Machu Picchu Peru-September 2016

Flying into Lima and taking a commuter flight into Cusco started our Machu Picchu bucket list trip. Machu Picchu was discovered in 1911. Booking our stay at the JW Marriott El Convento Cusco was in a perfect location in the center of town.  The only better spot in our opinion would have been to book a hotel in the small town deep in the gorge below Machu Picchu in Aguas Calientes, a very lively little town. We had read that you need to stay in Cusco a few days to acclimate yourself to the altitude as it is 11,152 feet above sea level before attempting Machu Picchu.  Altitude sickness can be a problem over 8000 feet. We saw several people in the hotel receiving medical assistance in the way of oxygen when arriving.  We took a train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes and then boarded a bus to take us partially up the mountain to start the short hike to the top.  If your really adventurous you can do the Inca Trail, its one of the most popular treks in the world.  You leave from Cusco and hike 4 days to the ruins. After arriving at the top of Machu Picchu it was hard to believe the Inca’s brought rocks over from several mountains away to build the structures by hand and the village is totally earthquake proof.  Before entering into Machu Picchu, you are able to have your passport stamped so don’t leave it in your hotel room that day.  While in Cusco, I did not try the local cuisine “Guinea Pig” I just couldn’t do it, but I did try the locale drink Pisco Sour, it wasn’t too bad. We had also visited the Sacred Valley, it’s the valley in the Andes of Peru that was incorporated into the Inca Empire during the period of 1000 to 1400 CE. Also stopping at Pisac a Peruvian village on the Vilcanota River, known for its Inca ruins and a large market every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Along with Pisac we stopped at Ollantaytambo, its also a town and Inca archaeological site and was the royal estate of Emporer Pachacuti, who conquered the region.  Each of these trips were booked through Viator.  While sitting in the cafes in Cusco watching the brightly dressed Peruvian women and children walking around town, drinking Pisco Sours, we joked that Cusco Peru is where all Volkswagon Bugs must come to die.  We decided to play slug bug and quickly lost count after 50.  Don’t miss Machu Picchu, absolutely beautiful!

Peruvian Pisco Sour

The Pisco Sour, made with a Muscat-grape brandy called pisco, is the national cocktail of Peru.

  • 2 parts Pisco
  • 1 part lime juice
  • 1 part simple syrup (granulated sugar melted in water)
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 parts ice
  • Angostura bitters

In a shaker, mix Pisco, lime juice, simple syrup and egg white with ice and shake, strain mixture into glass, top with a few drops of the Angostura bitters and serve.