Cuzco in a Day

October 4, 2008 - 10:23 pm 1 Comment

Got into Cuzco early this morning, and there was no one to meet us. We hung around the airport for twenty minutes until a girl finally showed up with my name on a little sign.

We hopped into a van and she says that we’re probably going to miss some sites on our itinerary because we don’t have time. We also stopped to pick up our train tickets for Machu Picchu tomorrow, so that didn’t help either. What followed was a mad dash to the ruins around Cuzco and through the Sacred Valley.

Our driver whizzed up and down the narrow streets and winding mountain roads of Cuzco with ease. Traffic is no obstacle, our driver weaving through it with surgical precision. People of Peru go about their business in the middle of the road, and as long as there is enough clearance for a car to go around the rickshaw/shovel/box/dog/toddler, a driver will just whip around it, giving a friendly beep to let them know that’s what is about to happen. It’s a different philosophy than at home, where car horns are loud and obnoxious, much like the drivers who use them.

Our quick tour of the Cuzco was OK. The town is filled with stray dogs, cows, goats, sheep, chickens, and pigs. The local ruins are, for the most part, unremarkable. The town of Cuzco DOES seem interesting, though. Would have liked to spend more time here.

Sacrificial Platform


I was surprised by the Sacred Valley. What I imagined was a series of remote, miniature Machu Picchus, but what I found was that they basically existed in the suburbs of Cuzco. Each site was surrounded by souvenir stands Peruvian women in traditional dress posing with their sheep. They’ll let you take a photo for a few soles. Some of the archaeological ruins were pretty cool, but the Sacred Valley doesn’t seem so sacred anymore.

Ruins at Pisac

Girl in Sacred Valley

They gave me a bit of crap at Ollantytambo for using a tripod, something about professional photographers not being allowed. That aggravates me. A tripod is not what allows people to sell their photographs commercially. What’s the logic? To really crack down, they should ban SLRs, or ban cameras having more than 3 MP of resolution. If they give me a hard time about my tripod at Machu Picchu, I’m going to be pissed.

Ruins at Ollantaytambo

Steps to Ollantaytambo

Doorway in Ollantaytambo

View from Ollantaytambo

Waters of Ollantaytambo

Boys at Ollantaytambo

On the way home, our driver screeched to a halt on the edge of a cliff so Josh and I could hop out and take some photos of the gorgeous sunset.

Sunset Over Mata

Sunset Over Mata

Sunset Over Mata

Sunset and Moonrise Over Mata

Josh is worn out and can’t seem to catch up on his sleep. I must admit, I’m getting pretty tired, too. Our schedule up to this point has been grueling, with early mornings to catch flights and tours and late nights catching up on photos.

Tonight, Josh is going to turn in early while I see what the Cuzco nightlife is all about. Tomorrow, we’re off to Machu Picchu.

    One Response to “Cuzco in a Day”

  1. Melissa Says:

    You guys may need a vacation from your vacation when you get back to the States! 😉

    It is amazing the difference in the daily lives from us and those in your pictures. As I read your blog, I feel like I am watching “Digging for the Truth” or “Into the Unknown” with Josh Bernstein. 🙂

    Your photos are pretty amazing – I especially like the ones w/ people….their expressions tell a story in itself…Good work!

Leave a Reply