Tairona Inca: Colombia and Peru in 2 Weeks
Day 6 – 8: Arriving in Cusco and exploring the laid-back city. This is also the meeting point before we set off on our Lares hike and visit to Machu Picchu.
The Avianca flight arrived slightly ahead of schedule. From the airport I got a taxi to my hotel, Andean Wings.
On check-in, I was welcomed to sit in the Nelson Mandela bar and enjoy a welcome drink of hot coca tea.
After settling into my room, I contacted Nat and Ben and walked over to meet them at the JW Marriott Cusco.
Together we went to dinner at Fuego a recommended burger joint. Of course I had to choose a local delicacy, so I ordered the “Cusquena Hot”, a spicy alpaca burger and washed it down with Pisco Sours.
I did a bit of shopping but the altitude and traveling was getting to me, so went for an early sleep.
The next morning I enjoyed a buffet style breakfast at the hotel.
After which I met Nat and Ben at the Llamapath office. This is the tour company that we are doing our Lares trek with.
Then we had some time to explore Cusco. Once the largest city in all of Peru, it is now the tourist capital of the country. The entire old town is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Plaza de Armas
This is the main square in the center of Cusco. Like most city square, it is surrounded by important or historic buildings. Stores and banks flank one side, while churches hold the other.
Cathedral of Santo Domingo
This is the main cathedral of the city built 1560- 1654. It is interesting to note that the main building material were stones taken from Saqsaywaman, an Incan structure up the hill.
Church of the Society of Jesus
Build on the foundations of an Incan palace, this church was started in 1576. It is known as a great example of colonial baroque style with its carved stone.
For lunch we went to El Encuentro a vegetarian restaurant and met up with two friends who just happened to return from the Inca Trail.
The service was a bit slow but the food was tasty as far as vegetarian food goes. They told us about their experiences on the hike and gave us some tips.
After lunch I went for a nap as I was feeling light headed with the lack of oxygen.
At 6 p.m. the Llama path team came to the hotel bar and explained what to expect on the tour and collect the balance of the payment.
After the info session, we had dinner at the hotel restaurant. The chef also gave us a special learning experience and taught us how to cook two specialties, creviche and lomo saltado.
We sampled the creation and it tasted even better than its extravagant presentation!
At the end of the night we wandered a few of the stores and markets to purchase some last minute supplies. We got some essentials like ponchos, alpaca sweaters and hats.
Finally I took a long hot bath to relax and enjoy the luxury while I still had it. The Lares trek starts tomorrow!