Cusco: charming, captivating, beautiful.
If you are planning a trip to Peru it is guaranteed you will spend some time in Cusco. The city is the former religious and administrative capital of the Inca Empire and is your gateway to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. This aside, Cusco is a truly beautiful city, you will not want to miss spending 2-3 days wandering the cobblestone streets, stumbling across historical sites, beautiful restaurants serving fresh, flavourful food and soaking in the beautiful views of this charming city.
If you are making your way to Machu Picchu or you are planning an Inca Trail hike, most people will recommend arriving in Cusco a couple of days before you leave on your adventure, to acclimate to the new altitude, during which time you should go easy, especially if you are not used to this environment. Locals recommend drinking coca tea, or chewing the leaves to help with headaches and to clear your breath. You can also visit your doctor before leaving and obtain a medication that will help with the sickness. Either way, it will hit you, so be prepared.
If you are only planning on being in Cusco for 2-3 days, here is a list of some things that will keep you entertained and leaving the city feeling mesmerised by its beauty.
Wander through Plaza De Armas
Cusco’s main square, Plaza de Armas, marks the centre of the city and is home to two must-see buildings, the Cusco Cathedral and the Church La Compania de Jesus. Not only that, the square is vibrant and bustling with people, local vendors and will often host gatherings, events and festivals. Take a seat in the square and enjoy watching people go by and soak up the views of the city on the horizon.
Take in the views
Cristo is a large statue of Christ descending his arms outwards, similar to the statue you will find in Rio. The eight metre statue was a gift from Arabic Palestinians who sought refuge in Cusco after World War II. The statue sits upon a hill offering panoramic views of Plaza De Armas and surrounding Cusco city.
Eat and be merry
Cusco has a thriving culinary scene. With an array of restaurants offering Peruvian food as well as Italian, Japanese and the most exciting vegetarian and vegan food, you will not want to miss checking out some of these renowned locations right at your doorstep.
Green Point Vegan Restaurant
High quality vegan and vegetarian food, made with fresh and flavourful ingredients. Enjoy at breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Authentic Peruvian food, exceptional service and a quirky setting. Enjoy the spectacular decor, delicious food and unique cocktails.
Combining Italian flavours with a touch of Peruvian style, this Italian restaurant offers homemade pasta, unique pizza toppings and a goats cheese gnocchi which will have you craving more.
Ceviche Seafood Kitchen
If you love ceviche, you cannot miss visiting this restaurant nestled in Plaza De Armas and offering five types of ceviche and local seafood specialties.
Specializing in Australia style breakfast and a popular hangout for travelers. You’ll find all the breakfast favourites here including eggs and bacon, pancakes and french toast.
LIMO Peruano Nikkeo
An absolute must visit if you are a foodie and lover of Japanese food. This restaurant reaches new heights with its focus on fresh and crisp flavours and exceptional service.
Explore San Pedro Market
If you only have a short time in Cusco, you must fit a visit to San Pedro Market into your itinerary - it is an experience for all your senses. You will find locally made souvenirs, fresh ingredients and delicious food to indulge in as you walk the busy aisles.
Dance your heart out
After you finish dinner and cocktails at one of Cusco’s favourite restaurants, chances are you’ll want to go dancing, right? Head to Mama Africa, one of Cusco’s most popular places to dance the night away. Playing a mix of Latin and western music, this venue attracts local and tourists and will have you dancing into the early hours of the morning.
Feed your chocolate craving
Chocoholics be warned, Peruvian’s know their chocolate! For the best experience and the opportunity to taste test all there is on offer, head to Chocomuseco. There are locations throughout Cusco offering a huge variety of artisan chocolate, chocolate tea and best of all, the most delicate, velvety hot chocolate to ever hit your lips.
Discover the 12-Angle stone
As you are walking through Cusco, keep your eye out for the 12-angle stones, lining the streets. Yes, stones, it sounds rather boring however to this day it is still unknown how the stones were cut with such laser sharp lines and how they slotted together, making these walls very special.
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