After our 4 day Machu Picchu trek, I said goodbye to the South America travel homies and went up a few streets to find a newer, cheaper hostel. I found Los Ninos Hostel, which couldn’t have come at a better time. The sun was shining, the design of the hostel was way too cute, and I got my own huge “apartment” room for about $20US. Talk about finding calm after the storm!
I made it a point to find local Cusceno food around town (which was kinda hard, given how touristy the main areas and the Plaza de las Armas can get). I found a few places on la calle Belen that offered almuerzos or comidas – a fixed menu, that offers a soup and a choice of an entree. My cheap ass often ate the soup and took the second course to go for dinner…
Tallarin (spaghetti, basically) Peruvian-style was pretty fun.
After Machu Picchu, I was too tired (and too cheap) to organize another visit to los templos around Cusco, so I settled for hanging out around town. On my last day, I finally found the Incan Art Museum, which was DOPE – it gave a lot of history to the different groups that have lived in Peru, telling their stories through pottery, photos, miniature displays, old relics, and even some remains.
I highly recommend the museum.
Besides that, most of my days were spent running errands (the post office in Cusco is HELLA expensive, make sure you really want to send that package back home!), eating street food, and dodging rain/hail.
Yes, I said HAIL. It was just that cold in Cusco from time to time.
On my second night in Cusco, I stayed at Hostal Magico, where I got my own room and bed (for a less expensive price). Many of the people staying there are volunteers that run programs for Cusceno children during the day.
After three lazy days in Cusco, I was itching to get outta there (I couldn’t take the cold weather and my broke-ness much longer), so I took an overnight bus with Cruz Del Sur to Arequipa – a trip that I dreaded like crazy. Many people (including Lonely Planet book guides) advise against taking overnight buses because drivers often fall asleep at the wheel. Falling asleep while driving is one thing on a flat highway in LA during rush hour traffic (my friend did that once), it’s quite another thing when a bus is driving along cliffs with no lights at night with high altitude. Every time the bus slowed down quickly or made a stop I imagined it being hurled over the edge of a cliff. Luckily everything turned out fine.
I woke up and took off my eye mask just in time to see the sunrise near Arequipa. Que preciosa!
Arequipa greeted me with pretty colonial buildings, gorgeous volcanoes, and warmer weather. Despite the reputation of some of Arequipa’s scandalous taxi cab drivers (the ones that rent out the little yellow taxis to scam tourists), I had a really nice driver that made sure I was inside my hostel before taking off.
I ended up staying at a hostel called Home Sweet Home, which for $20 soles allowed me to stay in a shared 5 person dorm room. Luckily the other two girls staying there were leaving, which means I had the whole room to myself to nap. Had to make up for all the lost sleep the night before on my overnight bus (due to my freakouts, of course).