What things to do in Cusco is a normal question from visitors. If we talk about the tourism industry, Cusco is the most important city and destination in Peru. The ancient capital of the Incas is also an obligatory stop for people who want to visit the wonder of the world Machu Picchu. but once to be in Cusco the visitors really discover how magical is the ancient capital of the Incas.
Even when a lot of people think, that the only reason why people visit Cusco, is because it is an obligatory stop before going to Machu Picchu, this is a huge mistake because nowadays more and more people are discovering that the Ancient Capital of the Incas is a magical destination. Cusco city has a lot of things to see and discover, some of them are not in the travel books but are really interesting to make your experience in Cusco better.
As the ancient capital of the Incas, Cusco was full of temples, palaces, squares, streets. All these constructions were reformed with the arrival of the Spanish and nowadays Cusco is the perfect combination between history and modernity, between Incas architecture and Spanish architecture.
The market of San Pedro is becoming an iconic attraction of the city of Cusco!.
Increasingly people are interested in seeing and learning more about the daily life of the locals. Therefore, the local San Pedro Market is the perfect place where you can learn about the traditions and customs of the local people.
The actual market was designed and built by Gustave Eiffel (the same who built Eiffel Tower in Paris) in 1925, before that year the market was located close by, in San Francisco Square and until now is the biggest market in Cusco City and like one of our tour guides love to say “if you are looking for something and you cannot find it in these market, that means that it does not exist in Cusco City”.
San Peter local market is attractive for the tourist because is a constant remain of how were the markets during the last century, different kind of things in the same place to sell every day to the locals.
You can see people selling fresh fruits, cheese, bread, flowers, tourist souvenirs, dry fruit, vegetables, potatoes, corn, frogs, guinea pigs, herbs, meat, pork, chicken, alpaca, Andean cereals such as quinoa, kiwicha, maca, coffee, cacao, chocolate, wheat, barley. they also have there their food area where the locals sell chicken soup for energy, fried eggs with rice, boiled eggs with potatoes, ceviches, fruit juices all of the mixed with milk or another juice.
Without a doubt, the city center in Cusco City is a magical place with a lot of places to see and visit. The most important constructions there are:
The temple of the Sun: This place was the center of the Andean religion during the Inca’s time and nowadays is probably the best example of how two different kinds of architecture can survive together. The Inca architecture and the European architecture converge in this place.
You can have the opportunity to visit the temple of the sun, the temple of the moon, the temple of the stars, and the temple of the rainbow and see how were the Inca temples and palaces from inside.
The same sacred plaza during the Incas times, the main plaza of Cusco is a trip in the time, its multiple constructions were palaces, colonial houses and are a heritage of the nation nowadays. The Cathedral was for a long time the most important construction in Cusco City. So even when its architecture is not the most incredible one the treasures of this place are located inside, the Cathedral is full of paintings and sculpture, chapels and altars, a lot of history in this obligatory stop.
In conclusion, the main plaza is also the center of the nightlife of the city, a cosmopolitan downtown where different kinds of people meet from all around the world.
San Blas is a traditional neighborhood located a few minutes walking distance from the center of the city. This area was recognized because until now the families of the art masters still have their galleries and houses in this place. The narrow streets, the colonial and traditional houses are the attraction is this place, but also this area is famous thank you to all bohemian life that it has, the restaurants located in this area were established in small colonial constructions. Two of the most important lookout points are located in this area as well.
San Cristobal and San Blas are lookout points from where you can see all the city, they are perfect during the day but they are incredible during the sunrise and sunsets.
The street artists from different countries and the local street singers and musicians have their meetings in this bohemian neighborhood to share experiences and skills.
Aja, it is the original name of this drink, known by all people with the name of Chicha, it is fermented of white corn and it is also the most popular drink for locals even when a lot of people prefers a regular industrial beer, Chicha is still the drink for people who love to keep the traditions. There are not a lot of places where you can find this drink especially in the center of the City but the traditional Picanterías have Chicha as the main drink in their menu.
Mama Trini located in the traditional neighborhood of San Blas is probably one of the last Chicherias in the Center of the city, a lot of locals love to go there in order to find new friends and share talk about the day, another place where you can find this drink is la Chomba Picanteria located close to the main plaza where you can find really traditional cusqueñan food and chicha.
It has different presentations, baked, roasted, grilled and in soups, Guinea Pig is the traditional stamp of Cusco region there are no villages or towns where people don’t eat this delicacy that has a very friendly taste between chicken and pork.
If you are spending time in the city and Cusco a mandatory stop, it is the old tempo of Saqsayhuaman. It is the place where the last survivors of the Inca Dynasty fought against the Spanish before loose Cusco City.
The archeological park has monumental constructions that are still a mystery. They surprise the visitors due to the size that the stones have there. The park is located just 20 minutes from the city in a taxi, and with the same ticket you can visit other places located a little further from the city such as:
the best to visit those places is with a half-day archeological tour that Kaypi Peru Tours offers.
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