My weekend in Cusco

I really wanted to visit South America, and after researching a few different countries I decided on Peru. I’d seen so many pictures of Machu Picchu and I wanted to check it out for myself. So off I went in October of 2017 for 10 days. Let me just say that Peru did not disappoint and was unlike any place I’d ever seen before. Cusco has so many hidden gems so I wanted to share a few of my favorite pictures here.

After deciding on Peru I bought the Lonely Planet travel guide, and a travel memoir by Mark Adams called Turn Right at Machu Picchu. The latter definitely got me really excited about the trip and gave me a better sense of what to expect when I arrived.

Flying over the Andes Mountains

The flight from Lima, Peru to Cusco, Peru was probably the best flight I’ve ever experienced in my life. I was mesmerized by the Andes. You’re flying at 30,000 feet and the mountains feel so close to the plane! It was insane.

Checking into my Airbnb

I found a really cute apartment on Airbnb that I stayed in for two nights on my own before my group tour with Intrepid Travel started. I wanted to get there early so I could settle in, adjust to the altitude (11,152 feet!), and explore a little of Cusco on my own before we started our trek to Machu Picchu.

I really loved the design of this apartment. It felt safe and super cozy to me.
Resident kitty that greeted me on my arrival.

Exploring the Plaza de Armas

After checking in I headed out to explore the main square, Plaza de Armas. If you’re not sure where to start in a new city I’d recommend just heading to the city center as a starting point. Then you can branch off down side streets from there. The Plaza de Armas is filled with Spanish Colonial style architecture and has two main buildings, the Cusco Cathedral and the Church of the Society of Jesus.

Cusco Cathedral
Church of the Society of Jesus

Cusco from above

On my second day in town, I signed up for a half day tour of Cusco that included a bus ride up to the Sacsayhuaman ruins. This citadel is located on a steep hill that overlooks the entire city. Of course I loved the view!

San Blas Market

A two-minute walk from my Airbnb was the San Blas market. I really loved this market because all the stalls sold authentic Peruvian crafts at a very reasonable price. I bought a small watercolor painting and a bookmark as souvenirs.

Traditional attire.

San Pedro Market

If you really want to dive into Peruvian culture I’d recommend visiting the San Pedro Market. This market is enormous and threw me into sensory overload! You can literally find anything here from clothing to flowers to food. Beware, some of the sites can be a little alarming for westerners.

The streets of Cusco

I took so many pictures of the streets of Cusco. I was amazed at how steep some of them were! Walking on flat ground was already difficult for me due to the elevation, so walking up-hill was a serious physical challenge. It was such an odd feeling to get out of breath by basic tasks like walking and showering.

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more posts on my trip to Peru.

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