We flew internationally and arrived at the airport about 20 minutes from the city center. We paid S20 for a taxi into town, which I think is way overpriced (oh well!). Taxis don’t have meters here, so bartering is necessary.
We chose to stay in 2 different areas: near the Plaza de Armas and in the San Blas neighborhood. I liked being close to everything when we first arrived since the altitude took some adjusting the first days.
We stayed our last couple nights in the San Blas neighborhood at Hotel Andean South. They kindly accommodated us after another hostel cancelled our reservation without notice (be careful with places you book!). For a reasonable price, they had clean bathrooms, filling breakfast with fresh fruit and eggs, and a cozy room with a heater (basically unheard of in the area!). I like that it’s located in San Blas but still not far from Plaza de Armas.
On our way out, we took a bus from Cusco to Puno (on Lake Titicaca) vía Bolivia Hop. We booked a tour to see the Floating Islands of Uros through them, and then made our way across the border to Copacabana, Bolivia. They were supportive during the board crossing, which can be a confusing process (especially if you don’t speak Spanish).
Get Your Adventure On
Plaza de Armas: Perfect at any time of day for a walk through or casual people-watching on the steps.
Center of Textiles: Small museum describes the history of textile art in Peru, as well as traditional clothing items. Although we didn’t make a purchase, they had beautiful and authentically-made items for sale which support this dying art.
Pisac: A lovely town 30/45 min away from Cusco makes a great stop. We came by on our way from Aguascalientes to Cusco. Their market is huge,reminiscent of Otavalo in Ecuador. We came on a “non-market day”, which meant all the same stalls with none the crowds.
Lake Humantay: It can be hard to choose among the spread of day trips offered from Cusco, but this was a special experience for me. This glacier lake is tucked between giant rock-faced mountains. The uphill hike to the lake took us under an hour. Tours leave early as it’s about a 3 hour drive from the city.
Eats & Drinks
Fallen Angel: well-crafted cocktails and food, fascinating decor. I loved the passion fruit hot toddy!
Mercado de San Blas: the smaller brother to San Pedro, much cleaner and welcoming to enjoy a fresh juice or Machu Picchu sandwich
Green Point: I celebrate any vegan restaurant that can craft such varied dishes, along with sauces and desserts. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner is a win here!
Limbus: We had cocktails looking over the vast scape of the city. I loved the pisco cocktails we tried!
We had a great time in Cusco, although there’s always more to see! We might try a day tour to see Rainbow Mountain, which our friends did and loved. Also, there are many ruins tours that would be nice to see. With a proper guide, there is a ton of history to learn in this area!