Day 11: Being too excited and quite nervous to see Machu Picchu at the right time.
The previous night I took a train from Ollantaytambo and at midnight I finally arrived in Aguas Calientes (=Hot Waters). Right, it’s not Machu Picchu yet. It was absolutely dark outside, only strong street lamps blinded the lights. I came out and made my first step there.
Day 8. Arriving in the greatest city of Peru Cusco, going sightseeing and enjoying its unique atmosphere…
You’re welcome to see the video of one of the previous days with the view of the lake and pure nature full of harmony and calmness on my YouTube channel.
After the boat trip to the islands of Titicaca, we’ve returned to Puno to spend several more hours there and have dinner. We asked the owners of our hotel to save our bags till night, so we won’t care it with us or pay for an extra night. The bus to Cusco leaves Puno at 10 pm. and arrives in the city at 4.30 am.
To tell you the truth, the bus ride wasn’t enough to sleep enough even with enough comfort provided by Cruz del Sur company. From the bus terminal, we took a taxi with a quite affordable price that dropped us next to our pre-booked hostel.
I’ve chosen one of the cheapest central hostels with the highest rate on Booking and it was great! Literally one of the best hostels I’ve stayed in and the best during my whole Peru trip. It’s located 10 minutes walking from the central square of the city and is very convenient. Hence, totally recommended: Ukukus hostel.
Even if the check-in time at the hostel starts at 12 pm, we were kindly invited to arrive later and chill in the common space. During this time I took a hot (thank God!) shower, cooked breakfast, studied Spanish (remember, had an exam after the trip?)… Did everything I wanted actually and even petted a cat. What could be better?
The staff was super lovely and explained to us how to orient in the city, recommended excursions, restaurants. The laundry service wasn’t quick enough so I wasn’t able to use it. Ukukus hostel is really (and I mean it) popular among tourists, so make sure to reserve it in advance, as I couldn’t book the second night there, when I spontaneously decided to stay in Cusco for one more day.
The first place to visit was the market close to the centre, where I bought local fruits for breakfast. After I saw this gorgeousness:
It made me fall in love with Cusco. Such a calm and unique atmosphere! Something really special is simply in the air of this city. It’s pretty touristic, of course. But you don’t feel the rush, you see local people, you get a positive attitude (because you’re a tourist that most likely to spend your money there, but still)… Well, yes. The last point about money just hits the mark. There are tens if not hundreds of tourist agencies that offer, sometimes quite busily, their services and excursions. At some point, it becomes very annoying.
Well, yes. The last point about money just hits the mark. There are tens if not hundreds of tourist agencies that offer, sometimes quite busily, their services and excursions. At some point, it becomes very annoying.
Traditionally, we took a free walking tour to get the whole picture of the city. We were actually late to the start point in the middle of the central square, so we have to look for a group of tourists. A lot of history was included in the tour, the information I didn’t know and would be hard to find. And the most priceless (for me) that besides was expressed a personal attitude towards the history, some events and their influence.
All in all, after 1.5 hours of walking around the city we reached the highest point of our route. The view of the city, its red roofs and endless streets conquered my heart. It looks so complete and united. It looks better than any other city of Peru from above.
I was definitely satisfied with the tour and the quality of it: very informative, entertaining and helpful. Totally recommendable: Freewalkingperu.
The final point of the excursion was the restaurant Manka, where we tried pisco and got discount cards for dinner. Later that day we walked around the centre of Cusco, had an enjoyable seviche at the restaurant and went back to the wonderful hostel…
Day 4. Moving from the Ica desert to Arequipa city.
You’re welcome to see the video of this beautiful day with the ocean view, penguins, sea lions and endless desert sands on my YouTube channel.
Luckily the bus was comfortable for that long ride and early in the morning, we arrived in a second most populous city. The only desire was to take a hot shower. I didn’t book a hostel in advance so we just picked up from ones that were offered by promoters at the bus station. I had some prejudice about it, but at the end, I fully enjoyed the choice — Boothy Hostel Arequipa.
The same as in Lima, we took a tour. This time it was bus city tour that gave us a perfect idea of Arequipa. It appeared to be a very calm and vast city. With a volcano. Pretty unusual for me as I’ve never seen them before. Gets you some images of explosion? Never mind, nothing happened 😀
During the tour, we’ve visited the top touristic places: an alpaca farm, the highest point to observe the city and the famous historical Yanahuara District. But the thing I remember the most is when we stopped in the middle of the bridge over a river and I looked down from the second floor of our bus. Shock and panic! I couldn’t breathe or move until the time we passed it. Fortunately, I was able to film a little and take a picture:
I can’t highly recommend this bus tour as it wasn’t fascinating, but it gives a great chance to see quite distant attractions and parts of the city that would be inconvenient to go to.
After the city tour that took us about 3 hours we went to see the Historical Centre of the City (“Plaza de Armas”, yup, in every city of Peru) to book a tour for the next day. We stayed 6 blocks from the main square that was pretty comfortable to walk up there.
My main goal that night was to find a very comfortable and very ethnic pair of boots as my sneakers were driving me crazy. Mine cost about $25. A big surprise was to see a Starbucks coffee shop in the Historical Centre that was a relief. I had my Spanish exam in 10 days so I had to prepare for a little. Having a big cup of coffee in Starbucks I was making my homework.
Two hours later I moved to a small cafe on one of the prettiest streets near the centre.For the first time, I tried Coca tea ($3-4 per cup) that supposedly helps overcome altitude sickness. And that was something rather interesting. Later it became one of my favourite drinks so that I bought several coca leaf tea bags and brought it home to Russia. Surprisingly there were no problems exporting it. Just in case they gave me a special paper saying who when and where bought those tea bags.
Homework: Done. Coca tea: drunk. => Party time in the hostel…
Last year I had two weeks of summer vacations and a big desire to visit Peru. As usual, my goal was to see the most of what I could, as I never know if I have a chance to go back one day. This is how one of the most memorable journeys started! (You’re welcome to see a video about the beginning of the trip on my YouTube channel. SUBSCRIBE! <3)