From the minute you arrive in Cusco City the charming and the delightful ‘hustle and bustle’ of the city will envelope you. With an estimated 1.5million tourists to the city every year, it is no secret that the ancient citadel Machu Picchu is the reason for this. However, the city of Cusco should not be overlooked as merely a jumping point to reach this wonder of the world. The city itself has an abundance of things to offer. Granted, not everyone has the time to immerse themselves here but with our help you can cram your days full of exciting and enriching activities, sights and experiences.
So what happens if you only have 48 hours in Cusco?
Day 1.- Chinchero will take you half an hour outside Cusco further into the Andean Mountains. It has a breathtaking backdrop of the Vilcabamba Mountain range and the snowcapped Salkantay. It is a fantastic way to spend a morning. There is a great display of Inca architecture, ruins and megalithic carved rocks. Chinchero is the original site of the famed Peruvian weaving. The market here is lively and you are guaranteed to find a bargain or two. The presentation of the textiles here is an absolute must. The woman of Chinchero will demonstrate how they produce different colours for the wool they spin and weave.
Upon returning to Cusco we recommend lunch at the local restaurants, as is known by the local people as ‘Piccanterias’. You can sample many Peruvian delicacies and typical food, as well as Chicha. Chicha is considered as a sacred drink from the Incas time. This is not to be confused with the purple Chicha because the real Chicha is sandy in colour and fermented.
Walking Tours might be the most common way to explore a city and are offered nearly everywhere in the world. However, we still believes that YES it is the best way to explore and understand the city. In the afternoon the tours start at the picturesque main Plaza- Plaza De Armas. Native Tour Guides will lead you around the ancient colonial streets and exciting neighbourhoods such as San Blas (known as the hippy area full of artists and musicians). The tour will also include stops at the 12 angled stone building, Temple of the Sun and San Pedro Market to name a few.
By night you can visit the Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo. Here you can enjoy live performances of Andean music and dance. The venue may be modest but the show is vibrant and rich in history.
Day 2.- San Pedro Market (Mercado Central de San Pedro) is the weird and wonderful jewel of Cusco. Never before will you have seen such a vast assortment of produce to buy. You could easily spend over an hour wondering around. The juice vendors are famous here, and with over 30 to choose from it can be overwhelming. We find the best start to the day is fuelling up with fresh fruit and veggies. Also, the chicken soup here is in our humble opinion the best in Cusco. Those of you with a strong stomach may only be able to venture towards the end of the market- as this is where the weird is really on display…donkey heads…snakes blood…pig snouts.
A short ride in a collectivo will take you up to Qenqo near to the Temple of the Moon. You can explore the sacred caves that were used for ancient ceremonies and religious practices dedicative to different deities. You can then follow part of the Inca Trail down to the Cristo Blanco- a fantastic viewpoint over the city. You can follow the rest of the trail down through San Blas to the main plaza.
To finish your stay off in Cusco, we suggest you relax and enjoy yourself in one of Cusco’s many Pisco Bars. We recommend Museo Del Pisco where you can opt for a tasting flight or sample some of the unique pisco cocktails. Or, if you are looking for something more casual Bar Limbus offers a fantastic view over the city- and with the many stairs to get there you will truly have earned your drink.