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After spending a night at the cold floor of the airport of Lima, I arrived in Cusco. I was very excited, because I was finally going to visit Machu Picchu. I was also nervous, because in January there are a lot of rain in the region. I read in many blogs that it’s not good to visit Cusco in January, and specially avoid doing the Inca Trail (4-day hiking to Machu Picchu). Buuuut I’m glad that I’m stubborn, so I went to Cusco as I had planned before.
I was also a bit afraid of soroche (altitude sickness). Cusco is located at more than 3.000 meters from sea, so I read in some blogs that it’s better to get used to the altitude for about 3 days without hiking or doing heavy activities. Unfortunately, I didn’t have another choice than starting the Inca Trail the day before my arrival. So I planned just to walk around the city and rest on my first day, but the weather was good and at the airport I was persuaded to join the Sacred Valley tour, so I decided to do it, a few hours after my plane had arrived.
Actually, what I did was a bit crazy, because I hadn’t sleep well the night before (I spent the night at the floor of the airport), I arrived early at Cusco, the tour would start just some hours later and the 4-day hiking would start the day after. I don’t recommend doing this, but I was lucky for not becoming sick because of the altitude, and I slept in the van all the way to the places we were going to visit. I had some hard time breathing when walking through the stairs to get to the hostel. The first thing I did when I got to the hostel was to drink a coca tea. It is known for being a good drink to avoid altitude sickness.
At the airport I paid 25 dollars for the Sacred Valley tour, including lunch. They came to the hostel to pick me up at 8:30, as we had agreed. It was very interesting, it is good for people who want to learn more about the Inca people, their tradition, architecture, etc. The views are amazing as well. Some people in our group got a bit sick because of soroche, but the guides are very adept in helping to relieve the symptoms. At the shops the sell coke leaves, coke sweets and other products to reduce the altitude sickness.
During the tour we stopped at a handmade products market. There were so many cute things that it is very hard to get out there without buying anything. In Cusco, there are many people selling handmade souvenirs, so there are a lot of options to choose. It is perfect for travel souvenirs. I saw many cute alpacas too. They use alpacas to get some Money from the tourists who want to take pictures with the animals.
Besides the 25 dollars I paid for the tour, we had to buy the tourism ticket (boleto turistico) for 70 soles as well. It can be used for two consecutive days, so if you have enough time, it’s nice to visit the most places as possible. You can also buy a ticket for ten consecutive days.
With this ticket in hands we visited many archaeological sites. The guide was bilingual and told us many stories about the Inca people. At Pisaq, we can see many agricultural terraces which were used by the Inca people. I took a picture in the terrace, to show how big the “stairs” are (I’m wearing a huge poncho because of the rain haha).
After that we went to the famous Ollantaytambo Archaeological National Park. The trains that go to Aguas Calientes leave from there, so everyone who goes to Machu Picchu by train and bus goes from there. After getting inside, we can see long stairs, but it is worth climbing till the end. The view from above is incredible.
At the picture below, the guide is explaining about the Inca people’s architecture, that is admired by experts, because of the great job that was done at the time using only huge stone blocks. Those walls show that the place was important, as there are no space between the stones. At usual places, the walls are made of simple stones that aren’t polished.
At the end of the tour, we stopped at another handmade souvenir shop, where they showed u show they colour the alpaca wool, used to make clothes and blankets. Everything is natural, so they use plants and even insects to make the wool colourful!
Cusco is a cosy small town, so I wish I could have spent more time there to know the city centre better. I didn’t have much time, especially because the Inca Trail requires 4 days to be concluded. My first day in Cusco was very nice. I had a light dinner and slept early, in order to rest for the next day hiking. There are many other interesting places to visit in Cusco, so if I ever get the chance to visit it again, I want to go to the places I didn’t have time to go. Check my next posts, I’m going to write about Inca Trail! It was awesome!
My TOP 10 of this backpack trip TOP 10 – PLACES/EXPERIENCES OF MY LATIN AMERICA BACKPACK TRIP
How much I spent in this backpack trip: LATIN AMERICA BACKPACK TRIP! ～SUMMARY～
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