Peru! I had been dreaming about visiting Peru and Machu Picchu. I mentioned to a friend that I would love to visit and then the next month we found cheap flights to Lima, and even better, we convinced our friends to join us! It was a fantastic trip.
We’ve never traveled with anyone else before on one of our big trips. I was nervous that someone would get sick of the other couple (mostly them getting sick of me…) but it was great! Traveling with another couple was super beneficial financially by splitting accommodations, taxi rides, etc. But the best part was making memories with great friends. We were so grateful to have Rex and Tania with us, and not just because they both speak Spanish. That was just an added benefit. 🙂
Our adventure began with the ridiculous notion that it was a good idea to spend the night in the airport. We arrived to Lima at midnight with our flight to Cusco leaving 6 hours later. So, a night in the airport it is. Travelers aren’t allowed passed security until a few hours before your flight, so we had to lay in a hallway along with other sad travelers. It was ridiculous to think we would even get an ounce of sleep. After an incident where there was no record of us passing through security and our seats were subsequently given away, we eventually all made it to Cusco and the Sacred Valley.
Cusco sits in the Sacred Valley- a jump-off point for many travelers to visit Machu Picchu. While MP is the most popular and impressive, the Sacred Valley was worth a few days to explore.
We based ourselves in Ollantaytambo, affectionately know as Olly. It has a really cool vibe that wasn’t too touristy and the other sites in the Sacred Valley were easy to access. Our accommodations were in a small alleyway (one of the most charming parts of Olly is the labyrinth of alleyways) and we were served a delicious breakfast each morning.
Olly is quite small and easy to get around by foot. At the center of town is Plaza de Armas which is surrounded by almost all of the restaurants and shops. Follow the road past a market and you will find the ruins of the Fortress of Ollantaytambo made up of massive terraces. Towering on the mountain, it is pretty hard to miss.
The massive blocks do not have any mortar- just intricately fit together. (Learned that from eavesdropping on a tour guide.)
After a quick lunch, we went to bed to prepare for our day of touring the rest of the Sacred Valley.
Traveled March 2016.