We travelled to Cusco on December 31, 2013. We got to celebrate the beginning of 2014 in style in the town square. There was lots of people, singing, dancing, fireworks, laughing, and beer. Beer everywhere. You couldn’t turn around without seeing someone selling beers or hearing a vendor calling out “CERVAZA”. This was also where we set off on our trip up to Machu Picchu.
Peru Adventures – Part 3. Cusco
Cusco certainly knows how to throw a New Year’s Eve party. For those who know me well, I’m not normally one for partying. But if you’ve got a chance to celebrate New Years in a far away land, take it! Our hostel was also only a few minutes away, so Sarah and I decided that we shouldn’t let this opportunity pass by. The night went by in a blur of fireworks, singing, and laughing. At the stroke of midnight, beer was sprayed everywhere, and we got soaked. It’s still one of the most impressive times I’ve spent my new years eve.
Sidenote, the weather in Cusco can also change dramatically. In the span of one afternoon, dark clouds came and it began pouring with rain, and we saw forks of lightning cross the sky…then an hour later, it was back to being fine. It certainly gives Wellington’s weather changes a run for it’s money.
The next day, we explored the city during the day. We purchased a Boleto Turisto (Tourist ticket) for 130 soles ($57 NZD). This lasts for 10 days and allows you entry in a number of attractions. We visited a few Inca museums. Reading about the alterations they did to their skulls was fascinating. Also, learning about an ancient cultures is a great way to spend your day. I’ve always enjoyed museums, especially about older civilizations. On our first day, we visited two museums. One was a small museum underground that had archaelogical displays interpreting Inca cultures. The other was Museo Inka. This wasn’t featured on the tourist ticket, but the entry fee was only 10 soles ($4 NZD). The museum showcased a collection of Inca vessels, jewellery, pottery, textiles, etc. Downstairs, they also had weavers demonstrating their craft, which was a fascinating watch.
We also visited Qorikancha. We had a guide with us, and had a wealth of information given to us. The architecture is also really interesting to compare between the Inca designs and the Spanish. It only cost us 5 soles ($2 NZD) to enter, because of our student discount. There was some confusion on whether this museum was covered by the Tourist ticket. It’s not, it covers entry for the smaller, underground museum which I mentioned before.
The last spot we visited was Sascsayhuaman. The entrance fee to this site is covered by the Tourist Ticket. On a clear day, you would’ve gotten a good view from Cusco from the top. Unfortunately when we went it was raining and cloudy that so we didn’t get the best view. However, climbing up all the steps felt like good practice for our upcoming hike to Machu Picchu!
Finally, I thought I’d talk about the hostels we stayed at. For new years, we stayed at Hostal El Triunfo. The rooms were decent for the price, we got free breakfast, and it had excellent Wi-Fi connection, which is always a plus.
The other hostel we stayed at was where we also left the bulk of our luggage for the Salkantay Trek up to Machu Picchu. This one is called Milhouse Backpackers Youth Hostel. It’s targeted more to younger travellers. There was lots of meeting areas for you to hang out and meet someone new. I enjoyed the style and ambience of this place. We stayed in a six bedroom dorm (all-female), and I got chatting with them about Game of Thrones as we were both reading a book from the series. This hostel had a friendlier, more relaxed vibe about them which I loved. They were also able to rent us walking poles for the trek as well, as we were having trouble finding good ones.
Before the trek, we wanted to squeeze in a visit to one more city.
Next stop, Puno.