Bolivia Border Crossing (specifics for US residents)

The Peru into Bolivia Border Crossing at Yunguyo

Written by Logan and Brianna Pribbeno
More information at http://PanAmNotes.com

We crossed from Peru into Bolivia at the Yunguyo border town on a Sunday afternoon. This is a relaxed border mainly used for travel to Copacabana. There is a one hour time change between the two countries. We arrived at the Peruvian immigration office at 1PM (Peru time) and finished six minutes later. The Bolivian entry process was similarly quick, we were in and out in less than thirty minutes.

Drive all the way up to the chain barrier on the Peru side, park on the right. Get your tourist cards stamped at the police office (green building) across the street (left).   Continue reading

Canyon Country

For Logan’s 28th birthday we decided we needed a little adventure chasing. We pointed the truck toward canyon country and bush camped our way down and around the sunshine city of Arequipa.

 

The climate in Arequipa was spectacular. We enjoyed the sun while watching the first Husker’s game of the season live via wifi (GBR!). We explored the city and made plans to celebrate Logan’s day. There are so many options in Arequipa it was hard to choose how we would get our hearts pumping. Mountain climbing, river running, trekking, mountain biking, it all sounded good. In the end, Logan couldn’t resist mountain biking nearby Volcano Misti.

Our heart rates sufficiently accelerated, we finished the day in true   Continue reading

The Jungle Boogie

Our trip through South America has been all Andes save for the occasional visit to our old friend, the Pacific Ocean.  Despite our suspension airbag deterioration, we decided a stopover in the Amazon Rainforest, via the Manu Road, was in order.

Months ago, when crossing into Peru at the furthest east border crossing, we were in the Amazon Basin, but there was no forest to be seen.  Manu National Park, because of it’s past isolation and more recently it’s inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List, now boasts the title: worlds most biodiverse area.  This small protected chunk of the rainforest is home to a host of yet-to-be discovered species and un-contacted tribes.

We approached the park from Cusco, crossing   Continue reading

Market Day

It is market day in Ollantaytambo, Peru and Logan has decided he will not accompany me this time around.  Unable to ascertain my reasons for the pinprick of anxiety over the prospect of this solo venture, I respond indifferently, “That’s fine, I’ll be right back.” I toss the cloth sack over my shoulder with strained nonchalance.

Seasoned travelers often encouraged us to seek out town markets in Central America, proclaiming their superior quality and economic benefits. We didn’t yet understand the draw of the municipal market. There were supermarkets with posted prices and thrice washed bagged lettuce to be had beneath the comfort of fluorescent lighting. Venture into the musty shadows of the municipal market? You must be   Continue reading

Cusco, Cuzco, and even Q’usqo

Round One: We arrived in Cusco after three days in the desert.  From the desert to the fertile valley, it’s easy to see why they call this place “sacred“. The sprawling, tourist-ready town was just what we needed.  Jeff and Connie in tow, we arrived at our apartment and attacked all the town had to offer.

We dropped the overland façade and joined the legions of tourists haggling for fake Ray Bans in the plaza.  We were handing over a sole for an opportunistic photo with a campesino and her strategically placed baby lamb.  We took tour buses everywhere and even walked into a restaurant without looking at the prices first.

Noontime would bring us to the

  Continue reading

Machu Picchu Rebirth

We arrived in Cusco with a feeling of renewal, a giddy excitement for the road reminiscent of  our first days on Mex 200. The road to Cusco had been inspiring in so many ways. Scrambling after our guide at Machu Picchu a few days later, catching the first glimpse of the  ruins and the majesty of the surroundings felt radically appropriate.

Nowadays we throw around the word ‘sublime’ to describe gooey deserts or overpriced handbags. In Immanuel Kant’s epistemology, it meant something limitless, an aesthetically pleasing entity so huge that it made the perceiver’s head hurt. Machu Picchu isn’t just beautiful, it’s sublime.
— Mark Adams Turn Right at Machu Picchu

 

There is a great deal of   Continue reading

From Mountains to High Rises

Reading about Lima is always a mixed bag but the tone is generally negative. Accordingly, we didn’t have any expectations for the city beyond our usual urban fears: traffic, corruption, and crime.  Despite the seasonal fog and clouds, we were impressed with Lima and if you know about our country ways, you know we are rarely moved by big city living.

We spent our first month in Peru wandering the back roads and dirt trails of the country’s furthest reaches. We drove for weeks without seeing a dollop of asphalt. We learned how to haggle at small town markets and how to enjoy instant coffee. Grateful for deodorant and toothpaste, we managed to maintain a healthy marriage through our   Continue reading

One Heart. One Love.

Sitting at the breakfast table surrounded by tousle haired, caffeine hungry men, I quoted aloud the first line of my new book Player Piano. Unfortunately this was not my audience and I was met with blank stares and silence. After a moment Kelly piped in from across the room, “Is that Kurt Vonnegut?” I was awestruck. I had read one sentence. “How could you possibly know that?” I asked, desperately trying to keep my jaw in it’s upright position to hide the fact that she had just completely won over my literary heart. “I dated his nephew.” This turned out to be one of the many great stories Kelly kept in her back pocket.

Cristian appeared moments later asking   Continue reading

An Andean Buzz

A weeklong sojourn in the Andes was complete. We had just finished two beers in the dusty town of Huaraz when Paul arrived. To celebrate our recent summits and Paul’s arrival at 12,000′ we started into the first bottle of rum on our 35 minute taxi ride up to the lodge.

Four bottles later, our camper was cozy and warm with the cheer of friends reunited. This cocktail party of four was our first maximum capacity shindig. Accordingly, noise complaints were filed the following morning. For two weeks we fell into a new kind of rhythm with these guys.

Weekdays were spent camping and hiking in the mountains. Weekends were consumed with a startling pattern, ambitious attempts to visit   Continue reading

Cordillera Blanca Mountaineering

It’s 3:30 AM and I’m wondering what the hell I’m doing up here.  Our 3-man rope team is huffing it in order to keep warm on the ice-cold glacier.  We’ve been marching for nearly two hours now, single-file, exactly 30ft apart.

The first technical pitch of Tocllaraju comes into view.  The pitch is about 60 degrees for 275 feet.  I stop at the base and look up waiting for our guide, Raphael, to gather our protection pieces and explain some technique.  In place of the anticipated lesson, the rope goes taught and I spot Raphael effortlessly bounding 20 feet up the pitch.  This is the first pitch of snow/ice climbing my partner and I have ever attempted, suddenly we are   Continue reading