Peru is the home of over 30 million very industrious inhabitants with a third of the population living in Lima, the capital. Spanish is the language and the Peruvian Sol is the main currency, although United States dollars are accepted as currency too. An Australian Dollar is worth about 2.5 Sol.
It is interesting that Lima is really part of a desert and the weather pattern is not quite like a desert. The temperature is in the low 20s going down to 13C at night. However, we are not that far from the equator but you wouldn’t know it. Peru is divided into three geographical regions with the coastal seaboard being backed by the Andes Mountains and the rich Amazon jungle beyond.
Lima is a very busy city with much of the trade passing through it. Many of the locals disregard the rest of Peru as, to them, it is in the back blocks somewhere.
We have 3 separate visits to Lima during our itinerary as flights only seem to go out from Lima to the adventures that are proposed; Amazon River Cruise and a visit to the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca. If ever you want a recommendation for accommodation while in Lima, you will find the Swissotel is an extremely comfortable and luxurious choice. We were very happy with the short overnight stay we had there.
After a one hour 20 minute flight from Lima to the 4th largest town in Peru, Iquitos, we were treated to a delightful lunch at a floating restaurant on one of the rivers that join the Amazon nearby. There was even a swimming pool off of it.
Iquitos is a very busy town with 135,000 tuk tuks wandering the town to provide transportation to the locals. In so many ways, we feel we are in Vietnam.
The Amazon River is 7,200 kilometres in length but from where we are in Iquitos, the river drops just 115 metres in 4,000 kilometres to meet the Atlantic Ocean. There are many, many twists and turns to this famous river that feeds water to so many different villages and towns along its journey.
Our ship, The Aria Amazon, is a River Expedition vessel. Moored at Nauta and waiting for us, about 95 km downstream from Iquitos, it is 147 feet long and travels at just 12 knots. There are 16 luxurious cabins with full-length windows that give you a fantastic view of Amazon river-life. We have been promised that we will see exquisite and wonderful wildlife in the natural surroundings of the jungle along the amazing river. Arriving at the ship well after dusk we are greeted by very courteous staff in ‘stand-out’ uniforms, before enjoying a late evening meal.
Tomorrow, we start another amazing adventure, the second on this trip to the fascinating continent of South America.