|Quechua ladies walking the cobbled streets of Cuzco|
Spare time in Cuzco? Check out Cynthia’s top 10 things to do
Cynthia Valladares has been leading our adventures in Peru and Patagonia for seven years. Born in Lima, Cynthia moved to Iquitos (near the Amazon) and later to Puno, Lake Titicaca, where she discovered her passion for the outdoors.
“Cynthia was incredible. I can’t say a bad thing about her, or even a so-so comment. She was the best! Cynthia really knew anything we asked her about – cultural information, sightseeing information, food recommendations, activity preparation/routes/plans, etc. She was very patient with everyone and was welcoming of everyone. She created a great group atmosphere and was always positive and enthusiastic. A wonderful leader!”
– Angelica Conway, Jaguar, July 21 2013
|Believe it or not, this is a common site in the main square, Plaza de Armas|
1.Use a tourist pass (‘Boleto Turistico’) to visit the many archaeological sites and museums around Cuzco (130 soles or approx US$48).
|Plaza de Armas|
2.Visit Qurikancha, a temple from the Inca Empire dedicated to Inti, the Sun God, on Avenida El Sol.
3.Spend a sunny afternoon in the main square, Plaza de Armas. In Inca times, the plaza was twice as large as it is today. It was the heart of Inca Cuzco and remains the heart of the modern city. Colonial arcades, cathedrals and Inca walls surround the plaza. Extending from the plaza are many cobbled pathways leading to the fascinating sites around the city.
4.Explore the Inca Museum on Cuesta del Almirante Street 103 to learn about Cuzco’s history from the Inca period to the twentieth century.
5.Take a taxi out to Maras and then the salt pans. Here you’ll find an agricultural experimental centre with huge circular terraces and nearby, salt pans that were used in Inca times, built on the slopes of the mountain. Ask the cab driver to wait for you and take you back afterwards – this is a great half day trip and a taxi will cost approx US$40.
6.If you’d like to see where locals go to get their supplies, take a short walk to Mercado de San Pedro. It’s a colourful, vibrant and fun place that is very different from home!
|Exploring the colourful markets|
7.Visit the textile centre in Chinchero, about 40 minutes away by taxi (approx US$30). Here you’ll learn the step by step process of how wool is dyed in Peru and which plants are used to make the dyes. They also sell handmade purses, tapestries, sweaters and other colourful items.
8.Pamper yourself at Samana Spa y Salon, located on Calle Teqsacocha 536, phone number +51 84 233 721.
9.Find some gems at the cute little stores on Triunfo and Santa Catalina Streets.
10.Step back in time and visit the artisan district around the open air market at Plazoleta San Blas. This area is often referred to as the picturesque district in Cuzco, with its narrow cobbled streets and colonial style buildings, so bring a camera!
Feeling hungry? Try Cynthia’s local foodie haunts
1.Take Your Pic Inka Grill – they prepare the best guinea pig (cuy) in town – Portal de Panes 115, Plaza de Armas
2.Pacha Papa – open air restaurant – in front of Plazoleta San Blas
3.Fallen Angel – yummy pastas, beef dishes and a great atmosphere, open just for dinner – in front of Plaza Las Nazarenas
4.Incanto – Italian/Peruvian fusion – Santa Catalina Angosta 135
5.Jacks Café – heart attack breakfast – Choquechaca Street 188
6.Map Café – Peruvian Food – Plazoleta Nazarenas, Museo de Arte Precolombino
7.La Cicciolina – excellent home made pastas, alpaca filet and soups – Triunfo Street 393
8.Limo – Peruvian food and pisco bar and Asian Peruvian fusion – Portal de Carnes 236
|Plaza de Armas fountains|
Did you know that Cuzco is considered the oldest, continuously inhabited city in the western hemisphere and is of major historical importance? Cuzco was more than just a capital city to the Incas and the millions of subjects in their realm. It was a Holy City, a place of pilgrimage with as much importance to the Quechuas as Mecca has to the Moslems. Every ranking citizen of the empire tried to visit Cuzco once in their lifetime; to have done so increased their stature wherever they might travel.
|Looking down on the beautiful city of Cuzco and across to the rolling hills which are perfect for mountain biking!|
Lynette’s top 5 tips to help you get by
|Finding the warm spot…|
Lynette Warmington is our client services guru and has been with Active Adventures since 2003. She was a guide for several seasons before settling in the office and helping to manage the operations for our New Zealand trips. Lynette can and does answer any question our travellers (and us) send her way!
“Lynette was fabulous about follow up and putting our mind at ease about any logistical concerns. Pleasant, knowledgeable and responsive!”
– Cheryl Ruane, Capybara, June 30 2013
1.You can change money (including travellers cheques) at any of the little stores around the Plaza de Armas. And you can find a few ATMs around the Plaza as well as on Avenida el Sol.
2.Please remember to leave your valuable documents (credit cards, passports, money etc.) in the hotel safe. Cuzco is a reasonably safe city, but there are occasional pickpockets around.
3.You can pick up a map of Cuzco from the joining hotel lobby reception.
4.If you want to call home, you can purchase a phone card called ‘Hola Peru’. They cost 20 soles (US$7) and give you about 20 minutes talk time.
5.There are a number of outdoor stores along the main streets, where you can purchase any extra equipment you may need for the Inca Trail or any of the other activities we’ll be doing.
|Shoe shining lives on in Cuzco!|
Active Adventures South America offers two trips in Peru – the Ultimate Peru Adventure ‘Jaguar’ and the Peru Family Adventure ‘Capybara’. Both trips make the most of Cuzco as a base from which to explore further afield, to Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca and the Amazon Jungle.
|On our ‘Jaguar’ trip we visit the Sacsayhuaman fortress which overlooks the Cuzco Valley|