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Cusco, Peru

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When traveling to Peru, Cusco is a MUST. This is where Machu Picchu is, one of the seven wonders of the world 🤩.

This was my boyfriend Luis’, first time visiting Peru, so it was a given we would have to come here. Below is glimpse of our itinerary!

Day 1 - Cusco City

The day we arrived, we took it slow. Cusco is at an altitude of 3,400 metres (11,200 ft) and it is common to get “soroche” (altitude sickness). To prevent it, we took medicine days before our trip, however on the third day Luis still got a bit sick.  On our first day we were mainly at the Historic Center. We visited the Plaza de Armas, which is a plaza with two iconic buildings: the Cusco Cathedral and La Compañia de Jesus church. There are several good restaurants and bars at the plaza, so it’s a very common tourist spot.

The day we arrived, we took it slow. Cusco is at an altitude of 3,400 metres (11,200 ft) and it is common to get “soroche” (altitude sickness). To prevent it, we took medicine days before our trip, however on the third day Luis still got a bit sick.

On our first day we were mainly at the Historic Center. We visited the Plaza de Armas, which is a plaza with two iconic buildings: the Cusco Cathedral and La Compañia de Jesus church. There are several good restaurants and bars at the plaza, so it’s a very common tourist spot.

One of Cusco’s specialty is cuy (guinea pig). I know to many of you this sounds unappealing or gross to eat, but I gotta say I really recommend it! It’s one of my favorite local dishes and I get it every time I visit Peru. Here you can see the one I ordered at Inka Grill. This place is a little more on the high end, but it’s super delicious!

One of Cusco’s specialty is cuy (guinea pig). I know to many of you this sounds unappealing or gross to eat, but I gotta say I really recommend it! It’s one of my favorite local dishes and I get it every time I visit Peru. Here you can see the one I ordered at Inka Grill. This place is a little more on the high end, but it’s super delicious!

Day 2 - Machu Picchu

We then visited Qorikancha, the Temple of the Sun 🌞. This used to be one of the most important temples for the Incas, and was covered in gold. After the Spanish colonization, they turned it into the Church of Santo Domingo.

We then visited Qorikancha, the Temple of the Sun 🌞. This used to be one of the most important temples for the Incas, and was covered in gold. After the Spanish colonization, they turned it into the Church of Santo Domingo.

On our second day, we headed to Machu Picchu. To get to Aguas Calientes (the town nearby) you take a train from Cusco city 🚂. It’s a really nice ride as you get to enjoy the beautiful green scenery. Once you get to Aguas Calientes, you have the option of taking a bus that takes you to the top of Machu Picchu, or hike to the top. We made the mistake of hiking it… we had been told by other friends that it was an easy hike 😅 however for us it ended up taking 2.5 HOURS. If you are not athletic like me, do not hike it; since the elevation is still high its harder to breathe, plus there are mosquitoes everywhere. It certainly was an adventure, but don’t think I can do it again hahaha.

On our second day, we headed to Machu Picchu. To get to Aguas Calientes (the town nearby) you take a train from Cusco city 🚂. It’s a really nice ride as you get to enjoy the beautiful green scenery. Once you get to Aguas Calientes, you have the option of taking a bus that takes you to the top of Machu Picchu, or hike to the top. We made the mistake of hiking it… we had been told by other friends that it was an easy hike 😅 however for us it ended up taking 2.5 HOURS. If you are not athletic like me, do not hike it; since the elevation is still high its harder to breathe, plus there are mosquitoes everywhere. It certainly was an adventure, but don’t think I can do it again hahaha.

Machu Picchu is gorgeous, exactly how you see it on wallpapers and postcards. This was my third time visiting, and it never fails to impress me.

Machu Picchu is gorgeous, exactly how you see it on wallpapers and postcards. This was my third time visiting, and it never fails to impress me.

There’s a lot of alpacas and llamas around, but since they are known to spit, I tend to stay away from them 😂

There’s a lot of alpacas and llamas around, but since they are known to spit, I tend to stay away from them 😂

Day 3 - Chinchero / Maras / Moray / Salinas / Ollantaytambo

For our last day, we had a private tour around Cusco. Our tour guide, Jose Luis was incredibly smart, and if you are ever in Cusco, I highly recommend hiring him. He majored in anthropology, so he knows a lot of history. Here are pics from my favorite spots!

The circular terraces of Moray are super interesting! This served as an agricultural laboratory were Incas tested crops. Each terrace has a different temperature 🌡️.

The circular terraces of Moray are super interesting! This served as an agricultural laboratory were Incas tested crops. Each terrace has a different temperature 🌡️.

One of our stops was at a textile market, where the you can buy alpaca goods at great prices. The ladies demonstrate how to dye textiles naturally, for example to get red dye you get it from the Cochinilla (it’s an insect). It was super interesting and entertaining!

One of our stops was at a textile market, where the you can buy alpaca goods at great prices. The ladies demonstrate how to dye textiles naturally, for example to get red dye you get it from the Cochinilla (it’s an insect). It was super interesting and entertaining!

Another stop was Maras, known for its salt mines. We were there during April, which is the rainy season. Because of this, the mines looked brown since rain had carried down dirt to the ponds. I’ve been here once before when the mines were super white and it's beautiful! Make sure to buy salt from here, it gives a delicious flavor to food and you can only get it there.

Another stop was Maras, known for its salt mines. We were there during April, which is the rainy season. Because of this, the mines looked brown since rain had carried down dirt to the ponds. I’ve been here once before when the mines were super white and it's beautiful! Make sure to buy salt from here, it gives a delicious flavor to food and you can only get it there.

Lastly we went to Ollantaytambo, which served as a fortress for the Incas. It’s quite a flight of stairs, however the rock structures you find at the top are impressive. Everything is built from singular rocks, that were smoothened, sharpened and perfected to fit each other. It’s like a perfect puzzle, the precision is truly amazing and no one really knows how they managed to do this. Some people say it was 👽who made them hahaha.

Lastly we went to Ollantaytambo, which served as a fortress for the Incas. It’s quite a flight of stairs, however the rock structures you find at the top are impressive. Everything is built from singular rocks, that were smoothened, sharpened and perfected to fit each other. It’s like a perfect puzzle, the precision is truly amazing and no one really knows how they managed to do this. Some people say it was 👽who made them hahaha.

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Hope you liked learning about Cusco! If you want to see the rest of my travels in Peru, click here.