Machu Picchu Is In The Andes Mountains In Peru.
While visiting the Amazon River and the rainforest, you have to visit Machu Picchu!
Why, you ask?.. You can’t see one, without the other.
Machu Picchu is an archeological gem and you will never do this again!
Trust me, there won’t be a next time.
BUT, Where IS Machu Picchu? Really?
Machu Picchu Is Near The Amazon River!
By “near” I mean it is just 7,427 km by road… not so far by South American standards!
That’s because the South American Rain Forest, which covers 9 countries, is the size of the continental United States!.. Sounds pretty big to me!
Getting to this Amazon destination is not a straight drive or one flight.
There are a series of modes of transportation, at a cost of about $800.00 and taking 16 hours to consider!
From where you are, it will be hot, mosquito-ee, and a bumpy ride.
But you’re up to it, aren’t you?
I bet you thought that you would have a valet take you to that little airport field surrounded by little mountain peaks! It would be a quick flight, maybe one hour!
Aren’t we spoiled in the western world?
This is not a typical bullet train fix, like in Japan!
You will have an adventure that you will never forget.
I bet that by the time you get there, you will have traveled by plane, boat, train, bus, and maybe a donkey for 16 hours!
THIS is what I call an adventure! You will talk about this forever! This is a highlight and has marked a true experience in your life!
No one writes about the plane trip anymore, unless there is a crash.
(No lives were lost in this scenario).
When you arrive, hot, tired, hungry, and weary, BUT the accommodations will be BEAUTIFUL and world-class. You can even book a yurt if you want to!
What Mysteries Does The Amazon River Hide?
The Amazon is an extraordinary act of nature. It ranges from 2 to 6 miles wide in some areas, up to 30 miles wide in the rainy season. Don’t buy waterfront property there!
It is about 4,000 miles long! There are no bridges on the Amazon river. This plays a big part in isolating small villages!
But, the ground is just too unstable for bridges in the wet seasons.
As mighty rivers go, the Amazon is the longest in the world… followed by the Nile.
I know I am in for some flack here, as 50% of our population will say the Nile is the longest river. Be my guest… I can’t prove it either way. The opinions are divided…
The Amazon is bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, where it empties.
It is bordered on the west by the Andes Mountains where it originates from the glaciers above.
The Atlantic is the second-largest ocean, and the Amazon supplies it with 20% of its freshwater!.. I cannot even pretend to guess how much water that is!
Here Are The Numbers!
The Amazon River has the largest discharge of water into an ocean, greater than the next 10 largest rivers, combined.
That is 4,200,000 cubic feet of water per second!
See? I told you! … I have no idea how much water that is!
This is so much fresh water, if you were in the ocean 100 miles opposite the mouth of the Amazon, the water would still be fresh! You could drink it!
What Can You Do There?
Visit Machu Picchu. It is a 7th Wonder of the World, and one of the most well-preserved Inca cities.
It was built in the 15th century and later abandoned. Who could abandon such a property? The views from 7,000 feet above sea level are outstanding!
It is believed, because we don’t really know, that it was built for the Inca ruler and the upper classes. They were trying to get away from the Spanish Conquests who were destroying everything in sight.
The Spanish didn’t get to Machu Picchu because they couldn’t see it from below.
They did not know it was there!.. They couldn’t find it and the locals wouldn’t talk!
Machu Picchu is a settlement with over 150 buildings: houses, baths, temples, and sanctuaries.
There are more than 100 flights of stairs, each carved from an individual slab of rock!
Almost none of the staircases are used today.
The Incas were incredible masons and cut the stones to fit without mortar, called ashlar.
They fit so well you could not put a knife blade between the stones.
Sheer people-power pushed the rocks up that hill, a lot of them weighing fifty tons!
How Can I Get To The Top?
The walk up to Machu Picchu takes 1 1/2 to two hours.
Or you can take the bus which is a 20-minute ride;
but the wait times are three hours!
The walk-up is long, hot, and steep. Only a certain number are allowed onto the path at one-hour intervals.
So you could wait two hours to walk up that hill!
The down-walk can be difficult and very steep.
But look up! Focus!.. The vistas are beautiful and endless!
To ensure it is preserved only a certain number of people can go there in one year.
As a designated monument and cultural site, it is treated with the utmost respect.
You need to book early if you want to get in… At least a year in advance!
Before You Go You Need Malaria Shots!
While not all mosquitos carry disease, why take the chance?
If you go to Rio Negro in the dry season, there are virtually no mosquitos.
But there are mosquitos everywhere else!
The CDC of Canada says that malaria shots are a must: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/malaria/. Click the link for more information!
Take a Shower!
The humidity is very high and your clothes will always seem wet.
Whatever you need for the trip home should be kept separately sealed in a plastic bag to keep them dry…
Thanks for the household tip!
What you wear should be lightweight cotton, and loose-fitting.
Do not wear black or dark colors.
Cover your arms and legs – I know it’s hot, but you have to protect yourself from the mosquitos.
You will be provided with rubber boots for walks in the jungle as the ground will be wet and slippery.
The boots will protect you from snakes! Mostly they’re harmless!
Bring a mosquito net for sleeping.
It’s not so bad; very “bush-like”, and a fun experience!
(For more about bush life read about a real Safari Vacation here!)
Carry a lightweight windbreaker for the rain – that’s right – it’s a rainforest!
Stand under a waterfall and cool off!
You need hats and sunglasses, DEET spray, sanitizers, high SPF sunscreen, binoculars, and a digital camera with extra memory cards.
Carry a backpack and your passport; you need them to enter Machu Picchu. No exceptions!
There are no ATMs in the rainforest. Use cash for souvenirs and to tip the guides and bus drivers.
Don’t bring a laptop as there is no internet in the rainforest!.. Enter 1940.
No Candy For Children!
The children in the villages have no access to dental care. Do not give them sweets.
Take school supplies and storybooks in their language!
Watch their faces light up into huge smiles!
Scent of any kind will attract mosquitos and other bugs... Even deodorant!
Be sure to book a guide.
Once you get there, you will need someone to show you what this place is all about.
They are very knowledgeable and have lived here all their lives!
A rainforest is loud.
The sights and sounds are undreamed of...
It can even be scary.
Look at this insect to the right… there!
This is a “Where’s Waldo” question: where are his eyes?…
Compare This To Table Mountain, Capetown
There is one cable car to go up to Table Mountain and the wait times are about three hours.
You can walk up the mountain but you need a guide. They take a dim view of anyone getting stuck on the face of it.
What can go wrong?
You could be on the wrong path and twist an ankle!.. Now what?
You will be billed for the helicopter rescue!
The cablecar wait area is a covered ramp with benches along the walls so people can sit in the shade… There are no buses going up that hill!
Is It Lovely At The Top?
Once you arrive at the top of Table Mountain, the area is large, and several hundred people can roam about comfortably… The wind is fierce!
The views of Capetown harbor, Signal Hill, and the coastal countryside are beautiful!
The wait was worth it!
Visit The First Windy City!
In Capetown, the weather is usually balmy and warm to hot!
If the weather turns windy – up to 50m/hr, it’s not so good.
But that can clear up overnight. Wait a day or two, and you will have more beautiful weather!
Do The Domestic Thing Too!
The beaches are beautiful and open!
Surfing is a huge pastime.
There is surfing for every skill set in South Africa and it is lauded as THE Surfer’s Paradise!
For an endless variety of waves, the best place is
I Try Local Food Everywhere I Go!
I am famous for the foods I enjoy when I travel!.. Yes, I am!
There are delightful restaurants and walking areas in the city of Cape Town.
They have great night spots, and surf parties are common.
Most places allow firepits on the beach… but they are very strict about safety.
Capetown ranks high among the famous and cosmopolitan cities of the world.
I promise you the seafood is the best you will ever eat!
Worthy of the whole trip.
Want Some Cheese With Your Wine?
Don’t forget the wine tours in the Cape area. Visit Stellenbosch and Franshook wineries.
Tours are available, ending in wine tasting with lunch.
A beverage to tickle your palette for every course of the meal.
There are“elephant crossing” signs!
Yes, they roam free in some areas.
Not unlike our deer crossings in Canada!
Take advantage of sailing excursions and jet ski rentals. Go paragliding and zip-lining. Enjoy the view!
There are animal safaris available, with five-star accommodation!
But you have to book these months in advance. See South African Safari Vacations for more about safaris!
Or go shark cage-diving in Gansbaai!
I don’t think I am ready for this, but YOU might be!
What To Do Now?
Should you book an excursion to the Amazon Rainforest
or to Table Mountain, in Capetown South Africa?
Decisions,.. decisions; let me make this easier for you:
The Amazon Rainforest Offers You This:
1. Excursions into the rainforest, the Amazon River, and Machu Picchu
2. Beautiful vistas and warm weather
3. Visit the villages and meet the local people and their children
4. Buy handmade artwork, and locally made crafts
5. Experience the wonderful food of the area!
6. The jungle has animals and flora not found anywhere else
7. The jungle roams freely
8. It can be affordable. Exchange rates on average, favor 1 USD to 4,644 Columbian pesos,
What Are The Cons?
There are mosquitos – lots of mosquitos!
Follow the protection guidelines.
2. It is quite isolated; you must be comfortable
3. There is no internet outside the cities.
That’s right, NO WiFi!
4. It is very hot and humid. Don’t wear
man-made plastic fibers – you will roast!
5. You need to be reasonably physically fit to go on the excursions. Do your pushups now!
6. The wait times for tourist attractions are very long. Most often 2 hours or more!
7. There are mosquitos at night! (I know!) (Can’t stand that buzzz!)
8. There is no common language; you need a guide – book him early!
9. There are no ATMs; you need to carry cash
10. It can be very tiring because of the heat and humidity
11. The scary things you encounter are piranhas, electric eels, jaguars, and giant centipedes.
I can’t go on.
So, What Does Capetown Offer?
1. Excursions to Table Mountain, game reserves, and wineries
2. Mainly English is used, plus Afrikaanse, which is Dutch.
3. The weather is beautiful!
4. The vistas and views are gorgeous!
5. The food boasts worldwide approval and mine too!
6. The jungle areas are untouched and wild!
7. Restaurants and hotels are affordable and of a high standard
8. You can cage-dive with the sharks!
9. The exchange rate is 17.5 SAR to one USD
What About The Cons?
1. If you live in Europe, Canada, or the US, it is a
far way to South Africa!
2. You have to book safari tours well in advance
3. Everything costs money; it’s like Disneyland!
4. Tourist attraction wait times will be quite long;
at least two hours at most places
5. If the weather turns, the wind can be
fierce – up to 50mi/hr in certain areas
6. You need to take malaria pills, to go to
the game reserves
7. Spiders can be HUGE! the size of your hand
Apparently, they are harmless… but I was running too fast to find out!
(Honestly, I only saw one in twenty years!)
8. There are mosquitos there too, but not excessive!
Weigh The Pros And Cons!
1. Do you want to be in a beachy-type resort city or a remote jungle location?
The jungles might not be here forever.
2. Will the exchange rate be more favorable in one country over the other?
3. Will the humidity and mosquitos bother you?
4. Will the high winds and spiders bother you?
5. If you are further from one country than the other, check the airlines;
it might be cheaper to fly further.
6. What was in your heart when you started your research?
Were you set on the Amazon, or just thinking about an adventure trip of a lifetime?
7. Does Africa hold more fascination for you?
8. Does the Amazon Rainforest hold more fascination for you?
I Am No Help At All!
I am sorry, I cannot make this decision for you.
You will have to weigh the pros and cons of your particular situation.
What would I do?
I would plan to see both places.
Can’t help it, I need to see everything!
I’ll tell you why “I Want To Go There”!