Set 1 - Cuzco

I have a travel map as my wallpaper on my laptop. It has blue dots on all the places I've been, yellow dots for all the places that I would avoid, and red hearts for all the places that I loved. Cuzco is a red heart--it has a unique feel to it. It's a city where the cobbletones and grand churches bring you to another world.

Another highlight of the city was Sacsayhuaman / "sexy woman"--a set of ruins above the city with impressive rocks and a herd of the fluffliest llamas.



Exchange Rate: CDN$1 - S$2.5
entry, sacsayhuaman: S$70
tour guide, sacsayhuaman: S$25
dinner for 2, Fallen Angel: S$100
lunch for 2, Green Point: S$24
1 night, Rumi Punku: C$114
taxi, Rumi Punku to airport: S$15


Set 2 - Lares Trek

The big name tourist trek is the Inca Trail. But that trail is full of steps and steps, up and down. All I can think about is how taking 1 year off the useful life of my failing knees in 4 days is not worth it.

The alternative is the Lares Trek. I did this before in 2006. It was amazing then, it was amazing now. I loved how we were the only people on the trail--although we missed lots of archaeological sites, we didn't have to share the trail with 500 others. We explored the natural and beautiful countryside in our own solitude.

We also got to see a local village with the simple mud houses, cold wind blowing through the cracks, their personal cuy (guinea pig) farm located under their bed. It was sobering. We left them with basic foodstuffs, and for the kids with ratty sandals and snot-smeared faces we left pencils and some stuffed dolls that we brought from Toronto. It was sad to see the things that we throw away regularly in Canada could bring joy and smiles to the poor kids here.

Overall, the hike was invigorating, the food provided by the tour was tasty, and they even made a cake for Felipe's birthday! The views across the valleys were breath-taking and we reached Huaca Wasi Pass at 4550 meters with a spectacular view of the lake below. Local villagers would make their way to us with a spread of colourful bracelets and sugary drinks, we would offer smiles and a handful of coca leaves. We passed by grazing herds of llamas and alpacas clinging impossibly to the steep mountainsides. It was a fun trip. But after the 3rd day of hiking, and a couple of frigid nights camping, I counted my blessings that I could return to the warmth of a hotel...with solid walls and without any guinea pigs squeaking under my bed.


Lares Trek 4D3N, Alpaca Expedition: US$540
- kilometers hiked: 33km
- highest point: 4550m
- temperature at night: 2C
- number of llamas seen: 52


Set 3 - Machu Picchu

Finally, the cherry on the cake, we arrived at Machu Picchu. It's still as breathtaking as I remember it from 2006. This time there was no fog, so we got to watch the sun break around the surrounding mountains and light up the ruins. We also climbed up Machu Picchu Mountain which gave a bird's eye view of the ruins and Wayna Picchu.





see itinerary