Last year my husband and I went to visit Machu Pichu. We wanted to visit one of the the "must see before you die" places in the world. We were disappointed at first to learn that we would need to spend a few days in Cusco in order to acclimate to the attitude before experiencing Machu Pichu.
We were amazed with Machu Pichu, but of greater surprise, we fell in love with Cusco. Cusco is a city like no other. Many of the foundations of the buildings were built by the Incas. How they were able to transport and then lay the massive stone walls is beyond the imagination. I also loved the restaurants and shopping. I bought a beautiful alpaca coat and hand made jewellery. I vowed that I would return the next summer.
I decided that I would spend three weeks in Cusco doing volunteer work teaching English. After that, my husband could join me and we could enjoy Cusco together and do some hikes near Cusco. I was hoping that there were interesting hikes nearby.
I contacted the same company I used last year, Kuoda Tours. I was extremely happy with the personal service they had given us for Machu Pichu, I was hoping that they would be able to find other hikes and places to visit.
I am so happy that I used Kuoda Tours again. They provided the most wonderful guides who took me to the most incredible places. Every trip was perfectly planned out including the most delicious and nutritious box lunches.
My first trip was a walk through the Sacred Valley. It's a 45 minute ride outside of Cusco. It was a perfect first outing because I needed to acclimate to the altitude. So, anything too strenuous would not have been a good idea.
Next I went to Ollantaytambo. I was amazed to see Inca Ruins which were as old as Machu Pichu.
By now I was getting better acclimatized and in better shape. I was taken by my guide to Huchy Cuzco - little Cuzco - a very ancient Incan city. Before getting there, we walked through the most beautiful gorge I had ever seen. There were steep rocky cliffs on both sides, the canyon twisted and turned as we made our way to the ancient ruins. I was surprised to find that we were the only people there. I was told by my guide Marco that this was a great hike for people preparing for Machu Pichu.
By now I'd finished my three week volunteer work and was excited by the prospect of new adventures with my husband. Kuoda took me to the airport to pick up my husband. In Cusco my husband and I stayed in a beautiful hotel apartment called Quinoa. it's so new that it's not even on Tripadvisor. Kuoda found it for us.
My guide Marco and I took my husband to Huchy Cuzco for his first hike. He was blown away.
Kuoda suggested we visit Ausangate. An Andean mountain range about 100 K southeast of Cuzco. The glaciers of the Ausangate feed the Urubamba and Vilcanota rivers, and so these mountains were worshiped by the Incas. For three days we enjoyed the most spectacular views, yet slept in comfortable lodges at night.
Well, I'm back home in Toronto now. I have been many places, but I can say without a doubt that this trip to Cusco was the best. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to have had such memorable experiences.