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Cusco On The Cheap

Destination(s): Cusco

Cusco and the Sacred Valley are one of the major attractions in all of South America, let alone Peru. Thousands of people visit the area every month, helping to drive up prices at hotels and restaurants, and encouraging officials to implement a tourist site seeing ticket called the boleta turistico which gives people access to all the area's major sites (excluding Machu Picchu ) and which is only good value if you intend to visit all of them. The ticket ($23 at time of writing) is valid for ten days and so might be worthwhile if you plan on returning to Cusco within that time, otherwise, the following guide sticks to sites and activities that are either free, or have a separate, lower entrance fee. read more about Cusco On The Cheap

San Blas District

San Blas District

  • 5 blocks north of Plaza de Armas
  • Begins roughly at Calle Choquechaca, as the neighborhood climbs into the hills
  • Cusco

A winded uphill walk from the Plaza de Armas, the Plazoleta San Blas is a picturesque neighborhood adorned by white washed walls, bright blue balconies and plenty of fine and original handicraft stores. The center of the art district in Cusco, the Plazoleta San Blas and surrounding side streets showcase the works of local artisans as well as of bohemian backpackers trying to make a buck during their endless travels. A hangout for artsy vagabonds, the afternoon scene often includes drum circles, didgeridoos and groups of young travelers hanging about and swapping stories. On Saturdays, however, the entire plaza turns into a market boasting fine jewelry, textiles and religious figurines. The plazoleta also houses a variety of coffee shops and restaurants with stellar views of the city, and in the evenings the contemporary fountain comes alive with an array of colors. The Iglesia de San Blas, also located in the plaza, houses a beautiful cedar pulpit, intricately carved from one single piece of wood.

Oficina de Información al Turista

Oficina de Información al Turista

Sacred Valley of the Incas (The)

Sacred Valley of the Incas (The)

  • Sacred Valley of the Incas
  • tel:51 8426 3176 (Tourist Information)
  • Visit website
  • Urubamba
Macchu Picchu

Macchu Picchu

San Blas Church

San Blas Church

Cafe Varayoc

Cafe Varayoc

  • Espaderos 142
  • tel:51 84 232404
  • Cusco
Plus Café

Plus Café

  • Portal de Panes 151
  • (2 do. piso)
  • tel:51 84 23 2632
  • Cusco
Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas

Festival of the Sun (The)

Festival of the Sun (The)

  • Saqsaywaman Fortress, Koricancha Temple, Main Square of Cusco
  • Cusco
Compañía de Jesús

Compañía de Jesús

Korikancha

Korikancha

  • Ahuacpinta
  • Plazoleta de Santo Domingo
  • tel:51 84222071
  • Cusco
Catedral (La)

Catedral (La)

  • Triunfo
  • Plaza de Armas (north side)
  • tel:51 84222781
  • Visit website
  • Cusco
Tunupa

Tunupa

Tunupa combines spectacular balcony views of the Plaza de Armas, an extensive buffet selection and traditional Peruvian music and dance to create an unforgettable dining experience in Cusco. Named after the foremost deity of the Colla, a pre-Incan civilization, an Andean theme permeates throughout the restaurant and is reflected in the pre-Colombian artifacts on display as well as their traditional Andean cuisine. This cavernous second floor restaurant is often crowded with large tour groups and reservations are highly recommended. Open Monday through Sunday from 11am until 11pm, live music and dance performances are held from 7:30-9:30pm.

Palacio del Arzobispado

Palacio del Arzobispado

Ukuku's Bar

Ukuku's Bar

  • Calle Plateros 316, 2nd floor
  • tel:84 254 911; 984 759 686
  • Visit website
  • Cusco

One of the staples of the Cusco night scene, Ukukus Bar is a live music venue and culture hall that transforms into a bustling club in the late hours. Live music varies widely from salsa to 80s cover bands, and the tables arranged in front of the stage fill up quickly and usually by an older crowd. The younger crowd shows up later and piles into the dance floor and bar towards the back of the venue. The walls at Ukukus are covered with vivid and endless murals and sculptures, giving the locale the feel of an outlandish gallery of modern art. An experience for the visual and auditory senses, a night out at Ukukus should be mandatory for all travelers. If you get hungry, there's a small restaurant neighboring the club where one can get a plate of fries, a hamburger, or anything else that well accompanies a night of dancing and drinking. Offering a decent two for one happy hour most nights, expect to pay a small cover charge on most evenings.

Santa Catalina

Santa Catalina

  • Santa Catalina Angosta 190
  • tel:51 8422 6032
  • Visit website
  • Cusco
Andes Grill

Andes Grill

  • Portal de Panes 147
  • 2do. piso
  • tel:51 84 243422
  • Cusco
The Cross Keys

The Cross Keys

  • Portal Confiturías 233, 2do. piso
  • (Plaza de Armas)
  • tel:51 84 233865
  • Visit website
  • Cusco
Loki Backpacker's Hostel

Loki Backpacker's Hostel

  • Cuesta Santa Ana 601
  • Centro Historico
  • tel:84 243 705
  • Visit website
  • Cusco

With locations in Cusco, Mancora and La Paz, Loki attracts a diverse group of backpackers of all ages and nationalities. The Cusco hostal is located uphill from the Plaza de Armas in a 450 year old mansion and boasts two spacious courtyards where one can relax and enjoy the brilliant, high altitude sun. Known for providing safe and entertaining accommodation for backpackers, it's a great spot to meet fellow travel enthusiasts, swap travel tips and recount the occasional horror story. The roomy pub is an ideal place to catch up on emails, watch a football match or play a game of billiards. Offering daily and nightly events for all guests, Loki sets itself apart from other backpacker hostals by offering a weekly volunteer program where guests may visit and aid local non-profit projects. Private rooms as well as shared co-ed or all female dormitories with simplistic décor are both affordable and tidy and include a continental breakfast, access to a TV room and travel agency. If traveling on a shoestring, Loki employs travelers in exchange for accommodation and meals.