The city of Cusco was once an ancient Inca city. Cituated at a high altitude of 3400m (11250ft) just east of the Andes. Upon arrival you can feel the thinness of the air and draw heavier breaths. The Spanish Conquistadors took over the city around 1535. Looking around you’ll see buildings built upon the stone remnants of the Incan empire. There are many Inca ruins within the city limits to see.
Cusco is a central base for many top excursions. Machu Picchu being the primary excursion why many people are here. However Cusco itself has a lot to offer.
The bus ride from Nazca to Cusco was a long journey via Arequipa. I chose the get to Cusco fast option knowing this but had done long overnight buses in the past. There were a few other doing the same ride and we had many conversations along the way. The bus did stop a few times to stretch our legs, shop, have breakfast and lunch.
Upon arrival to Cusco early evening after saying goodbyes, we all scatter via taxis in different directions. The one guy I met on the bus from Israel was in my same taxi and was dropped off at his hostel. Then I’m dropped off at the Selina Plaza de Armas.
After checking in and setting up my bed I look around the hostel. I’m here for 5 nights at $27.50 USD/night. Though one of those nights I’ll spend in Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes). It’s simpler if I just leave most of my stuff here during my 2 day Machu Picchu adventure and have a bed readu for my return.
There are some separate units for stays as well. Two of those units were for massages.
I’m in a 6-bed dorm room with ensuite bathroom.
It’s still early enough for me to walk around the area particularly after a long bus ride. The streets are charming colonial style. I see an Inka grill restaurant and tell myself I must visit it tomorrow. In OC California I went many times to a restuarant called Inka Grill and must know how this one would compare.
I notice there’s a KFC. A McDonalds, and a Starbucks but they all blend into the charming building styles around Plaza de Armas square.
The night lighting and home lights up on the surroundings hill are beautiful.
As I lay down to sleep I can still feel the air is thin and each breath seems slightly inadequate.
The next morning I have the free breakfast at the hostel. It’s a full service breakfast with different menu choices. I had thescrambled egg on toast that comes with avocado toast. ..and really good local organic coffee. It was quite delicious. Took my time with social media at breakfast. I was without WiFi for a couple days while traveling and only intermittent cell service.
There’s this women holding a baby Alpaca and another young one in tow. It’s a touristy thing but still has charm.
I see many dogs around. This one little dog was soo cute.
Taking a seat at the Inka grill for lunch I ordered something unique I wouldn’t get in U.S., the grilled Alpace. It was quite good, like steak, you can’t really tell the difference.
Center of Plaza de Armas
I love these large doors.
I’m shopping around for some supplies for my Machu Picchu trek. A water bottle, rain poncho, small backpack, bug spray and a walking stick. I’ll use these for my Amazon Jungle trekking as well.
Looking around for some afternoon coffee I find this place by Plaza de Armas with an apple tart. The coffee again was excellent as was the tart with a view.
There are these wonderful blue doors along the street of the hostel. The above blue door is directly across.
The next day I have lunch at the Andean Grill. I spotted it while walking around and the menu pictures were inviting . When I sit down I’m given a complementary welcome drink. Looking around I see what appears to be a lot of locals in the restaurant unlike the Inka Grill.
I order the Chicharon Cusqueno. Pork with golden potatoes and Peruvian corn on the cob ( the extra large kernal type). A very large plate. The total cost with the maracuya daiquiri was $17.50 USD.
After lunch I head over to Saqsaywaman ruins.