If you read part 1, you might be wondering why there is no mention of the holy grail of Peru tourism, which also happens to be one of the 7 wonders of the world. I am, of course, talking about Machu Picchu. This is an Incan citadel set in the Andes at an altitude of about 8,000 feet. It is, to put is succinctly, breathtaking!
There are several ways to get to Machu Picchu. The strenuous one is to do the 4-day trek from Cuzco. The more manageable way is what we did – go there from a place called Aguas Calientes. There is a picturesque train ride from Cuzco to Aguas Calientes. Once there, tour buses leave for Machu Picchu twice a day – morning and afternoon. We took the morning tour and to see the early morning rays of the sun illuminate Machu Picchu is a sight that will never leave my mind. Feast your eyes!
There are several hikes in Machu Picchu, the idea being that the more physically fit you are, the higher you can go and the better the view you can get of the ruins. There are also tours within the ruins themselves for those fascinated by history and the ways in which people lived 600 years back. We did the full thing and were exhausted at the end, but mentally uplifted. We also got passport stamps at the end as an extra touch of swag!
Other aspects of Peru
Peru has a lot of alpacas, which are like a cross between sheep and llamas. Not surprisingly, alpaca meat is commonly available at restaurants. Another food which I tried for the first time in Peru is guinea pig. They literally take a whole guinea pig and serve it to you. For those of a somewhat finicky disposition, you can choose to have it served without its head. As for drinks, I fell in love with pisco sour – a Peruvian alcoholic drink. If you ever go to Chile or Peru, make sure to try it out. There is another popular drink to combat altitude sickness – coca tea. And finally, the currency. Peru uses soles, around 10 of which make 3 USD. We converted dollars to soles and took them in cash on our trip, which I’ll recommend as opposed to converting it in Peru.