Our stay in Cusco will go down in history for us.
We're talking one of our favorite South American cities with charm, cobblestone, and architecture...
AND, we got to stay in one of the most romantic properties we've ever stayed in - a former 16th century mansion, which is now a 5-star hotel called Inkaterra La Casona. Oh my.
One of our dear retreat guests highly recommended that we stay there. And we felt so spoiled to be able to do so, thanks to the generosity of the hotel.
Our room was so, so luxurious. It's the type of place with heated wooden floors throughout, marble showers, the biggest free standing tub I've seen in my life, double sinks fit for a queen, a stone fireplace, handmade toiletries, and a bed that was so huge and comfortable we felt way too fancy for our own good.
(Yes, we came in with our backpacks and felt a little out of place in our hiking pants. Oh jeez. Normally we'd be at some hostel before hitting the Inca Trail. Luckily other hikers were staying there, too.)
"Give us a ring when you'd like us to light the fireplace or run the bath."
OK, alrighty then. We'll get right on that. :) Just after we check out the original hand-painted mural ceilings.
Next thing we knew, the huge bath tub was filling with bubbles and surrounded by candles. The fireplace was roaring.
We were sipping sparkling water and eating mandarin oranges.
It's an understatement to say I was IN HEAVEN.
Also, this bathtub was just exceptionally large - definitely spacious enough for two. :) And it's especially lovely to indulge in if there's a torrential Andean rainstorm outside. :) We stayed in that tub as long as possible.
And here we have THE DOOR TO OUR ROOM! Just a hand carved door from the 16th century...
Breakfast was fit for a king.
Smoked trout. Eggs Benedict.
An American couple sat nearby, celebrating their 25th Anniversary. They set aside some money and stayed in the most fantastic place they could find. No doubt, this place was unforgettable.
We finally had to break ourselves away to see the town and sights in Cusco.
And then... oh my - during our walking tour, the guide actually took the group to show us none other than the Inkaterra La Casona, where we were staying!! The guide stopped outside and raved about the luxury of this place and said, "This is where all the celebrities stay. Katy Perry just stayed here last week." ha. Danny and I felt a little sheepish as we stood there on the street below our room and quietly connected to our wifi signal.
You would think going to Cusco is all about just getting to Machu Picchu. But ohhh nooo. There is SO much to see in and around this vibrant, ancient city (which feels like you're in Europe.) After all, it's the former capital of the Incan Empire. So the city is SURROUNDED by mind blowing ruins and beautiful indigenous people. We would definitely recommend Cusco as one of the "must sees" we've experienced so far in South America.
And a bonus: there are some fantastic restaurants in Cusco. One of our favorites (which we went to twice) is Green Point. It's vegan! Though even if you're not vegan, trust me you would LOVE the food at this place. Every traveler we met already knew about this place as word gets around. After a particularly soaking rain storm in which we were drenched to the bone, I was especially delighted to tuck inside their cozy, warm place and drink some hot cocoa (with homemade almond milk! And no sugar. Just how I like it.)
And...Cusco's ruins. I mean, what on earth? I'm not even sure how you MOVE stones that size, let alone form them into a giant lightening pattern.
OK friends, how do you feel about staying in nice hotels? Is it worth the money to you? Would you rather stay someplace cheap and use your money to explore even more?
For me: I love the idea of staying some place nice from time to time, just for the experience of truly indulging, relaxing, and spending time at the hotel. Sometimes I'd even choose more time in the hotel vs. being out and about every possible second. Though I'm also okay staying in less expensive places as well - especially during long trips with lots of stops. We've definitely stayed in our fair share of hostels. Though I suppose they're often less fun to write about. :)
P.S. See our Machu Picchu tips here. And Lima, too.