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!
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
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.
Besides the obvious walk through the stones, go up the small hill right oposite the archeological site and behind it you will find a nice slide of stone and a small field away from guides and tourists! Great for a picnic or siesta.
Sacsayhuaman, take a taxi from the main square in Cuzco to the site, 5 min from Cuzco, don't pay more than S/.5 and get the taxi driver to come and pick you up later, for another S/.5. You need a ticket to get in, S/.35 but gets you into more than 8 other sites.
A symbol of the clash between the Incas and the Spaniards, Qoricancaha was once the religious centre for the Incas and legend has it that the “Court of Gold” was so named because the area was literally covered in the stuff when the conquistadors arrived. Imagine what happened next.
The Spaniards actually built a church on top of the old walls (Santo Domingo), but when an earthquake brought some of the European-engineered walls crashing down, there stood the famous Inca stonework intact underneath.
A truncated Temple of the Sun at one end of the church overlooks a grassy area, below which is an interesting little museum displaying skulls that were deformed by Inca surgeons. A must, hence the removal of Qoricancha from the Cuzco Tourist Ticket...
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 8:30 am – 5:30 pm; Sunday 2-5 pm;
Plaza Santo Domingo;
tel: 51 84 222-071;
Prices: Not included in Tourist Ticket. Costs S/6 for adults, S/3 for students
For those who like their religious experiences dark and sinister, Cuzco’s cathedral is for you.
Built on the site of an Inca temple, but clearly not in worship of the Sun God, very little light manages to penetrate the gloom. Huge canvases from the Cuzco School of Art depict the bloody deeds of saints and sinners, seemingly painted from a palette containing only black and red.
Check out the ominous silver altar, adorned with mirrors which do little to brighten the scene. You can taste the history, written in Inca blood.
One chink of light is the painting of the Last Supper, Andean-style – with Jesus and the Apostles sitting down to a delicious platter of … guinea pig.
Plaza de Armas
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