Chris's rant fest travel blog

Cuzco from hilltop 1

Cuzco from hilltop 2

Cuzco from hilltop 3

Cuzco town square

May day Parade 1

May day parade 2

Cuzco town flag. Note similarity to gay pride emblem.

Brad @ Inca museum

Steep Cuzco street

Cuzco square at night

Pisco sour

A young boy and his Llama

Although the main reason for going to Cuzco was to go on the Inca Trail and visit Machu Picchu, we needed to go a couple of days early to acclimatise to the extreme altitude. Cuzco is around 4000 metres above sea level, meaning that as soon as you get off the plane mild altitude sickness sets in - effectively an unpleasant combination of dizziness, shortness of breath and although we didn't get it, sometimes nausea and vomiting.

As a result, the first 2 days were spent wandering around Cuzco, looking in the markets, climbing small hills and sleeping (we overnighted in Lima airport rather than taking on the army of dodgy taxi drivers outside the front door).

The other striking thing about Cuzco and Peru generally is just how poor almost everyone is. You know you are in a poor country when the NZ dollar buys more of the local currency and makes it feel cheap!

Haven't really had any problems with street crime so far, worst has been aggressive street hawkers (aged anywhere from 5 upwards), selling all manner of products on the streets at any hour. If you don't keep moving you can get mobbed by them, stuck in a corner or placed in another somewhat uncomfortable situation. Most popular products seem to be postcards, shoe shine, chocolate, disturbing finger puppets and water colour paintings - although restaurants and night clubs also hawk aggressively at some stages of the day. Somewhat amusing when a street hawker tries to convince you that your shoes need a polish when you are in fact wearing a pair of Teva sandals! Similarly when they try sell you chocolate even though you are already holding a bar...

Then it was on to the Inca Trail...

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