“Trek” to Machu Picchu – Cusco, Peru

As I mentioned in my last post, five friends and I decided to visit Machu Picchu in August 2014.

We spent some time in Cusco, Peru both before and after we visited Machu Picchu. Cusco has such a high elevation, when we flew in from Lima, our plane didn’t have to descend very much.

View from the plane flying into Cusco

We made it to our hostel, Marlon’s House Hostel, and then set out for the San Pedro Market. We visited this market many times while in Cusco since it was so close to our hostel. It was a great source for food and souvenirs.

Entrance to the market
Inside the market. They had some t-shirts that were ~$5 and lots of other souvenirs
Enjoying a tasty fresh mango drink!

After the market, we visited the Qorikancha. We spent quite a bit of time walking around and exploring. There were different art pieces hanging on the walls, some ruins to check out, and an outside area to walk around. We were there when the sun was setting and saw some beautiful views of Cusco and the Qorikancha. The picture at the top is from inside the Qorikancha.

At the Qorikancha with Cusco in the background

Qorikancha at night. So beautiful!

We spent the next day on a day long tour to Ollantaytambo and then the following few days getting to and from Machu Picchu, which you can read about in my upcoming posts. After Machu Picchu, we returned to Cusco for another day and a half.

We paid for a bus tour of the Saqsaywaman ruins and a few other ruins near Cusco. We could’ve done our own walking tour of them, but we had walked and hiked so much the last few days, we needed a break. The tour we went on wasn’t that exciting (we were coming back from a Machu Picchu high), but I did enjoy seeing the ruins near Cusco! If you’re having trouble pronouncing Saqsaywaman, it sounds like sexy woman!

You can see how tall the ruins are!

After the Saqsaywaman ruins, we got back on the bus and rode to the Puka Pukara ruins for a quick stop.

We then took the bus to the Tambomachay ruins. We had to walk a little bit from the bus to get to the actual ruins, which are shown in the picture below. The pole I’m touching had a cat head carved on it!

The last ruins we visited before the sun started to set were the Q’enko ruins. There was an underground portion that we walked through, but my pictures didn’t turn out too well. For my fellow Game of Thrones nerds out there, which do you think would be more uncomfortable… a stone throne like the one below or the iron throne made of swords in Game of Thrones?!?

A stone throne at the Q’enko ruins

We saw a beautiful view of the sun setting over Cusco from the Q’enko ruins.

On our very last day in Cusco, we had a flight around noon so we had the morning to walk around the actual city part. We walked to the Plaza de Armas and saw the Cathedral shown below.

Stay tuned for my next post on an incredible day trip to a llama/alpaca farm and the Ollantaytambo ruins.


  • Marlon’s House Hostel – I would stay there again. The people were very friendly and they offered free breakfast each morning. There was only one shared shower and bathroom, so we often had to wait to use them. We struggled to get warm water, but from reviews of other hostels in Cusco, this was a common issue. They also have a tour company at the hostel, which is who we went through to book our Saqsaywaman tour.
  • San Pedro Market – Definitely a great place to walk around and try some Peruvian food. We bought most of our souvenirs from here as well.
  • Qorikancha – One of my favorite parts of Cusco. I would highly recommend taking the time to visit it and walk around!
  • Saqsaywaman Ruins – I enjoyed visiting the ruins, but after the other ruins we saw, they weren’t that impressive. My favorite were the Saqsaywaman ruins (the first ones we visited) and I wish we had more time to explore them.

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