Woke up early to get on a plane to go from Puerto Maldonado to Cusco. Be prepared to show your boarding pass as you exit the plane….because, ya know, that makes a lot of sense. We then took a bus to our hotel, Posada del Abuelos (my own review to follow).
We met our Machu Picchu tour guide but already the MP trip started to have issues. We didn’t get our camping duffel bags and were unable to reserve our camping gear through the proper channel. Eventually it got worked out, but you would think they would have their sh*t together by now.
For dinner, we went to Pucara, which randomly seems to be a huge hit among Japanese tourists. The food was good and as recommended, we drank lots of coca tea. I’m not sure if the tea actually did work to cure my faint signs of altitude sickness or if it was just a placebo effect. It tasted fine though, especially with a bunch of sugar so I recommend drinking it…….unless of course you will be drug tested upon your return home, in which case, maybe you should pass!
The next day we got to sleep in – all the way to 8am! It was another travel day: Cusco to Ollantaytambo. During our visit to the jungle, we heard about a place where you could see condors up close. We had to pay an extra 50 soles to the driver in order for him to take us to the Ccochahuasi Animal Sanctuary which was BS because the sanctuary was not even really out of the way. The sanctuary rocked though. We saw turtles, deer, macaws, parrot, puma, and condors flew overhead. We also saw bobcats and some other random animals. The place sold really nice alpaca things but everything was expensive, yet admission was free.
Afterwards, we drove to a Sacred Valley overlook which was pretty and of course, had ladies selling their wares. We had lunch in someone’s home which was pretty tasty. They always seem to have 3 course meals here – an avocado appetizer, soup, then rice and
veggies. We also saw a demonstration on how pottery is made and at another location we saw how chocolate is made. At a third location we saw how corn beer is made – it was not yummy and only has 2% alcohol, so I don’t know why they drink it. They also make a strawberry variety which tasted slightly better. We then played a coin toss game called Sapo. Next, we went to a market (which these tours love to drop you off at) but didn’t buy anything as it was raining and also we were told we had limited space to carry stuff.
Lastly, we headed to our hotel in Ollantaytambo. After settling in, we then went for a “walk” which turned out to be a hike/ rock scramble up a huge hill which was exhausting but had great views from the middle which is where most of us stopped. I think it was called Pinkuylluna. Later I was able to check email and got notification that the US had put a ban on travel to Cusco and Machu Picchu which of course was the next stop on the trek. Screw the warnings! I had to see one of the 7 wonders of the world!