Southern Peru


While Machu Picchu is the big draw in this region there many other sites worthy of exploration with a fraction of the crowds. 

Cusco is also my preferred destination for brushing up on Spanish skills. Numerous schools offering low cost private instruction can be found in this tourist friendly town. 


In August/ September of 2015 we spent 2 weeks in the region using Cusco as a base. We started with a day trip to visit the hilltop ruins above Pisac followed by  a multi-day trip to Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes, gateway to Machu Picchu. Next was a multi-day hike out of Cachora to visit the ruins of Choquequirau, also known as the little sister of Machu Picchu. We left Cusco by tour bus to Puno, Peru, near the Bolivian border, to visit one of the reed island communities.


Review of San Blas Spanish School
Cusco is an excellent place to brush up your Spanish skills before starting your journey.
Sights to See in Cusco
There is much to choose from in the former Inka capital.
San Pedro Market
A visit with my Spanish teacher to this lively food and dry goods market.
Visiting the Ruins North of Cusco
Within walking distance or a short taxi ride from Cusco are a number of small yet interesting ruins, including the impressive Saksaywaman.
Restaurant Reviews – Cusco
Cusco is great place to sample Peruvian cuisine prized throughout the continent.
Sleeping in Cusco
We tried a small apartment for the longer stay and a B&B for the shorter stays, both centrally located near the Plaza de Armas.

Pisac on Your Own
Just an hour bus ride from Cusco, this market town with hilltop ruins is very accessible for the independent traveler.

Cusco to Machu Picchu via Chinchero and Ollantaytambo

Cusco to Ollantaytambo via Chinchero
On your way to Machu Picchu the smaller sites of Chinchero, Moray and the terraced salt pools of Salineras are worth a visit.
Sights of Ollantaytambo
A charming Inka pueblo with an impressive ancient ceremonial center perched above.
Sleeping and Dining at El Albergue, Ollantaytambo
Machu Picchu – Part 1
An afternoon visit including a walk to the sun gate. There were few tourists left once the stormy skies opened up.
Machu Picchu – Part 2
Morning visit starting with a climb to Huayna Picchu.
Sleeping and Dining at Casa del Sol, Aguas Calientes

Trek to Choquiquerao

Trekking Choquequirao Independently
Overview of the trek and how to get to Cachora, gateway to the trail. Post includes a review of Casa de Salcantay, a great stop before and after the hike as well as a source for an arriero and mule.
Day 1 – Capuliyoc to Santa Rosa Baja
Day 2 – Santa Rosa Baja to Choquequirao
Day 3 – Choquequirao to Sami Wasi
Day 4 – The Hike Out
Small archeological site near Cachora.


Cusco to Puno, Peru via Inka Express Luxury Coach
A 10 hour sightseeing journey that crosses the La Raya Pass at 14,200ft.
Uros Tupirmarka Lodge – Lake Titicaca Reed Island Experience
Review of an overnight stay in one of the typical island communities.
Lake Titicaca – Puno to Copacabana via Tourist Bus
Detailed account of crossing the border into Bolivia via tourist bus.