The Town You Fly Into When Visting Machu Picchu
The town is located 350 miles SE of Lima in the Andes Mountains at 11,024 feet elevation. It takes about one hour by plane from Lima to Cusco on a Airbus 320 jet plane. Cusco the "Archaeological Capital of South America" that was once the capital of a vast Inca empire and was also known as "the City of the Sun". Major earthquakes struck Cusco in 1650 and 1950, destroying many of the colonial and republican buildings. Only the original Inca structures remained intact. It is a nice place to visit and has areas to visit both in town and on the outskirts of town. The city is nestled in a valley between mountains and is quite large. Most tours will either start and end in Cusco.
The Elevation is 11,024 feet.It does affect about 50% of the people visiting Cusco. On arrival, you are offered coca tea. Coca is an important medicinal plant. One of its most famous uses is as a treatment for altitude sickness. It helps the body make better use of the limited oxygen at the high altitudes. Symptoms range from nothing at all to a feeling of faintness, headaches and breathlessness. It is advisable not to walk too much or uphill and take some time to adjust to the altitude. The body does adjust and after a few days most would not notice anything.
We urge caution with eating and drinking the water in Peru. The nicer restaurants do use purified water for ice and you can get bottled water everywhere. We suggest bottled water for brushing your teeth and drinking and avoiding foods that are not cooked or may have been washed with tap water.
The Squares of Cusco
These offer a view to the local population and also the beautiful cathedrals and buildings that are built on the squares. The Cathedral of Cusco is very interesting as the art work in the church was done by local Indians under the guidance of the Spanish. You can see the influence of the local people in the work. The picture of the last supper shows the meal to be "guinea pig". Probably will not find that anywhere else.
The most famous and richest temple of the Inca State, located where the temple and the convent of Santo Domingo now stands. The Sun God the Inca principal deity was adored in this temple so it was orignally called Inti Canch (the House of the Sun). This is located in the main area of Cusco in close proximity to the major tourist hotels. This is a fine example of the structure of the Inca temples.
The key site in close proximity to Cusco. This is a very impressive site covering a huge area dating back to the 1460 time period. It is one of the biggest and more surprising of the Inca Monuments. Giant stone blocks make you wonder how they were transported here and moved to build the base of the structure. The base of the structure is in a zig zag pattern. The area is so large it would take hours to explore the whole complex.
Very interesting. This is when you first see the beauty of the countryside and observe the local people and their customs. This is where we first noticed the ornaments on the top of the houses. Each one is different with a different meaning. We found these quite fascinating. The people were also interesting. Some pictures of our drive in the country side are shown below.