Traveling to South America has been on the very top of my bucket list for such a long time that when finally an opportunity to pack my bag and go to Peru crossed my way, I didn't hesitate for a second.
To my surprise the itinerary didn't include any of the flagship Peruvian tourist attractions, such as Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca or Cuzco - to name only a few of them. The plan seemed to be a kind of b-side visit of the country's less known, yet breathtaking views.
Starting with located in the Amazonas region, Chachapoyas and a crazy horseback ride through the jungle to the Gocta waterfall. After climbing on our cute horses in the little town of San Pablo de Valera, we got ready for an almost 2 hours ride across the Amazon rainforest.
Unknown till some mid-2000s, Gocta is listed among the world's tallest waterfalls. Hiking to its misty whereabouts turned out to be more than exciting, as I was getting on a horse for the very first time in my life.
Unfortunately, heavy rains all along the hike, as well as huge amounts of water being blown all around by the strong wind raging near the waterfall, made it quite impossible to shoot any decent pictures of this wild and impressive place. Completely soaked and dealing with soroche symptoms (the area is pretty much above 2,200 meters) during all my way back to San Pablo village I tried to film as much as possible, while at the same time dreaming of a hot bath in the lovely Hacienda Achamaqui where we had a chance to stay.
Still, even if quite exhausted with the hike, once in San Pablo, I couldn't help taking some more pictures of friendly locals.
After some well deserved rest in Hacienda, the adventures continued with visiting the ancient fortress of Kuelap. Located on a ridge overlooking the Utcubamba Valley, the complex is accessible by cable railway and then by foot.
The views were simply spectacular all along the way. And I was lucky enough to spot those funny dudes too:
On the way back it was definitely a good idea to stop in a village of Nuevo Tingo, walk down its dusty streets and meet this crazy, little guy and his lovely family.
Those very first days of visiting not so touristy places resulted in quite many possibilities to interact with locals and spend some cheerful time with them. This being one of my favorite things during almost all of my travels, I couldn't be happier about it. And it was nothing but a foretaste of what was coming in the following days, when the occasions to get to know Peruvians and make some nice portraits were going to be even more frequent.
You can have a lil' look at those smiling and friendly people here, however at the same time a second portion of unpublished photos will be served next Monday. So see you guys, same place, same time ;)