I traveled to Peru with my daughter earlier this summer. Last week, I shared some photos of our time in Lima. Today I’d like to show/tell you about what it was like in and around the city of Cuzco.

The airplane ride from Lima to Cuzco took just over an hour and it was stunning. It was a very clear day and there were gorgeous mountain views the whole ride.

airplane view of Peru

We were super excited about getting to Cuzco because so many people had told us we would LOVE it. They were absolutely right: we did!

cuzco cathedral_

Cuzco is a small city flanked by mountains. It was the capital of the Incan Empire and is positively overflowing with history, tradition, and charm. It’s truly a spectacular place.

Cuzco | Healthy Green Kitchen

Peruvian woman | Healthy Green Kitchen

Cuszco, Peru | Healthy Green Kitchen

Cuzco Vines | Healthy Green Kitchen

Cuzco cathedral | Healthy Green Kitchen width=

Fuschia | Healthy Green Kitchen

Hazy Cuzco | Healthy Green Kitchen

Much of the stonework in Cuzco has been standing for almost a thousand years. It’s remarkable.

Cuzco street | Healthy Green Kitchen

We quickly became accustomed to seeing alpacas and llamas pretty much everywhere. They’re totally adorable.

Baby alpaca | Healthy Green Kitchen

alpaca | Healthy Green Kitchen

baby llama | Healthy Green Kitchen

llama | Healthy Green Kitchen

alpaca | Healthy Green Kitchen

We had a tour guide take us to the local market. It was fantastic!

Cuzco market | Healthy Green Kitchen

Cuzco market | Healthy Green Kitchen

Cuzco market | Healthy Green Kitchen

Cuzco market | Healthy Green Kitchen

Cuzco market | Healthy Green Kitchen

Cuzco market | Healthy Green Kitchen

Cuzco market | Healthy Green Kitchen

Outside of Cuzco in the hills, there are a number of places to see Incan ruins of both military and religious significance. We loved exploring them, always marveling at the amazing stonework.

Sacsaywaman | Healthy Green Kitchen

Sacsaywaman | Healthy Green Kitchen

Sacsaywaman | Healthy Green Kitchen

Sacsaywaman | Healthy Green Kitchen

Peru ruins | Healthy Green Kitchen

The altitude in this area is not for the faint of heart. If you go, make sure to listen to your body and take it easy if you need to. And make sure to drink the coca tea that’s widely available (Maddie found the coca candies helpful, as well).

winnie altitude sign

Once you leave Cuzco and head toward Machu Picchu, you travel through the area called The Sacred Valley.

Peru's Sacred Valley

It’s an incredibly fertile area, which explains why the market in Cuzco is filled with such a dazzling array of produce. There’s a lovely handicraft market in Pisac. We also visited a very cool animal sanctuary, where they rehab birds and other animals from the jungle.

maddie and condor

parrots 1

parrot 3

Further into the valley, at Ollantaytambo, there is a tiny, yet vibrant village that’s been inhabited since the 13th century.

woman and boy lr

There are also more ruins: these are characterized by very beautiful, steep terraces, elaborate stonework, and structures built into the mountains. It started to rain so I didn’t take a lot of photos.

Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo

Next week, I will share our Machu Picchu experiences!

Recommended Reading:

Lonely Planet Peru (Travel Guide)
Cradle of Gold: The Story of Hiram Bingham, a Real-Life Indiana Jones, and the Search for Machu Picchu
Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time

 

16 Comments

  1. 1

    Feast on the Cheap — July 23, 2013 @ 1:48 pm

    What gorgeous photos. I cannot wait for the day I can take my son on trips like this. It’s such a big beautiful world out there

  2. 2

    Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe — July 23, 2013 @ 3:38 pm

    Stunning! You’re making me want to visit Peru!

  3. 3

    Meg @ Beard and Bonnet — July 23, 2013 @ 4:01 pm

    These are amazing pictures!! Thank you for sharing them with us.:)

  4. 4

    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — July 23, 2013 @ 4:15 pm

    I love the llamas and the market photos!

  5. 5

    Rayna — July 23, 2013 @ 5:01 pm

    Those pictures are beautiful! I’m glad you had such a good time!

  6. 6

    Angie — July 24, 2013 @ 12:29 am

    Gorgeous photos! I hiked the Inca trail years ago after first spending a few days in Cuzco to acclimate to the high altitude, it was rough! Didn’t hesitate to chew on coca leaves! Your pics bring back great memories. The steps and ruins are out-of-this-world stunning.

  7. 7

    Marisa Bergamasco — July 24, 2013 @ 12:40 am

    Dear Winnie,

    I’ve just suscribed to your newsletters. I found you thru Gourmande in the Kitchen, also a lovely blog, as yours. I am also a healthy woman, and always look for the “good for you” version of food. I wanted to share with you one of our newsletters, here’s about Peru, I run a travel agency in Buenos Aires and we offer all Sudamerica. This is just a gift for you, I hope you like it.
    http://www.m-rtours.com/newsletters/peru_a_living_legend/peru_a_living_legend.html

    I would also like to share with you my blog, I like to write and cook, it is in Spanish, but I am sure you will be able to understand the “healthy” meaning of it. I will appreciate very very much your opinion! http://cocinayletras.com

    I like your posts! Beautiful potos!

    Warmest regards,

    Marisa Bergamasco

  8. 8

    Katia — July 24, 2013 @ 1:19 am

    These are wonderful! I visited Peru in 2009 as part of my honeymoon and your photos bring back great memories. We loved Peru. Thanks very much for sharing!

  9. 9

    Suzanne perazzini — July 24, 2013 @ 3:52 am

    Lovely photos. Cuzco was a delightful surprise for us too.

  10. 10

    gluttonforlife — July 24, 2013 @ 6:23 am

    Winnie, what a great window into Peru! And the fantastic colors and vistas! I especially love the shots of indigenous women and the marketplace. Maybe you’ll tell us a little more about the local foods??

  11. 11

    France @ Beyond The Peel — July 24, 2013 @ 1:04 pm

    Amazing!!! What a beautiful place. Your post brought back so many memories. I never made it to Pisac! I was missing out.

  12. 12

    Irina @ wandercrush — July 25, 2013 @ 12:07 am

    Such a wonderful virtual journey to take from my desk. I just put up a travel post about my trip to Thailand, so I can definitely appreciate the amount of thought and time that goes into a post—especially when you’re trying to capture and convey every last drop of beauty of a place like Peru.

  13. 13

    Liz @ EatingPlaces — July 26, 2013 @ 9:47 am

    Gorgeous pictures! Thank you for sharing, I would love to visit.

  14. 14

    Nutmeg Nanny — July 29, 2013 @ 5:43 pm

    So beautiful Winnie! Ok, I’m going to sound so dumb. Does the altitude make you sick? I don’t spend a lot of time standing on mountains so I’m completely clueless :)

  15. 15

    Carol Sacks — July 29, 2013 @ 7:06 pm

    Winnie, your photos are breathtaking! Just a wonderful post.

  16. 16

    Healthy Green Kitchen Peru Part 3: Machu Picchu » Healthy Green Kitchen — July 30, 2013 @ 12:54 pm

    [...] Machu Picchu is situated on a mountain ridge, high above the funky (tiny!) town of Aguas Calientes. Unless you are hiking the Inca Trail (a 4 day experience), MP is accessible only by buses that chug up an extremely windy road. Note that MP is not at very high altitude, though: you do not experience discomfort here the way you might in and around Cuzco. [...]