So, by now you’re starting to realise that I’m heavily backtracking here, making up for a LOT of lost time. Time spent finding a new career and new friends and a new me really! You can imagine these take precedence over blog writing… that is, until now! Now I’m really settled in. Settled into a 9-5pm job, settled into work clothing which isn’t made from Lycra and settled into the idea that looks – well – they really aren’t everything. I mentioned earlier that I took a two month sabbatical from being a personal trainer back in 2015 and now it’s time to share what’s happened! But we’ll discover that later… Firstly, let me talk you through my top tips when one might find oneself in Cuzco, although I will admit I cheated a little this time round. Because I simply can’t talk about my experience in Cuzco, without mentioning our travels beforehand. Let’s get on with it:
Visit Arequipa / Colca Canyon
I know, I know! Not technically in Cuzco… actually not in Cuzco at all. It’s it’s own city 488 kms south of Cuzco. Also known as La Ciudad Blanca (The white city.) My charming boyfriend and I (who will forever be known as Moo on this blog) started our Peruvian adventure in Lima and slowly traveled south to see as much as possible before experiencing the Inca Trail, July 2015. Arriving into Arequipa I immediately loved the place. Our pre-planning had failed us and we didn’t have much time to explore. It was ultimately a toss of the coin to trek the Colca Canyon or stay put in La Ciudad Blanca for 2 days. The canyon won and boy oh boy was it a stand out! Twice the size of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA. We opt to self guide ourselves into the canyon, stay the night and self guide our way out. At 3,500m altitude we’re hopeful our research paid off, thankfully it did. It was the most incredible short-hike I’ve ever completed and is certainly up there with one of the best. Not to be missed.
Give Jack’s Cafe a go
Not one to normally suggest you opt for American style comfort food in an unforgettable non-American location around the world, however this one certainly shook off any remnants of jet-lag or altitude sickness I had lying around. If there’s something Jack’s cafe does do – it’s a hearty meal and I for one devoured mine. Also! Irish owned, Jack’s cafe boasts to be open every day of the year, can’t beat it.
Venture up into the old quarter of San Blas
Testing my fitness on arrival into Cuzco and my subsiding altitude sickness, this little (ha!) set of stairs up into the old quarter is well worth the dawdle. Here you’ll find cobblestone streets lined with artisan shops, restaurants and cafes all happily doing their own thing without demanding your attention (that was a subtle hint to tell you it’s much quieter up there, but you got that!) The views from above are breathtaking and the high-rise mountains that surround are simply stunning. I adore the mountains, they keep secrets I’ll never understand.
Cacao in all its glory
Touristy? Yes! Delicious? Double Yes! Whether you’re a chocolate chef in the making, a life long admirer or an addict looking for your next fix (ahem, me!) there’s something here for you at the Museo de la Coco. The perfect way to soak up the Plaza de Armas on a chilly afternoon.
Trek to Machu Picchu
Of course!! Cuzco is the gateway to Machu Picchu and boy does it hum like a beating drum. Whether you’re catching a train from Cuzco or trekking or taking the jungle trek option like us (involving mountain biking, white water rafting, zip lining and trekking to Machu Picchu) believe me it’s worth it. If you’ve read ‘Turn right at Machu Picchu’ by Mark Adams or seen ANY picture of the infamous Incan site – you will not be disappointed. My advice, whichever way you get there, go early! There’s nothing better than peace, quiet and a world heritage view. Oh and you absolutely MUST trek Wayna Picchu (view pictured in header). It was bloody hard work, I won’t lie to you – but it was breathtaking in return.
There is much more to say about Peru and the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu, alas I must keep it brief. Stay tuned, for there is always more to come.
Adios y Hasta Luego (Bye and See you later)