Eric and I spent three days in Urubamba, a small country town about an hour away from Cusco. It was filled with so many friendly people, great restaurants, and fun things to do that it rivaled Machu Picchu as being one of my favorite parts of the trip.
We stayed in an amazing AirBNB cottage, and from the moment we arrived we were in love. The woman who owned the cottage also lived on the property in a gorgeous Incan-cross shaped home that is surrounded by views of the Andes. Around the property were meticulously groomed gardens, roaming chickens, an awesome pool (which I was sadly too busy to use), and a surrogate dog for us named Sultan. I think if Eric and I had the chance to live in this cottage, we would move to Peru in a heartbeat!
On our first full day, we went on a nearby Llama trek, which I'd been looking forward to since planning it back in the states. I thought it was just going to be some silly tourist-trap thing where we hung out with llamas for a couple hours, but boy was I wrong! The owner of this organization was so passionate about his llamas (we couldn't even touch them till we gained their trust!.) On our three mile hike up the mountain, he explained to us how llamas had been phased out as worker and meat animals, for non-native species like horses, donkeys, and mixed-breed alpacas which destroy the environment, can't carry as much, and aren't as tasty (ha). The primary purpose of our trek was so the locals would see us walking around with the llamas in their community and hopefully want to get one too. Much different than I originally thought! Midway through the trek we had an amazing picnic with our guides (I've never tasted better mango!), and talked with them for a few hours before releasing the llamas into their pasture at the top of the mountain. Oh! And Eric ended up getting a chest bump from one of the crazy baby llamas, but sadly I didn't get a picture of that :)
Later that night, one of our guides from the llama tour took us out with his girlfriend to explore downtown Urubamba. We ate at Kampu, an Asian fusion restaurant that was so popular the chef ran out of food and had to whip up something special for us on the spot. After, we met up with their friends at a bar where we enjoyed some dancing, a few too many pisco drinks, and laughing at all the terrible American songs that play on the radio there (sadly everyone learns English through songs from the Black Eyed Peas).
^^ Did I mention there are stray dogs everywhere in Peru? Yet everyone seems to take care of them. Here I am hanging out with a stray puppy that was born at this bar (AKA MY DREAM).
It was very bittersweet leaving Urubamba to visit the rest of stops in Peru, especially after we were fed a huge home-cooked breakfast on our last morning! We fell in love with the town and I would HIGHLY recommend visiting if you go. We met awesome people, enjoyed amazing food, and experienced part of the culture we didn't get to see in any of the other towns we visited.