The dense cloud forests blanketing the valleys around Chachapoyas, Peru hold many secrets. Swinging my machete to clear the brush we push on deeper into the unknown in search of archaeological sights shrouded in mysterious mythological tales.
Above, the tombs of ancients cling to the cliffs, now and then a human skull protrudes from the brush fallen from its final resting place. Clearing off the vines from a stone wall, patterns begin to emerge, these are not natural piles of stones, they are the remnants of a civilization long gone and swallowed by the jungle. It’s remote, hot, and took a lot of effort to get here, but damn do I ever feel like Indiana Jones!
The road ends and gives way to thousands of miles of Amazon forest. In this realm of nature, your only option to continue traveling is by navigating the complex river system. You can go days without seeing any signs of human life, it’s just you and the dark, dense, rain forest. In the center of it all is one of the final frontiers in travel, Iquitos, Peru. This city is only reachable via boat or plane and is one of the most remote communities on our planet. Ever since travel was made possible here, hippies and adventurers alike have been making the long journey here to indulge in the hallucinogenic trip of Ayahuasca. For me, Iquitos is, Bustling markets filled with Amazonian delicacies, the smell of motorbike exhaust mixed in with fried fish, countless tribal minorities and a frontier feeling that fills that young boy adventure void for me.
Remote mountains of rainbow colors, high altitude lakes age-old Inca secrets, ancient hidden archaeological wonders and steamy jungles teeming with life are just some of the amazing sights outside of Cusco. I traveled this region for over a month in search of some of Peru’s most off the beaten track sights which are all still close to Cusco the capital of the Inca Empire. What I discovered was a culturally rich region with a plethora of amazing archaeological sights and climate zones that can change in the blink of an eye. This is the real Peru! The one we all dream of.
As I peer out into the endless and shifting light crawling across the sand dunes, I enter a seemingly perfect scene for photography. Every so often the light reflects onto a corner of sand revealing the bones of the ancient Nazca or a mud brick structure that is possibly over 2000 years old. You see, Nazca is not just a tourist destination or a photographer’s dream, it is also a place of discovery where a wannabe intrepid explorer can live their dream of becoming an archaeologist if only for a few days! This is an area of Peru many forget or bypass, but those like me who spend the time to discover it will see that it is one of the most fascinating places on the planet!