Our arrival in Peru could be summarized as follows: 30 hours of travel, 2 stops and 1 climb from 0 to 3,300 meters of altitude. At two in the afternoon we landed in the Cusco airport, ancient capital of the Inca Empire, and access point to Machu Picchu. There are official white taxis, which we did not see, that take you downtown for 5, 10 or 15 soles depending on your bargaining ability.
As usual, we ended up in an unofficial taxi that came out for 25 soles. At least, we got him to take us first to the office of the Ministry of Culture and wait for us at the door until buy tickets to Machu Picchu and then, calmer, we went to the hotel. We could have bought them online before starting the trip, but at the beginning of 2012 they were changing the rates and had not yet put up for sale on the web those of the day we wanted to go to Machu Picchu.
In the office of culture Ministry We saw two lines: in one the tickets were ordered and the official who attended you bought them on the official website (!), in the other, they were paid. By the way: to buy the entrance to Machu Picchu it is necessary to present the passport.
Meanwhile, the taxi driver reluctantly waited for us to finish the process. He tried the odd trick to leave before, but in the end he waited for us to give him the money we had agreed upon.
In Cuzco we stayed at the Llaqtayay Guest House, which is run by Sonia and Joe, a young couple who have been with the business for years. Sonia welcomed us to her house with a coca leaf tea traditional and explained how to avoid the altitude sickness or soroche everything possible.
How to avoid altitude sickness?
Sonia recommended that we take it easy on the first day. Let us rest and that we make little effort, since at that height it is noticed that the air is missing and one runs out more quickly. He also told us that above all we breathe deeply through the nose (not by mouth), which we would drink a lot of water and that the food was very light. We had to avoid red meat, fried and dairy, at least the first few days.
The accommodation is simple and with some lacks. In Cusco it is cold at night and the rooms are not very well acclimatized. Also, the bathrooms, which are shared, are a bit fair. Even so, the fact that we were able to share a week with a family at home rather than being in a hotel prevailed for us. In addition, the price is a bargain: $ 15 per night, double room with breakfast and Wifi.
Afterwards, we went for a brief walk around. A few streets and downhill we find the Cusco Market, which is very well stocked and organized, since each row of stops is dedicated to one type of product: fruits, cheeses, meats, chocolate, prepared meals and almost everything.