Jordan Smith

Joined March 2018Living in: Florida, United States
  • Day32

    Lima Dos- Adios!

    March 12, 2018 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    I could have used more time in Peru but after several weeks of work and traveling it was time to come back to the states. Thanks to my family for watching the aminals and helping to make this trip possible. The change of pace, culture, and perspective is just what I needed to reset my motivations and intentions! I made some wonderful new friends along the way too! Travel bug activated...Read more

  • Explore, what other travelers do in:
  • Day30

    Final Destination- Lima

    March 10, 2018 in Peru ⋅ 🌙 22 °C

    Although a bit bummed my trip was coming to an end, I was really excited to visit Lima! My hotel was in Miraflores which is a popular, up-scale neighborhood. I was so happy to reunite with friends from the project to close out my trip.

    I think Lima is worth another visit.

  • Day29

    Back to Cusco

    March 9, 2018 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    After Machu Picchu, the tour headed back to Cusco maybe a 3 hour journey and I said my farewells to new friends Simone, Araceli and Lucio. I stayed again at hostel Kokopelli for the night. In the morning I had just enough time to explore San Padro market (and buy some mementos!) before catching my flight to Lima in the afternoon.Read more

  • Day29

    Waynapicchu

    March 9, 2018 in Peru

    This was one crazy hike -the Incas built steps as steep as ladders! This 'climb' took about 45 minutes to get up and 45 down. It offered a good (but familiar) view of Machu Picchu and the real thrill was in racing up the mountain. There is a 7am pass and a 10am pass. I had the 10am pass which was perfect so that I could participate in the walking tour with Lucio, Simone, and Araceli. The Waynapicchu pass is only open to 200 people per session and can be difficult to secure in the high season. I didn't have a problem during the rainy season but still had to get the ticket in advance- $30. An extra perk is that you can stay at MP all day with this ticket. I didn't want to leave!Read more

  • Day29

    Machupicchu- Hidden in the Clouds

    March 9, 2018 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Machu Picchu was worth the trip! It's a magnificent city and I now understand why it's one of the 7 wonders of the world. Although the Incas didn't use wheels and had no written language, the complexity of the civilization is evident at Machu Picchu.

  • Day28

    Ollantaytambo and Machupicchu

    March 8, 2018 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    After the salt mines we went to Ollantaytambo to catch the train to MP. This train ride is really expensive @$100 round trip. The train moves so slowly and follows the Urubama River Valley. It's about a 2 hr ride and I think you could get to MP town more quickly if you jogged.

    Machupicchu is supposed to be the highlight of the journey but we shall see. The trek with its amazing food, scenery, and a rare introduction into high Andean life was already spectacular.Read more

  • Day28

    Lares Valley and Salt Mine

    March 8, 2018 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Wow! Ok, I loved Cancha Cancha (camp #2). Here we met with a local woman in her home. She is 70 and lives with her husband in a 1 room house typical of the high Andes. They have 1 light which was installed a year earlier. They pay 12 soles/$4 month for limited use. Guinea Pigs (cuy) run free in the house and are saved for Christmas and birthday meals 😳 In the photo you can see the kitchen (kittens warming by the ashes and a cuy with his glowing eyes literally hiding in the stove) and one bed as well as the only small table. As pictured, this woman makes cloth from Llama and Alpaca to sell. Later, Araceli and I brought a piece of cake to the house to say thank you, in at least a small way, for letting us into her home. She also gets a small amount of money for allowing our tents in her pasture.

    This community is a 2 to 4 hour hike (downhill) to the nearest town. For us, it took 4 hours. Along the way out of the mountains we passed several more children all looking after their animals. We handed out colored pencils as small gifts whenever we could. The hike back up the mountain would have easily taken me a whole day, it's a very steep trail and a very remote community.

    Once out of the mountains we had our last lunch with the porters, horsemen, and chef. Although we certainly paid for the privilege, I think all 3 of us guests battled with some guilt about the disparity between our accommodation and experience compared to that of our porters and even our guide Lucio. We did tip the team well and were careful to choose (to the best of our ability) an ethical company but the fact remains that at 1 point a porter was carrying the toilet- no bueno. The porters also wore sandals (not boots) and were only given sleeping bags (no blankets or pads). Also, the porters had simple meals and then were given whatever we couldn't finish. One upside, since we were just the 3 amigos+ Lucio, we had TONS of leftover food so the boys actually ate rather handsomely. Alex easily cooked 4 courses+ for a party of 6 or 7. Perhaps my view is a little skewed and the team only views these differences as customer vs employee? Our team was humble and shy but hopefully, we were able to communicate our gratitude for providing such a comfortable and enjoyable experience in a demanding environment. They did deliver an A+ service, truly :)

    After saying farewell to the camping staff, Lucio took us by bus to the salt mines of Maras. Yummy!!! These mines were active in Pre-Inca times and are still operating using the same evaporation method. No machinery required to harvest salt from the 3000 pools. The spring fed pools are not as salty as the ocean but still pretty darn good. I bought some salt for the kitchen at home!
    Read more

  • Day27

    Lares Valley (Day 2)

    March 7, 2018 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    Woke up nice and warm for day 2 at 5am- We had hot water bladders in our sleeping bag overnight! Granted I also slept with long underwear and sweatpants, a hat and scarf 😂

    We had Coca tea and our usual hefty breakfast. This one included a quinoa porridge with apples, crepes with chocolate syrup, eggs and maybe some cheese, I can't remember exactly. Delicious.

    For day 2 the emergency horse was on stand by for the steep climb to Condor Peak. Actually the climb wasn't too bad if you take it slowly. The hard part was up on the ridge of the pass. We had BAD weather up there. There was a mixture between snow, ice, and rain and the wind chill was so so cold. My hands felt completely frozen! We hated to admit it but all of us agreed that we couldn't get off that ridge fast enough. It was terrible although memorable, Haha! No pictures and there was no view because of the thick clouds. Lunch was also late that day (we had to make it to camp #2 before eating) so I was a bit grouchy until late afternoon! Once at camp, the experience was incredible though.

    Stats: 14km (8 miles), gain 750 m (2460 ft), highest point 4650 m ( 15,255 ft), camp #2 @ 3760m (12,300ft)
    Read more

  • Day26

    Lares Valley (Day 1)

    March 6, 2018 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Day 1, I don't have many pictures as my phone battery died really quickly. Silly phone.

    En route we stopped at the Market in Calca. I had to pick up some meds for my cold/cough and we picked some colored pencils to hand out to the kids along the trek. We had our first breakfast together at the Lares hot springs (not sunny enough to go for a dip). From there we hiked a few km uphill to the mountain community of Quiswarani (not pictured) for a rainy lunch. There were very few cars in this town but the village was fairly remote. From there we continued our hike upwards for several hours to our first camp site- blue lagoon at 3900 m (12795 ft). Total elevation gain was ~ 700 m (2700 ft) and maybe 10km.

    Despite my cold, I was handling the altitude fairly well. No headache or anything just my stupid cough which diminished by lung capacity for sure. Fortunately, Lucio (our guide) helped me to find cough drops and a decongestant of sorts in Calca. Life saver. Also, I learned on the Laguna 69 hike the importance of staying hydrated at altitude so I drank about 2 liters of h20 after lunch to help my body cope. We had porters and horses carrying the kitchen supplies, toilet (yes, luxury I know), tents etc. I only had to haul my small daypack (18L) which made the hiking considerably easier.

    Day 1 I learned that every meal was at least 3 courses. Alex our chef made amazing dishes from his portable kitchen. We even had a snack of popcorn before dinner- my favorite! The food on this trek was some of the best dining I had my whole trip to Peru. We had delicious, local dishes that were different at every meal.
    Read more

  • Day26

    Lares Valley Trek

    March 6, 2018 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    After a day of rest in Cusco it was time to start the Lares Valley Trek. I chose a rather expensive company - alpaca expeditions - which claims to have the highest standards for trek safety and quality (good equipment, good food, sat phones) as well as high regard for employees (good salaries) and good environmental stewards. I paid about $600 for 4 days all inclusive (2 camping nights and 1 hotel). Days 1-3 were in the Lares Valley and Day 4 was at Machu Picchu! Some friends paid as low as $160 for other treks... Because Victoria is easier to say and remember then Jordan, I happily went by my middle name during this journey!Read more

Never miss updates of Jordan Smith with our app:

FindPenguins for iOS FindPenguins for Android