Across the Altiplano

We spent a day riding the bus from Cuzco to Juliaca, and then south to Arequipa. This is about 3 hours south of Cuzco.

We slept about 5 hours in Cuzco after getting back from Machu Picchu, and got on the special “cama bus” we’d booked before leaving for the hike. Well our so-called bed bus was a broken down piece of crap, and the reclining seats didn’t really recline, and the place for our feet was broken too…

No way to sleep, but I was so fascinated by the passing landscape that I couldn't rest anyway. It was a gorgeous day and the views were amazing.

Lots of snowy mountains during the early part of the ride.

Once again we were fighting to get photos from a jostling bus, but once in a while it would stop and we'd be able to lean out and get a shot that wasn't vibrating.

The altiplano is a gorgeous land, here still well above 8000 feet altitude.

Our broken down bus had this hilarious translation on it...

Adri could sleep, but not me!

By weird luck, the company we’d bought our ticket from lied about the bus going through to Arequipa, so we were abandoned in Juliaca, where we booked another “cama bus” and it was much more comfortable, which saved us for the rest of the trip. (In Juliaca, by the way, local Aymara Indians recently occupied the very roads we entered on and have tied up the local region, protesting the outgoing government’s permission to a mining company to carry out a new development plan.)

Here's the bus terminal in Juliaca.

We were very charmed as we passed into and out again from Juliaca. A great deal of local transportation is based on pedi-cabs, freight bikes, and motorcycle taxis.

View from the bus passing through Juliaca.

Just a normal day in Juliaca, Peru.

Some folks still walk, of course.

Street scene in Juliaca.

Market life in its normal chaotic beauty.

After our bus change in Juliaca we rode out of town and again found ourselves amidst amazing vistas of green pastures, snow-capped mountains, and lovely views.

Wildflowers brighten this view.

Passing through a small town, we saw this big municipal stadium on the outskirts.

Everywhere we went we saw a mix of traditional straw-covered roofs and modern aluminum ones.

A typical Andean village.

Farm buildings dotting the landscape everywhere.

After a long day in the bus we still had four more hours to go. As night fell we saw a huge dark storm ahead and we headed into an incredibly scene: a huge lake appeared ahead, Lago de Lagunillas, just catching the late purple light of dusk. We rode around it for almost an hour as it is a huge place, barely inhabited. I wish I’d gotten some photos but between the dim light, the vibrating bus, and the rain pouring down the windows, we didn’t even try to get any images. We reached the southern edge and began to turn and twist up a steep ascent, providing a last glimpse back of the enormous lake. It’s a view I’ll never forget! Hours later, in the dark, we finally pulled into Arequipa where we decided we’d stay for several days…

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