Peru is a stunning country. Mountains, Coastline, Jungle. It's unreal. Jim and I went down for a two week backpacking trip and it was not nearly long enough. We opted to start in the countains, do a trek and then head down to the coast so we could really get a feel for Peru, it's landscape and it's culture.
Trekking to Machu Picchu on the Salkantay trail was a humbling and difficult experience. Both Jim and I suffered from altitude sickness at different points during the journey, but even that couldn't distract us from the raw beauty and vastness of this Andean trail. We opted to do the 4 day trek as part of a group, sleeping in tents along the way. The weather would go to a breezy 15 celcius to below freezing and hail in a matter of minutes. One such moment can be seen in the image below, There's a storm rolling in from the left, which hit just before we were able to make camp.
We climbed over Salkantay mountain, (a name meaning savage or invincible in Quechua) down into lush mountain jungle, before climbing once again the 1600 steps for a sunrise on Machu Picchu.
Part 1 - Mountains
Part 2 The Coast
We took the bus down a winding road with hair pin turns down to the coast. The contrast could not be starker. Rough mountainous landscape gave way to lush verdant jungle, which in turn gave way to a desert where industry mines the arid landscape for salt to pave Canadian winter roads. Parts of the coast are now protected. Though apparently people still poach and fish using dynamite to maximize their illegal catch.