Peru and Bolivia Adventure

Several years ago, I had the fortune to travel to Peru and Bolivia with a friend of mine named Kathy. She had some friends who lived down there in both countries, and we could stay with them in various places along the way.

We started in the enormous city of La Paz, Bolivia, a high altitude city at about 11,942 feet up from sea level. (In reference, Dallas, Texas is about 500 feet above sea level.) We had a two-part visit to La Paz because of the altitude sickness we experienced–about like the feeling when you get off a spinning fair ride! So, the next morning, my friend’s friend, Rocio, drove us to a lower altitude in Cochabamba, Bolivia, about three hours from La Paz. Cochabamba was Rocio’s original hometown. She took us to her parent’s home where we enjoyed a festive stay while celebrating Rocio’s mother’s birthday bash with a full mariachi band and many women dancing for hours! We joined in on a fun celebration!

Over the next two to three days, we also explored some smaller towns nearby and got to see the countryside along the way. I enjoyed experiencing how other people live in the Bolivian towns. So interesting to eject out of my culture and immerse myself into another culture. After this three-day trip to another part of Bolivia, we drove back to La Paz and explored the city more and saw many street festivals and different districts where people live and work.

We then took a smaller plane to Peru near Lake Titicaca to visit that region and then traveled to Cusco, Peru, and stayed with another friend of my friend, named Charles. He and his family treated us so well. We stayed at their home in Cuzco and talked and toured around town and sampled local foods, met up with world travelers at local hotspots, bought craft items from the native people, etc. We visited the ancient site of Saqsaywaman and Ollantaytambo and other smaller sites. The Inca Indians were amazing engineers since they could fit massive stones or boulders together in incomprehensible ways. Charles was an engineer and talked about the logistics of trying to do this engineering feat today. It’s a marvel to walk around the gigantic stones that perfectly fitted together like puzzle pieces and wonder how they did all of this.

Then we took a three hour plus train ride to Aguas Calientes and found a place to stay for two nights and then took a bus up to the top of Machu Picchu, an ancient Inca sacred site. We did not walk the Inca Trail, which I have heard is rather challenging! However, we climbed the Machu Picchu mountains you see in the photo below, Llama Looking Over Machu Picchu. I was told that in the Quechua native language, Machu Picchu means Mature peak and we climbed that and the other tall peak called Huayna (or Wayna Picchu) which means a young peak. At the top were several climbers resting and experiencing a serene moment looking out on the natural world and winding river below. It was a breathtaking and unforgettable experience.

Below are some sample pictures of this trip. I took the colorful Bolivian boat photo at Lake Titicaca, which straddles Peru and Bolivia. It is one of the world’s highest altitude lakes and is intensely blue. We toured around it for an afternoon to see some local culture out on an island, and late at night, we took a boat ride where we saw the band of the Milky Way galaxy shining out above us. That night we stayed in a town nearby with rustic, but well-kept accommodations. This was the middle point of our journey from Bolivia to Peru. It is so worth the time to take a trip to see other cultures, sort of like an astronaut leaving our world and going to another planet. I highly recommend it on the bucket list!

Colorful Bolivian Boat on Lake Titicaca, landscape photography by Karen Campbell based in Dallas, Texas.
Colorful Bolivian Boat
Llama looking over Machu Picchu
Llama looking Over Machu Picchu
South American photography
Bolivian Carpenter, Ladder Maker
street festival travel photography
Bolivian dancers at a street festival