Chile to Peru

by CameronM Mon, April 10 2006 21:44

Who decided that 6:40 am was a good time to have a plane leave? I was up at just after 3am and Hal drove me to the airport at 4am, so it was not surprising that after checking in we both went to grab some cafeine.

The flight to Lima was 3 hours 20 minutes and luckily the plane had those little seatback screens, so I could watch a movie to pass the time. I then had a 2 hour wait until my flight to Cusco left, but this was just as well because I had to clear customs and check-in my bags again, as they couldn´t check them all the way through from Santiago.

I arrived to a rainy Cusco, which was actually the first real rain I have seen in 5 weeks. I had booked my accommodation on hostelworld.com prior to leaving home and had sent my flight details so thankfully the guy from the hostel was there waiting for me and we jumped in a taxi and headed off to the hostel. The taxis are so small, basically the same size as the old Mira and they drive like maniacs, hardly ever staying on the correct side of the road.

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After checking into the hostel called Hospedaje Turistico Recoleta, I decided to go for a walk into the centre of Cusco, located around the Plaza de Armas (does every city in South America have one of these?). Cusco is almost 100% tourist driven, so it is not surprising that every other shop near the centre is selling souvenirs, clothes for trekking or organising tours.

On my list of things to do was a visit to the tourist office (located just off Plaza de Armas) to purchase a tourist pass that covered the entrance fees to 16 inca sites and museums around Cusco. The pass cost S/ 70.00, but covered all the must-see site including Saqsaywaman, Pisaq and Ollantaytambo. You also get a certificate which isn't a bad souvenir of your cultural outings in Cusco.

It is the start of Semana Santa (easter week) and the streets around the plaza began to fill with people at about 7pm. There was a very slow moving procession, complete with Jesus on the Cross, but I watched it on a big screen TV in one of the side streets, since I had no intention of adding anymore of belongings to my already stolen camera. Eventually I tired of waiting to see something exciting, so I headed to the internet cafe and then off to the hostel for an early night.

The hostel cost US$10.00 a night for a 4-bed mixed dorm, but most of the rooms appeared to only have two people in at most, so I was sharing with a guy from the USA, who had been travelling extensively in Ecuador and had also attended a language school for a few weeks. I could empathise with his conclusion that “I went to learn Spanish but it didn’t take”

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Peru