The Sacred Valley of the Incas (El Valle Sagrado de los Incas) is where it all started. Inca civilization began here when Manco Capac, as the legend goes, came upon the valley from Lake Titicaca and founded the city of Cuzco. One of the greatest civilizations the world had ever seen grew from there. The valley is dotted with spectacular Incan and pre-Incan ruins, not to mention the world-renowned site of Machu Picchu and several other lost cities.
There is an unmistakable calm air that surrounds Chinchero. The small market area, church, and grassy plain that make up much of the town seem raised up amidst a circle of tall mountains, such as the snowy peak of Salkantay. It feels secure and a bit mystical. It doesn’t have any large hotels or fancy restaurants. It has retained its simple Andean character better than other towns on the Sacred Valley tourist circuit.
Juliaca is perhaps the most undesirable town in Peru. This is the definition of a third world shantytown and has very little to offer other than being a base for trips to smaller nearby towns on Lake Titicaca, the site of the Puno airport, and a stop on the rail… Read More →
The only real health issues I have had while traveling in Peru are mosquito and sand fly bites and sunburn. Nothing worse than I would find back in the United States. Keep in mind I have spent several months in the Amazon too, much of it sleeping in hammocks in… Read More →
The number of hikes available from Cuzco, Peru and elsewhere in the Sacred Valley of the Incas is baffling for anyone new to the scene. The crowds and high prices of the traditional Inca Trail have spurred the growing number of tourists that come tho the Andean city to look elsewhere to an array of alternatives, many of which are superior.
Cusco, Peru is where many travelers to Peru fly to so they can see the famed ruins of Machu Picchu. No direct flights fly to Cusco from international destinations, therefore all travelers flying into Peru have to go through Lima where they can catch any number of cheap daily flights to the Andean capital.
Ten years ago there were no good restaurants in Cusco, Peru. About five years ago came along Cicciolina, Map Café, and Inka Grill. Two years ago came Rafael Osterling’s Bistrot 370 and Gaston Acurio’s Chi Cha. Now it’s Coque Ossio’s Limo, which I consider on par with Bistrot 370 as the best restaurant in Cusco.
After courts ruled last year that luxury hotel and tour operator Orient Express’s Peru Rail had a monopoly on the rail line that connects the Andean city of Cuzco to Aguas Caliente/Machu Picchu Pueblo, a new operator has entered the picture and caused prices to drop by more than a third. Andean… Read More →
Now that McDonald’s and soon a Starbuck’s have infiltrated Cuzco’s Plaza de Armas (please boycott these), I thought it was time to paint a picture on what options there are for the foodie in the tourist bubble that is Cuzco, Peru. While pizzerias, backpacker cafes, and pubs are popular, if you only spend your money at these places you will miss out on the bounty of Andean recipes and ingredients that are right under your nose.