Cusco, capital of the Inca Empire

My good friend Jose and I, have been wanting to do a Peru – Bolivia trip for a while. So one day, we decided to take action and bought flight tickets for a little over 2 weeks. Our first stop was Cusco.

This Iconic South American city was the capital of the Inca Empire and has an architectural mixture of the Incas as well as the Spanish. It’s filled with beautiful narrow streets and buildings from hundreds of years ago that today, are still well preserved.

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The City of Cusco

Before getting to Cusco, we did some research for decent and cheap hostels where we could stay. There are tons of options but after reading reviews over and over, we settled for Wild Rover. We were not disappointed. For us, a twin room with one bunk bed and a private bathroom was 99 soles per night or about 30 USD. There are much cheaper options, a shared 14-16 beds dorm start at 24 soles or around 7 USD per night, per person!! Some of the hostel services include; Wi-Fi, free breakfast and storage room.

Our arrival was in the afternoon at Wild Rover and its location is pretty convenient. Its only a few blocks away from Plaza de Armas (the main plaza of the city) and is surrounded by restaurants, shops, travel agencies and the Church of the Society of Jesus.

Plaza de Armas

After walking around Plaza de Armas, we were recommended by locals to eat ceviche at El Paisa Restaurant. I had a decent fish ceviche for 25 soles or 7.50 USD. The restaurant is also well known for having live performances of local artists. Our day continued with a walk around the beautiful San Blas with its narrow streets and colonial style buildings.

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Streets of Cusco

The night ended at the Wild Rover bar. You can’t beat their happy hour specials! (7 soles or 2 USD for 2 vodka, rum or pisco drinks). Our hostel was a nice place to party and meet travelers from all over the world!

The next morning, the first stop was at Jacks Café for breakfast (brunches there are highly recommended). Prices vary from 3 to 8 USD. The next stop was at San Pedro central market. It’s a market where you can see everything, from traditional crafts and souvenirs to fruit juice stands. It’s also a very, very cheap place where you can eat for 5 soles or 1.50 USD (we personally never ate there).

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San Pedro Market

As you walk around the streets of Cusco, you’ll see many travel agencies that offer city tours as well as tours to Machu Piccu, Salar de Uyuni and many other places. We decided to use Inka Travel agency for a one-day city tour. It included transportation from the city center, entrance to Saqsayhuaman, Tambomachay and Q’enqo ruins as well as a guided tour of the “Convento de Santo Domingo del Cusco”. The afternoon tour that we had lasted for about 4 hours and the price was 70 soles or 21 USD. Some of these places require an additional entrance fee and you can pay it in advance with the travel agency or once you get there. I recommend taking the early morning tour as it can get chilly in the afternoon/night in Cusco.

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Convento de Santo Domingo del Cusco

After the tour we had a glorious dinner at Café Morena. The mighty “Inca Trail Burger” costs around 9 USD. The day finished with a couple of Cusqueña beers at Paddy’s Irish Pub, located in Plaza de Armas.

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Inca Trail Burger

Our next day consisted mainly in visiting some of the museums that the city has to offer. The first stop was at “Museo de Arte Precolombino” which has a collection of artworks of pre-Columbian Peru. Then “Museo Machu Picchu Casa Concha” which has a vast collection of artifacts and objects discovered in Machu Picchu. Our Cusco tour ended with dinner at “Chicha”, a restaurant by Gaston Acurio (one of Peru’s finest chefs). I had a Crema de Papa for 29 soles or about 9 USD.

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That’s it for Cusco folks! This beautiful city that serves as a crossroad to Machu Picchu is waiting for you!

Next Stop: Machu Picchu