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davidx Andahuaylillas - A travel report by David
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Andahuaylillas,  Peru - flag Peru -  Cusco
10782 readers

davidx's travel reports

3 very different places

  23 votes
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Why Andahuaylillas? OK, I admit Cusco is better known but I wanted to be a bit more specific and I also want people to avoid speeding past these impressive places on their way from Puno.

Plaza, Andahuaylillas
Plaza, Andahuaylillas
The three places covered here are only related by proximity. Andahuaylillas is a village up a dirt track from the main Puno – Cusco road, noted for its church. The archaeological site at Tipon is Incan and the one at Piquillacta is the only pre-Incan site in the Cusco region. [There are any number in Peru of course.] It may be useful here, for those who have not yet been to Incan sites to summarise the main things associated with them. Probably the first would be the way they blend into the natural scenery. Even when an imported stone has been carved and made into a major feature of a site, as at Quenco, it seems to have been done with a view to the overall harmony of that stone with the indigenous rocks. The second major feature is the joining of huge rocks with minimum space between, as though they had been cut with a huge cheese-knife type article. The third is the shaping of the outer surface of the rocks so that it looks almost as though a huge file has made the edges between perpendicular walls curved, all in the same way. Incidentally this seems to create considerable doubt about whether Puerto Inca on the Pacific coast was actually the main port of the Incas as the remains there don’t fit the pattern described here.

Favourite spots:
The 'flame tree'
The 'flame tree'
I think Andahuaylillas wins the accolade because it is so different. The church was built on the site of an Inca temple and, so beautiful are is frescoes, it has been called the Sistine Chapel of the Andes. Much as I hate this sort of comparison, it is perhaps more understandable here although the sheer quantity of precious metals used to adorn the altar façade is also overwhelming. Correctly internal photography is not permitted but you can see one inside view at http://www.cuscoweb.-com/english/cu scoinfo/cuscoinfo18.-html [no break] This isn’t good of the frescoes but it does show the beautiful ceiling and something of the use of gold. From the main plaza outside, the church is less impressive, though its simplicity is pleasing and a major contrast with the interior. What is very impressive here is a huge tree with flame red flowers, which I believe may well be a pisonay, though the local guides called them ‘flame trees.’

What's really great:
Although we saw many Inca remains, I think all of them were special in some way. Certainly, large or small, they all had separate features which tie them firmly in the memory. The remains at Tipon will always bring to my mind the waterfalls, leading the water from one fertile terrace to another, from the bottom right-hand corner of each. Looking up these and to the right there are smaller terraces, which are thought to have been royal gardens purely for ornament. These ruins are high above the valley of the Urubamba River and from the bottom the view back down to the valley and village is spectacular.

Mummy bundles again, Piquillacta
Mummy bundles again, Piquillacta
Pikillacta or Piquillacta is a pre-Incan settlement near Andahuaylillas and Tipon. Our tour leader had suggested that after seeing numerous Inca sites, we might feel as though this had been constructed elsewhere and just dropped here more or less by accident. Although neither he nor we believed this to have happened, it’s quite a good illustration of the difference from the Incas. This is ascribed to the Wari culture and may well date from the 7th century. It obviously consisted of a very substantial town and there are a considerable number of buildings left, spread over a wide area. Unlike Inca remains, some of the main features to be seen include mummy bundles and skulls. Sensibly or otherwise we felt a bit like tomb robbers when gaping at these.
In the valley below there’s a lake of a bright blue colour, even brighter than Lake Titiaca – described by a local guide as Lago Mistrioso, although these words lead elsewhere if used in Google.

Back down from Tipon
Back down from Tipon
This is NOT - repeat NOT – a recommendation, but you may find the story interesting. It was at a small restaurant near the main road that I was persuaded to try guinea-pig. ‘Near’ in this context means NEAR. There was just room for the [probanly feral and certainly scabby] dogs to run by between us and the dust-storming vans.
Other members of our group ate guinea-pig in Cusco and found it crackly and delicious – in my experience it was rubbery and hard work. I think it may well have died a natural death some considerable time before. That may be libellous and perhaps it’s lucky I never knew the name of the place.
Anyway the vile beast took a terrible revenge. We were booked on the first train to Aguas Callientes next day to meet other members of our group at Macchu Piccu as they completed the Inca Trail. However that night the g-p struck – hard and true – the details are distasteful! – [Continued in last section.]

Other recommendations:
I ate the accursed beast
I ate the accursed beast
[The guinea-pig’s revenge – concluded]
I was reluctant to get up at 0410 in the morning as I felt ill and I’d slept badly. However we went by taxi to the station at Cusco. Pam and our guide, José leapt up the stairs to find our seats. I looked at the stairs and a wave of dizziness hit me. My implanted ICD completed the g-p’s revenge by giving me 5 large electric shocks. The creature’s revenge had involved a change in the chemical balance of my heart – mainly a shortage of potassium. So near and yet - - - we never reached Macchu Piccu. I spent the next night in a clinic!

Published on Tuesday October 18th, 2005

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Tue, Mar 28 2006 - 09:27 AM rating by sajjanka


Thu, Oct 27 2005 - 01:59 PM rating by mtlorensen

What an adventure, David! You're certainly more courageous than I am...guinea pig??? Hope you're feeling great by now. Sadly you missed Macchu Piccu, but you still ended up with quite an interesting story to share! :)
Great report and pics!!

Wed, Oct 26 2005 - 02:25 PM rating by magsalex

Quite an experience. Enjoyable and informative report

Wed, Oct 26 2005 - 02:15 AM rating by marianne

Hi david,
Perfect report. I love your photo, (better than the one with hat)

Sun, Oct 23 2005 - 08:24 AM rating by jesusferro

your reports are my favorites in globo

Fri, Oct 21 2005 - 04:41 PM rating by eirekay

David, I am so sorry you missed MP! But this is a fancinating report of a place I would like to see some day!

Thu, Oct 20 2005 - 05:19 AM rating by bear495


I am so sorry that you were unable to make it to Macchu Picchu, especially since you were so close. One the bright side, we retained one of our friends and he has written this wonderful story for us to share. Thanks, and my prayers are with you.


Wed, Oct 19 2005 - 11:48 PM rating by ravinderkumarsi

very nice report

Wed, Oct 19 2005 - 04:42 PM rating by miguelmarchi

Very gud report. You like aventure very much!

Wed, Oct 19 2005 - 03:50 PM rating by downundergal

5* for getting off the beaten track - although sometimes after visiting some places you realise why not they are not on the main tourist trail there is simply not enough to see and report.
Hope you recovered healthwise!

Wed, Oct 19 2005 - 10:12 AM rating by isaacmolina

muy bueno. Sorry for the guinea pig revenge

Wed, Oct 19 2005 - 09:02 AM rating by jorgesanchez

Wonderful Peruvian report again!
I thought that I knew Pery well (I have been there three times and long periods), but you shoed me that not enough.
I am sorry for your bad health experience, but I too, had some misfortunes in Peru, that is what we say in spanish: gages del oficio.

Wed, Oct 19 2005 - 08:15 AM rating by rangutan

A wonderful adventure! I was there back in 1986 drawn to this place too and so love to read this experience specially. I could not continue my journey because we were on a student budget. The last paragraph of this report reminds us of other (health) limits too. Thanks so so much David for sharing this with us. My (personal) detailed rating:
travel related: ***** perfect adventure
originality: ***** on/off road personally described feelings
style (of writing): **** very british but easy and enjoyable
grammar: ***** perfect 100%
length: **** very extensive
use of GLOBO headings / format: *** great but others?
usefull tips: *** good
pictures: **** great, ideal, more?
tourist hub or remote place: **** well visited by serious travellers
extras: ***** first inter-continental report, WOW and congratulations!
AVERAGE: 4,2 but I rated this one *****

Wed, Oct 19 2005 - 03:50 AM rating by gloriajames

Hiya David!
Wow.. you had an adventure!! Another great report and pics. Btw.. hope all's well with you now.

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