Making the journey out to Cusco is necessary in order to visit Machu Picchu. When I first planned this part of the trip, I had this image of Cusco in my head: an ancient city that was small and had winding roads like an Italian village. I had no idea how modern and idyllic the city would be. I decided to use points and stay at the JW Marriott. This was an excellent idea. This part of the trip would truly be a Planes, Trains, and Automobiles experience.
I decided to use Kantu Tours for my excursions. They helped me plan a four day adventure through the Sacred Valley and Inka Trails and up Machu Picchu. I strongly recommend them. The last day was a let down, but the other three were home runs. If you do end up going, I would recommend Pisac, Machu Picchu, Cusco City Tour, then either do a trip to Rainbow Mountain or do an Ayahuasca retreat. Moray and the salt mine ended up being disappointing and the tour was all in Spanish.
Okay enough with the negative. Kantu did some awesome planning and took care of me. It is difficult to go through and describe everything. I will probably do a later post to further these pieces, but for now, I want to get the pictures out there
Day One: City Tour (Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo, Puca Pucara, y Tambomachay)
I was picked up from my hotel and taken on a city tour. I got to see some sights around the village. This was a good way to get acclimated to the new city. I had a Small World moment, when I was talking to the father and daughter in front of me and learned that they are from Memphis. That night I had beers at Nuevo Mundo then I hit up the Museo de Pisco for a couple pisco concoctions and some live music.
Day Two: Sacred Valley (Pisac, Urubamba, Ollyatambo, y Chinchero)
The second day, we drove deeper into the valley and got to learn about the Inkan (Quechua) people. I lucked out again and met an amazing couple on the bus. We spent the day adventuring.
Day Three: Machu Picchu y Aguas Calientes
This was the big show. I took a ride to Ollyatambo, then a train to Aguas Calientes, then a bus to the mountain, then a hike to the ruins. It was outstanding. It was unbelievable. It was beautiful. You have to visit this in your lifetime. Trust me. As I waited for the train, I was even able to have some craft beers at Incontri del Pueblo Viejo.
Day Four: Maras Moray Salineras
The actual scenery at these sights is pretty wonderful. The tour just frustrated me. I was promised a small group, English tour. I got a medium-sized, Spanish tour. Kantu took care of me in the end. But I am just sad I missed some other cool stuff. When I got back to Cusco, I had a meal at Chicha. Then I had some more beers at Nuevo Mundo. Then I finished the night at La Bodega.
I can’t believe I waited this long to visit Machu Picchu. It is life-changing experience. I cannot recommend it enough. My life is better now that I have visited.