Cusco is one of the most beautiful colonial towns in Latin America
and it serves as a gateway to the Inca Trail
as well as the Machu Picchu ruins
. It is seen as a stopover point for many but we think it offers so much more as a destination in itself
and it really is a treasured gem of history as well as a city surrounded by natural beauty.
The high mountain beauty takes one to the extremes of nature
The first thing to take seriously about Cusco is that it is located at a very high altitude, it is something serious you need to understand and prepare for, because it is one of the highest tourist towns in the world. Also realize that the weather is in the opposite pattern of the seasons of the Northern Hemisphere and the unique high and dry climate. May-October is dry and cold but sunny, so this is the high season. November till April has warmer temperatures but also rain.
Moving around the city
- Transportation is pretty easy to come by and for a mountain town it is very large and spread out on a plateau.
- The über ride service does not work here although they’ve been talking about expanding it from Lima.
- Not all taxi’s have access to the old town, so be clear with your driver where you want to go.
- When you are coming in from the airport, there are more official cabs inside which charge more and there are other cabs and transportation services available which you can negotiate and you can get a far better deal with them. A nice van that brought us directly to the hotel and we negotiated for a return to the airport and for even day trips out of town.
- There are other cabs which may be better to stay away from, as it seems almost anyone will turn their car into a cab if you are flagging one down.
See Cusco for itself
Many people see cusco as an arrival and departure point, but it is really worth it as a main destination. There are many places in which to shop, experience local life and when buying souvenirs negotiation is totally acceptable. The high season is winter here in August and that is when prices can go up a lot. In other times of the year there will be a lot of rain. For an amazing meal we recommend Chicha its one restaurant among many, but it really stands out, a creation of Peru’s most famous chef, reservations are needed and prices are great.