We planned to fly to Cusco after our short stay in Lima to put us in closer proximity to Machu Picchu. Since Cusco sits at an altitude of 3400m (11,200ft!), we were worried about altitude sickness and followed the advice from the travel books, which recommended we head straight from the airport to the Urubamba Valley to start the acclimation process. The difference in altitude (about 500m or 1640 ft) was supposed to make a big difference.

We ultimately booked two nights in the small town of Urubamba. We figured we could use somewhere scenic to rest while we adjusted to the altitude. Plus, it put us in a good position to visit Machu Picchu in the coming days and tour the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Accommodation:  Sacred Dreams Lodge

Adventures: Inca's Balcony, Moray, Ollantaytambo fortress

Takeaways: 1) The altitude is no joke. 2) There is wifi in the middle of rural Peru. 3) The sewer systems are sensitive and usually can't handle toilet paper. 4) It's easy to get sunburned at higher altitudes. 5) The Incas were accomplished builders and scientists.

Memorable Moments: 1) Seeing those mountains surrounding the valley! 2) Napping an entire afternoon due to the altitude. 3) Taking a selfie with an alpaca. 4) Feeling winded climbing the Ollantaytambo fortress. Again, the altitude! 5) Finding a scorpion in our hotel room.

  • Breakfast usually consists of fresh fruit, bread, cereals, meats and cheeses, and avocado. You might be able to request an egg.
  • Coca tea. It tastes like edamame and helps with the altitude. Stick to less than 3 glasses a day and avoid at bedtime.
  • Quinoa
  • Trout
  • Chilcanos. We loved these cocktails!
  • Chica de maiz. It's a sweet, non-alcoholic, purple corn drink.

1) Wear sunblock! 
2) Bring warmer clothes for the mountains.
3) Bring toilet paper/tissues and water in your day pack.
4) Acclimate to the altitude before attempting to hike up mountains.

Next Time: Pisac, Maras salt mines


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