Something about this Cusco city has me returning year after year for months at a time. If you are traveling to South America, this is a place that you cannot pass up.
When you first arrive into Cusco, you fly into the only airport in all the Andes. The elevation, if you aren´t already accustomed to it, is something you notice right away. Cusco sits at an elevation of 3,400 meters or 11,200 feet above sea level. When you begin Cusco Walking Tour you will notice that you are breathing a lot harder than you are used to as the air is a lot thinner at this elevation.
This city was known as the Inca capital. Today it is known as the Historical Capital of Peru, as the real capital is obviously Lima. There is such a treasure trove of historical significance in this place known to the Inca as the central point of their entire empire. Surrounded by mountains, a quick hike in any direction will have you coming across sacred ancient ruins holding secrets and whipsers of another time.
Whether you are exploring the mountains or forests for remnants of the ancient Inca cities, or walking around the Plaza de Armas within the heart of the modern city, you will notice right away that the city of Cusco is unique not just to South America, but the entire world. The modern city is built upon existing Inca structures, and the Inca structures likewise are built upon the remains of the Pre-Inca. You can literally witness thoasands of years of history all existing next to modern day civilization.
The markets are a beautiful experience. Once you free yourself from the central square and every peruvian trying to sell you something, you may come across one of the hundreds of fruit markets. Here there is no one performing for you, just local people living their lives not even giving you a second glance. Surrounded by some of the most colorful and lush looking fruit your eyes have ever seen, be sure to try something that you think you might like! I can garuntee you have never tried better tasting fruit.
I highly recommend getting an avacado, for a sole or two, you can have the biggest tastiest avacado your taste buds have ever had the chance to lick. Trust me!
If you are not hungry but in fact very thirsty, as the high altitude will have you gasping for air and in turn making your throat very dry, do not hesitate to ask one of the many friendly women around you willing to make you one of the best tasting juices. I usually mix orange with strawberries, and the combination is my elixer of immortality. Not really, but it tastes otherworldly. One of my favorite things to do and its GOOD for you!
Getting around Cusco is an adventure in and of itself. Hundreds of taxis constantly honking and willing to pick any potential passengers up. A few soles and you can be taken anywhere in the city. If you want an even cheaper form of transportation, the local bus system is very underrated. For a sole or less, you can hop on a very crowded bus, you might even have to stand and hold on for dear life as the bus driver expertly dodges people and cars alike onto the next stop. The bus never stops for more than a few seconds and is constantly loading and unloading people. It is a lot of fun to experience but personally I enjoy the relaxation and fresh air of a taxi for a few more soles! Both are extremely reliable, and if you choose a taxi make sure you try out your spanish and bartering skills!
In Peru, especially Cusco, you can always get a better price! Don´t be shy, and don´t expect to get a good price with an expensive camera hanging around your neck. The Peruvians will see that and KNOW you can afford a little bit more. Modesty and humility will get you far in Cusco and you will have a lot of extra cash to spend because of it.
Cusco has two seasons: wet and dry. Year round during the day time the weather is usually very warm and beautiful. Once in awhile you will get the occasional lightning storm or hail but chances are it will pass in an hour and the sun will come out again. The dry season is from May to August when the sunshine is plentiful and the nighttime is extremly cool. Be sure to pack for very warm, and very cold if your travels bring you to Cusco, the weather changes in minutes and there is no telling what the day may bring.
When you arrive to Cusco, your day will transpire much like the weather. It will be unpredictable but always within the natural ebb and flow of the universe. If its one thing I have learned about this city that I now call home, its that nothing is for certain. Time is irrelavant, so just try and enjoy yourself no matter what happens. Whatever you have planned, Cusco, the ancient city of the Inca empire, will have other plans for you, so drink lots of water, eat your fruits and veggies, and take a trip back in time in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Look for me in the Plaza playing my ukulele!
For more information about Cusco City Tour, treks, or exploration of the many Inca sites around Cusco, Visit U