Booked my trip to Machu Pichu thru these guys and couldn't recommend them enough. They told me not to do the more expensive tour that I planned originally because it wasn't worth the extra money, so did themselves out of a big sale, but the one they did sell me was exactly what I wanted. They also sold me good value travel insurance, which paid out quickly when my camera was nicked.
I recommend taking a pair of flip flops or sandals to wear after your day of trekking - it's far more pleasant than keeping your sweaty boots on! Additionally, take more money than you think you'll need, as there is water and beer to be bought en route, and you'll want to be generous with your tips for the porters and guides.
A small and simple hostel with friendly staff who can't do enough to help you. I ended up being taken into hospital while I was staying here and they were fantastic. Pay 10 s/ extra for a heater if you visit in winter.
Stay overnight in Aguas Calientes and get the first bus up the mountain in the morning (5.30am). It really is worth being there for sunrise and before the hoards arrive. Fantastic sight. Expect to be wowed and want to stay all day.
Take water with you as they don't stop you taking it in and you will need it up there. The cafe sells water but at vastly hiked costs. Just remember to take your rubbish home with you.
Up a mountain!
Fab food, clean and tasty and excellent pisco sours!
Totally agree with the recommendation for travelling from Celendin to Leyembamba: awesome scenery for those willing to endure the slow, less-travelled road. This part of Peru gets very little traffic compared with the southern areas.
Cuesta San Blas 525, San Blas
Take a taxi up to Tambo Machay and then walk down back to Cuzco through all the ruins to end up by the big statue.
You don't need a guide - it'll take you all day - and there's food stalls on the way. We sheltered from the midday sun in one and drank beer and watched football.
At the end of the 3rd day of the Inca Trail, you may find yourself sipping a beer at the only bar on the trail. Should your guide appear and offer to take you to see Winaywayna, a nearby Inca site, make sure you go.
Just 5 minutes from the bar, a tree lined path opens out on a magnificent crescent shaped terrace, with Inca buildings clinging to its steps.
Complex channels, guide water through and around the building. These channels combined practical functionality with religious and spiritual requirements.
The terrace faces Mount Veronica and the view is stunning on a good day.
Few people go to this site, but it is a real shame to miss it.
If you would like to see some pictures, go to webplaza.pt.lu/denniss/globetrotters/entry36-tg.html
Hare Krishna-run Govinda vegetarian restaurants are found all over Peru.
Vegetarians do not get surprise meat on their plates, and for £1 per set meal, budget travelers will have difficulty finding a cheaper place to fill their tummies.
Lima: Schell 634, Miraflores / Jirón Callao 480, central Lima.
Cuzco: Espaderos 128.
Arequipa: Jerusalen 505
Puno: Deustua 312.
And in other cities in Peru.
Do you remember seeing a green finger-like mountain in the background of most Machu Picchu pictures? The mountain is Huayna Picchu (also called Wayna Picchu) and there are stairs going right to the top of it. If you want an alternative view of the famous Inca site, climbing up is a must.
The climb takes about an hour but the view will stay in your mind for the rest of your life. The Incas built their cities in the shapes of different animals. Look down at the condor shape of Machu Picchu, and don't forget to bring a packed lunch and some water.
Nearest station Aguas Calientes. Stay overnight in Aguas Calientes to allow more time than on an average day-trip from Cuzco.
Pisac is a rural, colonial market village 32km north-east of Cuzco. On Sundays the market fills up with bus-loads of tourists on souvenir shopping day-trips. However, Pisac is worth an overnight stay if you have the time. Arrive early on Saturday and book a room on one of the many small hotels facing the main market square.
Saturday is a quiet time to look through what the market has to offer: weavings, ceramics, paintings, woolen clothing including ponchos, etc.
You can sit back on one of the cafes by the square and watch the locals in their traditional costumes.
In the evening all the stalls are taken apart only to be put up again at dawn.
Make sure to get up early enough to see the spectacle of the square coming back to life. Walk around the impressive Inca ruins of Pisac in the morning to enjoy them before the crowds and to see them bathe in a beautiful orange light.
There are regular buses from Cuzco to Pisac and back. Enquire about times in Cuzco.
One of many companies providing guided tours and equipment for the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. The guides were brilliant - helpful, friendly, knowledgable and introduced us to our porters.
The chef and the food were first class - better than in any resaurant in Peru.
A small number of simple, homely rooms surround a beautiful courtyard in which weary travellers escape from the bustle of Cuzco.
The hostel is impeccably run by the most friendly and welcoming staff who are ready to rustle you up delicious pancakes and coffee.
The Dutch owner set up the B&B as a fundraising venture for the vast amount of street children she now helps. Staff are also on hand to offer hints and tips. Tours of the children’s centre are also recommended to offer you the alternative view of a city which is so dominated by tourism.
Lovely, cosy little restaurant in San Blas owned by a Canadian lady serving amazingly rich and tasty dishes. I'd recommend the medallions, from what I remember you get a beautiful cheesy mash with it.
I lived in Cusco for a year and this place was always a guilty pleasure!
Carmen Bajo 169 San Blas, Cusco, Peru
This is a bakery that sells cakes so delicious you will come back again and again.
We bought some fresh alfajores (2 round crumbly biscuits with a layer of dulche de leche inside and a bit of coconut flakes on the top) every day we spent in Cusco.
They also have a range of savoury and sweet tarts, hot drinks and breads. Eat in or take away.
The shop is owned by a religious order who looks after orphan girls.
Cuesta de San Blas 579
On the way up to San Blas church, on the left hand side of the road. I think they are closed on Sunday.
A lovely, atmospheric little hotel about 15 minutes walk from Plaza de Armas. Set up by a Dutch woman about 20 years ago to help raise funds to educate and house the local street children.
Each room is named after one of the kids she adopted. After school the kids knock on the door and the staff give them some bread. It's cheap, comfortable and clean.
This is the best bar in Cuzco (after much extensive research!!). It serves amazing daquaris in every flavour under the sun and the steaks are huge! They also serve amazing roast veg!
The best bit is the decor, half is covered with blue skies, clouds, cherubs etc and the other half of it is red leather, rubber and fetishy!
The sofas are actually old-fashioned iron bedsteads and the tables are old baths with glass tops with real live fish living in them. The service is amazing and the owner and his four boxer dogs are just the nicest people in the world!
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