After leaving Panama City, I arrived late at night in Lima, Peru. The following morning I flew straight to Cuzco, commonly known as the Incan capital, and the gateway to Machu Picchu (the subject of my next post). There are many sights in the vicinity of Cuzco, and I had a full day to explore before the train the next day to Machu Picchu.
The short 2-hour flight from Lima crosses the impressive Andes
This particular mountain was over 6,000 meters
Cuzco itself didn't have snow, despite being over 11,000 ft. high
The drive from the airport, with a large mountain in the background and the local flags
A good driver is hard to find = this is Lucas Jaimes T., who speaks English very well. He can be reached at email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org. He's worth it.
Overview of Cuzco's Plaza de Armas en route to Pisaq
Valley en route to Pisaq
The Sacred Valley
Pisaq, with the terraced ruins above the town
Every site in Peru has guides offering services, like this guy
The ruins are dramatically located, and not heavily touristed
I hiked down to this area (probably shouldn't have exerted too much energy on my first day at this altitude)
The ruins, other than the terraces, aren't visible from town (which is just over the cliff to the right)
"I was here" (hey, at least I was going to lose some weight on this trip)
Dramatic accident coming back through town
Pukapukara, a minor site (a fort) on the way back to Cuzco
Pretty much a stereotypical view of Peru
Pukapukara was fairly popular
I was really feeling the altitude, but I wasn't nauseous; just breathing hard
Another minor site, Qenko, was overrun with busloads of tourists wanting to see where humans were sacrificed
It was somewhere down here, apparently
To end the ruins tour, I went to Sacsayhuaman, the largest site and the closest to Cuzco
See the llama in the rocks? So the guide told me...
After a long day, I had dinner in Cuzco, and drank the local specialty, chicha morada, made from a type of corn. It was very sweet, and very refreshing.
I also had to try the local food, like cuy (guinea pig, complete with helmet). Extremely tasty meat, but too many bones to make it worthwhile. I also sampled some alpaca meat, which I highly recommend.
La Compania church, in Plaza de Armas (to be toured later in the daylight)
La Catedral, to the left of La Compania
Machu Picchu awaited me... I couldn't wait!