Local Host Picks
Cusco’s version of the sidewalk café is the quinta—an open-air restaurant with affordably priced Peruvian fare. Quinta Eulalia is Cusco’s oldest quinta, and it offers a little history with a lot of food.
Restaurante Illary offers a fine-dining experience in the Hotel Monasterio. Savor the alpaca tenderloin in the sacred setting of this former monastery.
Many will try to sell you what you believe to be 100% alpaca, but you can rest assured that the sweaters, scarves, and blankets at this shop are the real deal.
Handmade silver jewelry is an excellent purchase in Cusco. If you want to know the name behind your special find, purchase a piece from this local craftsman.
This bustling coffee shop is famous for its ponche de leche, a beverage made with milk and a shot of pisco, and its lenguas, a flaky pastry with a crème filling.
Barrio de San Blas
If you can make the steep walk from the Plaza de Armas to this charming neighborhood, you won’t regret it. Panoramic views of the city can be seen outside the artists’ workshops that line the streets of this picturesque area.
There are many handicraft shops in Cusco. This one is known internationally for its saint figures with elongated necks.
Museum of Popular Art
Founded in 1937, this museum houses an interesting collection of masks and other carved items. Its most interesting display is its large collection of dolls.
Cusco may be the gateway to Machu Picchu, but there are smaller ruins you shouldn’t miss. Water still flows over a system of complicated canals at this amazing site—also known as the Inca Baths.
Raised on Inca foundations by Admiral Aldrete Maldonado in the early-17th century, this home has a magnificent baroque doorway emblazoned with the admiral’s coat of arms, a large arched patio, and salons with coffered ceilings. It exhibits keros (carved ceremonial goblets), weavings, mummies, and silver and gold figurines, as well as Inca weapons, tools, and ceramics.
Enjoy this area where South American camelidae are bred. Learn about the superb fibers that come from llamas, alpacas, and vicunas. Also learn about the ancient weaving techniques, which are still in use.
Seminario Ceramic Studio - Urubamba
Pablo Seminario has been dedicated to the discovery of the techniques and design from ancient Peruvian cultures. Mr. Seminario presents a new art expression providing continuity to these cultural inheritances.
Enjoy this pretty town 35 km (1 hour) from Cusco along the paved highway to Puno. Its unique church, San Pedro de Andahuaylillas, is the biggest attraction for visitors.
Located a few meters off the Main Square of the fascinating city of Cusco in an old Inca palace, the new Incanto is definitely worth a visit. Welcoming and contemporary, its varied menu contains more than 80 dishes. The restaurant offers Italian food, pasta, and various specialties from the grill cooked with an original touch and Peruvian ingredients.
On the second floor of a colonial-era townhouse, this restaurant has a unique personality. La Panaderia serves gourmet breakfasts with breads straight out of the oven. The tapas bar is a perfect relaxing place to enjoy a glass of wine and some tapas. The main dining room offers an unforgettable fusion of Mediterranean dishes made with Andean ingredients.
Learn about the history of the Cacao and the chocolate, the Cacao’s tree, and its small chocolate factory where the products are made. Enjoy a workshop in the Museum: Roasting of the cacao beans, cacao husk removal, grinding of the cacao nibs on a metate with a mano (the way the Aztecs did) or with a batang (like Incas here in Peru), refining and conching of the cacao paste in a melangeur.
Tipon and Piquillacta
Tipon is important for its excellent hydraulic engineering work, and it is composed by an agricultural group of platforms with long steps and ducts elaborated in limestone. This impressive system of irrigation is still used in agriculture. Some of the fountains in Tipon must have ceremonial purposes. Tipon is considered an Inca temple dedicated to the water cult.
Piquillacta is a national archaeological park with landscapes of great interest. This archaeological Pre-Inca citadel was one of the most spectacular regional centers of the Wari culture. The constructions of Piquillacta are composed by more than 700 structures displayed in a harmonious and symmetric way, with different buildings that should have sheltered a population of about ten thousand people.
It’s located one hour by walking from Aguas Calientes; find lots of butterflies and birds, and maybe even orchids at the right time of year.
Casa Concha Museum
Located in Cusco city, the exhibition of over 360 archaeological pieces from Machu Picchu that were recently returned by the U.S. Yale University will be held at the newly renovated Casa Concha. You will be able to appreciate ceramics, stone and metal objects, fragments of bones as well as a nearly complete skeleton of a male between 23 and 25 years.
A tranvia is a vehicle designed to look like the old mule-pulled streetcars that once traversed Cusco. It offers sightseeing through the main streets in Cusco and visits 40 different places in Cusco city.