We went by taxi from Cusco to Urubamba and it cost us 100 soles. It is possible to get a bus and we may have been ripped off but it was late so we didn’t mind. We stayed two nights in Willka T’ika. Its a hotel with lovely gardens and yoga areas too. We stayed in the apartment side rented off Airbnb. The gardens themselves are meant to represent the chakras and they were beautiful, so carefully nurtured and loved.
As we walked into Urubamba we came across a bakery called Panaderia that had wonderful cakes and treats most gluten free and the owner who was extremely helpful gave us most of the information below for Urubamba. She also owns another bakery in Lima.
From there we got a local bus to Salineras de Maras which are salt mines owned by the community there since pre inca times. You have to take two buses from Urubamba the first shouldn’t cost you more than 2/3 pesos and the 2nd well we got caught out so I am saying maybe 5/7 pesos at a guess. The Salt Mines are just another spectacle in Peru that I have never seen before. You don’t need loads of time here and there is a hike from the mines back into Urubamba if you don’t want to take the bus. It takes about 2 hours, bring lots of water and we were told by locals to beware of the dogs.
After getting back into Urubamba the tummies were rumbling so we went for lunch at a place called Kaia. With a bohemian feel, big garden and healthy food it was perfect.
In the evening we went to a yoga class by a wonderful Brazilian lady called Christine. Her and her husband have built a beautiful house/yoga shala in their grounds. We started off by doing neiti pot and then outer body massage which I had only done a small amount once before. We found Christine from a leaflet in the bakery I mentioned earlier.
After Urubamba we made our way back to Cusco and flew to Arequipa. We stayed in a hotel called Casa de Leonardo. It wasn’t anything like the place in Urubamba but it did the trick and they even had a plunge pool. The location worked perfectly and was about 10mins to the main square. One of our main reasons to go to Arequipa was for Colca Canyon. On reflection I wouldn’t recommend a day trip, you do not get a feel for the Canyon, there is a huge amount of time on the bus as it is far from Arequipa and the Condors well if you’re going to other places in South America you are likely to see them without all the tourists. I have heard very good things about the multi day hikes to Colca Canyon they may be worth checking out.
The food wasn’t as great as Cusco but we still found some good places bar out first breakfast stop Bio Bio. I wouldn’t recommend here, our smoothie bowl tasted like old apples.
Las Gringas – for pizza. We shared two and even got the one with the a purple corn base.
Chaqchao cafe – salads, sandwiches and great cakes. In the same square as Las Gringas. There’s also a chocolate shop where you can do chocolate coking classes and a cute antique shop.
El Buda – a vegan sushi restaurant. We enjoyed the food but we felt there was only so much you can do with vegan sushi. However the veggie tempura was delicious. The owner unlike most of the other restaurants we had been to in Peru didn’t make as much effort which seemed odd considering how quiet the place was. However the restaurant was really cute and I think if you chose more variety it would have been a very good meal.
Santa Catalina convent is an absolute must. It may be 40,000 soles but worth every penny. This highly esteemed convent is stunning. With its brightly painted walls, beautiful frescoes, church, old rooms and kitchens you could spend hours here.
Museo Santuarious Andinos which explains the history of Inca sacrafices to the mountains. A strange but fascinating and slightly chilling tale but worth understanding the history and the journey that would have been made all those years ago.