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Interoceanic Highway: PART 2

December 4, 2010

The Interoceanic Highway - Beauty in the Developed Landscape


We started at 7am from Cusco with a projected driving time of 10 hours. Although I don’t have an exact mileage count, the section of highway between Cusco and Puerto Maldonado is over 400 kilometers. So, why does it take 10 hours? The highway starts in Cusco at 3,300 meters in elevation and climbs over two mountains, peaking at around 4,800 meters. Then it meanders out of the highlands through cloud forest and finally into lowland rainforest.

These images are from the highland section of the road. Before the paved road was constructed, there was a dirt road that locals describe using words like “horrible” and “terrifying.” Our driver told us that the road was more like a trail. In any case, there were towns along the dirt road and these towns are growing with the new highway. The image below the text is from Urcos, one of the towns along the highway. When we got out to photograph the beautiful lake, I noticed an incredible amount of trash along the edge of the highway.

The uninhabited land around the highway was stunningly beautiful. We could see glaciers and snowcapped peaks around almost every bend. Alpacas and llamas roamed through the landscape. This beauty was occasionally broken by areas of construction, but on the whole it was one of the most scenic drives I have ever taken. A lodge at the top would certainly attract visitors and would help preserve some of the landscape.

Construction along the highway

Urcos Lake and Litter

Homestead near the highway


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