What we did: LAX > Lima Airport directly to Cusco > 1 night in Cusco > Bus to Ollantaytambo to stay for 2 nights > back to Cusco for 1 night.
We arrived in this city of high altitude (11,000 feet above sea level) on Sunday, April 21, 2013. We got picked up by our hotel. Apparently there was an issue with our room, so they wanted to take us to a different, better (4 stars instead of 3) hotel. Fernando wasn't accepting of that, and made them drive us to our original hotel first. After some haggling, and an offer of a free dinner at the original hotel with pick up service, we went to the other hotel, Hotel San Antonio. While Cusco is small, it is located in a different part of the city.
View from our room:
We just took it easy upon arrival. We rested and then got ready for our complimentary meal at Terra Andina Hotel. We were 1 of 2 couples dining there. We tried typical Peruvian fare of Loma Saltado and Chicha Morada, the local purple corn drink (kinda looks and tastes like the Mexican drink, Jamaica).
The travel guides tell you to “mind and respect the altitude,” and you should! Upon arrival, the hotel offers Coco Tea, which is supposed to help. I had a major headache that night. Regular walking makes you a bit winded. We breathed fine, just not when walking up steps or small inclines.
The next day, we walked around the city a bit and then got ready for our bus ride to Ollantaytambo.