Our guide also recommended eating lots of garlic, apparently it good for altitude sickness too. We didn even get bit once in the jungle, but also wore full length trousers and long sleeve t shirts when on expeditions which I think was a sensible precaution.Cusco is a lovely town although the truth is there is not much to do there and I think you can see the main sights in 1 day. It main purpose beyond that seems to be a staging post for people trekking to Machu Pichu or exploring the surrounding area.On 2 of our nights there we ate at “cicciolina” and “MAP” both are guide book favourites and we enjoyed them thoroughly (think Peruvian food with an intl twist). There are loads of agencies and people on the streets offering various excursions.I saw an SAS office and as the name was familiar booked a 4hr horse riding trip through the surrounding countryside and Inca sites for 1 day, and a full day sacred valley guided bus tour for another. For 2 people the 2 trips were around $80 which was excellent value.The altititude sickness did start to affect us in Cusco (more for me than my girlfriend). It really is true that your susceptibility to it is not directly correlated to fitness.I go to the gym 3 4 times a week and consider myself very fit but found absolutely anything hard work. A 15 metre walk at anything more that a slow pace would leave me out of breath, and walking to the toilet seemed a chore. I also had headaches and on our first night projectile vomitted our dinner once back in the hotel room. Me and my gf had exactly the same meal so I don think it was the food but rather that digesting it was proving to be too much like hard work at the altitude so my body rejected it.The inca trail was absolutely fantastic, the scenery as you walk through the Andes is just stunning and we felt privileged to be there. We booked this with toms shoes wedges sale .
Overall this was a good experience and I think I would recommend them as an operator (one of the guides told me that Peru Treks, SAS, Condor, Llama Path and a couple of others I dont remember were all good operators).Well organised, the food was absolutely excellent (congrats to the chef) and the guides good fun and knowledgable.Peru treks claim they use their sleeping bags something like 15 times before replacing them. I can promise you the sleeping bags we rented had seen a lot more use than that.On the 3rd and 4th day they provided us with boiled water for drinking (prior to that possible to buy bottled along the trail) but this had a really bad taste. I think because they were boiling water and while hot they were putting it into a large plastic container from which they poured it into our drinking bottles. Chemicals/residue from the plastic was dissolving into the water). It was pretty nasty stuff.. There were biting insects around on the 2nd and third nights and also at Machu Pichu. I think they are little fly like rather than mosquitoes. On altitide sickness we did spend 3 nights in Cusco as mentioned above so were reasonably well adapted by the time we started the trail, although on the 2nd day (the hardest, where you go over the dead womans pass at 4,200m) I did get a very bad headache in the afternoon and had to lie down in the tent as soon as we got the campsite at about 2.30 and I stayed there for about 6hrs. Taking an ibuprofen pill really helped but initially didn take one as I felt so bad I thought I might throw it up. Finally we spent a day in Lima, as I written an awful lot above wont go into detail but I would echo many of the comments made here in that there is not much tosee in Lima. If you have a day by all means visit it but if you don then you wont have missed much. We walked around Miraflores, took a taxi and walked around the Barranca district and took a 3hr guided bus tour of the city on our day there but weren that impressed. It is very gray, very busy and very heavily polluted.
I will be in Cusco for 4 weeks this summer doing a History of the Andean Region study program. Will have class Mon Fri and will have some field trips and day trips. My husband and I are older but everyone else in our group will be younger college students. I assume casual clothing will be the norm 99% of the time but I am wondering about temperatures during the day and night in Cusco. I just returned from Peru and you might wish to know that they do NOT wear shorts. They dress in nice slacks and pressed shirts. It was so obvious who the Americans were by they casual dress. I was embarrassed by the short cutoffs some younger visitors were wearing. As far as shoes, you will be walking a lot!! The streets are stones and uneven. Good walking shoes are a must. You will be there during Peru winter. But you don need a heavy jacket instead, pack layers. A fleece plus an outer shell (Gore tex or similar) is good. With layers, you might be down to shirt sleeves at noon, then towards the end of the day, add an outer shirt, then the fleece, and add the outer jacket after dark. It may get down to freezing at night, and you might want a warm hat gloves on the IT at night. You could just buy an alpaca sweater instead of packing a fleece!. Cusco, the majestic capital of the ancient Inca Empire, draws throngs of tourists every year. But the narrow streets by opulent temples and grand cathedrals only a faint glimpse into the city’s storied past.
In its nearly 900 year history, Cusco withstood the rise and fall of Incas. And when the Spanish conquistadors invaded the capital in 1533, Cusco reinvented itself as a flourishing Spanish city built on the Inca’s foundations. Cusco no longer dwells in the shadow of Lima, Peru’s capital city. Having experienced a boom in tourism over the last few decades, Cusco now acts as the primary stepping stone to South America’s greatest spectacle: Machu Picchu. For hundreds of years, the fabled “lost city of the Incas” remained undisturbed by humans. Then, in the early 20th century, American explorer Hiram Bingham came across Machu Picchu’s fabled ruins, unveiling one of the most impressive architectural feats of the ancient world. Today, thousands make the pilgrimage from Cusco and theSacred Valley to Machu Picchu. But before making your expedition to the breathtaking ruins, take some time to admire the splendors found right in Cusco proper. Cusco’s culture is best seen during its lively outdoor festivals, when thousands of revelers gather to celebrate fiestas like the Festival of the Sun and to dance to pre Columbian music. In terms of religion, approximately 80 percent of Cusco’s population is RomanCatholic; however, a variety of other religions are practiced. The dress code here is generally casual. Pack plenty of waterproof clothing and sturdy hiking shoes, and don’t forget warm layers as the high altitude ushers in cooler temperatures at night. Also, Cusco’s streets are cobbled, so you’ll want to bring comfortable walking shoes for exploring the city by day and participating in the lively night scene after dark. Also, as you’re wandering Cusco, remember to keep your wits about you.
The official language of Peru is Spanish, but you’ll hear a mingling of Spanish, Aymara, and Quechua (the official language of the Inca Empire). Cusco Quechua is its own distinct dialect, which varies greatly from Quechua spoken in other regions in Peru. Valencia is a legit company with staff members who will help you prior to the trip by answering any questions you may have. The toll free number to reach them is a nice touch and was very helpful when I needed to get in touch with them. Their list of things to bring is very helpful. The one thing I regret taking that was on the list was a sleeping mat. The one they provide you was more then plenty unless you have specific needs. All of the campsites are flat and comfortable to sleep on. The hotel they set you up in is close to the main plaza and nice (I would recommend asking for an upstairs room). The tours they offer as optional were worth taking since you get to see a lot more in a short period of time (make sure to confirm meeting time for pick up, as mentioned in other reviews, there’s a time of pick up that was different from the start time of tour). Now the main part, the trekking of the Inca Trail was PERFECTLY organized and an amazing experience. For those looking for a company who treats their porters well, I can sincerely say that the Valencia porters were the most well equipped in their hiking gear in comparison to the other groups we saw on the trail. All were provided with hiking shoes, proper clothing, etc. It was surprising to see some other groups traveling in sandals while carrying such a heavy load. The porters were so sweet and impressive and the 2 chefs on our team made amazing food every night. They even accommodated 3 different types of dietary needs of the group. AMAZING! Our 2 guides, Victor and Lea were so personable and knowledgeable that we all learned so much from them. Victor told the Inca history with such passion, it was like having story time.