Dec. 19/12 – We went to Cusco (PERU) to see Machu Picchu. But Machu Picchu is such a beautiful place that it deserves its own blog, so I won’t be including anything about it here.
So, back to Cusco. Cusco’s population is only 350,000. It sits 3,400 meters above sea level (11,150 feet). With almost 2M visitors each yer, it is a major tourist destination.
The highlight for Cusco for us was definitely the river rafting. This is my 7th time and Deon’s 4th time doing white river rafting, but this time, doing the 17 km of class 3 to 4 rafting in Cusco has, by far, been the most fun for us.
The most famous food in Cusco is the guinea pig. While many foreigners think it disgusting to be eating a “pet,” it doesn’t bother me since I am Chinese and so am used to seeing it in our banquets. I had it for dinner and it was really juicy and tender. Of course, Deon immediately refused to even try it. I asked him how come he ate chicken, cows and pigs. He said that those were livestock but that most people raised guinea pigs as pets.
A week in the quiet Cusco is a great choice for some free time and for Deon to catch up with his school work after being so busy going around Bolivia. Our last South America city before going home is Lima.
One favorite tourist destination in Cusco is the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It has many famous and beautiful Inca ruins. It is called the Sacred Valley because it has some of the best lands in the region and was not a part of the Empire but the property of the Emperor or Inca himself.
The tour to Sacred Valley included the usual trip to the colorful market at Pisac, lunch in Urubamba, visit to the colorful Inca village and the fortress of Ollantaytambo where we saw the ruins on the mountain with terraces.
Ollantaytambo is an interesting place at the western portion of the Sacred Valley, about two and a half hours bus ride from Cusco. The town was built on top of original Inca foundations and is the best surviving illustration of Inca urban planning. There is a temple on the top of a steep terracing portion of the mountain that served as strong defence.
Originally posted on Amy’s travel blog: TravelwithAmy.ca