Cusco. A small vibrant tourist town was always buzzing about something. With an 11,150 ft altitude, it’s easy to get winded walking around this city, especially while getting hassled by the many sellers of … everything. Every street corner has some more tours, dolls, shoe shiners.. or even a woman with a small child or a baby alpaca in her arms offering to take photos with you for a price. Although some people would find this entertaining, we sought to get away from this tourist trap part of town and found a few choice place we think are worth visiting. Sepia Club Cafe has some delicious, simple Peruvian comfort food without all the touristy fuss. If you’re up for trying Peruvian novelties like alpaca, you can find a great alpaca burger at Gustitos de Lelo; or guinea pig.. (yes.. those things some of us had as pets as kids) then check out Don Carlos.
* I will admit, this is the point where my mental images of Cusco did not make its way to my camera after going on a photo taking binge in the Amazon
For good pisco or to learn more about it, we decided to check out Pisco Museo. It looks like a tourist trap, but I assure you that if you sit down for their pisco tasting and talk with a few of the bartenders (especially during the mid-afternoon when it’s not terribly busy), you will learn more about pisco than most Americans know about bourbon.
Most Peru travelers find their way to the Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu. We found that the easiest way to get there was about a 3 hour train ride from Poroy station near Cusco to Aguas Calientes, a small mountain town at the base of Machu Picchu. From there a quick bus ride took us to the top of Machu Picchu for some hiking around the ruins. We decided not to do the Inca trail to save time in our trip, but there are many paths and options for this multi-day hike if you choose to do so. The lost city is literally stuck in the clouds, and has some stunning mountain views amongst all of the ruins. It compares in size to the buried city of Herculaneum in Italy. Machu Picchu additionally boasts a mountain, Huayna Picchu, which is about a 2 hour hike that takes you up a series of almost countless steep stairs up to its peak where you can get a birds-eye view of Machu Picchu.
*Resume photo taking binge in Machu Picchu