|Landing into Cuzco from Lima|
|Cuzco main square from our Hotel room|
|Our first meal in Perú -Veg Sandwiches|
and Orange and Papaya juices at Organika
|The Main Cathedral (left) and Basilica|
at the Plaza de Armas in Cuzco
|Inside the Koricancha temple|
Convent of Santo Domingo above
|Saksaywaman from distance|
|With an Alpaca at Saksaywaman|
Our next 3 stops were smaller Inca ruins in the same area: Q'enqo, a religious center dedicated to the adoration of the Earth and Puca Pucara - A military control center.
Day 3 (Ollantaytambo via the sacred valley): For this day, we had booked a taxi to take us to a small town about 70 km from Cuzco, names Ollantaytambo, which is the start of the traditional inca trail to machu picchu and also, the station for the train to Aguas Calientes near the base of Machu picchu.
We had deceided to take the route via Chincheros, Moray and Maras salts plains. Our first stop was the Chincheros textile market, where we were explained the weaving process a little bit, while sipping on hot cocoa leaves' tea. Chincheros is the center of weaving in Peru. It is home to the Interpretation Center of Andean Textiles. Local women entertain tourists with weaving demonstrations. The women will show how they produce different colors for the wool they spin and weave (video above).
|Chinchero ruins with terraces|
|Drive through the sacred valley|
struction of many aqueducts and terraces, many of them still in use today. The terraces were built for farming and agricultural purposes. The soil of Chinchero is some of the most rich and fertile in the Sacred Valley. The land is used to produce excellent potatoes.
|Moray archaeological site|
Our next stop was the Moray archaeological site. The purpose of these circles is uncertain, but their depth, design, and orientation with respect to wind and sun creates a temperature difference of as much as 15 °C (27 °F) between the top and the bottom. Speculation about the site has led to discussion about Moray as an Inca agricultural experiment station.
|Maras - Inca salt mines|
We were then dropped off at our hotel in Ollantaytambo.
|Train ride to Machu Picchu|
|The town of Aguas Calientes|
We were picked up at the station by a person from hotel, Tierra viva, where we were to spend two nights. That evening we met up with our private guide at 7 pm at the hotel, and he explained us the plan for the next day.
|Huanya Picchu in the background|
A 15th-century Inca citadel situated on a mountain ridge 2,430 metres (7,970 ft) above sea level. Built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472), it is the most familiar icon of Inca civilization. It was declared a Peruvian Historic Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. In 2007, it was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in a worldwide Internet poll.
|Machu picchu from the top of|
|Stairs up Huanya picchu|
The climb down was relatively easier, and after another guided tour through the lower part of the site, we went out the same entrance we came in, after spending about 5 hours at the sites. The bus ride down had a 1 hour queue, but we had not booked the train back the same day, as most of the folks, so we were not in a rush.
Please note: Machu Picchu tickets get sold out months in advance, and the new rules, which took effect on July 1st, allow you to visit the site once in either 7 to 12 or 12 to 5 window. There is only 1 restroom at the site, which is at the entrance, so it's best to use it before entering. A valid passport is necessary for the visit. You can also get a machu picchu stamp there, on the passport, if you want.
|A side view of the Ollantaytambo ruins|
|The Ollantaytambo ruins|
|The Unfinished Wall of |
Six Monoliths at the Sun Temple
|Top view from the Ollantaytambo ruins|
Next day morning, we took the collectivo (Shared taxi) directly to Cuzco for 10 soles/person.
|Terraces of Pisac|
|Ruins of Pisac|
|Inca valley at Pisac|
|View from Pachacuteq Monument|
PS: Round trip taxi from Cuzco to Pisac was about 90 soles.
1) The Pachacuteq Monument (Monumento Pachacuteq) sits on a roundabout on Avenida del Sol, Cusco. The monument is actually a tower museum dedicated to this great Inca Pachacuteq Yupanki. A huge figure stands on top of this six story tower that looks over the Cusco region. The sculpture was created by Cusqueñan sculptor Fausto Espinoza Farfán.
2) Museo Historico Regional: It offers to the visitors a beautiful collection of archaeological objects from cultures pre-Inca and Inca, as well as a select collection of colonial paintings that shows the success of the artists from Cuzco.
3) Museo de sitio del Qoricancha: This was a bit of a disappointment . A bare bones place that is in poor shape with minimum information regarding the Incas.
4) Museum of Contemporary Art
Evening, we took the 3 hour, Avianca flight to Bogotá, Colombia. After landing, doing immigration, and taking a 30 minutes uber to our Airbnb apartment, in the La candelaria area, we slept off for the day.
|Plaza de Bolivar|
|Museo del Oro|
|View from Cerro Monserrate|
Day 10 (Bogotá): The last day, we took it light, as we had an early morning flight back home the next day. We did a morning ride to Cerro Monserate, which gives you a 360 degree view of the city. The ride in a cable car is about 3.5 USD/Person one-way and takes 2 minutes. If you go on a clear day, it makes you realize just how big the expanse of this city is.
We felt two days was sufficient time to feel the ambiance of one of the most antique city centers in Latin America.
This brought to an end an amazing week and half in the Andean region of South America. Machu Picchu and the Inca Valley, of course being the highlight of the whole trip, which we can now cross off our bucket list.
What businesses did we use?
Hotels: Wara Wara, Kamma Guest house, Tierra Viva
Transport: https://officialcuscotaxi.com/ and Peru Rail
Tours: Valencia, Free Bogotá tour