Acclimatising in Cusco

We traveled to Cusco in style, choosing a cheaper bus company but taking a first class seat in the VIP section. Instead of a two person bus seat we each had a separate arm chair and could extend our chairs almost all the way back. It was probably the best sleep I’ve had on a night bus and I found myself actually feeling comfortable which was a first.

Making the most of our first day in Cusco we boarded a public minibus, the “collectivo”, to take us to Pisac. We were greeted by a small, colourful town with a large market taking up the main square and a couple of the surrounding streets selling all types of clothing made of llama or alpaca wool and general souvenirs. With each stall selling the same products in various colours, almost too similar to spot the difference, we found it mildly overwhelming and ended up only going through a small portion of the rows.

The Pisac ruins were our first taste of Incan history and without a guided tour I can’t say we learnt much more than we knew in the first place. It was interesting to walk around the trail and poke in and out of something that came before us so long ago. The walking tour around Cusco provided us with a bit more information around the history but I think I spent more time playing with the stray dogs throughout the streets than learning.

I really enjoyed walking the streets of Cusco and seeing what the various street vendors have on offer. Consuming more street churros than I’ve had restaurant churros, as well as trying to resist the urge to buy general snacks, freshly squeezed juices, and laughing at the pointless crap getting sold. It’s a world of convenience and something I’ll miss heading back to the western world, needing a real shop or convenience store to purchase what I need and spending more than I should in order to receive it.

Cusco is a beautiful, colourful and colonial looking city with something happening wherever you look. You could spend days here without getting bored, with various day tours on offer or simply walking around each unique neighbourhood to pass the time, stopping by the myriad of cafes available. It was the perfect base for acclimatising before the much anticipated Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu.