Here is a photo of Roberto Carcelen and Martin Koukal finishing up a morning run in Cusco. This was the morning of our first day in Cusco, and despite the fact that we’d only had one day to acclimate to the 11,000+ feet of elevation, Martin and Roberto had to go running. Worse, they insisted on bringing ME along, but fortunately I was able to take a bunch of short cuts and intersect with them occasionally so I could take their picture.
If you’re into running, Cusco is a much better destination than Lima. You can be out of the city in just a few minutes, and there are plenty of beautiful little trails that criss-cross the mountains that nobody will object to you running around on. In fact, I think they’re used to crazy tourists tromping all over the place, so they’d probably be happy to see a group that was actually in shape and enjoying themselves (as opposed to the throngs of people who are struggling along gasping for air).
In fact, as a training destination, Cusco is pretty much unparalleled. Active people that like low cost holidays should consider putting Cusco on their travel calendar this instant. You can still find private rooms in Cusco for as little as $10 dollars a night (actually, there are rooms that are much less than this, but I would say $10 is about the limit for getting a safe room), and if you’re OK with a backpacker hostel, I think you could get something pretty safe for around $5.
The food in Cusco is terrific, and it’s really not hard to eat healthy and inexpensively there. In fact, if you wanted to eat something that was unhealthy, that’s the thing that would be hard to find (except for the McDonald’s that just got built in the Plaza de Armas…but McDonald’s is easy to avoid).
The thing that’s great about Cusco is because of the altitude, you get in shape just by sleeping there. If you had a week where you just wanted to eat well and train for a marathon or something, I think Cusco would be a inexpensive, effective, and inspiring choice!
Check out these views: