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Cusco, Peru - There's A Lot To Love About This City

Peru travel blog by Mark Berman - April 2008 October 2008 September 2011   » View Photoset (92 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
Cusco is a great town for nightlife, clubs, bars, restaurants and of course, the place to book your Machu Picchu tour! Cusco is not the be all and end all
Peru Photo - Indigenous woman and babies art piece at Merida Gallery in Cusco.
Indigenous woman and babies art piece at Merida Gallery in Cusco.
of Peru however, but being in the highlands it is a more beautiful place than perhaps the coastal cities are. It is likely you will be struck first by the beautiful Plaza de Armas and the surrounding cobblestone streets that weave off of it. Cusco is a magnet for travelers and tourists and the Peruvians know it, it is hard to walk around the plaza without someone trying to sell you a music CD, finger puppets, crafts or other things. There are also women with llamas, lambs or alpacas who will try to charge you for taking their photo. Cusco is a great place to have a massage if you have a sore body after trekking the Inca trail, there are many girls who will offer this to you as you walk around the center areas. These are not massages with a happy ending if you know what I mean. I can recommend the quality of these massages, they are great, it will cost about $25-30 soles for 1hr. Cusco seems to be quite active with
Peru Photo - Ceramic art work at Merida Gallery in Cusco, Madre Campesina.
Ceramic art work at Merida Gallery in Cusco, Madre Campesina.
street parades and with celebrating festivals. I have seen some major celebrations and parades on all 3 occasions that I have stayed here.

Take Care Walking

If you decide to venture for a walk off the plaza up the thin cobblestone roads, firstly be careful about the smooth slippery stone walking surfaces and footpaths, it is easy to slip and slide on them. Another important thing to watch out for in Cusco in the narrow streets is a common trick where someone throws water or spits on you from a balcony. Then about 3 people come to help you clean yourself off and while they help you, they take your camera or wallet. While I sat at my
Peru Photo - A huge parade of all different aspects of Peruvian life in Cusco.
A huge parade of all different aspects of Peruvian life in Cusco.
hostel one day 2 people within about 2 hours came back and told their friends that this just happened to them. Both lost their cameras! It happened to me in Buenos Aires actually (Peruvians), but they left with nothing!

Altitude, Food, Hostels, Taxis, Safety

Being at altitude, it is easy to lose your breath when walking uphill around Cusco, sometimes you actually need to stop and have a rest or sit down before continuing. There are many great restaurants in Cusco, some in the plaza area but you will find probably better ones in the side streets especially up the hill behind the cathedral. You really can't go wrong eating some of the great food available around the city. There is plenty of accommodation in Cusco, hostels are the cheapest. I stayed in a hotel for a night once on the main plaza which cost $25USD per
Peru Photo - Plaza San Francisco in Cusco.
Plaza San Francisco in Cusco.
night, there is something to suit everyone accommodation-wise in and around the plaza area. There are many tour operators, internet cafes and flight bookers all around the central area if you are looking to do some shopping. If you are going to other parts of Peru I would suggest shopping there because the prices in Cusco are for the real tourists, not seasoned travelers. Be careful when traveling around the city at night, catch a taxi if you are by yourself or in a small group and make sure it is an official taxi. Watch out for pickpockets in the markets, train and bus stations. A taxi from Cusco airport into the center of the city should cost about $15 Soles, not the $30 Soles they may ask for, bargain hard.
Peru Photo - At an altitude of 3310 meters, it's easier to walk down stairs than up in Cusco.
At an altitude of 3310 meters, it's easier to walk down stairs than up in Cusco.

The Pachakuteq Monument

My 3rd time in Cusco in 2011 was a lot of fun. I saw some of the sights that I had not seen on my previous visits. These included Parque Orellana Pumaqchupan with it's water feature and art works and the huge Pachakuteq Monument which stands 22 meters high, check it out! Even though I have visited Cusco 3 times I look forward to returning again to the amazing city of the Incas in the future.

     

View all photos in the Cusco Photoset


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Distances & times (if available) from Cusco (Peru) to:


Map location: Cusco, Peru. Cusco is a great city for nightlife, clubs, bars, restaurants and of course, the place to book your Machu Picchu tour! Cusco is tourist central if there ever was one and rightly so because it's a great city with tons to see and interesting streets to explore! Have a good time!
 A : Abancay - Peru 97 kms 97 kms straight distance | 4hrs 5mins 4hrs 5mins by car (196 kms) | 4hrs 54mins 4hrs 54mins by bus (196 kms) (196 kms)
 B : Andahuaylas - Peru 150 kms 150 kms straight distance | 6hrs 49mins 6hrs 49mins by car (341 kms) | 8hrs 10mins 8hrs 10mins by bus (341 kms) (341 kms)
 C : Puno / Juliaca - Peru 334 kms 334 kms straight distance | 6hrs 31mins 6hrs 31mins by car (395 kms) | 7hrs 49mins 7hrs 49mins by bus (395 kms) (395 kms)
 D : Arequipa - Peru 322 kms 322 kms straight distance | 8hrs 54mins 8hrs 54mins by car (490 kms) | 10hrs 40mins 10hrs 40mins by bus (490 kms) (490 kms)
 E : Puno to Bolivian Border - Peru 434 kms 434 kms straight distance | 8hrs 39mins 8hrs 39mins by car (525 kms) | 10hrs 22mins 10hrs 22mins by bus (525 kms) (525 kms)
 F : Copacabana - Bolivia 426 kms 426 kms straight distance | 8hrs 56mins 8hrs 56mins by car (539 kms) | 10hrs 43mins 10hrs 43mins by bus (539 kms) (539 kms)
 G : Ayacucho - Peru 245 kms 245 kms straight distance | 11hrs 37mins 11hrs 37mins by car (581 kms) | 13hrs 56mins 13hrs 56mins by bus (581 kms) (581 kms)
 H : Moquegua to Desaguadero - Peru 422 kms 422 kms straight distance | 10hrs 59mins 10hrs 59mins by car (649 kms) | 13hrs 10mins 13hrs 10mins by bus (649 kms) (649 kms)
 I : Camana - Peru 352 kms 352 kms straight distance | 11hrs 25mins 11hrs 25mins by car (660 kms) | 13hrs 42mins 13hrs 42mins by bus (660 kms) (660 kms)
 J : Nazca - Peru 348 kms 348 kms straight distance | 12hrs 12hrs by car (660 kms) | 14hrs 24mins 14hrs 24mins by bus (660 kms) (660 kms)
 K : Huacachina / Ica - Peru 410 kms 410 kms straight distance | 14hrs 14mins 14hrs 14mins by car (804 kms) | 17hrs 4mins 17hrs 4mins by bus (804 kms) (804 kms)
 L : Huancayo - Peru 386 kms 386 kms straight distance | 16hrs 48mins 16hrs 48mins by car (846 kms) | 20hrs 9mins 20hrs 9mins by bus (846 kms) (846 kms)
 M : Nazca to Pisco - Peru 430 kms 430 kms straight distance | 15hrs 7mins 15hrs 7mins by car (847 kms) | 18hrs 8mins 18hrs 8mins by bus (847 kms) (847 kms)
 N : Chiclayo to Piura - Peru 447 kms 447 kms straight distance | 15hrs 48mins 15hrs 48mins by car (907 kms) | 18hrs 57mins 18hrs 57mins by bus (907 kms) (907 kms)
 O : Machu Picchu - Peru 71 kms 71 kms straight distance
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Cusco, Peru:

Tomy's Hospedaje, Cusco, Peru - Large Photo
Tomy's Hospedaje, Cusco, Peru (September 2011 - 5 nights) - Reasonably priced place to stay in central Cusco. I had a spacious room with tv and private bathroom. The man and woman running the hotel were friendly and it is secure with a locked gated door. Recommended.
Casa de la Gringa, Cusco, Peru - Large Photo
Casa de la Gringa, Cusco, Peru (Oct 2008 - 5 nights) - A very chilled out place to relax in Cusco, a quiet atmosphere, comfortable lounge area, kitchen and nice location close to some lovely restaurants! Its up the hill through some steep cobblestone streets a little bit. It is owned by Wendy who organises San Pedro Journeys.
Loki Backpacker Hostel, Cusco, Peru - Large Photo
Loki Backpacker Hostel, Cusco, Peru (Sep 2008 - 3 nights) - A great party place for young people, up the hill a bit from the Plaza de Armas. There are nice outside courtyards to hang out in and a brand new bar.
The Point Cusco, Cusco, Peru - Large Photo
The Point Cusco, Cusco, Peru (Apr 2008 - 4 nights) - A great bunch of people and an awesome outside grassy area for bbq's, beautifully cooked meals served buffet style at night, pool table, bar, relaxed atmosphere, tours to Machu Picchu can be booked from the foyer and it's close to the Plaza de Armas.
Hostal La Casa de Selenque, Cusco, Peru - Large Photo
Hostal La Casa de Selenque, Cusco, Peru (Apr 2008 - 2 nights) - I stayed here on my very first 2 nights in Cusco. The hostal is just off the Plaza de Armas, it is not a budget place. I had a nice room and good bed. At the time the price was about $25USD per night.

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Videos from Cusco, Peru:
Dancing in Plaza de Armas Cusco Video
Dancing in Plaza de Armas Cusco Video

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Cusco, Peru - There's A Lot To Love About This City. Cusco is a great city for nightlife, clubs, bars, restaurants and of course, the place to book your Machu Picchu tour! Cusco is tourist central if there ever was one and rightly so because it's a great city with tons to see and interesting streets to explore! Have a good time!

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