Preperations for Machu Picchu

Trip Start Aug 12, 2010
Trip End Sep 23, 2011

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Where I stayed
Pariwana Hostel

Flag of Peru  ,
Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hello from Cuzco: The Historic Inca Capital.

After a very uncomfortable and bumpy bus journey from Arequipa we arrived in Cuzco around 6am. After negotiating a price with the 'vulture' like taxi drivers we made our way to Pariwana Hostel and checked into our dorm room. Pariwana is a huge hostel that at times must hold more than 50 backpackers.

Of course, the main reason tourists come to Cuzco is to do the Inca Trail and see Machu Picchu. Cuzco is probably the most busiest place we have been so far. The streets are filled with sellers, shops, restaurants and travel agencies. On our first day out we were totally overwhelmed with the hassle we got, every where we went we were offered souvenirs, paintings, clothing, tours and information, food, and massages. After just a few hours of souvenir browsing we were so tired we just wanted to go to bed.

The first day of sightseeing we were persuaded into getting our shoes cleaned by two guys. Before they started scrubbing we asked them how much it would cost, knowing that we only had a little amount of change, they said it was up to us. We suggested 2 soles (50p) and they started to clean. Once they had finished one of them said "this is special, this is extra price", with horror we said no, you didn't inform us. Hollie rightly went into "not putting up with this" mode and argued that we were going to pay what we liked, not the 10 soles they were trying to squeeze out of us. After debating how much we gave them 3 soles each and told them to go away in no uncertain terms. Even during this time we were approached by others selling paintings and sunglasses, plus a "deaf" man who wanted us to give him money (this type of scam is all over Central America)! Phew, its tiring just reading about it!

The next day we prepared for the Inca Trail and attended the some-what pointless 7.30pm briefing. Our meeting didn't finish until around 9pm and we still hadn't had dinner, nor finished packing!!! This information would have been better in an email, as by the time the meeting is over its too late to get the items the guide has just suggested! Also, just a word of warning for anyone doing the Inca Trail, if you are going to rent camping equipment like sleeping bags and hiking sticks do not rent it from your tour company, go into a local shop and rent it. Many operators will charge $25 for a sleeping bag but we rented ours from the same camping shop for $8!!!

After dinner and packing we got to bed at midnight only to wake up for 4am, enough time to get dressed and walk to our meeting point.

Please read the next blog on the Inca Trial and Machu Picchu, hope your as excited as we are!!!

Love Thomas and Hollie xxx
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