How to recognize & avoid tourist traps in Cusco

16 Jan
How to recognize & avoid tourist traps in Cusco
Monday January 16, 2017 - Posted by to Cusco, Travel Tips

How to recognize & avoid tourist traps in Cusco

As everywhere, touristy cities in Peru attract swindlers that try to profit from the unsuspecting tourists and travelers in their country. May it be already at the airport, the plaza, restaurants or other occasions, traps are waiting for you everywhere. All travelers know this and are, to a certain extent, prepared for this. However, there are tricks and traps you might not expect! We are happy to teach you ow to recognize and avoid tourist traps in Cusco.

Because with the following information, travelers in Peru will be prepared to recognize the typical Cusco ‘attacks’. With some simple knowledge and information about how much things and services should cost and where you are mostly encountering these traps, life in Cusco will be much cheaper and nicer.

Tip 1 – How to I recognize Forged Money in Peru

Forged money is a very common thing in Cusco, more in whole Peru and South America. Therefore, check your change all the time and screen the bills. It is not difficult to recognize false bills. Just scratch with your fingernail over the bill and check the quality of the paper or, if possible, hold it into the sun to recognize the watermark. The fakest bills are S./50 and S./100.


How to recognize & avoid tourist traps in Cusco


Tip 2 – What should I pay for a Taxi in Cusco

As taxis are very common and often used in Cusco (while some of them are not even legal taxis), it is important to agree ALWAYS upon the price with the driver BEFORE you get into the taxi. Inform yourself how far away from your destination. A taxi ride in Cusco of 10-15 minutes should not cost more than S./5.


How to recognize & avoid tourist traps in Cusco


Tip 3 – What to Expect at the Airport in Cusco

Upon arrival in Cusco and while leaving the airport, men will approach you directly for a taxi and offer you a ride for S./35 (or more) into the center of Cusco. This is way too much. A better alternative is to leave through the gate and talk to the drivers there or directly on the main street.

However, the ride from the airport to Plaza de Armas should never cost more than S./15. On the other hand side, taxis to the airport from the center should not cost more than S./10 Soles for all passengers, again agree on the price before!

Tip 4 – What about a Shoe Shine in Cusco

While being at the biggest tourist attraction in Cusco, the Plaza de Armas, shoe cleaners (so-called “Lustrabotas”) approach you for a shoe clean while you’re sitting on a bench. We recommend you to agree upon a price before they start. Sometimes they don’t say the price, but in general, it should never cost more than a few soles. Now you can have a relaxed ‘shoe shine,’ and a nice chat with the person, instead of being fooled around with.


How to recognize & avoid tourist traps in Cusco


Tip 5 – How to choose a Restaurant in Cusco

While walking through the historic city center of Cusco, people will try to lure you into their restaurants while holding their menus up. Often, they offer a free ¨Pisco sour¨ (a typical Peruvian cocktail=. However, those free ¨Pisco sours¨ are mostly of bad quality, too sour and very small. So don’t get too excited if a free pisco sour is offered!


How to recognize & avoid tourist traps in Cusco


Tip 6 – How to recognize a good Travel Agency in Cusco

Be careful to the (cheap) travel agencies around the Plaza de Armas. Some are not official and have no permits to operate tours nor treks; most of them do not pay taxes and their staff (in many cases relatives) might be underpaid. Of course, there is a group of backpackers in Peru that feels attracted to ‘bottom prices,’ but, again, be careful. It happened already often that tourists didn’t get their promised service or a service of bad quality. Or, the agency did not have any insurance when an accident occured on for instance a trek or a rafting trip. Also you take the risk of equipment in bad conditions and/or guides with poor preparation (without First Aid certification). So be carefull with (other) unauthorized agencies. Inform yourself well. If you think the deal they are offering is too good to be true, it probably is.


How to recognize & avoid tourist traps in Cusco


2 thoughts on “How to recognize & avoid tourist traps in Cusco

  1. There are many excellent places to eat in Cusco. Many are just a “hole in the wall” but the locals are very gracious, and ready to please. You might wait a little as they do not usually prepare food ahead. To do this, stay away from the Plaza and wander down some of the side streets. I love the pizza in Peru as it is baked in a brick oven and the ovens are usually interesting and decorative.

  2. Pingback: 11 Incredible Cheap Ways to Study Abroad in Peru

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>