Tuesday, September 23, 2014

2014 - Peru Day 1-2 (Cusco)

Today we begin our trip to Peru! This trip will be with Allison, Sharon and myself.  Sharon will be doing a shorter version of our trip since she doesn't have enough vacation left. Allison and I will be going from Sept 5 - 22.

We plan to do the 4 day Inca Trail and we will spend a week in the Amazon rainforest. The remainder of the time will be to explore the cities (Cusco and Lima) and acclimatize to the altitude (Cusco is roughly 3,400m / 11,200ft above sea level).

Flying to Cusco is a long long trip and it does make me realize that I have very little ability to sleep outside of something that I am comfortable on.

Our flight out of Toronto was at 11:30am with a layover in Miami with our final destination being at Lima with an arrival time of 9:30pm.  Since our flight out of Lima to Cusco is at 6:40am we decided to just stay at the airport since we would lose a lot of time traveling to a hotel and back to only sleep a few hours.  The food court is a nice area to stay at if you decide to overnight at the airport.  We were able to do security check at 1:30am. So we did not need to stay at the food court for too long.  After the security check you can just sleep while waiting for your flight (there were a number of people doing this).

Allison, myself, and Sharon at the Plaza De Armas (Main Square)

I coordinated with hotel to get a taxi for us. For some reason the taxi shuttle did not know I was the passenger but knew Allison was... 20 soles got us from the airport to our hotel in Cusco (near the main square).  We are staying at Hostel Wara Wara.  Even though it is called a Hostel, every room has it's own private washroom.  It cost us $65 USD a night and is a short 5 minute walk to the main square (plaza de armas).

Cusco looks like a Spanish town with the known red clay roofs. During the day we went to Divina Rosa for lunch. It was recommended on TripAdvisor and by the hotel. 12 soles gets you a salad, soup, entree, lemonade, and a simple dessert. The value is there but the food was just okay.

We went to pay the remaining deposits for our tours and we wandered the city a bit. We visited a random shop in an alley that reminds me of pacific mall. Rows of shops that sell you the same thing, alpaca (probably fake) clothing and random souvenirs.

Souvenir Shops

The Mercado (market) San Pedro is a nice detour and is not far from the main plaza (plaza de armas). It has juice stands, meats stands, cheese, bread stands, fruits and many more. Worth a visit.

Sample of Fruits at Mercado San Pedro

We stopped at La Bondiet for a snack. We had a slice of cake for 6 soles. We had the moka cake which I thought was nice although the girls said the cake was a little dry.

Sample of cakes available at La Bondiet

For dinner we went to Inka Grill, we ordered the guinea pig (cuy), alpaca steak, aji de gallina (a shredded chicken dish) and andean causita (a mashed potato dish with smoked trout and avocado).  The food was okay, nothing exceptional and fairly pricey.  The total bill was 188 sols.

Alpaca Steak

Aji de Gallina (shredded chicken in Peruvian sauce)

Roasted Guinea Pig

Andean Causita

Tomorrow we organized a taxi driver to take us around the major sites of Cusco.

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