Cuzco (also "Cusco", or "Qosqo" in Quechua), located in the Southern Sierras is a fascinating city that was the capital of the Inca Empire. Cuzco is a Unesco World Heritage Site and is one of Peru's most visited cities as it is the largest and most comfortable city from which tourists can begin visits to Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and other Inca sites in the region.
June-August. Cuzco can be very hot during the day and quite cold in the early morning and late at night. If you get cold easily, you might want to carry a hat, gloves, and several layers in your day pack to use at night, that you can peel off during the day for complete summer mode
Cuzco is somewhat dusty and you will be very happy wearing a boot/sneaker mix such as Keens, rather than for example flip flops.
The airport is at the edge of the city (taxi ride). There are daily internal flights to and from [wiki=0cb9cde516c38ed84dc1f3f2b5556ed3]Lima[/wiki], [wiki=171a98f4722267176bd0fe81f8980074]Arequipa[/wiki] and small jungle airstrips in the Amazon basin. The following airlines offer flights to/from Cuzco:
* [url=http://www.amaszonas.com/] Amaszonas[/url] (La Paz, Bolivia)
* [url=http://www.lan.com/es_pe/sitio_personas/index.html] LAN Perú[/url] (Arequipa, Juliaca, Lima, & Puerto Maldonado)
* [url=http://www.peruvian.pe/en] Peruvian Airlines[/url] (Lima)
* [url=http://www.starperu.com] Star Peru[/url] (Juliaca, Lima, & Puerto Maldonado)
* [url=http://www.taca.com] Avianca Peru (formerly Taca)[/url] (Arequipa, Lima, & Puerto Maldonado)
Lan Peru has the most flights between Cuzco and Lima, followed by Star Peru, Peruvian Airlines and Taca. It is best to book the earlier flights to avoid weather delays and overbooking.
The closest major international airport is [wiki=0cb9cde516c38ed84dc1f3f2b5556ed3]Lima[/wiki]. The cheapest one-way flights to Lima cost around US$110 (2012), while a short notice flight on either LAN or Taca will cost around $300. StarPeru and Peruvian Airlines generally have the cheapest flights. Frequently, bad weather conditions can cause flights to be canceled, often up to two days on end. If you are flying straight into Cuzco, beware of [wiki=72105e5ef78506d8d9b4f4c127fe06bf]altitude sickness[/wiki] for the first couple of days.
With only 5 gates and a few off the main terminal this airport is fairly small but because it sees thousands of tourists a day, it has a good amount of facilities. There are a few restaurants before and after security and some shops too. Massage facilities and communication services are also available. There are a few ATMs in the check-in Area. If you have time, look across the parking lot for last-minute shopping.
Airport taxes as of June 2011 have been included in all national tickets.
Note that the market rate for a taxi from the airport to the Plaza de Armas is around 10 soles, not 30 or more as the 'official' airport taxis may try to charge you. Only used marked taxi cabs and agree on the price to your destination before getting into the vehicle. Using unmarked taxis is not recommended.
There is no single "official" taxi company. Instead, people rent booths at the airport and put up an "official taxi" sign and you book with them. Then, they talk to one of the taxis out front on and have them take you.
Bus from airport to plaza de armas
Airport to Plaza de Armas: Get out of the airport at your right, there is a bus stop. Ask the combis that stop there if they go to plaza de armas. It is not a very comfortable trip, very crowded but manageable and it took around 30min. You can get off at the last stop of Av El Sol, which is very close to the Plaza de Armas. Nobody charged anything extra for the backpacks. It costs 0.70 soles.
Plaza de Armas to Airport: You can get the bus at Av El Sol close to the crossing with Ayacucho. Ask the street sellers about the combis to the airport. It seems like a very frequent as we didn't wait for long. The journey is not a very comfortable trip, very crowded but manageable and it took around 30min. It costs 0.70 soles and nothing extra for the backpacks. Tell the driver that you are going to the airport and you can get off right across the street from the main entrance.
The Terminal Terrestre is about 2.4km SW of the Centro Historico, a 20 minute walk down along Av. Sol to Micaeda Bastidas, which is also 3-4km west of the airport terminal. You can also take a taxi for a few soles (paid 8 S./ April 2014).
Buses are plentiful to and from other Peruvian and Bolivian cities like [wiki=0cb9cde516c38ed84dc1f3f2b5556ed3]Lima[/wiki] (about 24 hr), [wiki=8595abe05ed0d49d457e6d4bc25cac2f]Puno[/wiki] (6-8 hr, 25 soles; cheapest option in Nov 2015 was 15 soles for a second floor seat with company Power), [wiki=171a98f4722267176bd0fe81f8980074]Arequipa[/wiki] (10 hr, 50 soles), [wiki=b394f79fea373f99adf31fcbf498ca51]Nazca[/wiki] (14-16 hr), [wiki=75daa5cb5d7bdaf1b1fc789883e70f84]Copacabana[/wiki] (9-12hr, 60 soles) and [wiki=acb1984e3b62f9178cf7d9cd5bf04764]La Paz[/wiki] (12-15hr, 90 soles) but are quite long and slow, although the views can compensate. The main roads are mostly quite good, but some can be bad, making trips take longer than expected.
Also, make sure your bus has a bathroom or that it stops for bathroom breaks every couple of hours before you buy tickets. There are Puno-Cuzco buses that have/do neither, and that can mean a VERY long 6-8 hours.
Be very careful if arriving early in the morning. You would be approached by touts from hostels that can't fill their rooms in other ways. They offer you nice looking folders from Hospedaje Harry but when you arrive it's not as pretty. Problems with water (not enough to even flush the toilet), very cold inside. They refused to give us back the money we stupidly paid at arrival. It pays to book in advance or wait few hours and check a few different places by yourself. This city is full of accommodations at all price ranges.
*Expreso Los Chankas, Pje Cáceres 150. One of the only companies to offer direct service from [wiki=b0da60ba07e003517a252713141456bc]Ayacucho[/wiki] to Cusco. 55 soles for a 22 hr ride on a semi-cama bus. Buses at 6:30AM and 7PM.
*Cruz del Sur offers a very comfortable "cruzero suite" service direct to/from Lima, with multiple departures daily. Tickets can be booked online as well as in agencies and hotels. Standard fares are around $60 USD, with promotional fares available if you book in advance. The service is comparable to flying on board a good airline with films, hot food, drinks, good toilets and even a bingo game. Note that Cruz del Sur buses arrive at the company's own terminal, which is about 700 meters (10 minutes walk) from Terminal Terrestre. Taxis to the Plaza de Armas are around S/ 10 from the Cruz del Sur terminal.
An option to go from Lima, Paracas, Ica, Puno, Nazca or Huacachina is to take one of the Peru Hop buses. This service has brand new cama buses with movies in English and Spanish their passes allow you to hop on or hop off at any of these places. Peru Hop includes hotel/hostel pick-ups and drop-offs which is pretty neat from a safety/no taxi fare viewpoint.
Cuzco is connected to [wiki=cbbc03fbe1dc7050810b36efd539500a]Machu Picchu[/wiki] and Puno by rail. Rail service was recently discontinued to Arequipa. This service is operated by PeruRail[http://www.orient-express.com/web/tper/tper_t1a_book_online.jsp].
A museum explaining history, growth, harvest and fun facts about potatoes. Also workshops to get to know all about potatoes, make and enjoy original potato drinks and dishes, learn to carve, decorate and make stamps from potatoes.
*, located in the Municipal Palace at Plaza Regocijo. Has exhibitions of contemporary art. Admission with the boleto turistico
*, located in the home of the Inca historian Garcilaso de la Vega. Many paintings from the 17th and 18h century.
*, Av Sol. No. 603. A beautiful (and free) museum inside El Centro's textile store featuring a gallery containing displays of traditional Quechuan and Andean textiles. The museum explains the historical significance of textiles and the techniques by which they are made. A must-see, and visitors can buy the traditional textiles as they come in. A large majority of the money goes to the women who produce them, and the textiles are of much higher quality than the synthetic and machine-woven textiles found throughout the city.
*, Av Sol. With information about the different pre-Columbian cultures and fragments of ceramics and textiles of the Inca culture. A very small museum, the showcase room includes three mummies and skulls modified by the Incas with holes or sloped foreheads. Allow an hour to an hour and a half. English explanations are present but lacking.
*, located in the basement of the OFEC office. Displays a collection of popular art.
*; the stunning scenery of the Cuzco area are often very well depicted by local artists. It is possible to find cheap prints that are of surprisingly good quality if you're prepared to shop around.
*, also a collection of religious art. Admission with the boleto turistico.
*, the Sun Temple, was the central site of worship for the Incas. Like so many other testimonies of fantastic Inca architecture, it was severely devastated by the conquistadores, the Spanish conquerors, who built their Christian church, Santo Domingo, on top of the ruins. Yet most of the bottom part of the temple is fairly well preserved and makes the site worth several hours of your time. The site is one of the best in Cuzco, or Qosqo in the Quechua language, containing both Catholic and Inca heritage with stunning views of the surrounding area. Looking at the outside from Avenida del Sol, you get a perfect view of the church standing on the temple and you see the differences of the Inca and the Spanish way of building. Qoricancha also is the starting point of the yearly processions at Inti Raymi, the Sun Festival, in the rememberance of the Inca tradition of celebrating the winter solstice. This procession then moves all the way up to Saxayhuamán. In order to understand, especially the remarkable remains in the Inca section, a guided tour is advisable. Located 4 blocks from Plaza de Armas on Av. El Sol. Admission 10 soles.
*The Museum of Sacred, Magical and Medicinal Plants is a privately owned museum established in 2011 as a non-profit organization. The mission of the Museum is to contribute to the conservation of the vegetal wealth of the Amazon and the Andes of South America, in particular those plants that contribute to human well-being, and the associated indigenous traditional knowledge on the medicinal, ritual and shamanic use of plant resources.
*A museum and chocolate factory explaining the history of cacao (free) and offering chocolate workshops (not free) as well as cacao farm tours (not free). Different recipes from around the world are available all made with chocolate from the factory located inside the cacao and chocolate museum. Great artisanal and organically sourced hot chocolate.
*Contemporary art gallery showcasing 100 Peruvian artists in restored 17th century colonial home with 150 sq.m. (180 sq.yd.) exhibition space. Special exhibits and rotating exhibits each month; permanent exhibit by resident artist Altamirano.
Sacsayhuaman is the ruins by the white Jesus. You need a boleto touristico to get in. A 10 day pass to all sites is 130 sol for foreigners. You can also get a single day pass to 4 sites (one of which is Sacsayhuamn) for 70 sol or if you are Peruvian, 40 sol.
* The walls of the city are Inca, particularly near the Plaza de Armas.
* Monumento Pachacuteq, down Av. Sol, is a statue of the Inca warrior King Pachacuteq. The statue is placed on a cylindrical base and the total monument is over 22 m high. The cylindrical base can be climbed, but views are disappointing because the monument is located at a lower part of town. Admission with the boleto turistico.
Go to San Pedro Market - Local market with a special aisle for entrails. Colorful, vibrant, packed, San Pedro Market is not to be missed. This market is by Peruvians for Peruvians - however, a large percentage of the shops sell souvernirs to tourists. There are juice stands serving 2 glasses for around S/ 6 and many local eateries towards the back.
* Walk around the Plaza de Armas; the square has churches, shops, restaurants and bars backing on to it and is a great place to spend an afternoon. The historical center of Cuzco is beautiful, but you will have to deal with all the street vendors and hawkers of cheap paintings and other souvenirs. They are everywhere in and around the Plaza de Armas. They somewhat spoil the experience.
* Get a massage. You will invariably be propositioned by young ladies handing out flyers advertising massages. These are legit, only cost 15-20 Soles for 1+ hour, but are not done by trained masseuses. Still, for the price it can't be beat.
* Check out the Plaza de San Francisco, which is a few blocks southwest of the center, and is a great place to visit one of Cuzco's many great coffee shops. Next to the Plaza is the main market, which is fairly traditional and is a worthwhile visit. The market has a mix of stalls selling food and other household items as well as clothing and souvenirs.
* Play Sapo, a traditional bar game played in chicharias all over Peru. The game involves throwing small coins, called fichas, at a table with a bronze sapo (toad) attached. You get points for making it into holes on the table, and a ton of points for making it into the sapo's mouth. Best played while drinking chicha (corn beer) at a local dive. Ask old men to show you the correct throwing form, as it's difficult to master.
* Talk to local store owners, curators, waitresses and bartenders. They typically know a little English if your Spanish is not good, and are generally happy to share interesting information about the city not found in guidebooks. This is also a great way to find the best places to try cuy, alpaca, and chicha.
* Get paired up with a local and with English language students from the English School "Ingles Superior".
* Once you are accustomed to the altitude, go for a jog! This is a very humbling experience, as the hills and thin air prove a challenge to even those in great shape. It's also a good way to explore. Head east or south of the plaza for the safest places. If you're a woman out exercising, you may get a few cat calls, as this is common in much of Latin America.
* a fabulous little salsa school offering private and group classes at minimal price in two central locations. With enthusiastic teachers and a number of styles taught, this is the perfect time to polish your moves and get ready to shine on the dance floor. Ask for Franshesco Efernetti if you want private classes.
* Take a self-guided Cusco city tour, using a guidebook or an informative article that explains the history and significance of the Inca and Spanish architecture of the city.
Most day trips from Cuzco follow the following format: at between 7-9 am you get picked up from your hotel or you meet with your group in a public plaza very near to Plaza de Armas, or at the front door of the agency with which you booked the tour, which is also very likely to be near Plaza de Armas. Then you drive for ~1-2 hours to your destination(s). The day ends back where it started, at 3-4 p.m. In practice this means that you can do only one day trip per day and that it will most likely occur during the beginning part of the day. An exception to this is the day tour of Cuzco which starts later, ~1p.m.
* Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary, [url=http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=2077899]]a must see, one-of-a-kind rehabilitation center started by a family of biologists, which provides shelter to animals injured or victimized by poaching. It's a happy place where animals get better and those able are re-released. In 2012, there were three condors, llamas, alpacas, vicunas, macaws, pumas, an unusual furless Peruvian dog, local deer, all very friendly. This is the best place to see pumas, condors and vicunas up close. This is on the road from Cuzco to Pisaq. You can get there by motorcycle. Donations help with rehabilitation efforts. This place is ahead of its time, and very friendly and awesome.
* Whitewater rafting, but not in the Sacred Valley of the Incas where the water is very polluted and the rapids are relatively tame. Instead head upstream to the Chuqicahuana or Cusipata sections of the Rio Urubamba/Vilcanota where the water is much cleaner and the rapids are excellent fun up to class 5 depending on what time of year you are traveling.
* Inflatable canoeing. On the Piñi Pampa section of the Rio Urubamba you can paddle your own canoe, fun but not frantic class 1 and 2 rapids.
* Rio Apurimac-rafting, If you have more time, try and raft the 3 or 4 day Rio Apurimac - the true source of the Amazon and one of the top ten rafting rivers in the world. Class 3 - 5 all in the most amazing 3,000 m deep canyon. Go with the experts as accidents have occurred and in Peru you pay for what you get, so saving on the costs may seriously reduce the quality and the safety of your trip.
* Rent a motorcycle. There are several shops on Calle Plateros, just north of Plaza de Armas, that rent motorcycles for the day. You do not even need a motorcycle license, simply any kind of driving license from your home country. Prices are typically $40/day which includes two helmets, gloves, and jacket. Sacred Valley Moto Tours, at Calle Plateros #399 (corner of Siete Cuartones), has new bikes in good condition. Where to go? A loop of the Sacred Valley, taking in the market at Pisac, lunch in Urubamba, and several Incan sites, can easily be done in one afternoon. The drive from Cuzco to Pisaq is a string of gorgeous switchbacks - and a great way to see the four Inca sites above Cuzco, the aminal sanctuary, and Pisaq on the same day on your own schedule. Or head south to some of the less-visited but just as pretty small towns and Inca ruins.
* Downhill Mountain Bike Tours are available either across the Chincheros plains, past Inca ruins and down through the spectacular [[Maras[/url]] [wiki=1ec348324fd78f8e9404d6571bbc65e2]Salineras[/wiki] or the 75km downhill from Abra Malaga to Santa Maria and onto the totally awesome hot springs of [wiki=5fd4c237cee9af0f9e11d45f961cbacc]Santa Teresa[/wiki] (and easy and cheap access to [wiki=cbbc03fbe1dc7050810b36efd539500a]Machu Picchu[/wiki] from here too). Again go with the experts, such as Gravity Peru or Aspiring Adventures, as there are a lot of cheap bikes out there totally not up to the job.
* Go paragliding over the Sacred Valley. The scenery is gorgeous. One very experienced operator is Leo.
Go to the Maras salt mines - or [wiki=2429f6dae3052b549aa72d6763c4fdb7]Maras[/wiki] [wiki=1ec348324fd78f8e9404d6571bbc65e2]Salineras[/wiki]. These striking terraced salt flats should not be missed. They are very different from everything else in the Cuzco area, and as striking as the most beautiful Inca sites.
* Take a day trip to Moray [wiki=75f5a3a25ea99a2646bc94afd9c5ac64]Moray (Peru)[/wiki] , The agricultural laboratory of the incas. Several concentric circles up to 150 m deep caused temperature changes of between 2-4°C. Seeds were developed here and spread throughout the empire. 67.5 km (42 mi) from Cuzco. Accessible with the boleto turistico.
* Ccaccaccollo, Traditional fabric making from Llama shearing to weaving in this township.
* The Four Archaeological Ruins, The closest and largest of these ruins is the amazing Inca Sacsayhuamán (sometimes called Saqsaywaman and pronounced "Sock-say-wah-mun") ruins high above Cuzco. It is a steep climb from the Plaza de Armas up Plateros street which changes to Saphi. Look for the long staircase on the right, follow the paved curvy road up to the next cobblestone pedestrian path and follow this climb past the first closed control point to the second control. No need to take a cab if you can handle it. But, be careful, as robberies have been reported in mornings and evenings. There is a charge to explore the ruins at the second control or present your the boleto turistico. Read up on the battle beforehand as the guides don't discuss it. Also, a view of the circular base of the former tower as shown in many of the photos is not possible due to the protective ropes. Go earlier in the morning as later visits are disrupted by whistles from guards telling unobservant tourists to get off the ruins. Those on a budget can get a sense of the ruins without paying by walking up the hill and up to the entrance. You can then walk to the adjacent hill with the big Jesus on it and look down on the city. Also, if you arrive before 7am you can enter the ruins for free. This is very easy and also not frowned upon- if you are leaving after the guards have arrived they just nod hello and there are plenty people doing it. Great idea for budget travelers.
* Qenko, (or Q'enqo), The Second site up the road from Sacsayhuamán. Take the cumbi shared busses up the hill for 1 sole or take a walk of about 0.5-1 km up a gradual incline to visit the site. Its name means "Zig-Zag" in Quecha, and probably refers to the Zig-Zag channels carved into a rock. Explore the pass through cave and view the altar on which llamas were sacrificed. The large erect stone shown on the boleto turistico is a solar calendar. On each side of the stone is a square wall two stones high. Each stone is representative of a number of days, the total is the total days in the year. Opposite the stone are the familiar windows in which mummies and human remains were discovered. Accessible with the boleto turistico
* Pukapukara, (red fort). Named after the red hue of the hillsides nearby. The third site along the route, even heartier walkers will find the walk a bit long and a bit steep despite the paved and well traveled road. However, the views along the walk are great and small mud brick bars are intermittent between the sites. Hire a taxi or take a cumbi shared bus up from Qenko for one sole to save time and energy. A larger site than Q'enqo, the guides have more to say about this site. It was likely a checkpoint or military control. Offerings of coca leaves amongst other things were received here. Accessible with the boleto turistico.
* Tambomachay, The most distant ruin on the route from Cuzco. It is a small site with an ornamental fountain whose source is unknown as reportedly archaeologists lack the tools necessary to determine the source without damaging the site. Likely it is an underground spring. In several Incan sites such as Ollentaytambo water sources were covered or underground to protect the water supply from poisoning. Accessible with the boleto turistico. Bathrooms are free with the Boleto. Take a cumbi all the way back to Plaza de las Armas in Cuzco for 1 sole.
Guides and tours to all four sites in one day, If interested, pay/negotiate for a guide at the second control at Sacsayhuamán to tour you through all four sites. Ask the guard at the ticket control which guides have been through the government training. Expect between 60-80 soles depending upon the season which is about 15-20 soles per site. Allow 4-5 hr for the trip when taking the Cumbis shared buses. Pack a snack although water is available along the way. Bathrooms (clean and well maintained) are only available at the final site Tambomachay. A boleto turisitico is recommended as control points exist at three of the four sites and are carefully monitored.
If you don't want to hire a guide, then you could take a taxi or combi to Tambomachay/Pukapukara and walk back down the hill to the remaining sites. This is much kinder on the legs! If you go to the first two sites in the morning, there is a backpacker's cafe about 250 m down the road on the right that does tasty and inexpensive sandwiches and very good fruit juice. The walk down to Q'enqo and Sacsayhuamán has nice views.
A better alternative is to take a day trip to Pisac, and see the ruins there, which is part of the Boleto. These ruins are much more impressive than the ones nearer to Cusco.
Cuy, (guinea pig), The absolute traditional holiday food of the region. You can buy a whole cooked cuy in many of the restaurants around Plaza de Armas. In 2012 cuy cost 60S at all these places. There are also dedicated 'cuyerias' that serve much cheaper cuy.
* Alpaca, Grilled, tastes like a more tender steak. You must try it. You can get alpaca pizza as well.
* Cooked potatoes, Cooked and served hot in the cold season.
* Chifa. This is the Peruvian version of Chinese food. The neighborhood of Wanchaq has many Chifa restaurants.
* Inca Kola, a bubble gum/tutti-frutti-flavored golden-yellow soda. This drink outsells Coca-Cola in Peru, although its maker has been a subsidiary of the Coca-Cola company since 1999. Also, chicha morada is a Peruvian specialty. It's a spiced non-alcoholic drink made out of purple corn.
San Pedro, (1 block west of Plaza San Francisco. It's on the block bounded between Calle Hospital & Calle Nueva and Tupac Amaru and Cascaparo - just east of the train station for Machu Picchu). Definitely the cheapest place to eat ! You can have a complete menu (Sopa + segundo) for 4 soles. The market has several food parts : fruit juices, Caldo de gallina (soup with chicken), Desayuno (breakfast) and traditional food.
El Encuentro, vegetarian restaurants - very reasonably priced with huge portions. The 5 soles dinner is very popular and includes soup, main course & mate. Free salads with lunch. They also do soy meat very well. There are two of these restaurants but the one in Calle Leon near Plaza de Armas is at least 1 sol cheaper for the exact same menu. Lunch option (almuerzo) for 7 soles.
* El Balcon, Soup, main course, and desert (no drink) for 10 soles, about US$3.70. If you're looking for good quality food for not a lot of money, this is the place to go.
* Al Gustitos de Loli, caller recoleta. Owned by a very friendly peruvian woman and his brother. It's a small "gourmet" restaurant, a bit more expensive then basic restaurants (30-40 soles), but cheap for that quality. The food is really good, especially the homemade pastas. Very good option for a romantic dinner.
* Inka Grill, on the Plaza de Armas, Well-known and frequented by tourists but not a trap. Excellent food. Good place to try [wiki=19a4e4c1673eadab787c33b643531fd6]Cuy[/wiki] (guinea pig); some people have reported mud butt after eating it, it is tastily done and served without the head so eating doesn't remind you of your pet hamster. Try the appetizer tiradito de trucha. Alpaca also on the menu.
* Ajjla Wasi (now rebranded to Peruana), calle Arequipa, (just off the Plaza de Armas, after Santa Catalina Monastery). Traditional 3 course meals with a glass of chicha for only 7 soles and a comfortable upstairs setting. It is frequented by a mix of locals and tourists.
* El Emperador, They have 2 restaurants within the city, both are very reasonably priced. They have a 13-page menu with all sorts of foods from around the world. Try the pisco sour tall.
* Inkazuela, Plazoleta Nazarenas 167. Quality restaurant that serves local and Peruvian dishes. Everything feels like has been cooked with love. Quiet large portions as well [url=http://www.guiadeperu.pe/restaurant-inkazuela-muy-buena-comida-en-cusco/].]
* Greens Organic. Organic and healthy food, with a Peruvian emphasis. Delicious quinoa and a fruity desert menu to die for, especially the mango ravioli with passion fruit. Try their smoothies as well. Affordable for tourists, but not the cheapest option. Near Plaza de Armas: Santa Catalina Angosta 135, Piso 2.
* Yaku Mama, (at the end of the 'Gringo Alley).. Try a big fresh juice with one of their large and keenly priced breakfasts.
* 'Yaku Mama Grill, Plaza de Armas (The sister restaurant of Yaku Mama). Cheerful English-speaking waitress named Yolanda, but is a bit short on the alpacas. Good meals.
* Jack's Cafe, Choquechaca 188, (on the corner and near the South American Explorers clubhouse). Food and coffee. This is a great place to get a big breakfast complete with eggs, bacon, avocado, toast and fantastic thick shakes. Try the homemade lemonades.
:* Right outside of Jack's is an empanada stand which has great rocoto salsa, a spicy salsa that goes well on the cheese or meat-stuffed pastries.
* Plus Restaurant Cuzco [http://www.plusrestaurantcusco.com/], Enjoy an exciting array of a la carte dishes, cocktails, and drinks in a warm and cozy ambience boasting an extraordinary view of the Plaza de Armas. Enjoy our grilled selections prepared with select cuts of meat and a distinct touch, the local flavors and colors of our traditional Cusqueño and Andean dishes, and our fusion dishes presenting well-loved international meals prepared with unique Peruvian ingredients. Cheap prices. ☎ 84 246870
* Paddy's Irish Pub, 124 Calle Triunfo, (on the eastern corner of Plaza de Armas). The night-brother of Jack's Cafe. Not exactly traditional Peruvian fare, but an excellent atmosphere amongst fellow travelers in a cozy upstairs pub setting. Purportedly the highest 'Irish-owned' pub in the world at 3,400 m, it offers a good selection of pub food (think cottage pie, casseroles, mash and gravy), local and international drinks (even had cider and Guiness), and a useful "No Gracias" T-shirt for sale.
* Mama Africa, On 3 levels. Snacks, a cafe on the rooftop, restaurant with a good cheap menu, 2 discos, the latest movies on DVD. Some of the decorations and paintings are by the owner/artist.
* Cross Keys Pub, Calle Triunfo 350, Close to the Plaza de Armas (the central square) is a pub serving European food to tourists. Skip the fish and chips.
* Kukuly, Huaynapata 318, A cozy place with friendly prices also attracting locals, run by a Swiss guy. Daily menu for 6 soles.
* Los Angelos, (close to Ukuku's and near the Plaza de ArmasIf). For late night food after clubbing, a very good fast food-type restaurant.
*2 Nations, Huaynapata, (not too far and not too close to the Plaza de Armas). New restaurant opened up by an Australian named Matt. Extensive, multi-ethnic menu, good service and personable owner.
* Meli Melo's, (near LimacpampaIf). If you are not brave enough to try the empanadas on the street then order an empanada or a Bolivian saltena here.
*Victor Victoria, Calle Tsesequocha, (just off Calle Tigre). Friendly service. Great salad bar buffet included in all main dishes. Gorgeous garlic trout with rice or potatoes for 10 soles (including the salad bar buffet and lovely fresh bread) but only for lunch. Great value breakfasts. Regular glasses of freshly squeezed juice for 6 soles. Also they have a proper espresso machine for good coffee in the morning.
* Govindas, (near Plaza de Armas). Vegetarian restaurant. Not great. You pay 6 soles for a lousy glass of orange juice mixed with water. Food is just ok, pretty overpriced.
* Moni Cafe Restaurant, San Agustin 311. Vegetarian take on Peruvian food. Since 2001, great stuff.
* Cicciolinia's, Calle Triunfo 393, (at the end of the alley by the 12-sided stone). Very tasty place to go for breakfast. There is an amazing bakers downstairs.
* El Mercado', (in front of the train station). A roofed market where they sell delicious local bread, herbs, juices, souvenirs, DVDs and other items. If you want something truly more local, very cheap, then head over here. At the end of the market are the food stands, where they serve local food. For 2 soles you can get soup, an entree, and juice. All the locals know where the train station and El Mercado is. This is where many local workers go for their meals, not exactly a tourist place, but they are friendly towards tourists.
*Nothing fancy but great cheap food: for 10 soles (about US$3.50) get a meal deal that includes a plate from the salad bar, a selection of soup, a selection of main dish, a dessert and a beverage. Or splurge with their more expensive menu offer for 20 Soles. Very tasty Peruvian food. Friendly staff.
*This small restaurant seems to produce everything themselves. Local food is extremely good, in the evening small performance groups enter the restaurant and give excellent performances. The prices are mid-range, but it is sure worth it. The daily menu lunch special is more like a snack.
*Good quality Chifa. Dishes for 2-3 soles.
*The "pueto atico" ceviche that is Pejerey with Pulpo, and the Jalea de Mariscos are the must try.
*Great Indian food served as an all you can eat buffet for only 15 soles. You get mineral water, salad, chutneys and fruit included but it is extra for chapatis, beers or similar.
*A nice place to have a break with coffee and a snack. Especially the chocolate cupcakes are delicious and make up for half a lunch. They also have fresh cakes, quiches and juices.
*Cute local vegetarian spot. The food is delicious. For 5 soles you can get plates like "falafel tacos" and "mexican veggi burger". Also, they have lassies (a hindi yogurt drink), and tasty desserts for a few soles. At the sit-down restaurant they do a daily menu (drink, soup and plate) for 8 soles (USD $3.50). Can't be beat!
*Fresh juices direct from the market. Fresh and great place to contact with local people.
*Dutch owned and run bar and restaurant, with typical Dutch food such as 'patatje oorlog' and 'bitterballen' (both for 8 soles each, May 2012) and also other choices incl local specialties.
*Restaurant & patio-beer garden in restored colonial home. International-Peruvian menu with beef, alpaca, and pasta dishes, Peruvian soups, and American breakfasts; moderate prices and substantial portions.
*Amazing Peruvian cuisine both in taste and presentation. They are very passionate about food and have many dishes to choose ranging from Lomo Saltado(beef sirloin) to Cuy Horneado(guinea pig). The prices are very reasonable considering how exquisite the food is. The ambiance is very pleasant and authentic. They also offer cooking classes which I took part in after tasting the food here. Price Range : 16-31 soles (US$6-12)
*Excellent place for breakfast or a sweat treat. Fruit salad with yoghurt and muesli S/.8, non alcoholic drinks S/.5-8, cakes S/.6-7. Prices similar to what you find around Plaza de Armas but with much better service.
*Tradicional Peruvian food serving alpaca, ceviche, guinea pig and quinoa dishes. Good menu consisting of an appetizer, soup and main for 10 soles with a lemonade and dessert. Nice place only a 2 minute walk from the plaza de armas.
*Only 4 Soles for a 3-course vegetarian (proper vegetarian - no meat, fish, chicken!).Tea & Coffee is free and self-service.
*Personal and friendly service at this family-run cafe, offering delicious home made food and drinks at good prices. Carla and Anel make the best coffee in Cusco, to enjoy on the outdoor terrace or on the comfortable sofas indoors. There is also free fast wi-fi, a book exchange library and every Tuesday there is a free movie night on the big screen.
There are several supermarkets close to el centro:
*Orion is a chain of supermarkets. One is located just off Mercado San Pedro (across calle Santa Clara), other one at calle Meloc (Meloq) - both 500-600 m from Plaza de Armas.
*Mega, has several locations: the most central is on Matara, just north of Ayacucho. A larger one is at Plaza Tupac Amaru, on Matará 271 at Av Garcilaso. They have a home-furnishings store next door as well.
*Maxi, Ave Grau, (just west of Matara).
For larger supermarkets, take a combi or taxi a couple of kilometres south on Av. La Cultura.
*D'Dinos Market, Av La Cultura 2003. Open 24 hr, takes credit cards, offers delivery.
*La Canasta, Av La Cultura 2000-block. Well-stocked.
*Mega, (a few blocks further past La Canasta, on the same side of Av. La Cultura). This is the largest supermarket in Cusco.
* Mercado San Pedro, (1 block west of Plaza San Francisco. It's on the block bounded between Calle Hospital & Calle Nueva and Tupac Amaru and Cascaparo - just east of the train station for Machu Picchu). The largest market close to the center. If you are looking for fresh fruits and vegetables go to one of the open air markets such as this one. You can find all manner of fruits, vegetables, cheeses, chocolates, honey, meats, clothing, gifts, fresh fruit juices, and even tailors to repair your clothes while you wait.
Hostal Mamaquqa, Calle Arcopata 335, [url=http://www.hostalmamaquqa.com/?lang=en].]Small, clean and helpful family run hostal. Dorm, privates, doubles and a family room available. Breakfast included.
*Email: email@example.com Hostel in San Blas area of Cuzco, about 3 blocks from Plaza de Armas. Free wifi, 2 free computers, free breakfast, all rooms have cableTV. Very friendly staff, rooms cleaned daily. Much cheaper than similar places. Opened in May 2011.
*Family run hostel in beautiful Inca town of Ollantaytambo, centre of Sacred Valley. (1.5hrs by road from Cuzco, 1.5hr by train to Machu Picchu). Clean, modern accommodation with friendly, helpful staff (English & Spanish speaking). 24hr Reception, Roof terrace with full view of mountains and Inca ruins. Laundry Svcs, Free Wifi, Free locked luggage storage, Free breakfast with advanced reservations (direct by phone or via Hostelworld.com). Dorm beds & private rooms (dbl, twin, Triple, Quad) with 24 hr hot water.
* Hospedaje Estrellita, Avenida Tullumayo 445. Dorms and private rooms surround a large concrete courtyard. There is a kitchen with a sociable commonroom with cableTV. A night cost 15 soles in a dorm and 25 soles in a private room and includes a breakfast of bread, butter, an egg and jam. Free tea all day. It's popular with cyclists and motorcyclists, but not only. Staff is super friendly. This is not a party place. It is very safe and relaxed. The French bakery next door is amazing. One of the most affordable places in Cuzco and great value for your money.
*A quiet place, private bathrooms, TV, wi-fi, hot shower
*A great little hostal overlooking the city with a variety of comfortable, affordable rooms.
*no wifi, shared bathrooms not clean and "hot" water warm at best, near a nightclub music from which can be heard all night in some rooms- Cheap but you pay for what you get!
*Mama Simona is not a party factory, but rather a safe and friendly place to rest under a feather duvet after a good hike in the Sacred Valley. Services include: breakfast, hot showers, free wifi and computer hall, coffee and coca tea, guest kitchen, storage and info about all possible activities. Oh and there's no curfew - reception is open 24 hours.
*Really nice for a Hostel. Very friendly staff. Hot water, continental breakfast, free wifi. It's a new establishment so some books may not have it listed especially if the print is a few years old.
*Well-kept place with good-value rooms around a colonial courtyard, hot water, common kitchen, helpful staff, wifi
*Breakfast, hotwater, pretty quiet, two blocks from the plaza
*Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Hostel in San Blas area of Cuzco, about 3 blocks from Plaza de Armas. Free wifi, 2 free computers, free breakfast, all rooms have cableTV. Very friendly staff, rooms cleaned daily. Much cheaper than similar places. Opened in May 2011.
* San Blas, many new hospedajes/hostales have opened in this area 4 blocks up the hill from the Plaza de Armas.
*Cheap place to sleep with lean rooms, high speed internet/wifi, 10 min walk to Plaza de Armas. Bathrooms are not very clean-bring sandals. No access by taxi, foot access only. Some may find the beds a little hard.
*A new guesthouse near the Plaza de San Francisco run by a kind local lady that offers extremely clean and comfortable rooms, ensuite bathrooms, cableTV, and excellent breakfasts. 7 minute walk to Plaza de Armas
* 24 hr hot showers, movies, in-house bar, pool (game) table, attentive staff, free breakfast, free internet, pick up service, and comfortable beds.
* Movies, safe and relaxed environment, traditional meals, good view of the main plaza.
* Close enough to everything you might need yet quiet. TV in room, roofed patio.
* In the artistic quarter of town. Fairly small, but still big enough to meet new people. Comfy sofas to read a book or watch a movie.
*Yamanyá Backpackers, San Andres 260, [url=http://www.yamanya.com/[/url],]☎ +51 84 224473 . In a beautiful and funkily decorated colonial home with two patios and a back garden (complete with giant heated jacuzzi for 20 people), good beds with feather duvets. Hot showers, free wifi and internet, cable TV, DVDs, big screen high-def LCD, free breakfast, big guest kitchen, bar with great activities and weekly pub crawl. Good staff and helpful tour agency. Two blocks from the Plaza de Armas.
*Casa de la Gringa, [url=http://www.casadelagringa.com/[/url]] ☎ +51 842 41168. Each room has a different theme and features original interntaional art. Comfortable and colorful. Free wifi, cable TV and DVDs, common rooms, a beautiful garden, and good staff.
* Hogar Clinica San Juan de Dios, Avenida Manzanares 264 (Urbanizacion Manuel Prado), ☎ +51 842 40135, [url=http://www.hostalsanjuandedios.com/[/url].]Private and double rooms and windows that look onto the mountain range. Good service and daily egg breakfast. Non-profit hostel supporting the children's hospital next door.
* Two blocks from the Plaza, hot showers, common areas are decorated with local designs, safe, clean.
*Casa de la Gringa 2, Carmen Bajo 226. [url=http://www.accommodationcusco.com[/url],]☎+51 842 54387. Small friendly hostel is the little sister to Casa de la Gringa, and run by the same helpful owners. Long-term prices available. Can organize tours and special trips to the mountains. Rooms a bit small, wifi, no TVs. 40 soles includes breakfast.
*Flying Dog Hostel, [url=http://flyingdogcusco.minihostels.com[/url]]Choquechaca 469. ☎+51 842 53997 Great hostel with a wide range of rooms. Free wifi (in lobby, not room), breakfast, lockers, and coffee and tea all day. Check out their bar, and ask them to arrange tours for you. Friendly staff.
* Loki Backpackers Hostel, [url=http://www.lokihostel.com[/url]]Cuesta Santa Ana #601, Centro Historico, ☎+51 842 43705 ([mailto:email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org[/url]). 180 beds, noisy party hostel in a 450 year old Peruvian national monument. Dorms from US$6, basic breakfast included. Wifi, tea and coffee are included. Hot water with pressure in generally shared showers. 1PM checkout and small lockers in reception that have plug sockets in them.
* The WalkOn Inn, Calle Suecia 504, ☎+51 842 35065 ([mailto:email@example.com]), [url=http://www.walkoninn.com],]has very beautiful rooms with private or shared bathroom and two small dorms. The place has a nice patio with a fireplace, it's completely clean and there is another sitting room with tv and cable and a computer with free internet on which to burn your own CDs or DVDs. Free wifi, laundry service, breakfast available. 2 blocks from the main square, close to the centre of 'fiesta'. Pressurized hot water available around the clock.
* Casa Arco Iris, Calle Arco Iris 535, Barrio San Cristobal, ☎+51 842 47526. In a centuries old building, friendly owners. Opened in early 2006, calm and quiet. Rooms from US$4.
* Rimacpampa Hostal, Close to the plaza, [url=http://www.rimacpampahostal.com/[/url].]Amazingly hot showers, with good water pressure. TV, food available.
* Home Sweet Home-El Mirador, Asociacion San marcos A-3.San Blas. ☎+51 842 231235 [url=http://www.homesweethome-peru.com/[/url].]Dorm: 20 soles. Nearby to small bars, restaurants and cafes. Free internet and wifi throughout, hot showers, sufficient breakfast included, towels available, and warm bed available. Use of kitchen. Only 6 blocks from the main square.
* Hostel Sweet Daybreak, Calle Pasñapakana 133, Mirador de San Blas, ☎+51 842 225776, [url=http://www.hostalsweetdaybreak[/url].]Panoramic views, showers with hot gas-heated water 24 hr, cableTV, wifi, laundry, cafeteria, free tourist information, a lovely garden, dormitories, private rooms with or without bathroom. Comfortable and safe, a 2 minutes walk from the Plazoleta San Blas, 4 blocks from the Plaza de Armas (Main Square).
* Hospedaje Corona Real, Ave Huascar 226. Quiet and cheap option about 15 min walk from the city center. Rooms are spacious and have private bathroom and local television and cost 15 soles per person.
*Hostal Familiar, Calle Saphi 661, (3 blocks from Plaza de Armas). Singles US$8 with private bathroom and hot water.
*San Blas Hospedaje, In the heart of San Blas, [http://www.sanblashostal.com[/url]. Nice interior sitting area, some rooms have views. CableTV, wifi. Rooms basic but clean and nice. Family-run. Hot water 24 hr. 60 soles includes breakfast.
*Hostal Central Choquechaca #298. A new, affordable, simple but clean hotel in the heart of San Blas. Some rooms have views onto the street, others are to interior courtyard. No breakfast, no internet. 30 soles.
*Qori Ñusta Inn Calle Chiwampata 515, (on the edge of San Blas), ☎+51 842 228299. Breakfast, cableTV, wifi, friendly staff. Large rooms some with desks and refrigerator. Posted prices are high, but they can be talked down to 45 soles per night.
*Mirador del Inka (a.k.a. Sanblas Backpacker Hostel), Tandapata 160 (San Blas). Very big but nice place in a historic building with great view over the city. Free wifi, breakfast optional. They also run a tour agency and tend to be very pushy in trying to sell their tours (which are very pricey, so try to haggle the price down!). Advertised price is USD30 for a nice double, but in the low season it was possible to lower it to USD15 (May 2012). Rooms on the upper floors are much better than the lower floors!
*The Grasshopper Hostel Calle interior 3, Hospital 842. ☎ (084) 242125, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A relaxed and quiet backpacker hostel with dorms, private rooms and a super friendly staff.
The Garden House, ☎+51 84 271117 ([mailto:email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org]), [url=http://www.cuscohouse.com].]Family-run b&b with a wonderful private garden - sleep peacefully away from the noise of the center of town. Modern decor, wifi.
* Piccola Locanda, [Resbalosa 520, [url=http://www.piccolalocanda.com/[/url],][(mailto:email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org[/url]). Very quiet, beautiful rooms, clean and cozy, 2 block from plaza de Armas. The Locanda contributes to the financing of 3 projects dedicated to children and has an internet cafè and a travel agency. Quiet, rooms are decent sized and have private or shared bath facilities and TV. US$30-55/room depending on type of bed(s), occupancy and season.
* Amaru Hostal I, Cuesta San Blas 541, [url=http://www.cusco.net/amaru/],][mailto:email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org[/url]. Quiet and cheap option about 3 blocks from the Plaza de Armas. Rooms are decent sized and have private or shared bath facilities and TV. US$30-55/room depending on type of bed(s), occupancy and season.
* Amaru Hostal II [url=http://www.amaruhostal.com],]Chihuampata 642. [mailto:email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org[/url]. Quiet and cheap option about 2-3 blocks from the Plaza de Armas. US$30-48/room depending on type of bed(s), occupancy and season.
*Hotel El Balcon, 222 Tambo de Montero, a short distance from Plaza de Armas, awesome interior design, delicious breakfast and moderate prices. From Plaza de Armas, follow Plateros a block and a half or so. The hotel is in a lane up the hill. About half a block up, look for the door on the right. The sign is above the door, so you may not see it unless you walk on the opposite side of the lane.
* Hostal Frankenstein, San Juan de Dios 260, (2 blocks from main square), [url=http://www.hostal-frankenstein.net/].]Clean, friendly and helpful German chef, a lazy iguana, creative interior, cosy atmosphere. Double costs around US$20 (the one on top is quiet and offer view to Ausangate mountain).
* Hoteles Garcilaso, Calle Garcilaso 233-285, [url=http://www.hotelesgarcilaso.com[/url].]☎+51 842 233031, +51 842 233501, +51 842 227951,+51 842 222425. There are two of them on the same block. Good location on the block between the Plaza San Francisco and the other small plaza that is one block from the Plaza de Armas. As in a lot of places, the inside rooms may be the way to go because they are quiet at night. Double US$75 dollar/night, however It is worth more like US$30-45/night.
*Orquidea Real, Calle Alabado 520, ([mailto:email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org[/url]) [url=http://www.orquidea.net]]The colonial building has original Inca walls and exposed wood beams, and the rustic accommodations are simply decorated in a cozy mountain lodge aesthetic. All rooms are oriented toward Cuzco below, offering panoramic views.
*Madison Hostel, Av Pardo 721. ☎+51 842 25995. [url=http://www.madisonhostal.com[/url].]Friendly, family-run hotel located on a quiet, safe street four blocks from the Plaza. Rooms include cable TV, big buffet breakfast, wifi, and views. Children under 12 stay for free.
*Ninos Hotel, Calle Meloc 442. ☎+51 84231424. Hotel with charitable purposes: all procedures from room booking and in-house restaurant go towards running an association that gives support to local unprivileged children.
*Gran Hostal Machu Picchu, Calle Quera 282, ☎+51 842 84 23 1111.
*Hostal Rumi Punku, Calle Choquechaca 339. Rumi Punku means "stone door" in Quechua: the entrance to the hotel leads through an ancient stone door, obviously of Inca design. The doorway is all that has survived of an Inca palace. The door is considered a historic item by the city of Cusco.
*Casa San Blas Boutique Inn, Tucoyeros 566, San Blas. In the historic artisan's quarter 2.5 blocks from the main square in a neighborhood of narrow, cobbled streets and whitewashed colonial-era houses. Friendly staff. US$110 a night for a single.
*Koyllur Hostal, Calle Carment Bajo 186, San Blas. [url=http://www.koyllurhostal-peru.com[/url].]Richly decorated and a nice place to splash out for a few nights. Big buffet breakfasts. Ask for room at top floor in the front - has skylights, lots of room, nice furnishings. CableTV, wifi. US$20 in off-season.
*Hotel Golden Inca, Calle Retiro # 435, Cusco. [http://www.hotelgoldeninca.com[/url]. Very quiet, beautiful rooms, clean and cozy, Big buffet breakfasts. - lots of room, nice furnishings. CableTV, wifi. US$46 for simple room.
Tierra Viva Cuzco Saphi, Saphi street, ~5 minutes from Plaza de Armas. Many of the rooms on the second floor have high ceilings with white-painted wood beams visibly charming. The hotel is organized around two interior courtyards. Breakfast is included. The staff are attentive, speak great English, and can help you make reservations. The most interesting aspect of Tierra Viva Saphi is the location - it is at the boundary between fancy Plaza de Armas and the poor hills around Cuzco - it's charming, but also somewhat out of place. Room 212 is excellent. 2nd floor rooms are preferable. 24 hour desk - so it's easy to check out for those early Inca Trail departures. Free Coca Tea in the lobby - a great way to warm up at night.
*Libertador Palacio del Inka, 4 Bustos house, [url=http://www.libertador.com.pe/en/2/1/2/cusco-hotel]]In the center of the city. The hotel was part of the Koricancha temple and during colonial times it became property of the conqueror Francisco Pizarro.
*Amerinka Boutique Hotel, [url=http://www.amerinka.com/index-en.htm[/url].]Modern hotel that combines warm room atmospheres with professional and experienced attention. Well located near Plaza de Armas
*The Garden House Hotel, ☎+51 84 271117 ([mailto:email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org[/url]), [url=http://www.cuscohouse.com].]Family-run hotel in a wonderful private garden. Modern decor, wifi.
*Hotel Royal Inka I or II, (in front of the Plaza Regocijo, about 150 m from la Plaza de Armas). [url=http://www.royalinkahotel.com[/url].]Royal Inka I is a renovated house while Royal Inka II is more modern with a spa (jacuzzi and steam room). Breakfast available.
*Hotel Monasterio, Calle Palacios 136, Plazoleta Nazarenas, ☎+51 842 41777, ([mailto:email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org[/url]), [url=http://www.monasterio.orient-express.com].]Housed in a former monastery, rooms are former monks' cells, but they are far from monastic. By far the most expensive place to stay Cuzco. Avoid rooms 414-419, which are near a noisy generator.
*Hotel Marqueses, Calle Garcilaso N° 256, ☎+51 842 264249 ([mailto:email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org[/url]), [url=http://www.hotelmarqueses.com/].]The official hotel of SAS travel. Good staff and comfortable rooms. Centrally located in the tourist district, only 2 blocks from the Plaza des Armas.
*JW Marriott Hotel Cusco, Esquina de la Calle Ruinas 432 y San Agustin, ☎+51-84-582200, [http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/cuzmc-jw-marriott-hotel-cusco/[/url]. Opened in 2012, this new luxury hotel is located in the city's historic city center.