Top 9 Cusco Tips
Peru is an amazing country and for sure you want to get the most out of it. We promise that travelling in Peru is an experience you will never forget. After a few months of travels in Peru– including doing volunteer work and taking a Spanish course in Cusco – I have made the following list of Top 9 Cusco Tips for you. Do you want to send us your Cusco Tip number #10?
- First of all: Allow time to acclimate yourself.
Take it easy for the first few days in Cusco and remember that overwhelming feeling of exhaustion and a bit of shortness of breath is normal at first; it’s the altitude sickness, called soroche. Allow yourself enough time to sleep before exploring the beautiful city of Cusco. Coca tea ad rest are great ways to help combat altitude sickness. On the contrary, alcohol is definitely not.
- Once you are ready for some Peruvian cultural experiences, start with Peruvian Cuisine.
It’s great and well known all over the world – but of course trying it in Peru itself is the best. "When in Rome…..".
So try ceviche, try cuy, try Peruvian lomo saltado, try alpaca, or trucha (for the meat and/ or fish lovers). Or: try crema de zapallo, sopa de verduras, different dishes con quinoa, causa de atun, tallarín al horno or pastel de papas, all being great Peruvian vegetarian dishes. .And don’t forget about the amazing peruvian desserts.
- Additionally, try the more traditional menu.
There are many, many restaurants around the Plaza de Armas in the city center of Cusco and elsewhere in the cty, that serve a good Menu del Día around lunchtime (it’s harder to find a menu for dinner). Just be patient and have a look around first. The menu tipico or menu del dia comes with several courses and is typically cheaper running (aprox. $ 3 at the time of writing).
- Enjoy the street food in Cusco with certain caution
Delicious, yes! Just keeping a close eye on what is being served and how it is prepared and washed is key. If you don’t know exactly how it was prepared be sure to ask before consuming. A few typical snacks I can recommend are: choclo con queso, avocado sandwhich, anticucho, salchipapa, papa rellena.
- Travel to the ancient (inca) ruins in Cusco.
Don’t miss out on all Cusco and it’s surrounding areas has to offer. Of course the famous Machu Picchu is a must. You should also explore the Salt Mines and Moray in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, as well as Pisac and Ollantaytambo. Sacsayhuaman National Park is right up the street from The Dos Manos Travel offices here in Cusco (Calle Suecia) and offers four different ruins to hike, explore and countless stunning photo opportunities. But there are also less traveled ruins in the opposite direction of the Sacssahuaman and the Sacred Valley, such as Tipon and Piccillacta.
- Buy the correct Boleto Turistico.
You must have heard of the Boleto Turistico General, which is like a general entrance fee ticket for (almost) all tourist sites in Cusco. There are different versions (circuits) so before you spend a lot of money, make sure you buy the right boleto and check for how long it will be valid so you can plan your visits to the ruins accordingly.
- Listen to the warnings.
You may have heard bad things about Lima before coming to Peru. Rest assured that Cusco is much safer typically. Always however keep in mind that you’re a tourist and more than likely the locals can tell. Just like any foreign city there are opportunistic people who see tourists as a target. Since your passport is your lifeline back home, don’t carry it around a copy will suffice. Also, don’t carry a load of cash on your person. One more tip: after dark, take registered taxi’s only and don’t walk alone on the (dark) streets of Cusco.
It’s not appropriate in upscale restaurants and other places like that but street vendors and salesmen at the local markts in Peru expect you to. This is also a great way to practice your Spanish and to interact with the local people in Cusco.
- Have fun and enjoy!
Cusco is unique in many different ways and the city has so much to offer to different travelers. It’s a truly beautiful place and you will enjoy discovering this while learning about Peruvian culture and customs.