Urubamba is in the Sacred Valley in Peru. This is where I am staying before heading up to Machu Picchu. I landed at the Cusco airport and took a taxi to the Valley, about an hour drive. The drive from the airport has views like I’ve never seen before. I could not believe how incredibly beautiful the landscape was. The colorful vastness is nothing like I’ve experienced.
You will definitely want to allow time to walk through the city and visit the markets. Although I planned this trip with 4 other friends I decided to make the trip to Machu Picchu alone because my itinerary differed from the 4 others I traveled with and I just had to do it my way.
Out of DC we took Aero Mexico (AM) because I saw a crazy price of RT to Lima for $350 on this web site here which I follow on twitter. Well of course I jumped on that! AM flights go via their hub in Mexico City so we took a taxi downtown for lunch during our layover.
The flight landed at some ungodly hour in Lima and I decided to hang in the lounge for 3 hours while my friend decided to stay the night in Lima and head to Cuzco the next afternoon. Since we didn’t agree on how to do this we just had to part ways.
Ultimately the four of them met up in Cuzco and made this their home base for Machu Picchu while I was already a day ahead of them in the lap of luxury here at Tambo Del Inka. This hotel without a doubt is one of the best places I’ve ever laid my head – absolutely gorgeous! And the amazing thing is that I paid less than $50 a night because of my membership with Starwood hotels. It was no way that I was going to miss out on the property especially since they have a dedicated train that originates on their property that goes up to Machu Picchu.
The weather this time of year was perfect. I saw no rain my entire time and the view on top of the mountain was fog free. I would recommend traveling here this time of year.
To give you an idea of how high up I’am here in Urubamba, Denver is about 5200 ft above sea level and Machu Picchu is about 8000 feet above sea level. My hotel here in Urubamba is 9400 ft above sea level and where I am headed next Cuzco is more than 11000 ft above sea level! So you can see that these cities are literary up in the clouds and it is gorgeous.
Folks who complain about Denver would of course have a very difficult time here. I got a headache in Mexico City and had a strange feeling for about an hour and started shortness of breath. I think the altitude of Mexico City is a higher than Denver by 2000 feet.
Some people I’ve talked with have people from their group in the hospital because of the altitude here. It just affects some more than others.
I landed in Cuzco but then came down to a lower altitude here in Urubamba and Machu Picchu and so far I’ve been fine but it is very difficult to breathe initially. And just normal walking or climbing stairs will get you out of breath very easily.
For example, you ramp the treadmill up to 8.0 and incline up to 5 and try to maintain for as long as you can. You know how you feel after that for about 90 seconds? That’s the way it feels when you are hiking here for about 20 steps. Really in this altitude you feel just like that. 20 steps and you may need to stop to catch your breath.
Peru is beautiful stunning and is a backpacking adventure paradise . I have to say that this is the most stunning country that I have seen. I am not speaking of man-made structures, I am just speaking of the landscape. Truly Gods country. It’s very difficult, I would say impossible to translate the awesomeness within a photo.
I didn’t bring any heels;-). You won’t need them here … Maybe in Lima but Peru to me is more about the outdoors. Here you need hiking boots, backpacks, and plenty of sun block!
The people are very hard-working and friendly but you may want to ask permission before you try to snap their pictures. I was surprised when I took out my camera to snap a picture the hands would extend for payment. And in some cases in the markets on Saturday morning in the town across from the hotel, when I tried to take pictures of the food that was for sale one woman expressed her objection.
It seems that the local folks are on one hand grateful for the tourism dollars but on the other hand may feel like objects as folks like me come to the area and snap pictures with every step I took. The colors are amazing, from the clothing to the landscape, just amazing.
Cows roaming on the streets, the kids are adorable and the food is great.
Outside of places I stayed on safari in South Africa, this is the nicest hotel I think I’ve ever stayed at (Tambo del Inka).
On the morning of my departure back to Cuzco I spent a couple of hours wandering solo through the town across the road from the hotel and at no time did I feel uncomfortable.
Pics of locals and the hotel.
|Woman from Market|
|Tambo del Inka Lobby Area|
|Girl with Lamb in Market|
|Rear of Hotel – Tambo Del Inka|
|Dog in Market|
Pics of hotel and town Urubamba
|Morning at Market along Street|
|Hotel Pool against Mountain Side – Tambo Del Inka|
|Pool Area – Swim under to go outdoors – Tambo Del Inka|
|Woman on Street|
|Tambo Del Inka|
|Woman on Street|
TAXI AND STREET SCENES
Lima - Trip Report
Cusco – Trip Report