Blogs from Cusco, Peru, South America


South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco November 4th 2018

Up at 3.25am for my Alternative Rainbow Mountain (Palccoyo) tour. It is called "Alternative" because the original Rainbow Mountain (Vinicunca) tour is now extremely popular but is also a difficult trek because of the altitude. The alternative one is actually three smaller mountains and the hike to the top is about one hour instead of 2.5 to 3 hours, so figured it was much more achievable. Whatsapp is used extensively through South America and the tour guide Carlos sent messages to each person when it was their turn for pick up. I was picked up at 04.05. First stop after 30 minutes was a Bakery where were all given some bread to share but later on at a roadhouse called Quinta Restaurant near Checacupe we had breakfast. There was an unscheduled stop and Carlos got out ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco November 3rd 2018

Today we joined another for group to visit two more remote sites. Similar to yesterday we went to tour agency office and the man escorted us to Place De Armas, found our group and we followed the guide again to the same bus stop. First stop was to the Andahuaylillas Church although he encouraged us to go into a shop first before the church. Seems to be a common thing like in China. At the church, there is a 15 soles entry fee as it is not on the Cusco tourist ticket. Then we noticed a sign saying no photos so I just a took a peek into the church and decided not to go in. Daisy went in with the guide and a handful of others. I just waited outside and spoke to two guys ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco November 2nd 2018

Plan today was to stay in town and check out museums and monuments but it didn’t turn out that way. We had a relaxed start and left the hotel at 09:15 to visit the Museo de Historia Regional which was very informative. It starts from pre-historic times and progresses through the years with the most interesting rooms being about the Spanish conquest and subsequent failed revolts by the Inca people. There are quite a few parallels between what happened here and what happened with the Australian Aboriginal people. After that we decided to walk to the San Pedro Church but along the way we noticed the street was full of tourist agencies and a girl approached Daisy but I decided to ask them about tours to the four Inca archaeological sites that are just out town. ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco » Aguas Calientes October 31st 2018

Up early this morning for our 06:30 pick-up. Luckily for us, the driver and man at our hotel picked up our heavy bags onto their shoulders and carried them to the van, so we just had to carry our overnight bags. The driver drove us to the station and asked us to wait. A Condor Travel rep came down and explained to us that we were suppose to leave the bags at the hotel as they were being picked up from the hotel, which meant the driver had to take our bags back! We felt really bad about that but looking at our instructions, it was ambiguous and wasn’t stated clearly that we were to leave our luggage at the hotel. We had a 45 minute wait for our train so I ate some of the ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco October 30th 2018

Today being our only full free day in Ollantaytambo I had decided to use the day to inspect the Ollantaytambo Archaeological Park which is the major site for the town. In fact, the whole town is historic as the stone roads, walkways and all of the buildings or at part of the buildings are the same that the Incas built. It is argued that Ollantaytambo is the oldest continually inhabited town in South America and i for one would believe that. As we had the whole day, we had a relaxed start and read up about the site before getting to the park at 10:15. The weather started very sunny and warm but we noticed dark clouds coming over and it did just shower a bit during our visit. All the major sites and museums require ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco » Ollantaytambo October 29th 2018

This morning we were woken by large explosions. I decided to just ignore them but Daisy was worried and got up to see what was happening but couldn’t see anything. The explosions occurred at random intervals for about 30 minutes and we managed to get back to sleep before getting up at 07:00 to shower and have breakfast. I asked the lady at the reception what the explosions were and she told us it was just to signify the start of the day’s festival. I asked why so early and she just said they want to wake everybody early to join in. She also said that many stay up and drink until 06:00. We arranged to meet Julio at 08:00 at the main road to save him walking up to get us and he called the ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco » Ollantaytambo October 28th 2018

Relaxed start today as our scheduled tour wasn’t on until 14:00. We ventured out about 10:00 and wandered down to the main square and heard music as we approached. Turns out there is a Festival of Dance on and all these little kids were lining up to perform. We watched and waited for them to start but when 10:30 came around I decided I should start my short hike for the morning to the Inca Granaries (Pinkuylluna) that we can see from our window. It was suppose to take 1.5 hours but I figured I would go slow and hike until 12:00 before coming down again as I had arranged to meet Daisy at 13:00, so giving me an hour to get down. The hike was suppose to be moderate but moderate by Peruvian standards is ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco » Ollantaytambo October 27th 2018

Woke up at 7:00 to shower, pack and have breakfast before our scheduled 08:45 pick-up for the airport. They actually came a little early but better early than late. The guide Sapa, was the same one who had picked us up and this time they drove via the coast road which was great as we hadn’t had the chance to walk along the beach as we had planned. Sapa gave us a running commentary as well so it was like a mini-tour. We also got into a political discussion and it seems all Latin American countries have very similar problems with corruption and too many parties and candidates. She also said that they are trying to bring in a law that all candidates have a certain level of education. Sapa accompanied us into the airport to ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco » Sacred Valley October 14th 2018

For breakfast we went back to the rooftop restaurant at our hotel and had the somewhat meager Hotel Polo breakfast buffet (no eggs and no avocado!). I had heard about the good avocados in Peru and the bountiful breakfasts where the rest of our traveling troupe stayed, but sadly had not had the pleasure yet. But we did drink cupfuls of coca tea to stabilize our rocky stomachs. Safe water is dear in Peru, especially when tourists can’t drink from the tap, so an early morning hike for bottled water was in order. Larry joined me in search of water while Dave and Celia went up to get ready to leave. Morning traffic in Cusco seems to be one dangerous bottleneck after the other which doesn’t impact pedestrians unless you want to cross the street. Then ... read more
Dave being served tea at Andean Colors
The beautifully colored bowl shaped hat worn by a woman at Andean Colors, a weaving cooperative
Gorgeous colors of alpaca yarns at Andean Colors

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu October 14th 2018

With a later than usual departure we were finally able to rest a little before having breakfast at the rooftop of Hotel Polo Cucso. The breakfast here was again pretty skimpy with cheese, cold-cuts, yogurts and lots of breads. I finally asked if I could have eggs for breakfast. Apparently that was an option all along but there had been no mention of it. I put in my order and received a plate of scrambled eggs but still no avocado to be seen. I asked the head server and he promised to find me some by the time I returned from Machu Picchu. After breakfast we went back to the room to pack. I collected our dirty laundry to drop at the front desk. I had asked the night before if there was a cheaper option ... read more
Orellana Pumqchupan fountain near our hotel in Cusco
Strawberry corn beer tasting somewhere in Yanahuara Village
Boarding the Peru Rail in Ollantaytambo

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