Following on from our trip in Rio and Iguassu Falls.........
Good flight from Foz do Iguassu but with all the immigration formalities and waiting for baggage we arrived at our hotel, Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores in Lima quite late but were delighted to be given a complimentary upgrade to the Imperial Suite.
After breakfast we were collected around 10 am for our airport transfer and flight to Cusco. Again we were met by the guide from Metropolitan Touring, the company used throughout most our holiday and we were soon being driven to our hotel in the centre, another in the Casa Andina Private Collection group. Although perfectly adequate and in an excellent location this hotel wasn't up to the standard of the others we stayed in. As advised by our tour guide we rested for the afternoon to help with acclimatising to the altitude. We had a lovely but light dinner in the hotel and an early night.
The following morning after a leisurely breakfast, (we didn't get too many of these on the trip!) we had a stroll into town and around the centre in the sunshine. After a snack lunch we were collected promptly at 1.30pm for our "half day tour". Driven this time back into the centre by which time it was very hot we visited the beautiful cathedral, The Korikancha (temple of the sun) on top of which the Spanish built the Santo Domingo convent. Then on to Saxayhuaman, Qenqo and Puca Pucara before arriving back at our hotel around 7pm - slightly more than a half day I think and feeling more than a little tired. So after dinner it was once again early to bed.
Next day we had an early breakfast to be ready for our transport at 8 am, we left our main suitcases at the hotel having packed a smaller bag for the next two nights. Hotels in Cusco are well used to travellers doing this and will happily store luggage.
Our comfortable coach trip to the Sacred Valley included a couple of beautiful scenic stops for photos before arriving at Pisac Market. Not one for markets I have to say that this was a very nice surprise, it's large, very clean and no hassle at all by the vendors to buy. We wandered round and bought a few gifts including pan pipes for our daughter which were ably demonstrated by the stallholder. We sat in the sunshine and had a cool drink before our lunch stop in a lovely restaurant. Then onto Ollantaytambo Fortress.
What can I say.... lots of steps which I am not too keen on also suffering the effects of altitude and after maybe too much lunch it was quite a challenging climb in the heat, but well worthwhile and what great views. Care had to be taken on coming down.
Now we travelled on to our hotel for the night, The Rio Sagrado, set in beautiful gardens and another in the Orient Express Group as was the Das Cataratas where we'd stayed previously by Iguassu Falls. We were met from the coach by the hotel concierge in a golf buggy and soon in the hotel and sipping a cold drink before being taken to our room for overnight stay. We had a walk around the gardens before dinner - yes another early night.
Up early for breakfast and checked out of hotel, our tour guide was waiting to take us to the station for the Vistadome train. We really enjoyed the relaxing trip taking in the scenery and were served drinks and a snack before arriving at Agias Calientes.
Staff from the various hotels were waiting to take any overnight baggage people wished to leave and we met our personal tour guide for Machu Picchu. We had kept our light back packs with us and some water. Excellent tour, many steps but not like yesterday. Our guide made sure we had time to get our breath and take in the views. On my first glimpse of the citadel I was very emotional, photos just don't do this place justice. We wandered round for around three hours, this is a trip I will never forget.
Lunch was at the Sanctuary Lodge Hotel which I found to be rather disappointing and overpriced having read reviews about the place before we went,I thought it was rather more like a canteen but it's the only place up there that you can eat and often included in tours.
We caught the next bus down the hill and walked to our hotel to check in at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. Situated by the hillside in a rainforest type setting it's an interesting place to stay, dinner was included and we thought it good value for money.
Leisurely start for me the following day. My husband went on one of the various free Eco tours the hotel offers, the bird walk, which started at 6.30 am! We had a late breakfast and had time to relax in the hotel lounge before our walk down to the town to catch the Vistadome train back to Ollantaytambo where we were met by our guide and driven back to our original hotel in Cusco.
Following day - Andean Explorer Train to Puno