Friday, 18 November 2016

Cusco (or Cuzco)

DAY 1 - After an 8-hour overnight flight from Toronto to Lima, I caught an early flight from Lima to Cusco. The flight time was about one hour. From Cusco airport, I took a taxi to Hostal El Triunfo. The taxi ride was about 20 minutes and cost US$10.

Hostal El Triunfo is centrally located, steps away from the Plaza de Armas. My room with private bathroom was clean, bright and quiet. The front desk staff spoke English and were helpful with local tour bookings and general inquiries. My room rate included breakfast which consisted of basic hot and cold choices, coffee, juices, and cocoa leaf tea (mate de coca), known to help counteract some of the effects of altitude sickness. After breakfast, I stayed in my room to rest for a few hours.

In the afternoon, I walked to Jack’s Cafe to have lunch then started to explore the Plaza de Armas. The weather was sunny and cool. Cusco is at an altitude of 3400m (11,152 ft) above sea level so the air feels thinner, dryer, and it is more difficult to breathe. Even though my walk was short, I noticed how my heart seemed to beat faster, and I had to adjust to a slower pace.

Cusco was the historic capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th until the 16th century Spanish conquest. UNESCO declared Cusco a World Heritage Site in 1983. My first impression of Cusco: A lovely city, with ancient Inca walls, Spanish-styled balconies and red tile roofs. Lots of history and beautiful architecture to explore.

Here are some pictures taken around the historic Plaza de Armas. Click to enlarge them.

Plaza de Armas, Cusco
Cusco Cathedral
Church of the Society of Jesus in Cusco
Narrow and hilly street to San Blas district, Cusco
I stopped by one of the pizzerias in the Plaza to have dinner and enjoyed the views. Upon returning to the Hostal, I booked my Cusco City Tour for Day 2 afternoon and Sacred Valley Tour on Day 3 at the front desk.

Hostal El Triunfo front desk
Next post: Cusco City Tour.

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