.

_DSC0269

_DSC0266

Oxapampa is a launching point into the Biosphere Reserve, and the Yanachaga Chemillen National Park, to see Flora and Fauna.  Much of the Reserve is closed off to human traffic to protect wildlife. Pictured below, a beautiful butterfly in a box being sold at a tourist shop.

_DSC0288

 

 

 

 

 

 

County Road 34

Driving along CR-34 last spring, on my way to and from Fly Ranch Geyser, I snapped a few landscape photos of the Black Rock Desert/High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area.  While not passable at the time, I wold certainly like to return and explore the area further.

_DSC0142

The area is very remote: No Services, No Water, You Will Be On Your On.

_DSC0143

Soaked with water from an abnormally wet Spring, these now dry lake beds and the shorelines were home to ancient people and animals that date back some 12,000 years ago.

_DSC0145

_DSC0144

_DSC0139

_DSC0140

Several Places in the canyon, I saw steam billowing up from natural hot springs.

_DSC0155

Nine Mile Canyon

South-East of Price Utah is the small town of Wellington, Utah on U.S. Highway 6/191. A small brown sign posted on Hwy. 191 marks your turnoff into Nine Mile Canyon.

_DSC0001

The name Nine Mile Canyon is misleading, as it is actually sixty miles or more in length. Until 2004 it was an unpaved road, but due to the oil and gas industry, the road is blacktopped almost fifty miles into the canyon to the Great Hunt Panel. Despite being paved, it’s not a heavily traveled road, which makes for a leisurely day trip in and out of the canyon.

Nine Mile Canyon has been a major thoroughfare through the West Tavaputs Plateau of central Utah for nearly 8,000 years. On my trip, I ended up having to exit the canyon the same way I came in, as there was mud and snow well past the Great Hunt Panel.  When the road is passable, there are two other exit points.

_DSC0002

_DSC0006

For longer stays, the Nine Mile Ranch offers a bed & breakfast, cabins and camping.

_DSC0007

There were lots of deer grazing in the fields and along the roadside…another reason to drive slower.

_DSC0014_DSC0015

_DSC0067

The first petroglyphs start appearing a little more than five miles in.  The majority are not signposted, so you have to drive slow and look at the sandstone panels on boulders and cliff walls to spot them. The good news is that most can easily be seen from the comfort of your car right along the roadside.  I recommend however, a pair of binoculars and a camera with a zoom lens to really get a good view and great pictures.

_DSC0024_DSC0025_DSC0033

There are literally thousands of petroglyphs, and some pictographs higher up the hillsides, and in the side canyons for those that are able to hike.

_DSC0039

The petroglyphs and pictographs date back to the Fremont Culture 300 – 1200 AD and some historic graffiti from the 19th century pioneers.

_DSC0043

There are a few dilapidated old buildings along the road, one being a stage-coach stop.

_DSC0019_DSC0020_DSC0021_DSC0023_DSC0041_DSC0042_DSC0044_DSC0045_DSC0046_DSC0048

An alternate route out of the canyon is to Myton, Utah

_DSC0055_DSC0054_DSC0056_DSC0057

A side trip up Gate Canyon for a couple miles netted a few good photo’s of rock formations, but no petroglyphs.

 

 

At Daddy Canyon parking area there are the remains of an old ranch corral, and many well preserved petroglyphs, along with a 0.75 mile trail that runs along the base of the cliffs for up close viewing of the ancient artwork.

_DSC0099_DSC0094_DSC0093_DSC0105_DSC0103_DSC0102_DSC0100

Further down the road, the landscapes were beautiful.

_DSC0071_DSC0072_DSC0065_DSC0064_DSC0063

A short, steep path up the hillside leads to the Fremont Village, which most might find unimpressive; however, the views up and down Nine Mile Canyon are grand.

_DSC0113

The dwellings were rock overhangs, or pits in the rocks.

 

 

_DSC0121_DSC0122_DSC0123_DSC0125_DSC0124_DSC0127_DSC0128_DSC0132_DSC0133_DSC0135

I hope you enjoyed the photo tour of Nine Mile Canyon.

Fly Geyser

I had to take the shot from a quarter-mile out…

_DSC0148

The Fly Ranch Geyser sits on private property located 20 miles (32km) North of Gerlach, Nevada on the right-hand side of SR 34.

_DSC0149

The Geyser, man-made by chance, along with natural forces when in 1964 while exploritory drilling for geothermal  energy.  It was found that the water coming from the spring was a constant 200 degrees Fahrenheit, or 93 Celsius.  Water boils at 212 F. so a little shy of being useful for geothermal energy production.  The well was either not capped at all, or not capped very well.

_DSC0150_DSC0151

As a result, the constant pressure of the hot spring has been spraying mineralized water five feet or more into the air since 1964, depositing several inches per year.

Once owned by the Fly Ranch, the property has now changed owners. It’s new owners are the Burning Man Organization

I used a 250mm zoom lens, plus the camera’s digital zoom to bring the subject to me.

 

Eugene, Oregon Freeze

On a recent trip to Eugene, Oregon I arrived to find the city encapsulated in ice._dsc1469_dsc1474_dsc1480_dsc1482_dsc1479

Tree limbs were brought down all over Eugene and Portland from the weight of the ice. But on a coastal excursion, the oceanic climate offered a reprieve.  Pictured below is a Pacific Ocean sunset, just South of Newport, Oregon.

_dsc1483

RUPAC

 

Machu Picchu limeño – The Machu Picchu of Lima

 

The trip began in Lima, at the ZBUSS terminal, (Zitabus) at Jr. Julian Pineyro 440 – Rimac – Lima. There is also another terminal at Plaza Norte. Cost: Monday –Friday 7 Soles, Saturday-Sunday 8.50 Soles. DNI, Passport required.

After two hours of Jackie Chan fight scenes playing on the bus TV, we rolled into the city of Huaral, located north, in the state of Lima. We took a taxi a short ride near the Mercado (market) where fresh juice, fruit, and water can be purchased. There were several taxi drivers on the sidewalk and haggling over prices, (around 30-35 Soles each person). Luckily we had a couple from Huaral in our group, and they took us to the Tourista Terminal a short walk back down the road. There a couple of vehicles were hired as we had nine people in our group, for 25 Soles each. (Contact info: Jose Rafael P. Claro: 997277583 Movi: 995729290, or 7252578) Jose can haul up to 7 people, 6 comfortable plus gear on top, and can pick up/drop-off at the bus terminal if arranged ahead of time.

Matucana

For this day trip, my friend Gino and I traveled three hours by bus from Lima, passing Chosica, to the little mountain town of Matucana, which sits at 2389 meters, 7841 feet above sea level, and offers five different hikes or areas to visit. For this outing, we chose the hike to Antankallo waterfall, a short 2.6 km hike with an elevation gain of 361 meters, 1181 feet at the falls.

The trail is well groomed with some trashcans at the midpoint, and the falls. At one point, I rounded a corner and met three ladies from Lima on their descent, wearing flip-flop sandals, and flats. Not much foot protection, but it’s an easy to moderate hike, depending on your personal fitness level. After living in Lima for four years at near sea level, an altitude adjustment was a minor concern.

Matucana is a quiet town, where everyone was very friendly and talkative. Besides hiking, it’s a great place to purchase farm fresh milk, cheese, and butter without the hormones and antibiotics. Un-pasteurized, un-radiated, and I lived to tell about it.

_DSC7945

Lovely fellow-hikers from Lima on the trail.

_DSC7946

 

 

 

 

 

TDS Bottled Water Test

WHAT IS THE BEST BOTTLED WATER IN PERU FOR YOUR $?

In Peru, the expensive bottled water shipped halfway around the world can be found in the big chain grocery stores. Water like Fiji, and Evian for around $5.00 a bottle.  In this test, I used the most common bottled water found in Peru, where 99% of the locals shop in the markets, mom and pop bodega’s, and roadside stands.

The results from the (TDS) Total Dissolved Solids test are as follows:

  • Agua del Grifo (Tap Water): 278
  • Cielo: 257
  • Vida:371
  • San Mateo: 352
  • San Luis: 041    

What is TDS?

Total Dissolved Solids can be heavy metals such as, lead, copper, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium.  It can also be salts in the form of potassium, calcium, sodium, and magnesium.  It is measured in PPM or Parts Per Million.

Chosica

Much of the winter, and much of the year for that matter, Lima is cloudy and sees little sunshine due to an inversion created by the Andes. If a person needs a dose of natural vitamin D, a short trip north, south or east of Lima is often the ticket to catch some rays of sun.
Chosica is a small town east of Lima, about two and a half hours by public bus for 3.50 Soles. Chosica has a large park as the main square, and there are several smaller parks along the Rimac River. It makes a nice day trip; however there are accommodations for an overnight trip.

Paracas and Ica’s Huacachina Desert Oasis

A journey South to Paracas and Ica begins at one of Lima’s bus terminals such as Soyuz, or Cruz del Sur. Travel time to Pisco, 240km’s is about 3hr 30mins by bus. If your bus doesn’t go directly to Paracas, then get off in Pisco, and take a taxi to Paracas. There are plenty of hotel accommodations in the small village, which lies in the Atacama Desert in the Paracas National Preserve, and along the shores of Pisco Bay.

_DSC5398The number one attraction in Paracas is a two hour boat tour of the Ballestas Islands. Numerous speed boats take turns docking against the pier in a sort of pecking order, as tourists pour over the side of the pier into the boats which fills up quickly. At the entrance to the pier sits a booth which charges an entry fee to enter the preserve, and everything seemed straight forward at first. However, it was a disorganized chaos, or so it seemed while waiting in line to purchase a ticket. Several tour boat operator touts were rattling off different prices like an auction in reverse. Break out your negotiating skills here to try for a better deal. A Russian entrepreneur has built a new pier beside the old one, as well as a terminal with a small aquarium which should all be operational by now.  I took this trip in August 2014.