21 December 2015
We had a long day of travel from Machu Picchu back to Lima, including getting off the train in Ollantaytambo, which has another incredible set of Inca ruins, and of course aligns with Machu Picchu, because this is the start of the Inca Trail. We did the easy route and got a taxi back to Cuzco; our driver pointed out various Inca ruins along the way. All the terraces seem to be intact, 500 years old. Absolutely amazing!
So, we've had a wonderful month in Peru, but we're moving on tomorrow because we have a specific location for a specific date. So, adios Peru.
We've only stayed at three hotels here, but all have been great.
In the Miraflores neighborhood of Lima, the Inti Killa Hostel. Inti Killa means Sun Moon in Quechua. This is more a small hotel than a hostel in the English sense. We opted for the king room, which is really a nice size, and includes a fridge. Speedy wifi, huge breakfasts, luggage storage so you can take smaller luggage to Machu Picchu, and the manager, Mary, is the most warm and welcoming hotelier who we've met in a long while. Not far from the coast, or walking distance to shops, parks, restaurants. Highly recommend this place!
We booked it through hotels.com, but here's another link: http://inti-killa-hostel.limahotel24.com/#mobile-accordion
We always manage to locate a place that becomes almost home base - where we can stop for coffee or a nosh, where the staff speaks English and can help us translate or shop or understand what's going on or tell us what holiday is coming up when everything is closed. We fortunately found Valentini Cafeteria, an Italian style café with coffee drinks, juices, sandwiches, pastries, and two nice young men who speak very good English. We had a great time hanging out chatting and laughing with them.
I can't find a website, but here's their Facebook page, complete with a map so you can find them. Great place to relax and ask all your questions about Peru. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Valentini-Cafeteria/122331611443540
Our other go-to spot is in the opposite direction, away from the main street, sort of a zigzag to the intersection of Avenidas Grau and Francia - La Mora Pasteleria. More than a pastry shop, this café and bakery has great brunches on weekends, big breakfasts, sandwiches, and fancy pastries. They claim to be German, but many of the pastries are French or Austrian. The only way to go is walk there to burn calories; eat; walk back to burn more calories. Totally worth it. http://lamorapasteleria.com/
In Cuzco, we stayed at the Taypikala Hotel. Located in old Cuzco, not far from the Santo Domingo church (which is also the Inca Temple of the Sun), and walking distance to Plaza de Armas and much of the old city. The rooms feature ceramic tile embellishments, with designs from the Nazca lines. They offer a huge buffet breakfast, and can help with tours or navigating around this section of Peru. (They also have oxygen tanks if someone has a major problem with the altitude.)
Again, we booked through hotels.com, but here is the direct website: http://www.taypikalahotelcusco.com/en/presentacion
And of course, in Machu Picchu we stayed at the Belmond: http://www.belmond.com/sanctuary-lodge-machu-picchu/
You can book through another website, but we found it actually was least expensive to book directly through their own website. They offer various package plans: breakfast only, two meals, or a three-meal option. Rooms are understated luxurious - big beds with lots of pillows, huge and plentiful towels, bathrobes and slippers, a mini bar full of juice, soda, and snacks. Their meals are wonderful. Service is unobtrusive but friendly and helpful. Truly a wonderful splurge just to be next door to Machu Picchu. (I'd love to live like that all the time!)
Here's the map showing where we travelled - I didn't mark the train track between Cuzco and Machu Picchu, because it isn't all that far, though the train goes so slowly through the mountains it takes about four hours. Gorgeous, though!