Saturday, June 15, 2013

10 Things I Learned from Cusco, Peru

1. Cusco has a high elevation- about 12,000 feet, so give time for yourself to acclimatize (I had one day but I would say a few days is good) OR

2. Drink coca tea for elevation sickness. Or you can take Diamox, which are elevation pills. My choice was coca tea as I don't like pills. There are different symptoms for everyone; while my travel mates complained of stomachache, I had a headache.

3. The city itself is colder than Lima, so bring a jacket. At least when I went in January, it was.

4. Avoid buying souvenirs here if you can. Cusco is very touristy, so the prices of everything automatically goes up. Buy them in Lima or elsewhere if you can. I bought a scarf made out of alpaca wool that cost twice the amount when I originally saw it in Lima.

5. A lot of stores are walking distance. So very convenient! I didn't ride any buses unless it was going up to Machu Picchu.

6. Some of the traditionally clad women in stores are well-versed in English. Big shocker here for me. No doubt they assimilated well enough to communicate with tourists.

7. One can book a tour to Machu Picchu on the streets. Even though I must admit they are a bit sketchy. This was how I booked mine.

8. Traffic is less crazy here. No crazy drivers to worry about.

9. The streets are made of cobblestone, so proper shoes are a must. This makes the city itself look very European looking.

10. Sometimes you pay before you eat at an restaurant. This happened to me at the last establishment I was in. My companions and I were completely confused. Maybe it was one of those buffet type places where you pay before you eat?