By the time we got to Cusco, Kim and I were ready to relax a bit. We had been traveling (and adventuring) hard, so when I saw that beautiful Starbucks sign in the Plaza de Armas … well. I was pretty darn happy!
Cusco has a really relaxed, fun, and safe vibe. We stayed at Pariwana (one of the best hostels I’ve stayed at, only second to Community hostel from my time in Ecuador), had a couple crazy nights out and made some great new friends.
Wares and Tears
The cool thing about Cusco is you can do just about anything, for quite cheap. Some examples:
- My new phone needed a screen protector, so for 10 soles, I bought one and had it placed on my phone.
- When I needed facepaint for the Germany-Argentina World Cup Final (I’m half German, dontchaknow), there was an entire block of Pinaterias ready to sell us face paint! (Though we had the hardest time finding black, and had to go with black eyeliner that was only available at a very random accessory store).
- My new leather handbag from Bolivia had an awful black stain on it, so I found a leather shoe repair guy who got it out for 3 soles.
- A couple of times per week, the San Pedro market made us feel like locals as we haggled for local fruits, breads, cheeses, and veggies from the Caseras. Then we made amazing guacamole for dinner, from giant avocados, as you do.
- Free walking tours are the best way to learn more about the Incas.
- Don’t have allergies and like horses? Cheaply rent a couple of slow, old horses to take you around (but not into) the ruins near Cusco!
- Take the time to soak-in amazing hot stone massages for 20-40 soles ($15? I’ll take it!).
- Enjoy hikes to Sacsayhuaman ruins (or “sexy woman”, as Kim and I called them) and the white Christ statue.
- The laundry services here aren’t very friendly to your clothing, and somewhere along the way my zipper was broken on my alpaca jumper. But for 1 sole, you can fix that at the market too! Get your pig AND your zipper-repairs!
- Spend the $35 on a tour of the Sacred Valley (so very worth it, especially if you bring your own lunch!)
I enjoyed my time in Cusco so much I spent 10 days there (if you count the two days in Machu Picchu). There were many other things I wanted to try but we didn’t have time for, like yoga day-trips, weaving tours, and stand-up paddle boarding.
Go and enjoy! I just left and miss it already.