When I was making this solo journey to Peru, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Honestly, I was nervous yet excited at the same time. To be fair with, I invited some of my friends on facebook but unfortunately everyone seemed so busy and no one said “yes”. Well, I’m not bitter or anything but part of me wanted to go alone. During my trip to San Francisco, I also traveled solo and it was a rad sense of accomplishment on my part. Since I have always wanted to go to Peru, I finally decided to book my ticket and just go.
This was one tiring flight, I’ve changed planes 4 times (Denver- Houston- El Salvador- Lima- Cusco) but when I arrived in Lima and hearing those loud Spanish conversation, I smiled because I know that this trip will be interesting. I was at the Lima airport around 1 am and my next flight to Cusco was not after 6:00 am so I have a 5.0 hour layover. I was too tired and sleepy but glad to find a Starbucks and used their free wifi to kill my waiting time.
I finally arrived at Cusco at 7:00 am. I stayed in this old hotel near the main plaza and the staff greeted me with hot cocoa tea. The tea is supposed to help with altitude sickness. I was really zonked out but thankful that the hotel allowed me to check in so early in the morning.
To recharge my energy, I took a nap first before exploring the city. I had a first taste of Peruvian food at El Meson de Don Tomas during lunch. Since it was my first meal in Peru, I ordered an alpaca steak. The meat was okay. It had a strong, gamey taste but very tender. It was also relaxing to hear a band playing Peruvian music on guitars and windpipes while I was enjoying my food.
Cusco, known as the historical capital of Peru has an elevation around 11,200 feet, which makes it twice as high as Denver, Colorado. This means that altitude sickness is a real worry for visitors not accustomed to the thinner air. I’m just glad I didn’t experience this altitude sickness. Machu Picchu is the highlight of this travel but there is no airport or bus terminal in the ruins so most travelers find themselves first in Cusco as it is the closest city with an airport.
I made the way to the beautiful Plaza de Armas in the center of the city. Around the plaza are two cathedrals and a lovely central park with beautiful landscape. I have to say that the whole city is impressive. It is full of cobblestone streets, narrow alleys,(leaving room for only one car) and old churches. Many of the architectures sported solid Inca- period foundations. Cusco is full of character, best describes in their flag. At quick glance you might think that it’s same flag as gay pride. Haha!
To sum up, I had a wonderful 4 –day stay in Cusco. From wandering aimlessly around the city to the adrenaline-pumped horseback riding (which I almost fell off) it truly was a remarkable place that I’ll never forget.