#1 Get Pampered!
You can’t go very far in Cusco without being offered some kind of pamper treatment. For instance, manicures, massages or facials. You name it, they will do it for you! In this case, the winning factor is the price. Generally, an hour-long massage in Cusco is as low as $13 USD! Due to this fact, we ended up getting 3 during our time here!
#2 Get Factual With a Free Walking Tour
As we mentioned, Cusco is known as the Capital of the Incan Empire. Therefore, it is no surprise that you’ll learn lots from a free walking tour in this city. On the whole, we love doing walking tours. Due to them being a great way to get your bearings in a new travel destination. However, Cusco's particularly stands out, as a result of its vast amount of history.
#3 The Coca Leaf Museum
I’m sure you’ll remember hearing the tale of Coca-Cola once having cocaine in it. Technically, this is true. In fact, the most famous soda drink in the world is indeed derived from coca leaves. Hence the name! Coca leaves are also the herb responsible for the infamous narcotic. Interestingly, this museum has loads of cool facts about the Andean herb and a cool gift shop full of coca leaf souvenirs too! It’s free too and in the heart of the San Blas neighbourhood. Leading to our next point…
#4 Check Out the San Blas Neighbourhood
The San Blas neighbourhood is the shabby-chic area of Cusco. Thus it is full of funky cafes, bars and cute shops to browse. It is no more than a ten minute walk from the Cusco Plaza de Armas. Therefore you can wander your way to this area through the old cobbled streets. Meanwhile, find yourself some new clothing or just have a bite to eat in one of the many food joints around.
#5 Visit the Plaza
You can’t really come to Cusco without seeing the plaza! It is literally in the centre of everything and is quite an impressive size too. In fact, it is the second-largest plaza in South America! The largest being in Vila de Leyva in Colombia. Check it out whilst you're in Bogata!
Have a wander around and check out the stunning churches. Additionally, enjoy a coffee overlooking the entire plaza from one of the many first floor cafés. Alternatively, visit Paddy’s high-rish bar. The highest Irish bar in the world!
#6 Visit the World’s High-rish Bar
Cusco is home to the highest Irish-owned bar in the world! Or as we like to call it, the high-rish bar in the world! Paddy’s was the perfect find in the plaza for us. We loved it as it felt a little bit like home. Which was a necessity after 4 months of travelling! Paddy's provided us with the rare find of cider, a delicious veggie fry up and great views of the Cusco plaza.
#7 Go Party with the
Of course, you will find locals in Cusco. However, when it comes to the party scene, the tourists seem to take over! The plaza is full of clubs and bars. Thus if you wander out in the evening, you'll notice the masseuses have disappeared. Alternatively, the plaza will now be full of party promoters offering free drinks upon entry to most of the bars.
If you really want to dedicate yourself to the party life, a stay at Wild Rover hostel is a must.
#8 Get a Picture with a Llama
It is as normal to see locals walking around Cusco with llamas, as it is to see somebody walking a dog at home! Some people will let you take a photo with one, usually for a small fee. If you would like a photo, we would suggest trying to seek a local who hasn’t clearly brought a llama into Cusco just for tourist photos. Therefore, you'll get a more authentic experience. Have a little cuddle, they’re so cute!
#9 Get Some Really Cheap Electronics
Whilst you’re shopping/haggling for your upcoming tours in and around Cusco, the road that we found the best prices for our tours on, Avenida el Sol, is also full of electronics shops. Overall, we noticed that there was all the tech gear you could want and at some seriously good prices!
#10 Get Incan Ruined Out!
There are so many ruins you can go to see around Cusco. We especially really enjoyed Moray, Saqsayhuman, Qenko and Ollantaytambo's. Thus they are all very unique and interesting, especially if you treat yourself to a guide to explain everything Or alternatively follow another tour group to get the deets (we won’t tell! ). Importantly, Boleto Turistico del Cusco is what you’ll need to visit these sites. Also, cash to pay for the ticket and your passport to gain entry. We’d personally recommend getting the full Cusco tourist ticket from the get-go. We didn’t and unfortunately ended up having to buy two tickets in the end anyway! Save yourself the cash drama, it's worth it. We promise!
#11 Check Out Cusco's Own 'Christ the Redeemer'
If like with us, the weather's not so great for an uphill trek, you can always barter with a taxi to take you around a few sites outside of Cusco. If you are doing this, you should go and check out Peru’s very own Christ the Redeemer. Namely, known as Cristo Blanco. In addition, there are fantastic views from here, overlooking the city.
#12 Eat Good Food!
We found a few really great spots to eat in Cusco. In fact, so good that we think they deserve a point each! They are in order from budget to a slight budget stretch. However, even a budget stretch here isn’t much compared to Western prices of the same quality!
This Indian restaurant was so good! It was a buffet of curries with some great meat and vegetarian options available. However, it's a little hard to find. You’ll need to go into the opening to the shopping mall and head upstairs. Although we found it almost empty, it was so delicious. In addition, the price is amazing and the owners are lovely. Enjoy a super cheap Indian meal and treat yourself to the naan. It was actually much tastier than most we've ever had before!
#14 Green Point
This is a vegan restaurant that really treats you to some delicious wholesome meals. They have an amazing ‘menu del dia’ each day, which provides you with a starter, main and dessert for around £4. Even for the biggest meat-eaters, it’ll be nice to have a break from the typical meat, 2 carbs and veg. Undoubtedly delicious!
#15 Fallen Angel
Have you ever eaten your food whilst watching fish swimming around a bath, just under your plate? No? How about whilst also sitting in a heart shaped sofa and tonnes of pillows? Sure, and pigs can fly, you say? Well, they’re also hanging from the ceiling. This place is instagram GOLD! The food and cocktails aren’t so bad either. Even though Fallen Angel would easily compete with the likes of Bob Bob Ricard or Sketch (for our London readers), you’re looking at prices not even half of those found in Western countries. Go on, treat yo'self!
There is plenty of shopping to be enjoyed in Cusco. Whether you’re looking for beautiful handicrafts to decorate your house with or a gorgeous Alpaca wool jumper, jacket or scarf. There are plenty of shops around Cusco, however, we found some lovely boutique shops en route to the Pisco museum. Leading to our next point...
#17 Enjoy a Tasting at The Pisco Museum!
We enjoyed a taster session at the Pisco Museum. Without a doubt, it was really interesting learning about the different types of Pisco and the history of the grape too. Definitely worth checking out. Also, if you miss it here, there are a few dotted around Peru, including one in Lima.
With that in mind, if you’re heading to Lima, check out our full guide here!
#18 Immerse Yourself in an Easter Festival!
We love being kind to you guys, so this one is an extra special bonus! Cusco has a huge Easter celebration, which lasts an entire week! Therefore, if you're heading to Cusco around this time, make an effort to be there for at least a few of these days!
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