Official language: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara
Time zone: UTC -5
Currency: Sol (PEN)
In June Cusco uproariously celebrate a Christian holiday of Corpus Christi. On that day, from Plaza de Armas at 11 o’clock a colourful procession of believers, dancers and orchestras set out.
In Cusco that lies on 3399 metres of altitude, many tourists suffer from altitude sickness. In battling it, helpful can be coca, used by Peruvians. Asked at shops for leaves of coca to chew, sweets to suck or tea with dried coca.
If you want to see as much as possible of Incan historical places, buy Boleto Turistico del Cusco. It entitles to visit 16 different attractions, mostly outside Cusco, and is valid for 10 days. It costs 130 sols.
Cusco is a perfect starting point not only for the most known attraction of Peru, which is Machu Picchu and other Incan ruins, but also for trekking to the saint for Kechuans mountain Apu Ausangate. It is also the city, where modernity connects with tradition. What’s worth seeing there?
The city was built on Incan ruins, of which testify old, stoned parts of buildings that can be seen in the old town, in the area of Plaza de Armas, the main square of Cusco. This place is enrapturing with monumental architecture of the cathedral Iglesia de la Campañia, well-groomed green areas and a lovely fountain topped with effigy of Pachacuteca, the ninth king of Inks. We recommend visiting it both during days, when it is filled with buzz of clients of nearby restaurants and shops, and nights, when it gets special appeal in the glow of street lights. When you gaze your fill, go to San Bas, which is an art district located on the hill, where by the fountain you can catch a breath from the noisy city centre. In Sachay Humane, ruins located on the hill, you will find a perfect panorama for the city and surrounding it mountains.
If you have plenty of time, think not only of visiting Machu Picchu, but also other exceptional places of Incan culture located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, such as archaeological site in Moray or town Maras. They are located in the near distance from the city and you can visit them all in one day without much struggle. All you have to do is go by car, bus or taxi to a town called Pisac and from there set out on foot for a route that leads - firstly through the valley, then steeply up the hill - to the difficult-to-access Moray. From there you can reach Maras, where up to this day salt is produced in traditional salt mines built on the steep side of the mountain.
On markets, such as San Pedro, you will get not only food products or souvenirs. Find the alley, where cholitas prepared and sell fruity cocktails of fancy recipes or home-made soup. Look out also for spots, where they serve burgers or roast from alpacas, cuy which is baked guinea pig or chuño – dried potatoes. In a restaurant order lomo saltado, spicy straps of beef fried with tomatoes, onion and slices of potatoes, served with rice. Typical for that region are also chicken dishes, such as ají de gallina (in spicy sauce with nuts) or el picante de pollo (in spicy sauce with curcuma). You can try them in restaurants Kusikuy at Calle Amargura, Deva Restaurant Tipico at San Augustin and in Morena at Calle Plateros.