Retro travel journal: Cuzco, Peru; avalanches, ruins and unexpected friendships

• ~400 words • 2 minute read

Today I received a random Facebook message from someone I met in Peru, a little over a year ago now. It was a lovely surprise and a chance to utilize my terrible Spanish. A year of wandering leaves friendly faces deposited all over the globe in funny places and it always warms my heart to receive messages from these people.

More specifically I met this person in Cuzco, Peru during a whirlwind weekend trip where I decided to fly out of Lima on Friday, go see Machu Picchu on Saturday and fly back on Sunday. It turns out that it's quite a bit cheaper to book a trip to Machu Picchu yourself and be your own travel guide — if you're already down in South America like I was — though perhaps there's a reason it's less common. There was a lot of running around between the plane tickets, train tickets, bus tickets and three kinds of permits from three different offices required to enter the site, which I still don't fully understand.

I'm thankful my Peruvian friend found me that day, otherwise I'm not sure I would've been able to find all the places I needed to go! It was the first of many random acts of kindness that would help me out along the way over the course of the year.

All in all I think the weekend excursion cost me somewhere around $300-350, and that's include the plane ticket, lodgins and everything else. I remember talking to an older British man on the train when he casually asked me how much I'd spent pulling the trip together myself. I told him.

"Bullshit," he said. I smiled sheepishly and then he proceeded to explain how the cruise had charged him something around $10,000 for his weekend to the ruins.

Maybe I'm in the wrong line of business? Maybe I should be a travel agent?

Here's the requisite picture of Machu Picchu, taken from my iPhone despite looking exactly like all the postcards you've seen:

Machu, Picchu

And an alpaca using the stairs:

Alpaca at Machu Picchu

And a picture summarizing the general cuteness of Cuzco:

Cuzco, Peru