A popular way to visit tourist magnet Machu Picchu is via a multi-day trek with the primary treks being:
Inca Trail: the most expensive and prestigious route, often requires booking several months in advance
Salkantay Trek: an alternative route that can be hiked independently
Inca (or Inka) Jungle Trek: a hybrid, activity based trek staying in hostels instead of tents
I chose the Inca Jungle Trek and in August 2016 enjoyed a fantastic four days with a wonderful group of people including Dale, Wian, Johann, Damian, Magali and Nicola along with super guide Jhimmy. The good food, reasonable accommodation and great value topped off the trip.
Cusco was the capital of the Incan Empire and this importance is reflected in the region’s impressive archaeological sites.
North of the city are four main sites, entry to which is included in the main Boleto Turistico del Cusco (Tourist Ticket): Tambomachay, Pukapukara, Qenqo and Saqsayhuaman. Along with smaller ruins, they make a great day hike. I enjoyed exploring the area enough to require two days.
The best way to see the sites is to take a taxi, bus or collectivo up to the furthermost site, Tambomachay, and then hike downhill back to Cusco via the other ruins.
Tambomachay includes terraced rocks and water features, the historical function of which is uncertain Continue reading →
Ollantaytambo is a popular tourist destination in the Sacred Valley of the Incas between Cusco and Machu Picchu. Despite crowds of tourists, Ollantaytambo’s impressive Incan ruins are worth exploring.
From Pisac, in August 2016, Xindi, Lina and myself followed the French traveller in and out multiple buses before eventually arriving to Ollantaytambo. Like Pisac, entrance to Ollantaytambo’s ruins is included in the main Boleto Turistica del Cusco (Cusco Tourist Ticket).
Ollantaytambo town’s Incan streets still have drains running through them
Pisac, located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas close to Cusco, makes for a wonderful half- or full-day trip. It is also a great place to relax on a longer visit. Inca Pisac, high above the modern town, contains stunning views and ruins to explore.
Getting from Cusco to Pisac is straightforward, with frequent buses from Avenida Tullumayo and collectivos from Puputi Street travelling there every day. From the modern town to Inca Pisac, one can hike or take a taxi.
Arequipa and Cusco are south Peru tourist destinations and many bus companies, including gringo favourites Cruz del Sur, Oltursa and Civa, operate the 11 hour journey between the cities.
Almost all Arequipa-Cusco buses run overnight and this suits travellers wanting to save on accommodation and maximise sightseeing. However, I highly recommend taking the day bus for the wonderful scenery and wild animals!
Five vicuña, wild relatives of the alpaca and llama, graze on the Andean plainContinue reading →
Note: see article end for 14 tips on visiting and hiking the Colca Canyon
A majestic Andean condor flying past Cruz del Condor in Peru’s Colca Canyon
One of the deepest canyons in the world, the Colca Canyon is an excellent hiking destination and a prime place to see the awesome Andean condor.
Located in Arequipa Region’s Caylloma Province, the Colca Canyon is five hours’ drive north of Arequipa city. A major tourism destination, buses, tourist vans and guided tours depart daily from Arequipa for the canyon. Continue reading →
Part of the central water fountain in Lima’s historic Plaza Mayor; the red and white flags fly in anticipation of the 28-29 July Fiestas Patrias (Peruvian national holidays)
Arequipa maybe Peru’s food capital and Cusco the country’s tourism capital but Lima is its transportation, business, dining and official capital. With one-third of Peru’s population, Lima dominates the country.
For many time-limited tourists, Lima is merely a place to transit between planes and buses. However, in a city with almost ten million people, there is much to do. Continue reading →