Mr. Selfish and I visited Machu Picchu in September 2011. Because Machu Picchu is at about 8,000 feet elevation, it is recommended that visitors acclimate to the elevation in Cusco, Peru prior to visiting Machu Picchu. Cusco’s elevation is approximately 10,000 feet. We therefore stayed in Cusco for the recommended three days prior to venturing to Machu Picchu.
Cusco is a lovely town in which to take it easy and learn to acclimate to the elevation. You can just walk around and enjoy the beautiful architecture. There is also a market selling a variety of goods and different types of foods. Moreover, the ladies in their bowler hats and llamas were quite charming.
Prior to arriving in Cusco, I did some research on Trip Advisor, and the #1 rated activity was the chocolate museum – ChocoMuseo. The museum offers a chocolate making class. Of course, Mr. Selfish and I signed up for a class. It was a very informational and hands-on class. We were able to make our chocolate from scratch. Mr. Selfish chose a mold that fit all of his chocolate. I, unfortunately, was too ambitious and didn’t even come close to filling up my mold with chocolate.
Cusco also had some impressive Incan ruins nearby. Mr. Selfish and I went to Sacsayhuamán, Qénqo, Pukapukara, and Tambomachay. Historians are still unclear as to what uses these ruins had but some believe that human sacrifice was frequent here.
Despite our three lovely days in Cusco, I still suffered from elevation sickness while climbing Wayana Picchu, which is the mountain behind Machu Picchu. Mr. Selfish claims that I was just out of shape, but I am sure that could not be the case.