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

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Map location: Cusco, Peru
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Peru travel blog by Mark Berman - April 2008 October 2008 September 2011   » View Photoset (78 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for over 12yrs!
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 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 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 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 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.

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

Itineraries / Routes: 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Cusco, Peru:

Amaru Inca Hotel, Cusco, Peru - Large Photo
Amaru Inca Hotel, Cusco, Peru (Sept/Oct 2021 - 42 nights) - I enjoyed being at Amaru Inca Hotel in Cusco for 6 weeks while I rested from traveling, worked on my computer, enjoyed Cusco and waited for Argentina to open for travel after the coronavirus pandemic. I had a special price of $100 soles per night. I liked my room a lot, with a big comfortable bed, private bathroom with hot water, a loft where I could work and a heater that came on each evening until morning. Breakfast is included and the rooms are cleaned daily if you want. I preferred every 3 days. Good location in San Blas near the main plaza with lots of restaurants up and down the street. Friendly and helpful staff and a very nice time spent in Cusco. Recommended.
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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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 and rightly so because it's a great city with tons to see and interesting streets to explore!