Cuzco is one of those places we fell in love with right from the start. Love at first sight, one might say… and rightfully so. Cuzco truly is the nicest city in Peru. Chances are that you’ll spend some time in this lovely city to acclimatize to the great heights. Fortunately, Cuzco has much to offer so there won’t be a dull moment!
Note: For many attractions and activities in and around Cuzco, you’ll need a ‘Boletta Turistico’. This ticket will provide entrance to the Inca ruins in the vicinity of Cuzco or the many churches to be found in Cuzco, to name but a few. The complete tourist ticket is valid for 10 days, its normal price is 130 Soles (Approx. $US46) and students pay 70 Soles (Approx. $US25). Have your valid ISIC card ready! 🙂 If you’re short on time there are three partial tickets you can purchase.
Touring the city on foot
A city tour is an ideal way to get to know the city of Cusco. At least three organizations have a city tour on offer, mostly departing three times per day: in the morning, around noon, and between 3 and 4 in the afternoon. A tour lasts about 2 hours, and there are different routes and different points of departure. Plaza del Armas, where you can admire the big fountains in the middle of the plaza and Plaza Regicijo are two of them. Read more about the tours here, here or here. If you don’t feel like going on an organized tour, check the Lonely planet guide for their city tour, complete with up-to-date information 🙂
Visit the San Pedro market
The San Pedro market is known as one of the best markets Peru has to offer. Everything on your South American wish list can be purchased at this market. Ranging from herbs and spices to warm Alpaca sweaters, rice and pasta to the most delicious smoothies, and inexpensive fruit and vegetables to really good meals. The colours and scents are just overwhelming. It’s a real joy to stroll around here for a few hours. Alas, a word of warning: look carefully after your belongings…
Visit the Chocostore and Museum
Curious how chocolate is being made from cacao beans? Or are you interested in the production process of the bean? Then you should consider paying a visit to the Chocostore, located in the heart of Cuzco, 2 blocks away from the central square (Plaza del Armas). A variety of delicious chocolate products are on display and you even get the chance to have a taste. A museum is part of the shop, telling the story of how chocolate is made: you may browse around to your hearts content. You could also attend a 2-hour workshop, “From bean to bar”. The cost of the workshop is more or less €25.
San Cristobal: the place where you can view the city from above
A little bit acclimatized already? Then take a walk to the viewpoint at San Cristobal and enjoy the magnificent views of the city and surrounding hills. Walk on and spend enough time to admire the Cristo Blanco, the large statue of Jesus Christ, perched high above the centre of Cusco.
Spend some time at Plaza del Armas
Plaza del Armas is the main square in Cuzco and there’s always something going on. Apart from the beautiful buildings surrounding the square, there are many quaint shops and cafes. In the centre you can find a big fountain, where you can relax on a bench and take everything in. A group of young artists might even surprise you by practicing their dance steps.
Stroll through the old city and its aged streets
Strolling through the aged streets of Cuzco is fun to do. You’ll find narrow alleys, nice small shops, beautiful viewpoints, cool houses and lots more! However, a word of warning: some alleys are very steep, and because of the height you may run out of breath rather quickly! 🙂
Great hostels in Cuzco
Fun and cosy hostel right in the center of Cuzco. This hostel has a kitchen, and it’s a place where you’ll meet many other travelers. The free coffee and warm showers are certainly a bonus.
Prices range from: €9 for a dormMore information
Arcopata Guest House
This guesthouse includes breakfast. The guesthouse is centrally located near the San Pedro market. The house and the rooms are in a good condition.
Price range from: €7 dorm, €15 double (price for 2 persons)More information
On the city’s edge, you’ll find Carlos house. A safe and secure place to stay and the owners are friendly. The rooms are clean and comfortable. It also has a fully equipped kitchen where you can do your own cooking.
Price range from: 19 double (price per 2 persons), €15 singleMore information