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South America Overland Day 2 - Lima to Ollantaytambo

Spectacular scenery, Roast guinea pig and trouble breathing.

semi-overcast 20 °C

On day 2 of our overland excursion we had an early morning at the Lima Airport Hotel with a forgettable breakfast before checking in for our flight to Cusco.

As soon as we arrived at Cusco (elevation 3,399 m) we had to walk up a ramp at the airport and the altitude became obvious. On arrival, we met up with our Local Guide, Luis and our driver. Jamie himself escorted us throughout the tour but we used local guides and drivers at the different locations. All of the guides were knowledgeable and passionate about their country and region. Luis was our guide all the time we were in Cusco and to and from Machu Picchu. He was a trained archaeologist and had been involved in some excavations at sites we visited so had much detailed knowledge to impart.

Anyway, we had a quick drive around Cusco and then headed out, over a hill and into the Sacred Valley where we spent the day slowly moving down in altitude.



Sacred Valley




As we drove through the towns in the Valley we stopped for some shopping and for Kathy to be accosted by two locals with a baby lamb and a baby Alpaca. A photo was unavoidable and some US currency changed hands.

Later on, we drove through a town famous for its roast guinea pig. A local delicacy we did not try during the trip in this town there are women with roadside stalls selling rotisserie rodents. As we drove through the town we stopped next to one stall and the guide opened the van door. At this point, the vendor poked the roast animal through the door and waved it around for the aroma to waft through the vehicle.


Stunned, we drove on. To stop at the house of a woman who provides all the food, accommodation and guide services to Jamie inside Peru. Here we were served a selection of excellent local food in a serene environment.


We continued on in the van reaching our destination late in the afternoon. In the Inca town of Ollantaytambo, (elevation 2,792 m) we booked into our accommodation and headed out via tuk-tuk to a local restaurant where more excellent local food was served. Kathy and Peggy shared a cocktail and I avoided alcohol as this had previously been an issue for me at altitude. Now we were back below 3,000 m breathing was easier but I didn't want to take any chances. Machu Picchu itself is lower again as we follow the river down to the base before catching busses up to the summit.


The town square was set up for a festival later that night, possibly something to do with the conclusion of a cycle race. Our group passed up on the festivities and managed to walk back down the hill to our beds to sleep in preparation for the big day ahead. Machu Picchu, the bucket list destination we had all come to see.

Posted by StephenJBrown 17:19 Archived in Peru Tagged machu_picchu

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