We’re going back to Cusco today. Cusco is a fascinating place, which is just as well; more tourist enter and leave Cusco than anywhere else in South America on a daily basis.

William, I thought he was selling his older sister

Most tourists who go to Cusco visit the ‘sexy woman.’ Yes, they do. I was told that by William a nine year old boy in the main plaza; he asked me if I had been to the sexy woman? Now most tourists would be shocked by this question, and I would hazard a guess that you are too, but in Cusco it is a legitimate question. William was not tauting for a local prostitute, nor his older sister.

He was talking about Saqsayhuaman, the huge ceremonial centre of the Inca on the hills above the city. Most tourists, dare I say it… Americans can’t get their tongues around Saqsayhuaman and it comes out ‘sexy woman’ which is actually pretty close.

Looking across Saqsayhuaman with Cusco below

Saqsayhuaman is a must for every tourist to Cusco; more so in July during the festival of Inti Raymi the sun god.

Huge irregular monoliths placed with precision

It is fascinating to walk around, through and on the great stones erected around the centre. The workmanship is astonishing, you can’t fit a penknife blade between the stones because the tolerance is so fine. We are talking about stones that weigh tons, they are not just rocks, they are massive stones. The curious thing is this precision was demonstrated by a primitive people who didn’t have the wheel.

Answer these questions; how did they move the massive stones and how did they carve them with such precision, how?

No one knows for sure, but many think as I do, they had help; and perhaps that help was not from this planet. There are many things and places in Peru that point towards this thinking.

While many tourists visit Saqsayhuaman, many do not get the opportunity to visit other nearby sites.

I am talking about Tambomachay, Puka Pukara and Qenqo.

Catching a local bus in Calle Tullamayo that goes to Pisaq and getting off at Tambomachay, another ceremonial centre. This one is for love and fertility.

The twin fountains of Tambomachay

Which is for love, which is for fertility, the left or the right? No one knows, the kids who act as guides play on this and tease the tourists.

Puka Pukara - the coloured fort

Literally across the road is Puka Pukara. This site is not as spectacular as the others, nor in as good repair, but still worth the visit for the view and the trudge around the ruins.

Now you start the downhill walk back to Cusco. You visit the sites in this order to make the walk downhill. It’s a good 30 minutes before you come to Qenqo, another ceremonial site. The most important ritual centre in the area.

The zig-zag groves for the 'water' to flow

For many years it was generally believed that the Inca did not make human sacrifices, but with the discovery of the Ice Maiden and her companions near Arequipa, that belief was shattered.

At Qenqo there is a high alter on the rocks with zig-zag groves from a ‘cup’. My first visit there I was told that it was for water offerings, however, that has been revised almost certainly it was for a blood sacrifice.

This site is worth more time to explore.

From here you walk downhill and enter the Saqsayhuaman reserve from the back gate and eventually down hill to the city.

This trip takes an afternoon. It costs you the bus fare and the cost of the ‘totuist ticket’ that entitles you to enter the many sites, churches and museums in and around Cusco.

NB: Only the photo of the zig-zags is not mine, I had one but it is missing.