Blogs from Cusco, Peru, South America


South America » Peru » Cusco October 29th 2023

Saturday, 21 Oct The train journey from Puno to Cusco begins with heavy rain from the hotel to the station. It’s an easy check in process and our carriage is full, mine is the only single seat and table, so I guess I was lucky getting a booking. Travelling in luxury from Puno to Cusco is around 10 1/2 hours, however there are fashion shows, music, dances and fine food. The train arrives at 5.30 in the evening and I’m taken under the wing of a Peruvian named Alex who helps find me a taxi to send me to my hotel. My hotel is right next to Plaza de Armas the main square of Cusco. It’s been twenty years since I was in Cusco and traffic has grown exponentially. On my last trip my memory is ... read more
Machu Picchu
Religious Procession in Cusco.
Cusco Procession

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco September 3rd 2023

Have you ever pondered the issue surrounding the wonders of the world...? I have, and I usually always conclude that I wonder why there aren't more of them, at least in terms of how I value individual places of great beauty. Those issues aside though, among the officially-dubbed wonders of the modern world which I have set about ticking off a bucket list as I have journeyed my way through life, the latest to appear on the radar was Machu Picchu in Peru, and just about the first node on the Peruvian itinerary. Getting there was a case of ditching the rental car option at the last minute in favour of a rail journey to Machu Picchu Pueblo from the town of Ollantaytambo, which appeared to be the last stop-off point before road access to the ... read more
Abode of the Gods
Plaza Mayor, Lima

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco July 2nd 2023

My 2020 weekly blogs were so popular that I'm reinventing them as a weekly travel tip! You'll also get links to my latest blogs and published articles. Please sign up for the travel tips on my website Here's a sneak peak from today's travel tip. Weekly Travel Tip #1 Sign up for flight price alerts. Travel doesn’t have to involve flying, but it so often does that I wanted to start my weekly travel tips with this important step. Every year, there are more and more great services that will help you find flight deals. Sometimes a credit card that you already have has travel services. Here are my three favorite services, with their pros and cons. For all three of these services, you need to have any idea of either where you want to ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco May 9th 2023

This blog is available with more photos on my website Waqra Pukará is one of the most spectacular Inca ruins in Peru and one of my top recommendations for alternatives to Machu Picchu. It’s an isolated tower, with two giant stone “horns” that give the site its name. Waqra is the Quechua word for horned and Pukará means fortress. The Apurímac River Canyon far below makes the high promontory even more dramatic. The ruins are at 4,140 meters above sea level (13,583 feet) and the river is at about 3,230 meters (10,600 ft). I think the location is much more impressive than Machu Picchu. From a distance, Waqra Pukará seems completely natural. When you get closer, you’ll see the remnants of walls surrounding the site, flat areas that were obviously leveled by people and stairs ... read more
Waqra Pukará in April
Waqra Pukará terraces
Only four groups of tourists on a weekend

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu August 22nd 2022

Our last day in the Sacred Valley was dedicated to Machu Picchu. Often referred to as the "Lost City of the Incas," it is the most familiar icon of Inca civilization. Getting there is no easy task. First, we had to ride from our hotel in Urubamba to Ollantaytambo's train station. The train ride to Aguas Calientes takes a little over 1 1/2 hours with a stop along the way for people who are continuing on the Inca Trail. The portion of the trail from the train stop to Machu Picchu is normally hiked in three to six days. The route goes over elevations between about 8,530 and 13,780 feet, and it is lined with Inca ruins Upon our arrival in Aguas Calientes, there was another bus ride that climbs nearly 1,640 feet on a winding ... read more
Train Ride to Aguas Calientes
Train Ride to Aguas Calientes
Train Ride to Aguas Calientes

South America » Peru » Cusco » Ollantaytambo August 21st 2022

Another day of travel was ahead of us, leaving Cusco behind to transfer to Urubamba in the Sacred Valley. We had two stops ahead of us: Chinchero and Ollantaytambo. Our first stop was Chinchero, known to the Incas as the birthplace of the rainbow. This typical Andean village is a town well known for preserving ancient Inca customs and for making beautiful weavings with natural dyes. It is home to the Interpretation Center of Andean Textiles. Women in traditional costume will demonstrate how they produce the different colors for the wool they spin and weave. Unfortunately, construction is progressing on an airport clearly visible from the old callejones, the alley like streets from ancient times. No doubt it will influence and change the current rustic charm of this ancient village. Chinchero was built in the late ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco August 20th 2022

Sacsayhuamán is a fortress on the northern outskirts of the city of Cusco built in the 15th century at an altitude of 12,142 feet. According to oral history, Tupac Inca decided that the best head for the Puma shaped city of Cusco would be to make a fortress on the high plateau to the north of the city. In 1983 Sacsayhuamán was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Of all the breathtaking ruins in Peru, Sacsayhuamán was the one that left me in awe the most. Considering that the Spaniards used Sacsayhuamán as a source of stones for building the new governmental and religious buildings of the colonial city, as well as the houses of the wealthy, we can only imagine what it must have been like. Today, only the stones that were too large to ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco August 19th 2022

After the delicious buffet style breakfast offered by the hotel, we set out to explore the nearby Plaza Mayor of Cusco. At an elevation of 11,200 feet, most of the streets seem to involve climbing to some extent which I had deemed my enemy, but I absolutely loved the look and feel of the ones that seemed no more than narrow alleyways, mostly ending in small plazas surrounded by colonial architecture. The city was the capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th century until 1532. In 1983, Cusco was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and designated as the Historical Capital of Peru by The Constitution of Peru. Many believe that the city was planned in the shape of a puma, a sacred animal. Buildings constructed after the Spanish invasion often have a mixture ... read more
Around Cusco
Around Cusco
Around Cusco

South America » Peru » Cusco » Raqchi August 18th 2022

This morning, we left Puno behind for another day of travel. Our destination was Cuzco, and all the Inca wonders associated with the area. Not long after leaving Puno we had the dubious pleasure of driving through Juliaca, which we were told was the ugliest city in Peru. The reason for this seems to be that the residents have, for generations, dedicated themselves to the pursuit of money by embracing the black market in all its forms. Apparently, they specialize in creating fake luxury label items of every kind. But none of the profits are being used for infrastructure or improving the city, which remains mostly a place of dirty roads and unremarkable architecture. The main event of the day was the stop at the ruins of the Temple of Viracocha who was one of the ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu July 16th 2022

We are now within about 2 weeks from leaving Chile, and while there are moments of sadness, especially with all the goodbyes we have to say, in my heart I know it’s time to go. It has been an amazing experience here, with some serious ups (the travel, the friends, the culture) and some serious downs (the pandemic, the social unrest)…but I think the biggest testament to all this, is that if we had to make this choice again, I would not change it for the world. There was a time in 2021, probably at this time last year, where we were sooooo close to packing up and leaving early. And thank god we did not. This experience would not have been complete with our last year here, to reconnect with people that we were cut ... read more
Laguna del Inca
Big Mountain Girl

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