Cusco, once the mountain capital of the Incas, now claims the tourism capital of Peru. Although festivals are common throughout the year, June is the mother load of celebration. From Corpus Christi on June 11th followed by folk parades from June 12th to 22nd. The Cusco festivals culminate with Inti Raymi, the annual Festival of the Sun on June 24th.
We have arrived to Cusco in the midst of the color, dancing and festival season. We will return to Cusco from our adventures of hiking and cycling in Peru to take in the Festival of the Sun. Thankfully the ancient traditions of sacrificing llamas has been replaced by more theatrical representation. 200,000 will be joining us to witness the second largest festival in South America, next to the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.
Cusco sits at an altitude of 11,200 feet, for us a change of 8000 ft or so. Our early days have been spent following the advice of sipping cups of Coca tea, lots of rest and plenty of water. The huffing and puffing after a flight of stairs or the slight headaches remind us that here altitude is the boss. I try not to think too far ahead to cycling at 14,000 feet. Somehow when planning adventures at home this all seems so much more reasonable.
Tomorrow the cycling will begin. For now we wander through beautiful Cusco and lap up the music and people of the ongoing June festivals. I am quick to forget my heavy breathing with exertion at the sight of these two adorable faces below.
Now can someone get me another cup of Coca tea please?