I have been living in the City of Cusco for some years now and this city just keeps surprising me all the time, with its interesting people, history, culture, food, buildings and touristic restaurants, museums, hotels and cafés. Cusco has been turning more and more popular over the last years and there is no doubt why it has been doing that; the tourism. The tourism has a huge impact on the city and is the reason why the city has so much to offer (even on a very small area) to the tourists who is coming to visit. But of course, the big reason of all its success is the culture and the history of Cusco, which has turned Perú and Cusco into one of the most popular travel destinations in the world
The historical center of Cusco is a really great place to be in, once you visit Cusco, the atmosphere there is full of happiness and excitement and there are tourists everywhere, which make the city alive and everywhere in the center you will find people walking around with traditional clothes, sometimes with Llamas or Alpacas and people who play music. Especially the Incan architecture really shines through while walking in the streets, as the Peruvians have kept the original Incan stones from old palaces and temples and the Spanish has constructed their colonial buildings on top of these stone, which make the whole environment so special and the Incan culture alive.
On every street, on every corner you will find a touristic restaurant or café where you can taste the world famous food of Perú. If you go visiting Cusco you should definitely try the following plates:
- Causa Rellena
- Aji de Gallina
- lomo Saltado
- Cuy (Ginny Pig)
- Pollo a la Brasa
- Rocoto Relleno
- Choclo con Queso
I strongly recommend to only try these plates in touristic restaurants as the cheap local restaurants can possible make some travelers sick.
The most popular tours in Cusco
The Cusco City Tour; is a must when visiting Cusco; there you will get the most interesting histories and visit the most important sites from the Inca dynasty in the capital of the Incas, Cusco.
The Sacred Valley Tour; is also a great full day tour, where you will experience beautiful nature areas as well as great archaeological sites. Especially one of the most interesting sites in whole Cusco is the site of Ollantaytambo, which not only has a nice souvenir market, but also an amazing archaeological site of the Incas. There you will find some of the biggest and most well cutted white-granite stones, made by the Incas.
The Maras Moray Tour; is a tour with different aspects; the nature part and the archaeological part. First of all the nature part of the Salineras Salt Mine, which contains over 3000 salt pools and is a spectacular and beautiful site, where one can admire the creations of the nature. Second the archaeological part of Moray, which looks really amazing because of its size, shape and its roman aqueduct look-a-like.
Many people think that coming to Perú is like arriving to the end of the world where no luxury or nice places are available. That is definitely not true at all! Cusco has several 5* luxury hotels as well as 4* and really, really nice 3* hotels as well. There are also nice hostels for backpackers. The more stars you book, the better costumer service you get. Many (or most) luxury hotels even has very antique art, furniture’s and paintings in their hotel and are 100% renovated, in order to give the tourists more comfort and luxury. As well as its touristic restaurants are of high quality and quality service.
If you are in Cusco and have some free time and want to spend this time best as possible there are many activities to do such as:
- Salsa classes
- Workshops with chocolate, pisco and coffee
- Cooking classes
- Spa’s, messages and ritual ceremonies
- Learn Quechua (native Incan language) and learn Spanish
- Volunteer programs
- Mystic ceremonies like Ayahuasqa or San Pedro
- Zip-lining and rafting tours (rafting is only recommended during dry season: April – September)
- Mountain climbing (the skylodge)
And not to talk about the many festivals that take place during the year of Cusco. Every month they celebrate even the virgins of their churches, stories from the Bible (Cusco is also the 2nd most religious city in the Americas), their country or the Incas. Especially the Incan festival of Inti Raymi is a really, really spectacular ceremony, show and celebration.
I definitely recommend to visit Cusco and Perú (which has much more wonders and destination outside Cusco) and should definitely be on your bucket list of travel destinations, because you wont find a culture that is so strong and celebrated many places on this planet.