(Note: the actual trip took place on August 12th 2015)
That day we left Cuzco (altitude: 3300m) for Puno (altitude:3860m). That means we’re going to have altitude hike for around 500 meters, and actually Puno is the highest altitude on our Peru Trip. Puno is located on south east of Cusco and a non-stop car drive will take about 5-6 hours trip. The temperature is definitely colder than Cusco.
Although the trip takes 5 hour, but there are tourist bus that offers stops to wonderful places along the way from Cusco to Puno that makes it become 10 hours trip. Having reviewed some buses agent, we picked INKA Express (web: http://www.inkaexpress.com/services/). Don’t get mixed with the similar provider with the name INKA Express Bus (web: www.inkaexpressbus.com) that is said to be a scam on INKA Express’s website. The bus ride costs US $ 50, depart at 7 am and arrive at Puno around 5:30 am. We get to hop-on and hop-off in 7 point of interests. These are places that we visited during the ride:
Andahuaylillas (3122 m above sea level)
In this city, we stop at Iglesia de San Pedro Andahuaylillas Church. This Church is also known as the Sistine Chapel of America. Entering this church felt like went inside the cave and found a treasure. I didn’t believe my eyes. Inside what it seems like a regular building was a 24 carat gold crystalized in painting and sculpture. The statue, the painting, and the ornaments are made from gold. Our guide said that all things gold inside the Church was 24 carat. No picture is allowed inside the Church so my post here only the outside of the Church and it was such a short time to savor the beauty of the Church.
San Juan Bautista de Huaro – Huaro (3130 m above sea level)
Huaro was also an artistic Church disguised by a humble exterior. Inside the church were walls and ceiling full of paintings. Some of them are still intact, but some already faded. The paintings tell a story. Our guide told us the meaning behind each painting which related to religious teaching of catholic.
We made a short tour in Checacupe to visit its temple and an ancient bridge which is made by ropes. The bridge looked very strong that it can survive hundreds year, but when you step on it, it felt frail and therefore only one person could pass the bridge at one time. But it looked beautiful nevertheless. After a quick stop to the bridge, we headed to temple of Checacupe, in which I just wandered around outside to take picture of the people surround the temple. There are many Peruvian sold fruits, vegetables and they were fresh. We bought some oranges and there was nothing better than eating oranges under clear blue sky and hugged by a nice weather, what a lovely day it was!
Raqchi (Temple of Wirachocha) – 3450 m above sea level
Finally we arrived at Temple of Wirachocha, a vast historic ruins. What was left on the site are rows of adobe walls with doors and windows. The walls span about 25 meters, part of what used to be a two stories building, forming a 92 meter long and 25 meter wide structure. Beside the main structure there were living quarters and storage.
Abra la Raya (4335 m above sea level)
After had have an unforgettable lunch, we arrived at the highest point during our trip which already part of Puno area. It was such a short stop that we only had a chance to took few pictures and went back to the bus.
Pukara Museum (3900 m above sea level)
Before the museum we passed a very beautiful church namely Iglesia Santa Isabel. The church was different with those in Andahuaylillas and Huaro in that no paint applied to the adobe structure. The grand pillars sort of reminded me of Petra in Jordan. On the left-most of the church was a small road towards the museum.
We arrived at puno around 6 pm and our transfer had awaited to bring us to our hostel in Puno.
Bus trip from Cuzco to Puno was definitely interesting, and if you have spare time and budget, I would recommend to use private tour to accommodate flexibility along the way to make stoppages. See my next post about unforgettable moment in Lake Titicaca, Puno.