Fuck Lima, Go Straight To Cusco
Getting here: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
I was looking for ways to get from Lima to Cusco and there are a few that people recommended. The first was a bus, I was told it was the most prettiest way, and that the country side was beautiful. Apparently it is, but I also found out that busses are not the most reliable, you drive through some parts that are hostile territories, and busses are known to be captured by Gorilas. And on top of that, the ride is 26 hours long. No thanks.
I also was told there was a train, that took you to the edge of the city, but then you needed a taxi to get to the center of town. Takes about 10 hours, but is very expensive, after you tack on the taxi fees too and from each station.
I opted for the plane. For $85USD you got a 55 minute flight that put you closer then the train. It was a no brainer, and the hostel that I was staying with booked a taxi driver that was waiting for me with my name on a sign. No waiting for a shuttle, or other people. Single taxi ride, right to the front door. It was great.
Cusco is awesome. It’s a city sits at about 11,000 feet, It’s pretty high, some people get altitude sickness(where you get massive headaches and nausea) thankfully I didn’t have this problem. The city is surrounded by mountains and hills, very pretty with green all around it, much different then Lima. All the buildings are made of bricks, some old style engineering mixed with new style that is very pretty. There are parks that are spread around the city and make it very nice to stroll around.
People from all over the world are here, many caucasians, and you can tell it is a tourist area. English is spoken by the Peruvian workers, so it is relatively easy to communicate. The first day I was here I thought to myself, “Why the fuck did I spend so much time in Lima?” Looking back, and if anyone asks my recommendation, I say fuck Lima, spend maybe a night in Miraflores, then come straight to Cusco. This place is awesome.
Considering this is the first hostel I have ever stayed in and I have nothing to base it off of, I really enjoy it. The place is an old building structure with a courtyard in the middle. The courtyard has people lounging around in beanbags, playing ping pong, and hanging out. All people my age, pretty sweet.
For $11USD a night I get a bed(comfy I must say) in a 6 bed room with a shared bathroom and shower, free wifi, free access to a kitchen, free tea and coffee, and free rolls in the morning for breakfast. On top of that they have a computer den, TV lounge, restaurant and bar, full 24 hour security guard at the main entrance, free locker storage, and a pretty cheap laundry service. I’m set.
Walking The City:
Walking around the city is great. The shops have people standing outside trying to sell you stuff, clothes, hats, trips, massages, anything you want. Some places are rip offs, but you just have to know where to look, don’t bite the first time you encounter something you want because theres someone right down the road selling it for fraction of the cost.
You can bargain with people on everything, from booze, to clothing, to food. Not as if it wasn’t cheap to begin with. After my 5 day hike to Machu Picchu, I was so sore. I went to get a massage. I got a one hour, full body massage for $6USD!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! Now, it wasn’t the greatest massage I’ve ever had, but it sure wasn’t the worst. Plus, for six bucks.. You can’t beat it.
Only bad part, was after my massage they thought the money I handed them was counterfeit. I assured them it wasn’t and that I got it from an ATM. They passed my bill around to a few people to double check. I got the approval, but still was nerve-racking.
Tip: Make sure you keep an eye on your money, they will switch the real one for fake shit
I got back from Machu Picchu around 10:30pm and went straight to bed. Woke up the next morning and went to get breakfast. While I was eating some guy sat down next to me and we started chatting, he had been in Cusco for 3 weeks and this day he was headed to Bolivia. He said he had been working at the hostel we were at, and asked if I wanted to take his job. I asked him what he did (bartend), and what do I get out of it. For a minimum of 2 weeks; 4 hours a day, 6 days a week, they give me a free bed and half off all food, drinks, and services. I told him I would think about it. Before he could give me a chance, he told the manager that I was taking the job. She was so excited to have someone take the position, she immediately wanted me to start training that night. I told her to give me until tomorrow. I start training today, so it looks like I will be in Cusco for another two weeks. This will give me some time to save up some money and then head to my next place. I’m thinking my next stop will be somewhere outside of Peru. An island sounds nice..