Hi Pals, let’s talk Cusco.
Set up in the mountains of Peru, with its pre-Columbian architecture, cobbled streets and Spanish Colonial structures, it’s no wonder that Cusco is called one of Peru’s – if not South America’s most beautiful cities. Although majority come here for Machu Picchu, which is understandable – Cusco in itself deserves a lot of love too.
Read below on some tips for what to do with your time in Cusco.
In this article you’ll find:
– The Basics: How to get there, how to get around, where to stay.
– My Top Choices: What you should see.
– My Recommendations: Generally Food/Drink.
– Where to Stay: Where I stayed.
– What I did: My diary entry.
✈ F L Y:
🚌 B U S:
Check How-To-Peru’s guide here to see what’s best recommended.
18h S/ 145 – 225| AUD $60 – $85| USD $45 – $70
9h S/ 35-150 | AUD $14 – $60 | USD $10 – 45
Where to Stay:
You can have a shared room, private room or entire house depending on how you’re travelling or your budget.
Never used Airbnb before
Hostels are a great way to meet people. I would recommend searching HostelWorld and then comparing reviews on Tripadvisor. 🏨 Hotels:
I use the website Agoda or Booking.com for hotels.
|🚕 Taxi / Uber
Taxis can be taken from the street. Lookout for a taxi sign, dressed driver and well-kept car. Always ask the fare before getting in the taxi if it’s unmetered. You can barter if you don’t feel it’s fair.
Uber is available but you’ll need data to communicate with drivers.
|🚌 Bus / Collectivo
Buses are great to get out of Cusco but within districts – your best bet is a Collectivo. They’ll pick you up for cheap and drop you off along the route. They generally leave once full, so it’s not advised to have your luggage with you.
MY TOP CHOICES
The fact that Machu Picchu has only been known internationally since 1911, and the physical site was used by Inca Royalty for around only 80 years. It’s been a UNESCO site since 1983 and 2007 saw it voted into the “New Seven Wonders of the World.”
Depending on your time, fitness, budget there is a range of different tours/trips to get to Machu Picchu. TripSavvy has an article on what you should ask yourself before booking a tour.
The most popular are;
– The Inca Trail + Huayna Picchu (to be booked in advance)
– Inca Jungle
We opted for the “Inca Jungle Tour.” Bike down a mountain, climb up a mountain. Hot springs. Walk along the train tracks, walk up to Machu Picchu. The trail we took, used to be a messenger trail from Cusco > Lima. We ate bananas, avocados, cacao and termites along the way – all with the help of our guild. We saw llamas, a monkey, said monkey stealing glasses and lots of beautiful landscapes along the way.
Sacred Valley + Ollantaytambo
The Sacred Valley is an area near Cusco which was used for farming Maize. The lower elevation made the perfect conditions for them to grow the crop for the Incas. You can see agricultural ruins up on the hillside, looking down around the sites.
Ollantaytambo was built with extensive works for the Inca Nobility.
Plaza De Armas + City
Sometimes, the best way to discover a city is to just wander the streets, and when it looks like Cusco – it’s pretty easy. Apart from the Altitude which can make you feel a bit off the first few days, you will get used to it.
As always, a good feel for the city is also a Walking Tour. Check out the Inkan Milky Tours which can give you a great overview of Cusco, the history of the city and also show you places you may not have discovered otherwise.
Places of Note:
– The Chocolate Museum
– Inka Museum
– Coca Museum
– Twelve Angled Stone
– Plaza San Blas
Pizzeria El Sabrocito
This Pizzeria is right next door to Intro Hostel, down from Loki. It’s small but makes good firewood pizzas.
Apart from the fact I cannot say “Fuego” correctly, I love this burger joint in Cusco. My favourite is the “Aussie” as no burger is better than one that comes with pineapple and beetroot. It’s a little on the pricier side compared to local restaurants – but worth it. You can get a lunch deal for around 25-30 soles.
WHERE TO STAY
🏢 H O S T E L:
Located above the Plaza, it’s away from the general noise of the main Plaza and with its open space, bean bags and fast wifi – it makes it a perfect place to meet other travellers.
|Free breakfast – egg, bread, cereal. tea & coffee.|
|Shared with private & dorms. Outside. Very hot showers.|
|4 – 14 Shared Dorms. Female only dorms.
Ensuites, triples, doubles & single rooms available.
Dorms have large lockers (enough for a big backpack.)
|Free fast wifi, large fire pit, common area. kitchen. movie and dinner nights to sign up. In-house Tour Agency.|
|Bar inside with happy hour specials, local beers and pisco sours as well as a range of cocktails.|
WHAT I DID
When I first arrived in Cusco, I wasn’t really that impressed. I know, weird. I just really loved Arequipa and was feeling a bit lost after leaving. My friend was sick and spent the first few days in bed as well. Once we got back from Machu Picchu though – I started to love it more and ended up staying for another 2 weeks. All up – 3 weeks in Cusco.
Apart from heading out to the bars such as Mama Africas, Mythology & Temple the mornings saw us heading to the Mercado to get cheap eats and fresh juices.
A lot of our time was spent drinking coffee in cafes, walking around the city and checking out different food places.
One of my favourite things was the walk up to Cafe Siete y Siete. Not only does it have great food, coffee and staff- you cannot go past the view.
Think I missed anything cool? Have any comments? Let me know!
As always, stay cool.