Day 62: Cusco to Ollantaytambo (Peru)

Monday, February 26th, 2018

Day 9 of G-Adventures Inca Heartland tour

13°31’23″S 71°58’58″W, Hotel El Puma, Cusco, 19° cloudy, wind max. 17 kph south.

The G-adventures itinerary offers for today: “Enjoy a full-day guided tour of the Sacred Valley. Stop at the G Adventures-supported women’s weaving co-op before visiting a local pottery making community. Break for lunch at the G Adventures-supported Parwa community restaurant in Huchuy Qosco. After lunch, opt to head out on a hike to the Ollantaytambo storehouses and look out over the ruins. Or, wander around the cobblestone streets and visit a local Chicheria (corn beer bar).”

We skip G-Adventures program, otherwise we would do it twice with the G-adventures Inca Trail program in march.

So while the others of our group are leaving to their sacred valley tour, we finalize packing for Lares Trek. Then we go for money to MultiRed ATM (no queue good luck, usually it looks like this

and past the ancient inca walls to Jacks Cafe for a nice aussie breakfast again.

The famous 8 edge stone:

After breakfast we go look for plastic bags to keep our stuff dry in the non waterproof duffle bags, provided by G-adventures. They say we will have heavy rain and the duffle bags are not covered on the Llamas.

On Lares Trek each duffle bag may have 8 kgs. If you rent the G-adventures sleeping bag for 45 soles, this is 2.5 kgs and you put it in first. If you rent the G-adventures inflateable matress (the base matress is more or less a sheet of paper between you and the tent base and the freezing cold ground) this is an additional 1 kgs and 45 soles for the trip, so you can put in 4.5 kgs of your stuff. The bag will be carried by Llamas and Mules. It is not waterproof. So, plastic bags (like big garbage bags) around your stuff inside the duffle bags make sense. We get some for 50 c (1/8 eur), we buy 8, we will need them for the Inca trail again.

Then we join the incan milky way free tour at 10 am in Cusco. The english tour is done by Angela, a very sympatic and good to understand girl. She gives a lot of advice when and how to visit churches (always between 6 am and 9 am, then there is mess and all entrance is free. Afterwards they charge per church up to 20 soles. While there is mess, you are not allowed to take photos). And she explains which trips to do (donot go rainbow mountain in rainy season, because they are covered with snow and you donot see the colors, always check the weather forecast the day before you book).

She explains about the local sports school, which is basically around soccer, as currently, because of Peru joining the world cup first time ever, everything is about soccer.

We go to the Mercado Central San Pedro di Cusco, a market hall built by Gustave Eiffel.

We go to Plaza Mayor

And Angela explains the differences of the wools of Llama and Alpaca, baby Alpaca and mentions that on the market, they mostly sell synthetics.

We go to the free “Museum of the Incas”. Not big, but some rooms and explanations what they did and how the Quechuas lived:

The tour ends. People mostly give her 10 soles per person. We go for Inglesio de Santo Domingo, which is built on the walls of the Incan sun and moon temple. Angela told us a guide is not necessary, it is mostly self explaining. Which is true. Of course the guides, who offer their service outside of the museum very offensive, can tell more about history and incas in general. We pay the entrance, get a map after explicitely requesting it and walk on our own.

After having seen this, we go for a coffee to starbucks on central plaza. There is no starbucks without at least one macbook user (I guess they pay a creative guy for their image in every outlet).

And for sure there is no starbucks with a double choc muffin for less than 2 eur.

We walk back to the hotel, do the final luggage split, get our transfer by taxi (picks us up at 17:00), which was organized by G-Adventures guide Gladis, to Ollantaytambo, Hotel Casa Mama de Valle. We pay 90 soles for 1,5 hrs drive. The driver has some complications to find the Hotel, we walk with our luggage over the main plaza and some pedestrian only roads, until I show him on Google Maps where to go. It is raining heavily, …

The hotel is clean, but basic. No heater, fungus on the ceiling and the obligatory 20 kgs multi layer plastic blankets. No chair, no chance to hang your jackets. Slow or none working wifi. A place to sleep, better than a tent. Quiet.

We go, all together, for dinner to a tourist bar. Ok, but nothing else.

Tomorrow 08:00 am departure for the lares trek.

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