Blogs from Cusco, Peru, South America


South America » Peru » Cusco September 16th 2019

Mauk'allaqta, also spelled several different ways, is a very well preserved and also recently uncovered and restored area. Only in the past 20 years have archeologists been uncovering the ruins and restoring some of the buildings. Nearby is another archeological site named Puma O’qro. This is a limestone cliff that houses the cave from which the legendary Ayar brothers emerged. For a day trip to the Inca ruins of Maukallaqta, a couple friends and I caught a collective taxi from Cusco to the town of Yaurisque, where we stumbled on a fantastic tour group. We had intended to hire a taxi driver to take us to the trailhead. However, on Sunday, in a town as small as Yaurisque, we couldn’t find any taxi drivers working. Asking around, we did find a group of guys who had ... read more
The Trinity
Recessed Niche

South America » Peru » Cusco » Moray August 26th 2019

Today there was an optional extra tour and I initially thought we might skip it and have a rest after our big day at Machu Picchu, but then we saw a model of Moray at the Inca Museum and I didn't want to miss the real thing. We definitely made the right choice and anyway we are not at all tired. Our tour days typically start early (between 6am and 8am) but usually finish by 1 or 2pm so we can rest (or blog) in the afternoons. Moray is extraordinary. looks like a massive amphitheatre of terraces but was actually a kind of agricultural laboratory which the Incas used as a food development and production centre. The terraces enabled 15 microclimates and they brought species from different elevations and bred them at Moray. As a result, ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco » Ollantaytambo August 25th 2019

Every Inca City had a Temple of the Sun, just as every Spanish City has its cathedral. Korikancha, the Cusco Temple of the Sun, was St Peters of Rome, the capital's Sun Temple where the king 'farmed' literally golden corn. We visited it a couple of days ago but,while it was good to see the remnants, the Spanish did a very thorough job destroying it. Ollantaytambo which we visited today, is a much better preserved Sun Temple, with magnificent steep terraces leading up to the Temple remains, includimg part of a wall with decorative stone inlays and a huge stone with a key shape carved into it so the next stone could be shaved down to provide a convex equivalent and the two fit together like Lego blocks. They did this with only stone and bronze ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu August 25th 2019

Today was one of those days I'll remember for the rest of of my life. The day started at 4.45am so we could be at Machu Picchu when it opened at 6am. I didn't feel the least bit tired all day: so much adrenaline from such an amazing day. I'm really glad we came on a guided tour because Claudio knew exactly how to make the most of this remarkable site. Machu Picchu was built around 1450, primarily as a religious centre by Pachacuti, the Alexander the Great of the Incas. It was functional for less than a century because in 1539 the Spanish invaded and destroyed the Inca Empire. They never found Machu Picchu but they brought smallpox which runners from Cusco carried to Machu Picchu. The population was decimated and the site was abandoned. ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco » Urubamba August 23rd 2019

We are in a lovely hotel in Urubamba, a small town in the Sacred Valley. The steep peaks of the Andes tower above us and make a sharp contrast with the Spanish-style style colourful gardens and mission architecture of Hotel Agustos. Today we left Cusco and entered the Sacred Valley, which is surrounded by rugged mountains. Parts of the foothills are striped with terraces, necessary for agriculture in this inhospitable terrain. It was interesting to see the same techniques used by the Inca and for contemporary farming which (apart from tourism) is the chief activity in the area. The focus of today was Pisac, a large archeological site which was a key Inca city and religious centre in the 14th Century before the construction of Machu Picchu. Surrounding massive terraces running down the mountain side, there ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco August 22nd 2019

Today we visited the major Inca sites around Cusco, learning about the complex religious and social structures that existed before the Spanish invasion in 1532. We began at Saqsayhuman (pronounced 'sexy woman'), an Inca city built in the shape of a puma - which must have taken extraordinary geometry and engineering skills, as well as abstract thinking because the puma is only visible from the air - as if the Incas were creating it to be seen by the gods. The city was a major centre for governing the massive Inca empire. Even for me, who is not particularly interested in engineering, it was fascinating to learn about how they moved the massive stones and even set them on round rolling stones as foundations so they would move during earthquakes. Some of this was only learned ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco August 21st 2019

The start of this holiday was a series of challenges with our Melbourne to Syney flight delayed due to high winds causing us to miss our Sydney-Auckland- Lima connection and our one day tour of Lima and resulting in lost luggage, which we are told is now en route and we hope will arrive tomorrow. But there was a silver lining - we had a lovely unplanned day in Auckland courtesy of Qantas, had lunch with cousins Natasha and Rob, and took in a little of the views from the Waitakere Ranges. I also managed to convince Qantas to compensate us by moving our return flights a couple of days later so we can see Lima at the end so if the luggage turns up it will all work out. But today the holiday really got ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu June 8th 2019

k8th June – Machu Picchu If yesterday was an early start, today we awoke at ‘stupid o’clock’!! Our original pick up time was stupid enough at 05:45 but yesterday evening everyone had a note left in their room advising us that the pic up time had changed…to the even stupider time of 5am!! The breakfast salon didn’t open until 05:00 so we were provided with somewhat stale buns and slices of cheese together with a flask of muña. As we all waited in the foyer for our driver and guide, I learned that some tourists had booked an overnight stay in Machu Picchu that should have started on Thursday, the day of the strike. This had to be cancelled and as the authorities only allow a finite number of tourists on to the site each day ... read more
Virgen del Carmen Church, Aguas Calientes
The majestic condor, guardian of the upper world
The road from Aguas Calientes to Macu Picchu

South America » Peru » Cusco » Sacred Valley June 7th 2019

6th June – Free day Hallelujah! We finally had a better night’s sleep. Hopefully, we must be gradually acclimatising. The itinerary has had to be shuffled around today. We should have been going to the Sacred Valley but there is a one-day general strike today so, we have another free day and tomorrow, which should have been ‘at leisure’, we will visit the Sacred Valley instead. I asked the hotel concierge what was the strike regarding? He just simply answered ‘Everything!!’ It’s nice to know that the electorate, the world over, have the same level of respect for their politicians!!! (this blog even has satire!!) At breakfast, a man who we had never seen before passed me as he was leaving the dining area. He was probably in his mid to late 60s and wore a ... read more
Heading towards the Plaza Mayor, Cusco
One of th main streets of Cusco
Cusco mural depicting Inca battles

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco June 4th 2019

4th June – Fly to Cusco (rest day) – this place literally took our breathe away!! Only our second day in Peru. There was no let up at this early stage as we took the 1 ½ hour flight to Cusco, 3400m high in the Andes. On arriving at Cusco airport, we were met by a guide who distributed a multi coloured ticket which we would need to bring with us on most of the tours as this was our entrance in to the ancient sites and other attractions. I noticed a desk that had a sign above advertising Inca rail. I chuckled to myself when I thought of some poor unsuspecting traveller buying a ticket expecting a train to Machu Picchu or the Sacred Valley when in fact the sign was missing a ‘T’, that ... read more
Paddington and Pooh lining up for their obligatory shot!!
Alpaca outside the entrance of Saqsayhuaman
The staggered walls of Saqsayhuaman

Tot: 1.655s; Tpl: 0.038s; cc: 13; qc: 77; dbt: 0.0508s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.5mb