I could barely sleep on the overnight Lan Airlines flight down to Peru on our next leg of #OnlyInSouthAmerica adventure. Machu Picchu has been on my travel wish list since I fist learned about it in elementary school but before we could make the main trek we started out in Cusco, the historic capital of the Inca Empire before the Spaniards conquered it in the 1500s. You can see the layers and layers of history and culture – the original Inca walls resting under European style architecture. You discover a city that is more rich and mystical than what meets the eye as you learn about the centuries of battles, a lost culture, a mixture indigenous roots and Spanish influence and a strong connection to the earth. Mostly in Cusco, I enjoyed walking the little narrow streets, up and down the corridors, looking at the women in their amazing hats as they went about their day.
Most people ask me first about altitude sickness. I did not get sick, however, I would get winded on the first day walking up hill and just overall felt tired I think from lack of oxygen. By my 3rd day in Peru I was totally back to normal. It also made the effect of one pisco sour feel like you had ten… which I kind of loved. I also loved the flavor and effect of coca tea which was offered everywhere we went as a way to help ease altitude sickness… mostly for me it was like drinking ten cups of coffee.
Other things about Cusco I loved: the ceviche game here is STRONG. I have yet to have a ceviche as good since. The San Pedro market was amazing to see. An aisle for meat, an aisle for flowers, an aisle for cheese, an aisle for potatoes, it was endless and so rich with culture. Also, fruit smoothie with beer in it– game changer. Cacao tea, who knew! Wandering through all the little shops tucked away in courtyards to hunt down the perfect alpaca sweater or hand made pottery bowl was also very fun and with a very friendly exchange rate.
As a place that has such a strong unique culture there are exotic things you can try such as chicha beer (it was purple!) made from corn or the most popular dinner dish for locals- guinea pig… both things I’m glad I tried but I’ll leave those (and the frog juice to cure headaches!) to the locals.
If I ever find myself on the way to Cusco again I’ll look forward to the way the city transports you not only to a different place but what feels like a different time…
Below- quinoa pancakes!
Visiting the San Pedro market
above & below~ an aisle of fruit stands offer you an kind of juice you could desire, we had the Especial con malta – Banana, orange, pineapple, papaya, milk, & beer.
The potato aisle- Peru can grown up to 3,000 different types of potatoes.
Peru grows up to 55 different types of corn alone.
Below, an example of Inca stone work
Enjoying coca tea at my favorite restaurant we discovered in Cusco- MAP Cafe. We also loved Cicciolina which is located in an amazing shopping district.
Below- Trying the local chicha beer
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18 thoughts on “Cusco, Peru”
Peru looks really interesting! I didn’t expect that.
Really nice post and the pictures are great.
AH! that GOAT! they should all wear flower crowns! Also looking at that market, it makes me wish things were still like that. I would love nothing more than to be able to buy fresh food every weekend. lovely photos as always
xo – ke
Having grown in Ecuador, seeing all these beautiful images of Peru was heartwarming. I particularly liked the pictures from pictures around town at dawn. I would love to stroll down those streets while drinking a fresh juice just pressed.
Would love to visit Ecuador one day, it’s so amazing experiencing all these different cultures and ways of life.
I love everything about this post except for the fact I wasn’t there with you!! Can’t wait to read more!!
Also 1 piscos that feels like 10? LOVE IT
hahahahahaha, same girl.
Many happy memories came back fRom these photos, was just they and in Ecuador March.
MAP was our all time favorite restaurant in cusco, ogling at the check as the cost was a fraction of what you’d pay in NY for the quality of food and service.
I think I flew LAN also between Guayaquil and Cusco, nice!
AHH! you were bitten by the MAP bug too! Yes, the cost for the quality is insane! SOOO FUN. 🙂
Your photos have got the travel bug biting me full force! And the 15second video on Instagram was sooooo beautiful!
So looking forward to your Machu Picchu photos! <3
I KNOW. I still can’t believe I was there and saw all these amazing places. I’m so glad I have these photographs to remember every second and to share 🙂
I love how colorful and culturally rich South America looks! You’ve done a beautiful job of documenting your travels! I’m a fellow photographer- my husband and I are planning a trip to Eastern Europe this Spring and I’m at a loss for what gear to bring. What do you usually use for your travels, gear wise?
Thanks so much! I try to keep it really light, otherwise you’ll just be bogged down with too much “stuff” and decisions. I try to live in the moment and capture organically what I see / experience. When I’m planning on shooting, say the hotel, I will just use simply a Canon 5D Mark III and 50mm 1.2 lens. That’s my go to for everything. If I’m not planning on shooting I still want to be prepared incase a moment happens (think, the view out the airplane window or on a bus commuting someplace) I’ll strap on my Leica M and a 50mm lens because it’s super lightweight and small so travels well. Have a great time on your trip!
I have a soft spot in my heart for that 50 as well! I was considering bringing my 24-70L because it’s so versatile, but it is also very heavy and I LOVE primes. I have a little Contax T2 film camera I always have with me so I think between my digital and the contax I’ll be good to go! Thank you for the advice! XO
You got it! 🙂
Beautiful! I’ve never really felt the desire to visit there until now. And you’ve captured it stunningly. Thank you 🙂
Ooh you would love it! It’s such a cool, special, cultural place not so watered down yet.
I miss Cusco! Spent 2 months volunteering and I can still picture where the buildings are located. If only I can capture photos like you do. My amateur photos ( http://bit.ly/1KPfdv6 ) taken while lugging around a Nikon d700 in my alpaca cross-body bag gave me a big bruise on my thigh. (Can’t wait to test drive my new mirrorless cam). Going back to Cusco, the town is definitely rich in culture and also very affordable and definitely worth another trip.
Thanks for sharing your photos!
Thank you so much for showing the beautiful of South America. I love your photograph, which captured the love, the passion and the respect for the nature people still have in South America (not everywhere or always, but still). Thank you for the respect you have showed to the people and their country, with your pictures. I have just recently find your blog and I love it, it gives me much joy!