Today commenced the second part of my trip, Cusco. I had an early morning pickup and flew on Avianca from Lima to Cusco. It was a surprisingly good flight. The plane was larger than I expected and the descent to Cusco was pretty amazing. The view from the windows made it looked like you were able to touch the mountain peaks.
My Cusco hotel was okay. I had a small corner room, but the hotel’s location was close enough to walk to the main plaza. I also had my first taste of coca tea. It had a similar taste to green tea but slightly sweeter. It was said to help with altitude sickness. Cusco is about 12,000 feet above sea level.
I had an afternoon city tour of Cusco and the surrounding Inca sites. It was definitely better than the Lima one. The tour included the Cusco Cathedral, the Qurikancha, the best-preserved Inca ruin that now stands adjacent to a Dominican monastery, and a few more ruins just outside of Cusco. Every site was impressive and surprisingly well preserved, particularly Saksaywaman. The Spanish destroyed most of the site, but the remains further highlighted the ingenuity of the Incas when it came to engineering. It made me wonder what it would have been like if the Spanish never came to Peru.
After the tour, it was back to the hotel for me. I felt a bit ill so I took a nap. I wasn’t sure if it was altitude sickness or a combination of other factors but thankfully I felt better after I slept. Pity I didn’t get to enjoy Cusco more but I will make up for it when I return on Wednesday.