Updated: Oct 21, 2019
Hello! I am the co-founder of RemoteWoman.com (@remote_woman) and I can’t wait to tell you all about this magical trip I took to Machu Picchu :)
Machu Picchu has always been on my bucket list. This year, I decided to work remotely and travel to South America (spending 5 months in Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls, Patagonia, Machu Picchu & Lima). I knew that we had to make it here. Earlier in the year, I traveled to Chichen Itza in Mexico - one of the largest ruins from the Mayan civilization. During that trip, I read and studied the great civilizations of Latin America (Aztecs, Mayans, Incans, etc.). And I was truly blown away by the size of the Incan empire (Quito, Ecuador all the way down to Santiago Chile). They were warriors, travelers, chefs and empire builders. After reflecting on the extent of their civilization I decided that I had no choice - I needed to explore Machu Picchu.
We started the trip in Cusco for a couple days - whose cobblestone streets, amazing markets and delicious food left me craving more.
Day 1-2 Cusco
Everyone talks about the high altitude issues you encounter when you arrive in Cusco. We were no different. Arriving in Cusco at 11,000+ feet makes you feel like you are constantly out of breath. Luckily, we had purchased natural altitude pills (also known as Sorojchi Pills) & bought coco leaves to chew on. You can also add the leaves to hot tea. Within a few hours, the remedies kicked in and helped! That’s when we started our journey wandering on foot around the town - finding amazing restaurants like Pachapapa, Limo and Inkazuela, shopping in the San Blas Art Market for artisan trinkets, exploring the Inca museum and learning more about the their history.
Plaza de Armas
The first thing to do is walk to Plaza de Armas (maybe have a coffee overlooking the view). It’s the center of the town in many ways - from stores to bars to dance clubs and restaurants. When we visited, we witnessed street dancing, locals protesting and military parades. The architecture in the Plaza is truly astounding and you can see the mountains surrounding you in every direction.
Next up was the San Pedro market to buy fresh juice, vegetables & pretty much everything else you could imagine. Everything from Alpaca blankets, juice, nuts, fruits, chickens, sausage, fish & more! I visited twice a day just for the fresh juices LOL - they have 20+ stalls of women ready to make you whatever you wish!
Pretty much everywhere you look, there’s shopping to be done. You’ll be able to find local board games, jewelry and pretty much every type of clothing made out of Alpaca. I think, between me and my friends, we must have purchased 10+ Alpaca blankets…they’re super comfortable and amazing gifts for our families back home. I wish I had space for more. :)
Eating Guinea Pig & Alpaca
Local delicacies include guinea pig (locals call “cuy”) & alpaca. It may sound a little crazy - but they’re actually pretty tasty if you're open and adventurous! Food is a high priority wherever I travel. And if you want to eat as the locals do, then it’s time to order up (even if the guinea pig looks a little like a large rat...let’s imagine it’s closer to rabbit or veal).