Puno itself is not a very interesting town in my opinion but it is great for an overnight stay before heading to the islands in the morning.
I recommend to take a boat to Taquile Island and experience the traditional culture of Peru. The island is 45km offshore from Puno and about 2,200 people live here. Taquile is approximately 5.5 square km big with its highest point being 4,050m above sea level.
You just returned from Machu Picchu but you don’t want to leave Peru yet? Great choice. I recommend you take the tourist bus (there is a train option too) from Cusco to Puno which stops on some interesting points all the way to Puno. I couldn’t believe how beautiful the landscape from Cusco to Puno actually is. There is also a public bus option which is the budget version but it doesn’t stop for you to explore the scenery.
1. Let’s start with the first stop at Gate Rumicolca, an Inca site:
Hello Machu Picchu Fans. When I was about to book my trip to Machu Picchu last year, I had a lot of questions and tried to google all the information I needed. I thought I will help you and summarise the major ones and share some practical tips I found very helpful:
How to get there:
There are a few options available.
1. If you are keen on trekking and want the whole experience of slowly reaching Machu Picchu and accessing the magic place through the sungate, then do the 4-day Inca trail to Machu Picchu. You will be camping in the magnificant nature.
2. If you are not keen on camping but still want to hike, there is the option of a one-day machu picchu hike. Please refer to my previous post: one day Inca trail hike.
3. Another option is to catch the train from either Cusco or Ollantaytambo to Agua Calientes. The link for the Peru rail: Peru-rail. The train was very comfortable, they serve drinks and snacks. The roof of the train is made of glass, which let’s you enjoy the great scenery. The train ride from Ollantaytambo was approximately 3 hours.
Here are some more insights of what to expect followed by a quick survival guide.
Expect the sunrise to be slightly different
In my opinion the best times to see a place is either at sunrise or sunset. Places turn into this beautiful golden colour. For photographers definitely a must. So it was absolutely clear to me to get up very early to see the sunrise at 5:30am. However, our group decided to be there slightly after the sunrise which confused me but I trusted our tour guide. In the end it was perfect. What we have to remember that Machu Picchu is mostly covered in fog and clouds in the early mornings and you won’t see any sunrise. We could see the beautiful scenery of clouds coming in and moving out, so Machu Picchu played ‘hiding’ with us. A magical theatre to watch: A panorama shot taken early in the morning.
Machu Picchu is arguably the most magical place in the world. Everyone knows it, has been there or it is still on your bucket list to visit. But why?
Machu Picchu is the lost city of the Incas located in the High Andes of Peru in the Urubamba Valley approximately 6 hours drive from Cusco and 2,453m above sea level. Luckily the spanish conquerer have never found that magic place. The Machu Picchu ruin had capacity for around 1000 residents and is known as the most sacred Inca site. It was forgotten after the collapse of the Inca empire and rediscovered in 1911 by the explorer Hiram Bingham.
You want to do the Inca trail but you are not keen on camping? No problem at all.
There is an option to do a one-day hike to Machu Picchu. That was perfect for me. The hike goes for roughly 6 hours and is approximately 12 km long. Bear in mind it can be pretty steep at times. It is amazing to experience the excitement of hiking to the magic place Machu Picchu. After an exhausting day, the bus will take you to Agua Calientes, where you can relax, have some Pisco Sour and one of the delicious Peruvian dishes, sleep well and get up early in the morning to see the sunrise at Machu Picchu. Don’t worry, now you can take the bus up there.
The tour started on the train from Ollantaytambo to Agua Calientes. The train is very comfortable, they serve some snacks and something to drink. My recommendation is to use the bathroom before you leave the train for your hike. You will get off at km 104 where the fun begins.
Check in on the entrance at the Inca trail and start embracing the beautiful scenery and some smaller Inca sites on the way.
You arrived and visited Cusco, you are acclimatised to the altitude and now you are ready for Machu Picchu? Wait, don’t rush. Take your time and embrace the drive through the Sacred Valley and here is why:
1. The Rio Urubamba Valley, also known as Sacred Valley, is a beautiful and peaceful land of the Andes.
Hello lovely travellers to part 3 of my Cusco series.
Before I start I would like to thank our tour guide Alim Escobar from Gadventure who showed us all the beautiful things in Peru, explained all the history and stories behind places, introduced us to the Peruvian cuisine and recommended nice restaurants and what dishes to eat. Even though my trip was last year in November, he is still available and answers all the questions I have. Without him, I would’nt be able to write much about this beautiful country. So a HUGE THANK YOU Alim, very much appreciated. If you are about to book a tour, I really recommend Gadventure, and when you are in Peru and Alim is your CEO, you will have a great time.
So you are in Cusco and ready to experience some more of the things the local do? Let’s go and visit the local market in Cusco called ‘San Pedro Mercado‘:
It’s been a few months since I visited Cusco. I loved this city in Peru. Sitting here in Sydney and writing about it, makes we want to go back. I cannot explain what it is but Cusco felt very special to me.
Walking around the beautiful city, trying Peruvian cuisine and dancing to Salsa and Bachata made my days in Cusco.
If you have missed my part 1 of my Cusco series, it is not too late. Click here to read and see the photos:
Cusco has a lot of nice restaurants where you should try the local food.
The photo below is from the restaurant ‘Nuna Raymi’ which means ‘festival of the soul’. What is real and what is a painting? It’s both in one – go and check out this restaurant; it looks very cute and the food is amazing. Try the Al Paca. Here the link to their website: http://www.nunaraymicusco.com