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downundergal Cusco - A travel report by Kerrie
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Cusco,  Peru - flag Peru -  Cusco
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downundergal's travel reports

Cusco and the Sacred Valley

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Cusco itself breathes history. The Inca walls and foundations are amazing in their precision and interlocking design. The foundations are then topped off with beautiful Spanish colonial architecture. It is enough to spend a few days wandering around the town taking in the atmoshere. After this there are so many impressive sights located nearby that you need as long as you can allow to see them all.

Favourite spots:
Cusco travelogue picture
Plaza de Armas with the Cathedral on one side and Koricancha on the other. San Blas is quite pretty as well. I also really enjoyed the ruins near the city such as Saqsaywaman, Tambomachay and Ollantaytambo they are so impressive.

What's really great:
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I just loved the atmosphere of the town, you just have to learn to ignore the many touts. We did two particularily good tours due to the guide we were lucky enough to have. He explained to us about how the Conquistadors were able to use many of the Indiginous peoples beliefs to subjugate them and he pointed out many other things we would have overlooked. For example in the churches there are many mirrors hanging. The Indiginous people were told that if they could see their reflection they had sinned and had to then do penance for their bad deeds.
He also explained how the Incas used an interlocking nut and bolt system for their stone walls leaving the gaps between stones so tight not even a piece of paper can be slipped in.What looks like a mistake every so often was actually a small crack left to allow for expansion and contraction. Truly amazing.

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Don't miss the Cathedral, when you enter you go in through a door with a skull and crossbones over it. This was where the poor condemned prisoners were held until they were executed.
Koricancha with its Incan rooms complete with ceremonial rooms with the sacrificial altar and niches.
Ollantaytambo with its terraces and huts built high up on the hill where the wind hit so that the stores received the wind to help keep them fresh and unspoiled. Don't forget to look up at the mountainside where a huge face in profile was carved by the Incans to "scare" the Amazon tribes they feared would come from that direction.
Tambomachay with it's aquaducts is also amazing.

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Stay somewhere close to the main square. More than likely you will be acclimatising to the altitude and you won't have the breath to walk too far.
We stayed in Hotel Santa Catalina in the street of the same name just off the Plaza. We paid $28US per night with rolls and coffee for breakfast, normal cost $45US but nobody was paying that when we were there. It was good value and had good showers with hot water. If you can sleep with the noise from the street and a light outside the window ask for 109 as it has a balcony overlooking the street, a great place for people watching. Otherwise at the back try for 113 as it overlooks the back courtyard. Make sure they don't give you 111, no windows and a skylight, be prepared to be woken early when the light streams in; right on your face!

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Los Perros is a hip little bar/restaurant/pub playing smooth music to chill out to. They offer a menu a little out of the ordinary for Peru such as crispy noodle salads and stirfries. They also have a full range of drinks and there are plenty of lounges to relax in. Check out the four legged mascot in his own hip little doggy coat.

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El Cuarte with out a doubt. This is a great little Mexican located near the top of Procudores(Gringo Alley). They do set menus but if you order one make sure you only order an extra main as it will be enough for two to share. At this altitude you will find you won't have much of an appetite.
Al Grano is situated in a light and airy setting with Incan walls. They serve curries from Indonesia and India. All meals include bread and rice.
Chez Maggy is also located in Procuradores. This is a cosy little restaurant and serves great wood fired pizzas and wine by the jug.

Other recommendations:
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The whole town with all it's Incan walls is fantastic, I really enjoyed visiting here.
Just a tip to acclimatise quicker and enjoy your time here more try to get some Diamox tablets before you arrive. We found that they made a huge difference especially after meeting other "puffing" travellers who had not done so.

Published on Saturday June 29th, 2002

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Sat, Jan 01 2005 - 11:04 AM rating by davidx

I don't go for wishing time away but roll on September, when we are going there.

Thu, Jun 05 2003 - 05:13 AM rating by bear495

This is an excellent report. It has been 30 years since I visited, and I cannot wait to return.

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