Get lost in the magic, charm, and beautiful location of one of the world's highest cities! Located between the majestic Andean mountains, Cusco is an elemental stopover on your journey to Machu Picchu. Be sure to spend a few days here, however, to see all that the city has to offer. Take a stroll through the peaceful streets, exciting markets, and lovely historical buildings.
Arriving to Machu Picchu and Cusco / Cuzco
If you arrive to Cusco (often also spelled Cuzco) by plane, make sure you get a window seat. As you descend, you'll see this isolated city appear among an endless range of stunning Andean mountains. Cusco's atmosphere is a fascinating mix of modern Peru, previous Spanish influence, and the relics of the ancient Inca empire that ruled about 500 years ago. We recommend that you spend a few days exploring Cusco and nearby areas. You won't find the world's biggest attractions there, but you'll enjoy a slow adjustment to the altitude and an introduction to Inca history. By spending a few days in Cuzco, you'll gain some historical and cultural background before heading toward Machu Picchu. For more on the trekking experience to Machu Picchu read on here!
Cusco is not a small town, however, the city centre is quite small and easy to walk around in. Most of the social settings, like museums, shops, and restaurants, are located around the Plaza de Armas. Cusco has not yet been overtaken by international chain restaurants, so you will find authentic Peruvian food everywhere (except for a few English and Irish pubs). Cusco offers a few nice cathedrals, churches, and museums that are all worth a visit, so you should spend some time walking around these. Cusco is unique in that it offers a historical mixture of the Inca and Spanish empires.
The markets of Cusco
Cusco has a few large markets that you should make time to visit, where you can buy alpaca-mittens, alpaca-slippers, alpaca-jumpers, and alpaca-scarves, to name a few! In other words, everything is made from alpaca! If you are a careful packer, you might also be drawn to the exquisite ceramics with hand painted Inca-patterns.
Nightlife in Cusco
Cusco has a good selection of bars and clubs around Plaza de Armas, each with parties lasting until the early morning. Also, the best restaurants are the ones hidden between all the narrow cobblestone-streets. So, grab an ice cold Cusqueña and throw yourself onto the dancefloor! With flavourful food, low prices, and a fun environment, the night is a guaranteed success.
A travel tip for Cusco
Hire a motorbike and head toward the steep roads that lead you out of Cusco. You'll be led by a large, white statue of Christ on top of a hill. From there, you'll get the most astonishing view over the city and its surroundings. If you want, you can continue along the road past little villages, alpaca-farmers, and weavers.