The bus from Huacachina was terrible… our seats were sold (again). It was a long windy road through the mountains. Faces were turning green around us, people throwing up into their little clear plastic bags. Tiff was sat next to the toilet and had to learn to time when to cover her nose for the smell. NOT a 10/10 experience.
We arrived very late at VIP hostel, had a great, quiet nights sleep and a tasty breakfast…but a cold shower, which was not what we were after! It was a wonderful feeling arriving in Cusco and knowing we’d be based here for a while with no buses!
The following day the sun was shining and we went off exploring the city. At 4600m walking around in the altitude is tough going. After asking around we booked our 4 day inka jungle trek tour (America Expeditions), then had a spot of lunch looking over the main square, Plaza de Armas. A toast with our new choice of beer, Cusqueña. This is the first place we’d visibly noticed lots of tourists, and there were also protests going on so the place was extra busy and full of excitement.
Next stop was San Pedro market, we had been told Cusco was the place for souvenirs so we had a go at getting our first set of alpaca jumpers! Slightly side-tracked on our way seeing wee ladies walking about with alpacas. We sneakily videoed them from behind only for them to spin round and ask for a tip! Was still worth it.
We then had a change of hostel to Loki, which was 50metres up the road but the steps made it feel like 50km! Here the party was already starting and we were ready for it. We met up with our friend Toon and his friend George. This place is a party hub! The staff are great and got us involved in a drinking game called 3man. A simple dice game, one of the rules was if you swear you put your chin on the table until somebody else swears. Tiff needs to rinse her mouth out with soup. Some people said they hadn’t left the hostel in a week!
The following morning wasn’t so fresh, one by one people crawled to the courtyard where the sun beamed down to laugh about the night before and get breakfast.
George was proactive and ready to give us his own tour of the city. Winding through beautiful cobbled streets, the first stop was a souvenir shop called Artesanias Asunta. The ladies working their hugged you and dressed you up and gave the boys cheeky slaps on the bum. Definitely go there, it’s a great laugh and the cheapest souvenirs about! We then climbed up a narrow road to reach a viewpoint of the city called Limbus hostel. Spectacular!
We’d been recommended Papachos burger restaurant for dinner and it didn’t disappoint. There are Alpaca burgers on the menu! Very tasty! That night we narrowly avoided the temptation of Loki’s party to get an early night for our Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu the next day.
Post 4 day trek
On return we changed to Wild Rover…a very very Irish hostel, just a few more steps up from Loki. We arrived exhausted from conquering Machu Picchu so bed couldn’t come any quicker.
At breakfast we met up with lots of familiar faces we’d seen throughout the jungle trek and yet another Dutch guy called Roy the boy (spelt de Booij) – I think the whole of Holland is travelling! Tiff caught up on Game of Thrones whilst I lounged in the sun with Irish Ciarán. I was feeling pretty horrific and approaching day 3 of having no voice 😭 He told me his mother always says everything can be fixed with “A pint of beer and a pint of water”.
Whether it was a placebo effect or a mixture of all my lemsips and medicines, after my first pint I had about 40% of a voice. Let the Sunday sesh begin!
We had a couple drinks and then popped into town to book some tours – Quad biking in Maras and Rainbow Mountain. The evening escalated quickly, we met two English girls (Tilly & Marina), and before we knew it we were in a weird, open-top van driving to the Chango night club. The driver had a mask on…but we survived and the club was full and we danced the night away into the early hours (RIP Tiff’s ID).
Next morning was a struggle but lots of laughs over breakfast. Felt like we’d been conned as we sat on yet another bus to head quad biking. Luckily we’d tactically booked the afternoon slot! The day after that though was a 3am wake up for Rainbow Mountain…
On our last night in Cusco, we had a fairwell dinner with Toon and George at Cafe Morena. Quite fancy but so delicious and we love to treat ourselves like princesses! Overall, Cusco is a fabulous city and we loved every minute of it!