Top 10 Things to Do in Cusco • #9

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Top 10 Things to Do in Cusco • #9

#9: Walk With No Destination

Cusco is one of those beautiful cities where almost everything is accessible by foot. Chances are you are staying in or around the main Plaza de Armas. This means that with the exception of the Saqsayhuaman Incan Fortress, you can walk to just about any destination in Cusco. 

Except, I recommend that you walk with NO destination.

Walk out the front entrance of your hotel, bring a jacket, a card with the hotel address, and comfortable walking shoes. Make sure you have an hour or two without any commitments, and walk.

You will find interesting people. You will find incredible views. You will find ancient Incan sites. You will find cafes and restaurants and llamas and cathedrals and markets and... you get the point. You will find Cusco. This city is enchanting. It isn't a UNESCO World Heritage Site for nothing. 

When you're tired, trace your steps back or grab a taxi, it will only cost you $1 - $2 to get back to the main Plaza and/or your hotel.

Happy trails...

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Top 10 Things to Do in Cusco • #10

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Top 10 Things to Do in Cusco • #10

#10: Shop in an Artisan Market

Picture a bazaar, with rafters of textiles, boutique clothing, scarves, jewelry, knick-knacks, and Peruvian flutes. It smells like a mixture of incense and wood-burning stove. Negotiation is in the air. Customers hand money to vendors, vendors pass money to each other. This is the lifeblood of tourism. Its a rite of passage. You can't come to Cusco, or Peru for that matter, and not purchase a trinket.

Make sure you carve out an hour or two to visit an artisan market. Usually they come in packs. You will find 30 stores, squished together, all selling similar items. The main Plaza is home base. Start there and work outwards. 

Negotiating is simple. When they offer a price, present a counter offer. Remember that your 1 USD is ~3.5 Peruvian Soles. If the shawl you want costs 100 Soles, offer 60, or 70, or 30. Have fun with it, joke with the locals, they like it. Just remember: they do this everyday. No matter the deal, they won the negotiation.


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Add Moray to your Itinerary

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Add Moray to your Itinerary

Off of the main highway to the Sacred Valley there is a dirt road turnoff that will wind you around gullies and hills, past herds of sheep and cows and leave you breathless, upwards of 12,000 feet altitude. The stunning vistas of the Andes are incomparable. Then, suddenly, the road will end and you will wonder what the payoff of this long journey will be.

You can't see the payoff until you're standing right over it. Moray, the circular Incan ruins upon whom our logo is based, is the most stunning of sites in the Sacred Valley. Should you feel the urge to drop down into the middle of the innermost circle, it will take you 20 minutes of protruding Incan steps.

Once in the middle of the ruins, you can almost whisper and be heard from the top terrace. Historians are split on whether this was just a agricultural experiment or an acoustical masterpiece for holding amphitheater-style meetings. 

Whatever it was, it will hold your attention and stand out as one of your favorite spots near the Sacred Valley. Add this stop to your itinerary, you won't regret it.

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