How to NOT be a Typical Tourist in Cusco
How to NOT be a Typical Tourist in Cusco
The beautiful city of Cusco received over 3 million tourists in 2018 and can thus call itself a booming tourist destination in Peru. In the city center you can visit many restaurants, cozy cafes, travel agencies and clubs to meet the needs of the travelers. However, this is not the life that the local people of Cusco live. The local life can be more intriguing, more authentic and best of all: it’s cheaper. This blog will help you to see Cusco through the eyes of the locals and will show you How to NOT be a typical Tourist in Cusco.
Ever Seen a Local Eating in the Historical Center of Cusco?
If you are traveling in Peru, you have plenty opportunities to eat and drink amazing Peruvian food. In the historical city center of Cusco you find amazing and trendy restaurants for different budgets. However, even in the cheaper places you find prices adjusted to the tourists instead of to the locals. Therefore, you won’t see many locals eating in these downtown restaurants.
So, where do they go? Well, they eat closer to their own home, at the Avenida de la Cultura for example. Here one can find lovely typical Peruvian food, from Lomo Saltado to Chincharon and from Cerviche to Cuy. And get great value for your money! The portions are often bigger than in the historical center while you pay less. By going to eat outside of the center you also engage with the locals and it’s the perfect way to learn Spanish during your stay in Cusco.
Buy Where the Locals Buy
Cusco knows many typical Peruvian markets, from the impressive Mercado San Pedro near the Plaza de Armas to the cozy Mercado San Blas. However, more and more you notice that those once local markets, focus more and more on tourists. The fruits and vegetables are still bought by the locals, but not the clothes and the souvenirs, which are ‘tourist only’. Where to the local people buy their clothes?
If are you done with all the alpaca sweaters and hippie pants, take a visit to El Molino into consideration! This market is not known by many tourists, but they literally sell everything. From leather shoes to electronics and from room decoration to kitchen equipment. This indoor-market is even bigger than the famous San Pedro Market and the prices are low. It is easy to be amazed by the wide variety of goods offered and thus this is a perfect place to do shopping in Cusco.
Do you want to do groceries the Cusqueñan way? If so, head to the San Pedro market downtown Cusco for a wide choice of fresh fruits and vegetables. However, there is another market that is even more local and with an even wider variety of food. This place is called the Mercado Wánchaq and its strong fruity smell greet visitors from a distance. If you want to buy some fruits for a sunny afternoon or if you want to prepare a kingly supper, this is the place to be!
Cheer Up the Local Soccer Team
Sports unites people around the world. Luckily, there are countless bars in Cusco where you can check out the results of ‘your’ team, whether it is FC Barcelona, Manchester United or Ajax. However, even though checking a football game in a bar might be fun, it is even more fun to attend a real football match in Cusco! To wit, the regional team of Cusco has a team playing in the highest Peruvian division and there is a stadium in Cusco. Here you can find yourself between the fans of ‘Club Sportivo Cienciano’ and cheer up the old Inca team! The Latin American fans are even more fanatic than their European counterparts, so an unforgettable experience is guaranteed!
Interested in visiting a local football game? The stadium of Club Sportivo Cienciano, Stadio Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, can be reached by a twenty minute walk from the central Plaza the Armas. It is not possible to buy tickets online beforehand, but it is easy to buy a ticket at a ticket counter at the stadium. The best thing is: attending a game only cost approximately 15 Peruvian Soles!
More information about attending a football game in Cusco.
Take Daytrips Off The Beaten Track
Is exploring Peru only reserved for the rich Peruvians and tourists? You might think so when you see the prices of some adventure tours, or the train tours to Machu Picchu. However, there is a high variety in tours that are offered at the different travel agencies of Cusco and there are definitely great off the beaten track tours and treks.
If you want to explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas independently, there are some beautiful places and villages to be discovered for travelers that want to stay away from the tourist buses. You only need a bit if time.
Hopefully you enjoyed those tips on How to NOT be a Typical Tourist in Cusco.
Looking for more tips to explore Peru and the Cusco area?
Thanks to: Goan Booij.