This video gives you an idea about the yoga teacher training course I did with Chaitanya Nitai Das at Yoga Inbound in Cuzco. I really loved the training and can truly say that yoga has had a life changing effect on me.
In this video you will see parts of the lessons – yoga philosophy and training and Chaitanya will tell you about his training and the idea behind Yoga Inbound and finally I will tell you why I enjoyed it so much.
For more information about Yoga Inbound in Cuzco – please visit the website: http://yogacusco.com/
Finding myself with a few days to kill in Cusco, and having seen enough colonial churches and Incan ruins to last a while, I decided to try and find a Spanish school that I could join at short notice and do a few days of one-on-one Spanish lessons.
I quickly found out about the Fairplay Spanish School, a relatively new Cusco-based NGO that trains local Peruvians who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to become Spanish teachers – especially single mothers – to teach Spanish. Fairplay then acts as their agent finding them work and then taking 33% of the fee with the rest going directly to the teachers.
As I’ve already studied 8 weeks of one-one-one Spanish on this trip in both Guatemala and Ecuador, and have done huge amounts of Spanish grammar, I specifically requested to just spent my time on conversation practice. I spent my time with my teacher (Marta) pictured above, strolling around the museums, plazas, shops and markets of Cusco, chatting away. The photo above was taken at San Cristobal church overlooking Cusco in the middle of one of my Spanish ‘classes’.
I would highly recommend Fairplay Spanish School and especially Marta (herself a single mother) to anyone thinking of studying Spanish in Cusco, Peru.
The Fairplay Spanish school charges the following:
$15 or $30 enrolment fee (the higher fee includes the Fairplay grammar book) $4.50/hour – for one-on-one lessons with a less experienced teacher $6/hour – for one-on-one lessons with a more experienced teacher
Whilst in Cusco, I stayed at Andes de San Blas guesthouse. It is located in the heart of San Blas (Calle Carmen Alto 227), and costs about $10 a night including breakfast and free wi-fi internet.
You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on (+51 84) 242 346.
Having spent possibly a bit too long in Cusco, Peru – I’m heading back to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca tomorrow morning, then onto Copacabana on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca. Whilst in Cusco, I have been studying Spanish with a fantastic Spanish teacher called Marta at Fairplay, a local NGO that trains single mothers to teach Spanish. Our lessons consisted of wandering around town going to the market, churches and just sitting in the sun chatting. No more grammar lessons!! More soon…
It begins in Colca Canyon, where I go Condor spotting before heading up to Puno (3,800m) on Lake Titicaca – the highest navigable lake in the world. At Lake Titicaca I visit the floating islands and Taquile island. Following this I get the bus to Cusco, ancient capital of the Inca empire, where I visit some of the Inca ruins around Cusco and within the Sacred Valley of the Incas – including Pisac and Ollantaytambo. I finish the podcast at Machu Picchu, perched precariously on top of Huayna Picchu and feeling highly emotional whilst looking down on the most famous of all ancient Incan ruins.
Cusco is the historical capital of the Inca empire, and for that reason – along with its proximity to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley of the Incas – it is without doubt the main city on any tourist’s itinerary of Peru.
Also spelled ‘Cuzco’, ‘Qusqu’ and ‘Qosqo’ (in the local Quechua language), Cusco is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has grown into a thriving tourist destination with about a million tourists a year.
Many people believe the city was planned by the Incas to be the shape of a Puma, with the teeth the battlements at the Sacsayhuaman fortress high above the city.
When the Spanish arrived in the 16th Century, they looted all the gold and silver from the impressive temples in Cusco, and used the stones to build Catholic churches on top of the original Inca structures – including the temple of the sun (Qoricancha).
As Cusco lies at an altitude of about 3,300 metres, it can prove tricky to fly straight into Lima and then up to Cusco. Despite this, lots of people do it, and then head out on their 5 day Inca trail trek to Machu Picchu. Not surprisingly there are casualties! If you’re coming to Cusco, I would suggest you give yourself five days to a week in Cusco before starting your trek, or come by bus from Lima stopping somewhere like Arequipa – which is what we did.
So what’s Cusco really like now? Well, it’s undoubtedly Peru’s biggest tourist trap. The moment you step out of your hotel/hostel you become the target of the Commerciantes in the street – the street sellers – trying to sell you everything from postcards, to ‘indigenous trinkets’, shoe shining sessions, meals in restaurants and tours to Machu Picchu. Your most frequently used Spanish here will be “No gracias”.
There is a slightly more alternative side to Cusco (centred more around the artisans’ neighbourhood of San Blas), which feels more like the scene in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with yoga studios, healing sessions (some involving the San Pedro Cactus and Ayahuasca) and everything else that goes with it. But my honest assessment of Cusco (and this is bound to cause some controversy) would be a very beautiful, historic, but expensive Peruvian version of the Khaosan Road in Bangkok – with the same traveller/tourist colonists. It’s a great to place to meet fellow travellers, but how authentically Peruvian is it?
Where Cusco really comes into its own, rather than hanging out with fellow travellers getting drunk in the Irish pubs, is when one leaves Cusco using it as a base and heads into the Sacred Valley to visit the many Inca ruins and historic sites situated there. The Sacred Valley itself is absolutely breathtaking, and I am sure unequalled in the world.
This is just a quick update…I’ve been in Cusco, Peru for a few days now, and have been trying to organise a trip to Macchu Picchu with Peru Rail who have kindly gone on strike on the day we were hoping to travel to Aguas Calientes. There will be lots more photos coming soon, along with videos and a podcast of Cusco, some incredible surrounding Inca archaeological sites and of course Macchu Picchu.
As the heart of the Inca empire, the magnetic city of Cuzco heads the list of many a traveler’s itinerary and with a very good reason. The city’s unique combination of colonial and religious splendours combined with hundreds of activities offered to travellers makes it a fantastic place to hang around for quite a while. I spent 1.5 months there myself.
The city’s biggest drawcard of all is being the set-off point to the ‘lost’ city of the Incas, Machu Picchu, the Inca citadel perched high on an isolated mountaintop.
In Cuzco you can spend your days in colourful markets, doing yoga, meditation, massage, trying out all kinds of amazing restaurants, water rafting trips, museums, excursions to Inca sites, bars, parties, and many other things.