Tag Archives: cuzco

Peru Feature: Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is a pre-Columbian Incan archaeological site located in the Cusco Region of Peru. It perches about 7970 feet above sea level, towering over the Urubamba Valley. Though the purpose of the site is still disputed, many archaeologists believe that it was an imperial estate, and may even have been a royals’ resort. It was abandoned around the time of the Spanish Conquest, but has in the last century enjoyed popularity as a tourist attraction, and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. It has an undying appeal to tourists and locals alike—built in elegant Inca style, with polished stone walls. Several distinguished buildings are found on the grounds—including the Temple of the sun and the Room of the Three Windows.

Visitors typically visit the ruins with a tour guide on a day trip or longer hike. Overnighting in the small touristy town Aguas Calientes is recommended. Months to visit are March to November, after the wet season. Don’t miss riding the Vistadome train, a recently renovated transport with panoramic windows, tasty refreshments and spectacular views.

There are a variety of tours for every taste and type of traveler. Several of our vendors offer excursions, and typically include lunch, entrance fees, train and bus tickets, and accommodation. Book a day trip or a 2-day private tours wander and let yourself discover the wonders of an ancient empire. Expert guides will keep you informed of the history and culture. Afterwards, enjoy a respite at the Sanctuary Lodge, the only restaurant on the peak.

There are even chances to combine Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley with Quito and the Galapagos islands in one itinerary!

photo by audrey_sel

Ask your Willamette Intl Travel about arranging tours to Machu Picchu. We can arrange private, group, half day, and multiday adventures as part of a whole itinerary or an enhancement to your Latin American adventure. Call us at 503.224.0180 or email info@wittravel.com.

 

 

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Filed under Peru, South America, Travel by Rail

Peru Feature: The Mountain City of Cuzco

photo by Agencia de Noticias do Acre

Cuzco (“Qosqo” in Quechua), situated in the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range, was once the capital of the Inca Empire. Today, it’s a city renowned for its colonial architecture, controversial history, and countless ruins—the most famous of which is Sacsayhuaman, the fortress where Conquistador met Incan in 1536. The modest metropolis of Cuzco has a healthy nightlife, but also maintains a balanced sense of tradition through its indigenous population. Cuzco has many draws, including delicious Peruvian cuisine, markets, colorful textiles, and cobblestone streets. Sites not be missed are San Pedro Market, Plaza de Armas, and Plaza de San Francisco.

Visitors often fly from Lima or Arequipa, though be aware of the onset of altitude sickness. At 3400 m above sea level, it’s important to establish physical equilibrium before any heavy activity.

Photo By Agencia de Noticias do Acre

Day Trips and Tours.

There are plenty activities to enjoy during your stay in the ancient city. Within Cuzco are ample opportunities to participate in city tours, cooking classes, and folklore shows. Beyond the city limits, the traveler can take comfortable or adventurous day trips to the Sacred Valley of the Incas and the villages of Ollantaytambo and Chinchero. The villages that surround the city—and their remarkable agricultural terraces, stone canals and aqueducts—are still used as they were 500 years ago. Adventurous travelers can enjoy whitewater rafting, paragliding, canoeing, horseback riding, or rafting down the Rio Apurimac. You can even travel to Machu Picchu—but it’s best to stay overnight to fully enjoy the ruins there.

If you want to escape the city and learn about the real Quechua community, there are even chances to barter in local craft markets, speak with indigenous families, enjoy traditional a Quechua lunch, and participate in a community activity such as farming, fishing, painting houses or cooking.

If you have time, visit the Ccochahuasi Animal Sanctuary, a rehabilitation center for victims of poaching located between Cusco and Pisac. There are deer, pumas, macaws, alpalacas, llamas, condors, and a host of other incredible creatures.

photo by McKay Savage

Ask your Willamette Intl Travel about arranging day tours and transfers to Cuzco and Machu Picchu. We can arrange private, group, half day, and multiday adventures during your Latin American itinerary. Tune in next time, when we take a closer look at Machu Picchu! Call us at 503.224.0180 or email info@wittravel.com.

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I made this in the kitchen over the weekend–delicious and great for a snack!

Peruvian Aji Salsa Verde Recipe

1 bundle of fresh cilantro, chopped

2-3 jalapenos (with seeds for spicy, seedless for mild)

1 large garlic clove

6 TB olive oil

¼ cup fresh lime juice (2 limes)

Salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

Pulse all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Add more hot peppers, black pepper or salt as needed.

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Filed under Peru