Our thought process for traveling to Peru centered around the idea of staying long enough in one place to get to know it, rather than checking it off of a list of places to see. With that in mind we settled on the mountain city of Cusco as the place most interesting to us and close enough to most of the major Inca ruins to allow day trips from our city headquarters. Cusco was very much the center of Inca civilization spanning all of Peru and most of Ecuador as far north as the Capitol City of Quito.
We also decided it would be more enjoyable to take an apartment and be able to cook some of our meals and have more space than a hostel room. We were able to find a very nice place in the San Blas neighborhood with convenient shops, laundry and market close at hand. The local bakery had hot fresh chocolate croissants just out of the oven on our walk home each evening….need I say more about the agreeable neighborhood. San Blas is in the foothills of the city, making for a very strenuous walk home at about 11,400 feet elevation. That altitude also made for nights in the forty degree Fahrenheit range and our abode was bereft of heat. Warm dress and multiple blankets required! The owners of the apartment, a delightful older couple, had turned the family home into eight apartments after their children had grown and dispersed around the world. Lovely neighbors, wonderful neighborhood, and a very interesting and quaint city, high in the Andes of southern Peru.We hiked the local ruins above the city at 12,000 feet altitude after getting acclimated for several weeks just walking home each day. We had beautiful warm sunny days basking in public squares, visiting museums, enjoying afternoon coffee and exotic scenery filling our time with delight.