Cusco Information | Things to do
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THINGS TO DO
Besides your excursions there’s plenty to do within the city. Check out our hit list to make your trip is extra special with perfect coffee, chocolate museums, street food, hikes, markets and archaeological sites to explore.
LOCAL COUSINE IN CUSCO
Peru is famous for its cuisine, with local delicacies such as coy (guinea pig) and alpaca. Peru’s national dish is Ceviche which you can find in most places; it consists of pieces of white fish cooked using the acid from lime juice; it is commonly served with corn, chili, and lime.
There are also entire restaurants dedicated to this dish called cervicarias, where you can find delicious variations. Alongside prestigious dishes, there is a fantastic array of street food; Cicaron, churros, roast pork, corn, and cheese. The air in Cusco is always filled with that street food, so you won’t be able to say no. Places such as the San Pedro market and along the Inca paths that lead in and out of the city are great places to get street food. Trying local food is one of the great joys of Cusco as it is fresh, made with local products, cheap, and o so tasty!
If you are feeling a little sick and would prefer some comfort food, there are also a lot of other places which boast cuisine from a range of cultures such as Irish, English, American, Australian, Mexican and Japanese, and Chinese food.
CAFFEE AND CHOCOLATE
As the coffee and chocolate plantations are only within the perurivian Amazon you will find many chocolate and coffee shops within Cusco. There are also chocolate museums such as the ‘ChocoMuseo’ where you can learn how it is made and have tastes of different products form the outstanding plantations. There is an abundance of coffee shops within Cusco that sell the sweet coffee peru is famous for. ‘Muso del Cafe’ is an amazing place just off from the center which not only does beautiful coffee and food in a very comfortable and luxurious space but gives guided tours around the history and culture of coffee within Peru and the many ways it is produced throughout the world. Even learn and practice how to do your very own coffee art.
BARS AND CLUBS IN CUSCO
Within the Plaza De Armas there are many bars whom the majority of speak both spanish and English. A lot of bars also double as either restaurants or coffee shops during the day. There is a lot of choice, however, the closer you are to the center the more expensive things get. Take one of the Inca paths out of the plaza and wander up the hill to find some hidden Gems. Our Favorites are listed in ‘Cusco Best Bars & Restaurants.’
There are many artisans markets that pop up in Cusco selling handmade local products. The most sought after being jumpers and hats made from the soft Alpaca wool. In the plaza next to the natural History Museum there is an indoor artisan market which is always bright and bustling.
The shops leading on the Inca roads out boast the more artisan products and reaching higher into the hills, San Blas has extremely high quality, boutique shops. Plaza De Armas hosts many high end outdoor shops which you can buy outdoor gear for very reasonable prices. Even if you are not looking for anything in particular, window shopping in Cusco is still and experience due to the local produce bustling markets and backdrop. In Cusco most things are hagglable so if you have the confidence to give it a try.
Cusco has a plethora of markets within its streets. These are bustling hubs of the community that range in the produce from fresh fruit and veg, artisan crafts, clothing, brick-a brack and food stalls. Some of the more notable are listed within our ‘Cusco Markets’ section with descriptions of where you can find them and what they sell.
MUSEUMS & CHURCHES
Cusco is famed for it many churches which shows the architecture of colonial Cusco along with its religious status. Many of Cusco and its churches are protected sites under UNESCO. Most of the churches are Museums therefore have an entry fee. However, some do allow you to enter for free between 6am- 9am. There are well worth the visit with their rich and interesting history and elaborate tales of construction. Find more out about the most noteworthy ones in our ‘Cusco Historical and archaeological sites’. Also in this section is a list of our favorite museums which complements the visits to the churches and cathedrals. They give a more insightful and holistic view of the history transformation, art and people of this amazing city.
There are numerous tours with different companies, different variations and lengths of time. We’ve narrowed it down the 3 categories here to help you choose what kind of tour you would like. Check out ‘Cusco Tours’ for our favorites, how to book and what not to miss.
City tour – These tours shows you around the center showing of the cathedral, markets and close by 1 or 2 archaeological sites and or museums.
Archeological tours – The Archaeological tours usually takes you between 4 and 7 sites which takes between 4 and 6 hours. These places are usually a mixture of: Sacsayhuaman, Qenco, Pucapucara, Tambomachay and City Cathedral.
Excursion tours – These extended tours usually start in Cusco and view the city but move on to either Moray, Ollantaytambo and / or the Sacred valley.
All these hikes are day treks and you able to get a taxi to the starting points:
Devils balcony – Winds up the river through a cave to a look out point. 3.1 Miles Round Trip (656.2 ft gain.) 3 Hour river hike or 30min dirt road track (each way).
Temple of the Monkey & Temple of the Moon (K´usilluchayoq) – The Monkey Temple s a 15min walk from the entrance of Q’enqo where you can get a taxi up to. There are from this point sign posts leading you to The Temple of the Moon.
(These two are very close to each other and often done together)
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