The Inca Empire
Trip Start Feb 20, 2006
53Trip End Feb 21, 2007
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To our surprise, Cusco is the most beautiful city we have visited so far. Compared to other Peruvian cities, it is a colonial gem; the main reason for this is that all the buildings and churches are built upon Inca ruins. Cusco was the Inca's capital (the name meaning "centre") located in the middle of their empire. Eventhough it is obviously very touristy, it keeps its charm, it's clean and safe with wonderful restaurants and cafes (possibly the best in South America!) and is a hub of adventure sports.
As our Inca trek was starting on the 1st of June, we had 10 days to kill. We immediately knew this wouldn't be a problem here
We spoke with the travel agency that we were using for our Inca Trail and got ourselves good discounts on other activities, which were; The Sacred Valley Tour, The Cusco City Tour, Class 3 White Water Rafting and a day mountain biking with a guide in the local Andean mountains. All of them were fantastic and we met some great people with whom we spent a lot of time with in Cusco.
Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail is the sole reason some people visit South America and it was and the top of our priority list. As you can imagine, we were raring to go come the 1st of June!
THE INCA TRAIL:
The evening before the departure, there was a group meeting where we had the chance to meet our guides and trekking partners. Marie-Claude was delighted as it turned out to be Team Canada (6 out of 10 trekkers!!) and luckily we knew immediately we were in good company for the next 4 days.
The first day was a relatively easy hike with some great information from our guide Henry regarding the Incas and their choice of location for settlement. We also got a taste of what was to come. We arrived at our lunch spot (where the porters and Chef arrive before you) to find a set table and stools, basins with water to freshen up and a cold drink waiting for us
The next three days were filled with tough trekking (especially the second day climbing to 4200m), wonderful scenery, beautiful ruins with an abundance of information from our guide, great company and loads of laughs. Our pictures should do it justice.
Machu Picchu itself is a wonder of the world and far be it from us to explain how it feels exploring these magnificent ruins...again, refer to the pictures. These few days will forever remain memorable.
After being in the Cusco region for 15 days we headed south to Puno with our traveling companions Kim and Olly who we met in Brazil and caught up with again when we arrived in Cusco ; )