Cusco was once the sacred capital of the Inca Empire, an imposing and colorful city that was conquered by the Spaniards in 1533 and turned into one of the most important cities of the Virreinato del Perú, a Spanish colonial district. Here they built several cathedrals, palaces, and ‘plazas’ in a Baroque and Neoclassical style that have lasted until today.
In addition to visiting the city, the area surrounding Cusco, in the middle of the Peruvian Andes has lots of Inca Ruins and stunning nature to offer. It is home to some of the highest peaks in Peru such as the Ausangate (20,944 ft/6,384m) Salcantay Mountain (20,574 ft/6,271m) If you want more information about visiting Cusco you can find it here.
At Keteka we grant you access not only to the Machu Picchu area but to the most authentic and local activities in the Cusco area, from homestays with families in the mountains to several days treks and tours that will take you visit unknown ruins and breathtaking landscapes along with your visit to Machu Picchu. Check them out here:
With its layered cobblestone streets that wind through the colonial architecture and bustling Andean culture it is no wonder that Cusco is one of Peru’s most visited cities. Declared as a World Heritage Site in 1983 by UNESCO, the city is a major tourist destination for the millions of travelers that make it to Peru.
Although many people consider Cusco as only a stopping point before traveling to Machu Picchu or trekking the Inca Trail, this city is worthy of a traveler’s time on it’s own. From the bustling markets, to the myriad of museums that dot the streets and the Andean cuisine that exists this city offers travelers who dig a little deeper a new world to explore and discover.
The main way travelers get from Lima to Cusco is by air. Many air services are available for travelers at cheaper prices since they are quite common. These flights range from one to two hours in duration, cheap and short!
However, if you do not like to fly and want to experience something more on land you can always take the bus as well. These bus routes can vary and will usually have multiple stops.
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The ancient Incan capital is truly a mixture of multiple cultures in one which makes this World Heritage Site a truly unique world city. Once the center of the Spanish Empire, you can still see the remains of all the art and colonial architecture that are still intact from that era. It holds the title as one of the most ancient settlements in all of the Americas being over 3,000 years old.
Now the city boasts a mix of Spanish, Andean, and Incan influence which can be seen in its cuisine, local culture and architecture.
With the variety of neighborhoods and options in Cusco it can be very confusing for the average traveler in pinpointing a place to stay. However, with this confusion comes the security in knowing that you will always be able to find a place to lay your head!
Two of the best areas to stay in the city are the areas of Plaza de Armas and San Blas. Both of these areas boast highly rated tourist attractions and are in the beating heart of the bustling travelers scene.
Depending on your own travel preferences different months of the year can be the best to visit Cusco. Generally, travelers will agree that the month of May is the best time to visit when there are less tourists around and the weather is sunny and blooming.
To explain concisely, November to April are the rainy months and May to October are considered the dry season in Cusco, Peru. During the dry season the number of tourists are quite higher than the wet season. With many festivals that happen in Cusco, June to October are some of the best times to visit with a variety of events that you can attend and participate in
The city of Cusco boasts some of the most exquisite and varied gastronomic recipes in all of Latin America and the Andean cuisine in Cusco are known for delivering some of the tastiest plates on earth.
Some of the main dishes you can expect in Cusco are the “Cuy” which is a word for Guinea Pig and is a very popular dish for many travelers visiting the area and wanting to expand their exotic taste buds, and “Adobo” which is pork marinated in special spices and cooked all in a clay pot. These are just two examples of the many varieties of dishes that exist in the Incan capital.
We can recommend two excellent restaurants with excellent local cuisine at affordable prices: Both are located in the same street: Carmen Bajo, the first is named Pachapapa, and it offers a wide range of options, from local soups, local meats and even ceviches and pizzas. The second option is a Vegan restaurant named Green Point Restaurant, tagged by different vegan friends of us as the best restaurant they have ever been, we went there and everything was delicious, they have vegan versions of Peruvian dishes and also other options. Definitely worths the visit.
A part from these two, restaurants line up the streets of the city and many are situated around the main square, it is recommended to walk around the city and choose from the hundreds of options every traveler has available to them upon arrival!
With so many options and so many experiences to embark on, being a traveler in Cusco can be a dilemma when it comes to thinking of and narrowing down a list of things to do. Depending on the traveler you can immerse yourself into the cuisine, outdoor treks, the nightlife, cultural museums or experience the local life at markets. You also have the option to use Cusco as a starting point to embark on cultural trekking experiences such as this one we offer here!
At Keteka we offer some of Peru’s most authentic tours by helping you connect with locals who live in and know the area. We connect with the people first who then in turn connect with our travelers and offer some of the best experiences around.