Cusco is the city where everyone goes in Peru to climb Machu Picchu; This was the only reason we came here. Little did I know how beautiful the city really is and that there would be so much more to do than JUST Machu Picchu.
The first full day we had here we did a free walking tour, most cities offer these and they are usually amazing, they’re a great way to get to know the city, know where things are and what there is to do there. 

We quickly found out on the walking tour that Cusco is very similar to La Paz in the sense that there’s loads of bloody hills – 😐

To the eye, Cusco is a very pretty city with a heavy Spanish influence in the architecture, sometimes it feels like your in a European Country. 

We booked a day trip to the Sacred Valley which is a valley near Machu Picchu with some more Inca ruins. I didn’t expect much from this as we had seen some ruins in La Paz which… well they just looked like stones to me.

Off we went on our second day to the Sacred Valley where we visited ruins in Pisac, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero. All of the Inca ruins were breathtaking and I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. Our guide was truly amazing, he was clearly passionate about his culture and knew everything. There’s so much to be learnt about the Inca culture and it’s all fascinating. Not only was our guide knowledgable about the Incas but he knew so much about the area, plants and flowers, food, buildings … the list goes on! 

We didn’t just visit ruins,  the tour also consisted of some other cool stuff,  we visited a silver factory, local market and had a buffet lunch. All in all the Sacred Valley tour was an amazing experience where we saw and learnt loads, I 100% recommend this tour to anyone who is visiting Cusco. 

On our third day we decided to visit the Ccochahuasi Animal Sanctuary. We had heard about this place from friends and also passed it on our tour the day before.

This place is a hidden gem and I don’t know why more people don’t know about it! 

It’s located around 20 mins outside of the city towards Pisac, you can easily pick up a taxi or bus that’s heading that way.

The Sanctuary helps rescue animals that have been stolen from the jungle, kept as pets and been injured. Their main priority is to Rescue, Rehabilitate and Release. They have many different types of animals such as turtles, alpacas, llamas , vicunias, bears, tucans, many different types of falcons, pumas & other wild cats, foxes, condors, monkeys, parrots and guinea pigs. This place may just sound like a zoo to you, but it’s somewhere very special! The entry fee to this place is 10 Peruvian Sol, which is £2.50! Upon entry your greeted by a volunteer and they take you for a tour around the Sanctuary, they tell you all about the Sanctuary, what they do, the animals and their story; for instance the South American bear is there because it’s mother was killed by a farmer as the bears are a nuisance to farmers and their fur very valuable, he’s only a year or so old and has been there since he was a baby.

 The Condors are there because people try to poison them to get hold of their feathers as one feather is worth $100 USD. 

 The special and unusual thing about this place is you actually get to go in some of the enclosures with the animals or get up close to them. The scariest part for me was going inside the Condor enclosure with seven Condors. I didn’t know this but they’re the second largest bird IN THE WORLD and I was just chilling in their cage! Luckily they’re vultures so they didn’t try eat us. 

We got to get very close to the amazing birds, take pictures and also watch them fly over us. 

I loved every minute of our time at the Sanctuary and I urge anyone and everyone who is planning on going to Cusco to give this place a visit! They get their funding from the tickets, £2.50 per person is nothing and they need all of the help they can get! They are doing an amazing job, all of the volunteers there know their shit and clearly have a special bond with all of the animals. 

We were also told that when they release the Condors into the wild, they come back for a visit sometimes and fly over the Sanctuary – how cute!

The food here is lovely! I find it much tastier than Bolivian food as there is a heavy Asian influence in Peruvian food. Everything they do they seem to do well and all is freshly cooked. The street food is very very cheap and you get plenty for your money! Even if you go to a restaurant you can pick yourself up a set menu ( soup, main, desert and drink ) for dirt cheap!

Like Bolivia the food is very carby, they love their potatoes, rice, pasta and bread here.

Guinea pig is a delicacy here, it would be rude not to try it right ? 

It’s not very nice to look at when it’s cooked! I only had the smallest piece because I was put off by the look of it but I’m not sure what it tastes like … apparently it’s like rabbit?
Nightlife in Cusco is really good, there’s plenty of bars, cheap and fancy and also plenty of clubs ( or bars with dance floors ). We have only been out one night but it was lots of fun, we went to a bar that had free salsa lessons 9-11pm and we got a free drink upon arrival. Most bars offer some free drink or 2 for 1 on drinks so you don’t spend much!
Finally … the beautiful Peruvian people. Just like La Paz there are a lot of indigenous people here, most of them selling their goods on the streets whether it be crafts or food. One thing is that the children here are BEAUTIFUL, they are so so cute!

Generally the people are so kind and helpful, especially when you need advice or help with something. They seem to speak English more here in Cusco too, we were told that there’s less chance of English in Peru !

I have fallen in love with this place, I would come back in a heart beat and think that everyone should visit Peru/Cusco at least once 🇵🇪❤️

You might be thinking … hmmm she’s not mentioned Machu Picchu … well that is because tomorrrow we are embarking on our 3nt/4day jungle trek to Machu Picchu where we will be hiking, bike ridding and zip lining our way through the jungle to the ruins ! Wish me luck, I’m definitely going to need it 🚴🏼‍♀️⛰🍀