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quikflikchiq Cusco - A travel report by tara
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Cusco,  Peru - flag Peru -  Cusco
6212 readers

quikflikchiq's travel reports

Historic Capital of the Incan Empire

  12 votes
Page: 1 2
Cusco is situated at 3,500m so it can take a little getting used to. By taking it slow and allowing yourself to ease into the altitude and then the sights, you can really appreciate the history and the beauty of Cusco.

Cusco Plaza de Armas and city as seen from Sacsayhuamán
Cusco Plaza de Armas and city as seen from Sacsayhuamán
If you are flying in to Cusco, make sure you walk slowly, drink loads of water or mate de coca (coca tea) and go easy on the alcohol.
The population of Cusco has tripled in the last 20 years.
Cusco is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and also one of the most visited cities in Peru. It is easy to see why so many people come to Cusco.
It is also very easy to find and meet other tourists in Cusco - and to find a bar to watch the World Cup Rugby in!

Favourite spots:
the terraces at Pisac
the terraces at Pisac
In order to get the most for your money, I do really recommend purchasing a Boleto Turistico
It can be bought at the Oficina Ejecutiva del Comité (OFEC), Av Sol 103, Cuzco, ph: 227 037.

There are three different kind of tickets:

* A full ticket (valid for ten days and for all sites), 70 soles;
* A student ticket (ISIC sudentcard required as proof), 35 Soles;
* A partial ticket, (only valid for one day and a limited number of sites) 40 Soles.

The ticket gives access to the following sites in Cuzco: Santa Cataline Monastery, Museo Municipal de Arte Contemporáneo, Museo Historico Regional, Museo del Sitio del Qoricancha, Museo de Arte Popular, Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo Danzas Folklórico and Monumento Pachacuteq. And around Cuzco: Sacsayhuamán, Qénqo, Pukapukara, Tambomachay, Chinchero and the ruins of Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Tipón and Pikillacta.

What's really great:
the industrial section of Machu Picchu
the industrial section of Machu Picchu
Being in the Sacred Valley was very special for me.

We didnt hire a guide until we visited our last ruin site outside of the city - Pisac.

After hiring the guide, we realised how much we had learnt from him.

We gave him a 20 soles tip and he demanded that we allow him to guide us the next day as well. Apparently 20 soles is a fabulous tip. The next day, he took us on a walk that should have taken 2 hours - however he was so excited to show us out of the way ruins, that the walk took 7 hours.

There were many Incan legends and beliefs that he told us about - one being that as an Inca, you will return three times. One in your past life, one in your present and once more in your future therefore as we were on the sites, we must have been Incan in a previous life.

checking out the ruins and temples in the Sacred Valley
checking out the ruins and temples in the Sacred Valley
We stayed in three hostels in Cusco, but by far I would recommend Casa del la Gringa II. It is right near San Blas so it is a good area of town, there is loads of hot water all the time and breakfast is included.
Cusco is slightly more expensive than the rest of Peru so dont be surprised when your accomodations are about $12USD per night. This probably includes a private bathroom though.
Its not as expensive as the town of Aguas Calientes however. This is the town that has 99% of the accomodation for Machu Picchu.

Nell is about to enjoy her cuy (guinea pig)
Nell is about to enjoy her cuy (guinea pig)
El Balcon offers a soup, main course, and desert (no drink) for s/10 which is about $3.33. If you're looking for good quality food for not a lot of money, this is the place to go.
There's no need going to the expensive restaurants (which often only serve foreign food anyway), go to the restaurants that serve local food. Be sure to try an alpaca steak (a llama/alpaca is normally kept and used for it's wool - so only old animals will be slaughtered). But cuy (guinea pig) is the absolute traditional holiday food of the region.
If you are looking for traditional Peruvian food try lomo saltado (beef tips with tomatoes, onions, and spices, over a bed of french fries and rice), aji de gallina(chicken in a very good yellow sauce with olives and hard-boiled eggs), or Papa Rellena (stuffed potato with beef, olives, hard-boiled egg, vegetables, and spices)

Published on Sunday February 3th, 2008

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Sat, Feb 09 2008 - 03:54 PM rating by eirekay

Nice Report on a terrific place! I wasn't brave enough to try the Cuy, but I did try Llama and Papa Rellenas were my favorite. You have a lot of good detail!

Sat, Feb 09 2008 - 04:33 AM rating by downundergal

Your report bought back nice memories, I loved Cusco.
The Llama and Cuy bought back some not so good - I wasn't fussed with either.

Mon, Feb 04 2008 - 09:58 PM rating by rangutan

A wonderful update to read for me having visited 20 years ago, much development and change. I appreciate your good description of local food, that has not changed :-)

Sun, Feb 03 2008 - 02:58 PM rating by davidx

Very good report. I thought alpaca steak was really good but my experience with cuy was a disaster. We loved ceviche as well but I don't think the water used to wash the accompanying salad is as good as it could be!
Valuable information on tourist reductions.

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