The Journey Continues to Cusco
Cusco Travel Blog› entry 13 of 17 › view all entries
We were able to have breakfast at the hotel (started 7AM) before we left. Our taxi driver recommended we leave at 7:30 AM to catch our flight to Cuzco at 10:30 AM. This was a good thing as the traffic getting out of Miraflores was unbelievable! We arrived at the airport around 9AM. After checking in our luggage with TACA Airlines, we had to pay yet another departure tax of US$6.82 (couldn't believe we had to pay a departure tax for a domestic flight!). There's going to be a problem with my return flight but I will deal with that when I get to Cusco.
It was only an hour's flight to Cusco but the airline still served a light snack and beverage. After picking up our luggage we went to Lan Airlines to check on my return flight from Cusco. Because our return flight was booked on two different tickets (one from Cusco to Lima and one from Lima to Miami to DCA) they would not check our bags straight through. I had to pick up my bags in Lima and recheck them into American Airlines in the international terminal. There was not sufficient time between flights to do that so I had to change my return flights. Unfortunately there was only one flight out of Cusco to Lima at 7:15 AM arriving in in Lima at 8:35 AM and my AA flight leaves Lima at 9:30 AM...what should I do? The agent recommended that I fly into Lima the day before at 4:30 PM, overnight in Lima so that I can catch my return flight on AA the next morning at 9:30AM. I did not want to incur another hotel costs and r/t taxi fare to and from the airport but there were no other options at this point. They recommended I try to get AA to change my flight to leave at 10:15PM then I would not have to overnight in Lima. I accepted the worst case scenario but thought I would try everyday to get AA to change my flight.
Our hotel worked closely with a travel agency who sent their drivers to pick us up from the airport with the hopes of selling us their tours (we later learned this from the hotel staff). Our taxi driver was waiting for us outside and took us to the Sonesta Posado del Inca Hotel (one block from Plaza de Armas). He tried to find out what our plans were while in Cusco and let us know what tours he can offer us and at what price. He wanted US$35 to see the northern part of the Sacred Valley. We told him that we'd think about it. Upon arrival at the hotel, we were given cocoa tea right away. I did not notice any altitude sickness...maybe I was too excited to actually be in Cusco. We got a lovely double room with a spectacular view of the mountains...nice after that fiesta at the San Francisco Hotel. We dropped off our luggage and headed out to the streets to see Cusco. This is a quaint old town with many shops, churches, plazas, markets and tourists everywhere. I felt very safe walking around and exploring the town.
The first thing to do is go down to the Tourist Office to purchase my tourist ticket to see the Sacred Valley the following day. I should have told the guy that I would not be using the ticket until the following day as he stamped it to expire 4/9 (it's good for two days). Anyway, since I was doing the tour just on 4/9, it really did not matter. I purchased the ticket for 70 soles since I was only going to be doing the northern areas of the Sacred Valley (Pisac, Olayantambo, Urumbamba and Chinchero). If you wanted to do the southern section of the Sacred Valley (back to back), you'd save 10 soles if you purchased the full pass for 130 soles.
I went down to the Lan Airlines office to see if I could get some help with my return flight on AA but they could not help. They did give me a toll free number for American Airlines to call from Cusco which worked perfectly using the public phone (0800-40350). I so happen to just bumped into Inca Peru Travel on Avenue Sol and out of curiousity asked about a tour to the Sacred Valley. They said that they do offer a full day tour to Pisac, Olayantambo, Urumbamba and Chinchero plus a buffet lunch and an English speaking guide for a total of US$18. They'll even pick us up from our hotel. Sounds like a good deal to me so I purchased tickets right away for a day's tour the next day.
There were many restaurants offering free pisco with dinner and each had a guy with their menu trying to lure customers into their restaurant. We choose a restaurant recommended by the hotel (no free pisco) called Chicha. It overlooked a park with a colored fountain and we got the window table with the best view. The food was nicely displayed but it was pricey. For some reason I was not able to eat much and the food did not digest well. I took the left overs and gave it to a homeless person on the way back to the hotel. The little that I ate, came right back up as soon as I arrived at my hotel. I am not sure but I think it might have been the mayacuya sour that I had which did not settle too well in my stomach. I had done so well so far with the food and the pisco sour!