We left Puno 10:33 am and arrived in Cusco at 4:18 pm, about 6 hours to drive 393 km. The tolls were a minimal S/.3.90 (US$1.37). The road was okay, with some bad parts and big potholes. It started out as pampa and not too interesting. When we started climbing outside of Juliaca, the vistas got better and better. The summit was a pass at 4319m/14,169f and it was called Abra La Raya. We took lots of pictures.
On the road we were only able to buy 90 octane gas for our car. So Dimitri added a booster liquid he called an additiva. We were blown away by the price of 90 octane gasoline: S/.15.70 a gallon or a whopping US$5.53 a gallon. In Cuzco we found 95 octane at S/.16.75 per gallon. Now that's US$5.89 a gallon!
By contrast gasolina especial in Bolivia cost Bs 3.74/ US $.54 a litre or US$2.16 a gallon (cheaper than Argentina which was US$.89 a litre (US$3.56 a gallon). The hightest price gas in our South American roadtrip was in Brazil were it was US $1.62 a litre or US$6.48 a gallon. The other post where we compare the costs of gasoline is reached by clicking here!
On the day we were driving, Monday, July 28th, Perú was celebrating its 187th birthday. The entire country was enjoying "Fiestas Patrias". We passed by fields with lots of people dancing in local costumes. They were too far from the highway to photograph well, unfortunately. At Saylla there were many chiccharronerias that serve the local deep-fried pork rinds and other high cholesterol dishes. Those places were packed on the holiday!
The elevation of Cuzco is 3326 masl or 10912 fasl. Fortunately we've become acclimatized to the altitude of the antiplano.
Online, Dimitri had found us an apart hotel in a middle class neighborhood of Santa Mónica which is a S/.3 taxi ride, taking about 7 minutes from the center of Cuzco. (Los Alamos Cusco Apart-Hotel, Jr. Ricardo Palma N-1, Urbanizción Santa Mónica, Cusco, Perú (51-84) 993-0468, e-mail: email@example.com, web:www.cuscoaparthotel.com)
For our month stay, we were able to negotiate a S/.198 or US$70 per day rate. The second floor walk-up was a large 3 bedroom/2 bath apartment, with good light and great mountain views. The owners, Carolina and Elwin, are delightful people. The building has secure parking and a 24-hour guard. There is a large, well-equipped kitchen and the living room has a fireplace. The one problem (as usual) was that it has no central heating. We carry one portable heater and we went out to buy another one pronto. The apartment has wi-fi that works pretty well, cable TV and, with of our toys, all of the comforts of home.
Well, almost all. Our Archos 605 PVR couldn't be connected to the TV directly because the TV is so old that there is no "video out" connection. Elwin was so nice that he borrowed a friend's VCR for us. We were able to plug the Archos 605 into the VCR. The VCR connected to the TV and we could record! The Beijing Olympic Opening festivities were the first thing we recorded. The reception of the channel was poor. Too bad.
Every morning one of the woman who cleans the apartment come to our apartment at the time we request to make us breakfast. We have freshly squeezed orange juice everyday and whatever we want to eat that day. The kitchen is so well equipped we have had American-style pancakes with maple-type syrup we found at the market at the end of the road. Another day we had waffles. Another day French toast, using the egg bread we bought from Panaderia Don Estaban & Don Poncho Santa Monica A-16, (Av. de la Cultura frente al colegio Sn Antonio) (51-84)253-659, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and web: http://www.donestebanydonpancho.com/). While we're on the road, we love to "nest" and having our favorite breakfasts is one of the best ways to do that.
This apartment has been lovely for us.