This little town tucked away in the Andes Mountains is so much more than the way stop to Machu Picchu. Make sure you give yourself some time in this beautiful and culturally-rich city before you see the Inca citadel you came here for. With so many opportunities to learn more about the history, experience the culture, enjoy the delicious food and take in the gorgeous surroundings, Cusco does not disappoint, and deserves a spot on your travel itinerary. Try and see how many of these bucket list items you can cross off!
Haggle in a Market
There are tons and tons of local markets selling everything from food to furniture. You could make your own bucket list just trying to visit every market in Cusco. Every Saturday there are baratillos (flea markets) open and filled with all sorts of treasures. Take a spin through one of the markets, and try to haggle with the vendors. You can even make a game of the adventure with a scavenger hunt – compete with your friends to see who can get the most for less!
Take an Alpaca Selfie
On any given day in Cusco, you will find women and girls walking around dressed in the traditional Andean garb. They will usually accompany llamas, alpacas, goats or sheep. These women will offer to take a photo with you, for a tip. You almost have to have one of these photos before leaving Cusco, it is the perfect little souvenir and memory of your time.
The official drink of Peru is the Pisco Sour. Pisco is a liquor that is fermented from grapes like wine, and it goes down oh so smooth. Pisco Sour is a delicious cocktail of pisco, lime juice, bitters, simple syrup, egg white and ice. You can try it at almost any bar or restaurant, or head to one of the pisco bars to get the full experience. There are many variations of the drink as well with various fruit juices and fun and delicious flavor combinations, even pisco teas!
See the City From Cristo Blanco’s Point of View
Every major city in Latin America seems to have an iconic religious statue on a hill. You can take a taxi, combi, or hike up to this beautiful lookout over the city. Pack a picnic lunch and just soak in the beautiful surroundings of the quaint and colorful buildings and houses painted against the magnificent backdrop of the Andes.
Catch the Sunset at Limbus
A not so religious destination to see a great view of the city, Limbus Restobar located in San Blas is the perfect place to sip on a cocktail and watch the sun go down over the city. With indoor and outdoor seating, glass walls and a panoramic view, the hike up to the bar is more than worth it.
Take Salsa Lessons at Inka Team
There is nothing quite as freeing as dancing salsa and not caring what anyone thinks of you because you are in a foreign country and don’t have to see any of them ever again. Learn from a pro or two at Inka Team, where they have free salsa lessons, fun lights and music, and a bit of liquid courage to help you bust a move.
Head to Museo de Arte Precolombino
There are plenty of museums to explore in and around Cusco, but the Museo de Arte Precolombino is a great option to experience the local culture and history.
Have a Picnic in Your Favorite Plaza
There are so many plazas around the center, just keep walking until you find your favorite! Stop in a market or store to grab some snacks, maybe some bread to feed the birds, sit back, and relax!
Make New Friends over Waffles at The Meeting Place
The Meeting Place is a volunteer-run cafe and restaurant open for breakfast and lunch. The idea behind The Meeting Place is that any and all are welcome, especially if you are feeling a bit lonely and would like to meet new friends! You can go with a group or by yourself and are almost guaranteed to find a friendly face or two. With comfy couches, yummy coffee and the best waffles in town, this is the perfect place to hideaway for a few hours.
Head to Healing House for Yoga and Brunch
Healing house has plenty of yoga and meditation classes that you should definitely take advantage of while you’re here. Every Sunday at 10am, there is a donation yoga class that is perfect for drop ins or passerbys. The building has a beautiful courtyard where following the yoga class they have brunch at 11:30. (Suggested yoga donation S/.10, brunch S/.10).
Have a Fancy Night at the Belmond Hotel
Every Saturday night at the Belmond Hotel local opera singers perform for guests and visitors of their restaurant. You don’t have to be staying at a five star hotel to enjoy and fancy and fun evening. Get dressed up and enjoy a night of beautiful music and delicious food.