Cuzco — By Avanti Destinations | TravelResearchOnline

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Cuzco — By Avanti Destinations

Cuzco is replete with beautiful landscapes that meld the blue skies, brilliant white clouds and majestic mountains. Few places in Peru have as magic an aura as Cuzco which was the center of cult of the Sun, it was the host of many ceremonies and festivals attended by hundreds of thousands worshipers. This is one of the worldly cities where history truly began. You can take your choice of churches, museums, archeological places and of course the trek down to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley.

Cuzco is a beautiful city with well preserved colonial architecture which is proof of a rich and complex history. The city itself represents the center of indigenous Quechua culture in the Andes, and by merely walking the streets one sees the layers of history just waiting to be peeled back like an onion. It is also a city of juxtaposition. Spanish colonial buildings are erected directly atop ancient Inca walls which line the square, while the modern nightlife of a metropolitan city flourishes.

The city is surrounded by a number of ruins, the most impressive being Sacsayhuaman, the site of the 1536 battle in which dozens of Pizarro’s men charged uphill to battle the forces of the Inca.

Nowadays, Cuzco is known for its indigenous population–often seen on the streets in traditional clothing–and its substantial tourist-fueled night life—and of course the starting point to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley.

Be sure to look at the hand selected Avanti Destinations trips for your clients after the article.

60-Second Geography

Cuzco

Cuzco (often spelled Cusco),is located in the Southern Sierras in Peru. It is a fascinating city which was the capital of the Incan Empire. Cuzco is a Unesco World Heritage Site and is one of Peru’s most visited cities as it is the largest and most comfortable city from which tourists can begin visits to the many Incan sites in the area. Cuzco is considered the gateway to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
  • Walk around the Plaza de Armas; the square has churches, shops, restaurants and bars backing on to it and is a great place to spend an afternoon. The historical center of Cuzco is beautiful, but you will have to deal with all the street vendors and hawkers of cheap paintings and other souvenirs. They are everywhere in and around the Plaza de Armas.
  • Get a massage. You will invariably be propositioned by young ladies handing out flyers advertising massages. These are legit, only cost 15-20 Soles for 1+ hour, but are not done by trained masseuses. Still, for the price it can’t be beat.
  • Play Sapo, a traditional bar game played in chicharias all over Peru. The game involves throwing small coins, called fichas, at a table with a bronze sapo (toad) attached. You get points for making it into holes on the table, and a ton of points for making it into the sapo’s mouth. Best played while drinking chicha (corn beer) at a local dive. Ask an old timer to show you the correct throwing form, as it’s difficult to master.
  • Talk to local store owners, waitresses and bartenders. They typically know a little English if your Spanish is not good; and are generally happy to share interesting information about the city not found in guidebooks. This is also a great way to find the best places to try cuy, alpaca, and chicha.
  • Rent a motorcycle. There are several shops on Calle Plateros, just north of Plaza de Armas, that rent motorcycles for the day. You do not even need a motorcycle license, just your license from home. Prices are typically $40/day which includes two helmets, gloves, and jacket. Where to go? A loop of the Sacred Valley, taking in the market at Pisac, lunch in Urubamba, and several Incan sites, can easily be done in one afternoon. Or head south to some of the less-visited but just as pretty small towns and Incan ruins.
  • Try a downhill mountain bike trip either across the Chincheros plains, past Inca ruins and down through the spectacular Maras Saltpans or the 45 mile downhill from Abra Malaga to Santa Maria and onto the totally awesome hot springs of Santa Teresa. If you decide to try this, make sure you hire from a reputable company as there are a lot of bikes out there not maintained for this trip.
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  One thought on “Cuzco — By Avanti Destinations

  1. Kairho says:

    I like Brendan for Peru and other parts of South America. They had both escorted and independent travel packages at moderate levels.

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