Destination: Cusco, Peru

Cusco (also spelled as “Cuzco”) was our last stop in Peru, as well as our last destination in South America this past summer. After sightseeing in the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, we spent the last two nights in the former Inca capital to sight-see, as well as to rest a bit before we would have to head home to the U.S.

Following Machu Picchu, we took the afternoon train to Cusco. Journey time was about 90 minutes and we then took a bus into the city center, where we checked into our hotel and rested for the night. The next day was our only full day in Cusco, so we did as much sightseeing as possible– as it’s not as enormous as Lima, it was more feasible to see what Cusco had to offer, and we got to see plenty that day.

My family and I explored on our own in the morning, checking out the 12-angled stone wedged into a former Inca palace. What makes Inca architecture especially distinctive is not only the 12-sided feature, but also how it’s not put together with cement– rather, each stone is fitted tightly together so that not even a piece of paper could slip inside. Quite ingenious, let alone advanced, architecture of its day!

12-angled stone.

We took a guided tour of Cusco in the afternoon: we first visited Qorikancha, a Inca temple that’d been converted to a church courtyard when the Spanish came in around the 16th century. Following that, we headed to Q’enqo, a sacrificial site where ceremonies were performed by the Quechua people back in the day. We also visited Saqsaywaman, a 12th-century citadel made from massive boulders that likewise weren’t cemented, but instead fitted together tightly.

Views of Cusco from Q’enqo.

Our tour returned us to the city center, where we also visited the main cathedral before the tour came to an end. My family and I got dinner later that evening at a small, family-style restaurant that served traditional plates like guinea pig and alpaca. I’d never tasted such dishes until visiting South America and, although I would say that it wasn’t bad (pretty good, actually), I wouldn’t choose to eat it on a daily basis if I could. Just the one-time experience was good enough for me! We returned to our hotel afterwards, where we rested for the remainder of the night– we would be up early the next day to head to the airport to catch our flight to Lima, then back to Los Angeles.

Guinea pig.

Overall, it’d been a long, but whirlwind of a trip in South America. From Chile to Peru, my family and I saw so much, although I’m sure we’d only scratched the surface with everything that each country had to offer. It was a notably-difference experience from what I’ve seen in other places I’ve visited, but it has since inspired me to return some day. I would love to discover other countries in South America, including Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil. Perhaps some day soon!

There will be more adventures to come on this blog, so look out for them soon!

— The Finicky Cynic

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