Tricked into a Great Experience in Cuzco

We’re in Cuzco and we sleep in before walking to a coffee shop that serves only Peruvian-grown beans. D’Wasi brews their coffee in every method. They have a chemex, an aeropress, a french press, an espresso machine, among other things. I choose the D’Wasi tradicional, the shops preferred method of brewing coffee. Much like a tea kettle, it is brewed in a closed off put to keep in the aroma. The coffee is light, floral, and bright. For roasting in-house and using various methods to brew coffee, the shop is modest and understated.

Sitting in the shop, we write for a while and relax before setting off for the day. Caffeinated, we’re planning on walking to Sacsahuayman, the Inkan ruins right outside the city.

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Plaza de Armas.

Passing through Plaza de Armas, there is some sort of festival that is gathering to celebrate indigenous culture. Traditional dances and music are being televised throughout the country and people in caricatured costumes approach spectators for photos and sell snacks.

We leave the square and continue on towards the ruins. Walking up the hill towards the site, we are worn out by the elevation. We just got here yesterday, and this is a good warm up for any trekking in the area, hiking the Inka trail, or in the Sacred Valley.

Approaching the ruins, we are intercepted by a man offering horseback tours of the site and others in the area. He is offering it for 60 soles each and the entrance to the site is 70 each. I am very hesitant, but Thyme is very interested. Finally, we take him up on the offer and get driven to a ranch up the mountain where the horses are waiting for us.

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Rural region near Cuzco on horseback.

We got on our horses, chocolate and incanto, who we’re told are muy tranquilo. We ride horseback into the valley behind the ranch with a guide. It is green rolling hills that are pristine and gorgeous. Up here there is no pollution from the cars below, the air is clear, and the noise of the cars feels far, far away. We ride to the ruins of the dilapidated Temple of the Sun, which is only one of the many temples dedicated to the Sun in the region.

Instead of going forward and looping around to Sacsahuayman, we start heading back. As it turns out, this is the end of the ride. Though it was undeniably magical, we were tricked into a great time. There are no plans to see the other sites, at all. We were fooled. The people at the ranch have no idea about the other things we were told, and the man who offered us the deal drove off, nowhere to be found.

Although the people in Peru are amazing, there are definitely scams like this that you have to be aware of. I am wary of tricksters the entire time, and yet we still get tricked. If you don’t have a good feeling about it, don’t do it.

Even though we see the ruins from above in the valley, and it doesn’t seem like you can do much besides walk through the ruins, we don’t have enough cash to even go in. Though we feel like we saw it, I am very angry. The horse ride was completely worth what we paid, it was an amazing experience, but it does leave a stain on the night.

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Above Cuzco.

We are determined to bring it back around. We’re hungry and ready for some food. Since we’ve seen pizza joints all around Cuzco, we decide to try one near a couple of tap rooms. After trekking back into town, we’re ready for comfort food at Pizza Carlo, a tiny 5-seat joint with a brick oven and character. We order a pizza with pepperoni, sausage, and mushrooms, and a lasagna de carne. The garlic bread is particularly awesome. After a few Cusquenas, I am ready for some better beer.

We walk to Cholos Tap Room for some hipster beers from around the world. We try all local beers, a few IPAS, and a coca pilsner, which is absolutely terrible. It has all of the acidity of the coca plant, but none of the earthiness. We can’t stand it, it’s hilarious. The other beers are great. We talk about going to La Bodega, another tap room across the street, but were tired and head home with lighter heads for our heavy hearts. We got duped into a great time.

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Taps at Cholos.
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