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Guide to Peru: Cusco

Written by Thomas Power | 12th January 2014 |


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Because of the altitude, you are likely to find that you feel a little lightheaded when you first arrive in Cusco.

Take it easy, drink plenty of water and you should be fine within a day or so.

Exploring Cusco

The center of Cusco is quite small and possible to explore on foot.

It has an abundance of good artisan markets, local ruins, internet cafes, bars, restaurants & nightclubs.

The Plaza de Armas is the main square with Avenida El Sol the main street, Triunfo to the right of the Cathedral is the most interesting street leading up towards the San Blas Plaza.

Included with Pura Aventura holidays to Peru is the combined entry ticket to most of the main sites in and around the city.

Called 'Boleto Turistico Unificado' (Visitors' Ticket).
On the back of the ticket is a map of the centre of Cusco with the main sites shown. You will visit many of these as part of a normal Pura led visit, including the temple at Quricancha.

Of the sites to which it permits entry, the following are highly recommended:

The Cathedral in the Plaza de Armas with impressive silver altar. Sacsayhuaman, impressive Inca ruins on the hill high above the town, half hour walk up hill from the plaza or take a taxi (3-4 soles).

Surrounding Cusco are the archaeological sites of Qenqo, Tambomachay (Inca fountains) Puca-Pucara (the Red Fortress) further on from Sacsayhuaman which can be hiked/ridden to or take a taxi (remember to arrange your return).

Also included is entrance to the ruins above the market town of Pisac, Ollantaytambo and Tipon.

Many other sites and museums are included in the tickets.
'Music Museum/Shop' on Rumiyac (opposite the famous 12 angled stone) is a fun little place at the rear of the courtyard where you can try out all sorts of indigenous instruments.

Cusco restaurants

Trotamundos , Portal de Comercio 177, 2nd Floor, opposite the cathedral. Sit out on the balcony and get some of the best views in Cusco. A good selection of snacks, breakfasts, sandwiches and the usual dishes, steak and chicken. Friendly service. Cafe/bar particularly cosy at night with an open fire. Open 8am-11pm

Los Perros , Pecseccocha, Cusco. Tucked away round to the left after running the gauntlet of street seller down Procuradores, off the main square. The best spicy tomato soup in town. Also serves smoothing viño caliente (mulled wine) with cloves. Best at lunchtime, gets very busy at night but they do serve dinner.

La Tertulia , Procuradores 44, 2nd Floor, good breakfast buffet, eat as much as you can including fresh juices, homemade wholemeal bread, eggs, fruit salads, yogurt, granola and coffee. Also a choice of delicious pancakes. Set lunch and salad bar. Pizzas and fondue available. Book exchange, newspapers. Open 6.30am-3pm 5-11pm

Muse Café , Plazoleta San Blas, Cusco. Great little place to sit inside or out. A welcome rest stop after the walk up to the plaza, good view over Cusco.

Fallen Angel , Plazoleta Nazarenas 221, Cusco. Walk up Almirante to the left of the cathedral to Plaza Nazarenas, it is located in the corner opposite the Monasterio hotel. A very quirky alternative place serving delicious Novo Andino cuisine.

Cicciolina , Corner of Triunfo/Pumacurco. Great food but also lovely decoration and ambiance. Dinner for around 70 soles. Superb food!

Meson de Espaderos , Calle Espaderos 105, 2nd Floor, on the corner of the Plaza. Try the excellent trout or grilled meats while having a great view of the Plaza de Armas. Very good salad bar. A wide variety of the finest Peruvian wines is available to accompany your meals. Make a reservation or get there early to sit in the attractive balcony overlooking the Plaza.

Inka Grill , Portal de Panes 115, Plaza de Armas. Great food, nice decoration, great views of historical buildings at night from lower floor, nice background live andean music. Also bar with dozens of Pisco cocktails. The menu includes a wide range of typical and international dishes including vegetarian dishes. Live folk music most evenings. Reservations are a good idea. Open Mon-Sat 10am-12am, Sun 12pm-12am

MAP Café  in Museo de Arte Precolombino, Plaza Nazarenas 231, Cusco. Very chic, lovely atmosphere set inside a colonial courtyard. Expensive but first class.


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