Day 62: Monday, 26th February: Cusco to Ollantaytambo (Peru)

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.

Today we skip G-Adventures program which would be a full day guided tour through the sacred valley (incl. visiting a weaving coop, visit a community restaurant, …), otherwise we would do it twice with the 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 look, usually it looks like this

and afterwards to Jacks Cafe for breakfast again.

Afterwards we go look for plastic bags to keep our stuff dry in the duffle bags, provided from g adventures. 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. 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) this is an additional 1 kgs and 45 soles for the trip, so you can put in 4.5 kgs. The bag will be carried by Llamas and Mules. It is not waterproof. So, plastic bags (like big garbage bags) aroud your stuff inside the duffle bas. 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 gave 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).

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:

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. Angrla 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 to the hotel, do the final luggage split, get our transfer by taxi (picks us up at 17:00), which was organized by 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 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 jacket. Slow or not working wifi. A place to sleep, better than a tent. Quiet.

We go, alltogether, for dinner in a tourist bar. Ok, but nothing more.

Tomorrow 8 am departure for the lares trek.

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