Traveling with my dog in Peru


We enjoyed together many adventures and landscapes like this one, in the Huascarán National Park.

Note 1. It should be borne in mind that in the first countries Cocaí was just a pup, so traveling was easier than now, that weighs between 22 and 24 kg (depending on if she gets fat).

Note 2. There were two parts. The first was the trip itself, and the second was perfunctory into Chilean territory to catch a plane back home.

JOURNEY 1: NORTH OF PERU

We started the journey on the Amazon border with Brazil and Colombia, crossing the jungle and mountains to the coast. Afterwards we went south to the unbelievable mountains of Huascarán National Park, then we headed north to Ecuador, passing through La Balsa. This is the tour and the places we visited along the way:

Leticia (Colombia) - Santa Rosa - Iquitos - Nauta - Yurimaguas - Cascada Ahuashiyacu (Cordillera Escalera Regional Conservation Area) - Tarapoto - Cascada Huacamaillo - Laguna Azul - Back to Tarapoto - Moyobamba - Laguna Pomacochas - Pedro Ruiz - Cocahuaico - Cocachimba - Catarata Gocta - Back to Cocahuaico - Cohechán - Huaylla Belén - Back to Cohechán - San Miguel de Cruzpata - Sarcófagos de Karajía - Back to Cohechán again - Chachapoyas - Tingo - Kuelap - Leymebamba - Celendín - Cajamarca - Chiclayo - Pimentel - Trujillo - Chan Chan - Huanchaco - Back to Trujillo - Huaraz - Caraz - Huascarán National Park - Huallancas - Back to the north: Trujillo - Chiclayo - Jaén - La Balsa (Ecuador).

LENGHT OF THE TRIP

1 month.

JOURNEY 2: LIMA TO TACNA

It was a tiring trip. At that moment I had already got the kennel and Cocaí made the entire trip in her cellar. Apart from what was left for the poor girl on the Chilean side... To Santiago.

LENGHT OF THE TRIP

2-3 days.

TRANSPORTATION

Transport was a cinch to Cajamarca. Then it became complicated.

By River

We traveled from Santa Rosa (triple border Brazil, Peru, Colombia) to Iquitos in a big boat and without having to carry Cocaí in any box or cage. Free as a human. In fact, there was another non-human guest who not only caught Coqui's eye but also mine: a saimirí (primate of the Amazonian forest). Although he had an owner (yes, it sucks but that is the thing with the traffic of animals here), this little monkey moved like he owned the place. The trip lasted about four days.

The traveler saimirí

Coqui making friends on board

Note. My trips through the Amazon rivers were very long because I made them countercurrent (except the route from Porto Velho to Manaus, Brazil).

We made it from Nauta (near Iquitos) to Yurimaguas in a kind of giant boat. The trip lasted two days and one night, which we spent in a wooden hut in some village in the middle of the jungle. Idyllic place... For mosquitoes and bugs infected with dengue and malaria. An eschatological anecdote, this time it was my turn. There was a toilet in the boat. I was fucked up with something I had eaten at a food stall, but I wanted to wait for a stop on the way. I had already used it to pee and it had not been a pretty experience. The thing is that it was made for Peruvians, so that when standing the penis was above the four walls that guarded the toilet. The solution was to pee with my legs bent. In addition, the place where the toilet was it was a joke: perfectly located in the middle of the ship so that the whole crew would not lose detail. In fact, while I was peeing I had a head less than a meter away. Moral of the story: do not do this kind of trip if you are a picky ass.

This is the boat in which we spent two days... You can not see the bathrooms in the photo

On the road

After many days traveling by river (in Brazil and Peru) it was time to see the road. Most of the trips from Yurimaguas to Cajamarca were by bus and they let me bring Cocaí with me in the passenger area without problems .

I also covered several sections hitchhiking. In the area of Cohechán people usually move from one place to another in trucks. It is very common ask for rides as there are no buses. The whole area is rural, with small towns and lots of nature, and you will not have problem traveling here. If you do not get a ride by a local (car or motorbike), you will be "rescued" by a truck that comes or leaves with food or materials. In addition it is a beautiful area full of lovely people, nowadays little visited (yet). The whole area from Tarapoto to Cajamarca was full of adventures (read my diaries to discover them!).

Ride in a truck in the area of Cohechán

Leymebamba - Cajamarca

In the route Cajamarca - Chiclayo I was forced to put her in a cage that the own bus company had for dogs. Another girl tried to get on the bus with her dog hidden in a backpack but they were caught by the workers and threatened with losing the bus ticket. In the end, talking to the driver we came to an agreement and her dog could travel in the cellar with Cocaí. As a thank-you the girl gave me a muffin made by herself! The one who paid dearly to share her cage was Cocaí, who had to endure the howls of her new companion. She arrived exhausted to Chiclayo. This was the only trip she made in a real cage... At least on this tour through the north of Peru. As I said, from Lima to Santiago she did everything in the kennel.

From this moment on Cocaí had to go many times in the cellar. Since I did not have a cage, I would leave her some clothes (as a bed) and tied with the leash. It was not like this on all the journeys (in some of them they let me take her upstairs), though. From Chiclayo we went to Trujillo, to the south. Coqui traveled in the cellar in a well-ventilated cardboard box. In Trujillo and around I was able to move easily by bus with Cocaí in the passenger area. In this way we went to Chan Chan and Huanchaco. Then we went to Huaraz and the Huascaran National Park. We had one of those breakdowns (so common in these prehistoric buses), but without further ado, we arrived.

Back to Chiclayo, and heading north (to Ecuador). At Chimbote station (or Casma, I am not sure), the driver made me look for a box for Cocaí. I got one quickly and when I went back to the bus, the bus was already leaving... with my backpack inside! Luckily I could stop them. Not only he almost leaf with my belongings, but also he got angry and did not let us get on the bus after that. He took my backpack out of the cellar and left. One of my boots went with them...

One of the last journeys was from Chiclayo to Jaén. We arrived at the station in the evening and were told that there were only two buses left (they were about to leave), both full. The idea of spending the night there, away from the center, was not very appealing to me, but one of the drivers got us out of there. Cocaí traveled in the cellar and I traveled in the back of the bus, lying in the aisle. Either way, we arrive at our destination, two steps from the border with Ecuador (La Balsa). We covered this last section by a couple of small combis, zero problems with the dog (as usual when traveling by combi).

ACCOMMODATION

It was usually quite easy, although it should be mentioned that I did not move much around big cities, which is where there are more setbacks. There was a bit of everything.

Hammock on the boat. In the sections that we covered by river (Santa Rosa to Iquitos) we slept in hammocks on the boat itself, with the exception of one night that the company hosted us in huts in a village (the aforementioned dengue paradise). Zero problems here.

Wild camping. First around Tarapoto (we avoided sleeping in the city): Ahuashiyacu Waterfall, Huacamaillo Waterfall and Laguna Azul (Blue Lagoon). No mishap, free, and happy to sleep in those paradises. A little further on, we tried camping at Laguna Pomacochas (on a small jetty), and then in one of the most magical places on this planet: Gocta. We also camped freely in the majestic Cordillera Blanca, in the Huascarán National Park, although we had to pay a fee to access the Park. Another place near the Cordillera Blanca where we pitched the tent was in a plaza in the town of Huallancas.

Camping at Huascarán National Park

Hostel. The first one was in Iquitos (I think it was called Hostal Colibrí), very nice owners. We stayed there for about a week. Another one was in Chachapoyas. The guy who gave me a ride to the city previously called this hostel for making sure they were dog-friendly. We had a good stay there, a shame that I do not remember the name of this hostel. Another hostel or lodging for backpackers was in Trujillo, whose owner welcomed us with open arms.

Hotel. In Moyobamba we spent the night in a hotel (I did not see anything else). It was a luxury for a super economic price, and delighted that they let us stay with Cocaí.

In Moybamba we treated ourselves

Family accommodations. These are usually all over the country, especially in rural areas, there is always room and dogs are not usually a problem for them. We did it in Cohechán, where they let us stay without any objection, and in Tingo.

Flophouse in Celendín. They would rather have paid us to sleep in such a hut.

Bus. We also slept some nights on the bus, to save money on accommodation when we had a long journey. For example, from Cajamarca to Chiclayo or from Chiclayo to Jaén. In the way from Lima to the border with Chile we also had to spend some night on the road.

Spontaneous Couchsurfing. A family who, after breaking the bus on which we were going to Huaraz invited us to spend the night in their house (and a dinner and a breakfast finger licking good).

Friend's house. The brother of my friend Paloma, who was living in the Peruvian capital at the time, welcomed us to his house.

As you can see, dear reader, there are many accommodation options. And we did not do couchsurfing or airbnb, which they are also there. The cool thing about traveling in Peru (also applies in other countries like Ecuador or Bolivia) is that you do not have to worry so much about planning the places where you will spend the night during your trip. There will always be something waiting for you and your dog and you will find them on the fly.

FOOD LOCALS AND OTHER ESTABLISHMENTS

It is a piece of cake entering the restaurants and stalls with your dog. In Peru, as in other Latin American countries (Bolivia and Ecuador among them), where there are plenty of markets and family dining rooms, you will not have any problem sitting at the table with your dog. At that time Cocaí was still not very territorial with food and there were no problems with stray dogs. In Mexico things changed, so when we went eat in taco stands and other locals Cocaí was more fussy with those who dared to approach our table/space. You usually can get into chat rooms (cyber) as well.

A small family business in which we sat at the table

OTHERS

There are many protected places like Parks and archaeological areas that you can access with your dog. For example, we had access to several natural areas with abundant fauna (which in other countries access to pets would probably be restricted) such as the Regional Conservation Area Cordillera Escalera, Gocta or the Huascarán NP.

Visiting Gocta

Enjoying Huascarán NP

Even more surprising was that we could access the Sarcophagi of Karajia or Kuelap. And I am not saying it because I think it is wrong, quite the opposite. Many countries have such a precaution in case a dog damages something, but it is not fair for those with well-behaved dogs. In any case it is debatable and understandable that they forbid it because they want to protect a heritage (natural or cultural), but I take off my hat to the places that allow pets. And I think those who do not admit dogs should provide solutions. For example, a special room for dogs (even if you have to pay) while visiting an archaeological site. On the other hand, I know that Machu Picchu and other Inca ruins can not be accessed with dogs, but I am so sure that you will not want to miss these legendary places as you will find a way to visit them. In the post what to do when your dog can not accompany you I give you some ideas.

Visiting the Chan Chan Archaeological Site...

... And Kuelap

As for organized tours to the jungle, I did not do any in Peru. But would bet you could take your dog, always watching your buddy closely (watch out for crocodiles and snakes... among others). I did visit a sanctuary near Iquitos, the Isla de los Monos (Monkey Island). Cocaí was able to come, but she had to stay tied at the entrance of the sanctuary while I walked around the facility.

DOG DOCUMENTATION

I was not asked for Cocaí's papers when I entered the country through the triple border (Brazil-Colombia-Peru), nor when I left the country on La Balsa (Ecuador). However, they were demanding on the border of Tacna-Arica (Chile), since Peruvian workers are usually pressured from the other side. Anyway, even if they let you pass, if you do not have all the papers in order, Chile will kick your ass out. In fact, I was missing something that I had not read among the requirements that Chile asked for... Luckily, the Peruvian worker gave me a hand (he just saved my ass). Here is an excerpt from my diaries:

"I was missing a requirement from a requirement (come on!). Chile was asking for a deworming in the last month (I had it), but also for the active principle and the applied dose in detail. I did not have this, and the worker from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock told me that the Chileans would ask me for it, and they would send me back to Peru. I almost started to cry. Then he said: "Because I like you ...", and began to write a new deworming with the example that came in his worksheet. "

On the Chilean side they examined meticulously all the papers, so I have no doubt that they would have sent me back to Peru had it not been for this man who falsified the document. As I explain in the post of My Dog Experience in Chile, this is not the easiest country to travel with your dog.

ASSESSMENT

  • Pros: Easy to get around by public transport, especially in the jungle and mountain areas (not that easy on the coast, which is more urbanized). Comfortable as for you can do many things with your dog without worrying about whether it will be prohibited or not.

  • Cons: Not much doggy culture. Dogs are not considered by many people as family members as in other cultures. In addition, there are many stray dogs with scabies and fleas.

  • Degree of difficulty to travel: 4.

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