The Art of Travel Adaptation

Gill and I planned the Inca Trail trek in January (because of the limit of people allowed on it per day), but other than the first hotel night (because Sharon insists on it), nothing was planned ahead. The way I love to travel is, research the place, its history, its culture, its food and its sights … then go.

Peru-Bolivia was just that kind of trip and it worked out perfect … well kinda.

We arrived in Cuzco, Peru in the heart of the old Inca society with three days to acclimatize. Because of the altitude you must take it easy for a few days at so your body can become accustomed to thin air. Cuzco is at 3400m or 11,200 ft, and after three days of exploring Cuzco and having a taxi tour us around the Sacred Valley, we were all feeling okay and ready for our hike.

The Inca hike was amazing, beautiful, exhilarating and gave us a huge sense of accomplishment. It rates as one of the top 10 adventures in my life and yes, I have had a few good ones.

The family that hikes the Inca Trail together, stays …

Part 6 of Paul’s Inca Trail GoPro videos:

We made it … all of us

No, we are not standing in front of a big Machu Picchu poster … we really did make it.

After the Trek now what? We thought of going to the Amazon but it was difficult and expensive to get to. Other tourists were saying that the trip to Puno and Lake Titicaca were cool, so after a family meeting, off we went. (Leah is an adopted daughter for our family adventures.)

The bus tour to Puno was interesting complete with Inca ruins and old churches. Puno grew on us and the floating islands and the homestay on Amantaní Island were unique experiences. Stuff we might never have done if not for other tourists in Peru telling us about it.

After Puno, the next day we were off to La Paz, Bolivia by bus, except, we couldn’t get there from here. There was a farmer strike blocking the border with Bolivia. Adapt!

We took a day to regroup and figure out our options. Luckily we had a “fixer”, a tour guide who spoke Spanish and English, and a list of alternative options. We wanted to get to La Paz for many reasons but mostly because we were told we couldn’t get there.

The next day we tried the route around the lake to the north. Our fixer, his boss, and the taxi driver came along for the adventure. We found out en route that they all had come because they had never been to that side of the lake. They took as many pictures as we did. Unfortunately, that route was blocked by rock slides and the Bolivian side was unmanned and no cars to take us on to La Paz. The taxi was risking going 10km inside Bolivia as he had no permit to be there. On the way back we picked up 5 Bolivian army guys and gave them a ride to the border to ensure that, “nobody say nothing”.

We wait to see if we can cross into Bolivia, but there is no one there. We drive in anyway

Bolivian army guys, “nobody say nothing”

Back in Puno again, the fixer arranged a boat to take us across the lake to the border near Copacabana. We changed mental gears and were ready at 5:30am the next day for the 9 hour boat ride. Adapt! We arrived on the opposite shore but there was no dock. We were loaded into row boats and taken ashore then we waded through water, mud, and reeds to the rocky beach. Then we walked to the customs, took a taxi to town then a bus to La Paz, but we made it. Sharon had arranged for the first night at a hotel in La Paz. Smart girl, as we arrived at 9:30pm with no meal all day. The hotel opened the dining room for us and we ate like kings. Lucky!

We wade ashore at the Bolivian-Peru border

La Paz, Bolivia at last

Since we had taken two extra days to get to La Paz, we didn’t have enough time to get down to the jungle before heading home. What else is in La Paz? See the city then ride the “World’s Most Dangerous Road”, on mountain bikes? Adapt! I’m in the bike business so I just had to do it. As it turned out it was a highlight of the trip, but it wasn’t even on my radar before we left.

We almost looks like a biker gang

Paul’s GoPro video compilation of biking the World’s Most Dangerous Road:

I don’t like to get my feet wet

Our group of riders who conquered the “Worlds Most Dangerous Road”

My family has always tolerated my style of travel. Sometimes it’s not perfect, but I think they will agree it is never boring, they just adapt.