Peru: With Love, From Cusco
After a long night of travel and three connecting flights (YYZ>DFW, DFW>LIM, LIM>CUZ) our CS family made it safely to Peru! No missed connections, no lost luggage, just smooth travelling. After collecting our luggage and meeting our tour guides, we set off on our South American adventure.
Quickly after checking in to our hotel, Siete Ventanas, we embarked on a local walking tour lead by Luis of Inca Destinations. Our exploration of the local area really allowed us to gain an appreciation for the startling contrast of bustling markets within an ancient city. Cusco was the capital of the Inca Empire and reflects its rich history with world-famous museums, Spanish colonial architecture, and Inca ruins. A few highlights of our city excursion included: the San Cristobal Vantage, Plaza de Armas, and the San Pedro Market.
Following a steep climb up the cobblestone sidewalks of Cusco, we made it to the San Cristobal Vantage. We were able to check out one of the most breathtaking views of the city, which included a sea of terracotta buildings that faded into the majestic mountain range of the Andes.
After a brief photo shoot, our group made it’s way back down into the centre of the city to explore Plaza de Armas. Plaza de Armas is a vibrant and lively space that features colourful gardens, stone pathways, the Cusco Cathedral and Church La Compania de Jesus – two iconic Peruvian establishments. The plaza was bustling with activity and was a great place to soak up the laid-back atmosphere of Cusco.
We ended our walking tour at the San Pedro Market, just down the street from the Plaza de Armas. This market is as authentic as Peru comes. The market is located indoors, and filled with locals and tourists looking to stock up on groceries, take-out cuisine (empanadas, soups, juices), fresh produce (avocados, tomatoes, mushrooms, watermelon, strawberries), fine meats, cheeses, textiles and other local Peruvian goods (Pachamama dolls, hats, scarves, colourful knick-knacks). While some of our students opted for fresh juices, others bartered with local vendors for one of a kind souvenirs to bring back to Canada.
Upon the conclusion of our walking tour we returned to our hotel for some rest, free time and group bonding. While some students explored the local area for snacks and essentials, others gathered in the atrium of our hotel for cards games and group stories. For dinner, we set off to Jack’s café, a local favourite known for its strong coffee, fresh juices, easy breakfast, and delicious dinners.
Due to our long travel day and adjustment to the altitude, we held an early curfew in preparation for our first day of community service on Tuesday. Our staff and students are very excited to work with the young students at San Gabriel and give back to their local community.