The next installment in the Word On The Street travel series is a visit to Cusco. A city in the Peruvian Andes. Peru is the home to a portion of the Amazon rain forest and the famous landmark of Machu Picchu and Sacred Valley of the Incan city, set high in the Andes mountains. Cusco was once the capital of the Inca empire. It's also well known for its archaeological remains and the Spanish colonial architecture. Heather Cole, blogger of The Conversant Traveller takes us on a guided of Cusco for the second installment of the four-part travel series. You can search for the rest of the posts on social media via #WordOnTheStreetWithBee as well as the first post a guided tour of Perth In Australia.
|What area of town is best for a cocktail or an nice night out…
We love Chez Maggy just off the Plaza de Armas (main square) for it's cosy and rustic atmosphere, superb pizza (when you're fed up of eating llama or guinea pig!) and incredibly friendly owner who plied us with free pisco sours on our honeymoon. There are often local musicians who pop in to serenade the diners, and yes, the panpipe music is cheesy, but you are in Peru so it's allowed!
Where can the best view be found…
Just out of town is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sacsayhuaman (try and say 'sexy woman' when drunk and you'll be half way to pronouncing it!). This walled citadel dates back to the Inca civilisation (and even a bit before!) and has superb views of Cusco and the surroundings Andes. Also a great spot for that all important tourist photo with the obligatory llama.
Spend the first day acclimatising to the altitude and take it easy by just strolling the streets, visiting the cathedral (one of the most beautiful in all of the Americas!), the Koricancha (Sun Temple) and numerous museums and churches if you have the energy!
Best local escapes…
Then get out of town and explore the outlying archaeological sites of Qenko, Pucapucara and Tambomachay, before visiting the traditional Indian market at Pisac to buy one of those iconic woollen hats or a soft alpaca scarf. For the more adventurous a day trip from Cusco can take you into the Sacred Valley to visit the Salineras de Maras Salt Mines, and the amazing concentric terraces at Moray, once ingeniously used by the Incas for a complex cultivation system.
Give me one secret only a local would know…
The nearby small district of Ccorca is the only remaining Quechua community in the Cusco region, and the way of life here is still traditional, with many hamlets consisting of simple adobe mud brick buildings and no electricity. Ask your guide to stop here on the way to Moray and visit a local house...we spent an afternoon with this delightful 90 year old blind lady who showed us around her single room home. There were several squeaking guinea pigs scurrying around the mud floors, one of which was destined for dinner that evening.
Easiest ways to get around town...
Cusco is a fairly small city, at least the parts you'd want to visit as a tourist, so it is best to stay on foot. Much of it is steep and cobbled, so leave the heels at home and instead opt for something comfy. To get out of town take a tourist bus or collectivo (like a grand taxi), or if you're heading towards Machu Picchu (which of course you are!) there is no better way than by the Vistadome train.
Make sure you pack…
Warm clothing! Andean nights can be very cold, those alpaca blankets on the beds are there for a reason!
Our Guide In Cusco, Heather Cole check out her blog below.
The next installment of the Word On The Street series we will be going to Scottsdale in Arizona, USA! Out next week to feed your Wednesday Wanderlust.