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.
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 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.
Much of the stonework in Cuzco has been standing for almost a thousand years. It’s remarkable.
We quickly became accustomed to seeing alpacas and llamas pretty much everywhere. They’re totally adorable.
We had a tour guide take us to the local market. It was fantastic!
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.
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).
Once you leave Cuzco and head toward Machu Picchu, you travel through the area called The 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.
Further into the valley, at Ollantaytambo, there is a tiny, yet vibrant village that’s been inhabited since the 13th century.
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.
Next week, I will share our Machu Picchu experiences!
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