Cusco is a city literally on top of a mountain, with an altitude of more than 11,000 feet. The air is thin and it's difficult to breathe while navigating the steep cobblestone streets that are nearly 1,000 years old.
Nothing a fresh fruit smoothie followed by a steamy bowl of Quinoa soup from San Pedro market can't fix! Fresh mountain air mixed with urban wandering only excited a sense of adventure in myself and travel partner.
The next day we decided to head south into the Sacred Valley Mountains which contains the famous Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. Cusco is the adventure hub, the gateway to Machu Picchu.
Anything and everything can be booked from here! Our track took us by way Ollantaytambo where we caught an early morning train to Aguas Calientes. Tickets often sell out for Machu Picchu in advance so it was recommended to us to buy them early as well as transportation. Although the train was luxurious with its red cotton seats and hot tea, the cost inspired a more adventurous return itinerary. An early start allowed us to enter the ruins before the crowds and enjoy the misty morning. We even saw a wild Macchu Pikachu!
Perhaps the best part of our Incan adventure was the hike out along the railroad tracks that traced the Urubamba river from Aguas Calientes to Hidroelectrica, we barely made it in time to catch our bus! After a somewhat painful 5 hour bumpy ride through breathtaking mountains, we returned to the Sacred Valley to rest and recover. The adventure has barely begun and there is still soo much to see.