Travel Guide: Cusco


Cusco is a city in the Peruvian Andes sitting at 3,400m—so high that you can feel altitude sickness when first arriving. Cusco was once the capital of the Inca Empire and is now known for its archaeological remains and Spanish colonial architecture. Plaza de Armas is the central square in the old city, with arcades, carved wooden balconies and Incan wall ruins. What I loved about Cusco is how it felt "authentically Peruvian". Coming from big-city Lima, we didn't have a sense of what a Peruvian town was like. Cusco was a charming town with lots to do, great restaurants and bars and in the middle of the mountains—which served as our gateway to Peru's iconic Machu Picchu.

Food & Drink

Top Restaurants
  • Aulita Restaurante This restaurant is absolutely spectacular with a great ambience, amazing food and solid cocktail list. Additionally, this place doubles as a cafe and breakfast spot, so we worked all day here in between hotel check out and our evening flight.
  • KUSYKAY (Peruvian Fusion Food) The best place in Cusco for guinea pig. It also has a 4.9 rating from over 600 people on Google, so it a restaurant worth checking out!
  • La Huerta Del Tata Very authentic Peruvian cuisine. We had just got back from trekking the Inca Trail for four days and didn't want a big meal out. This place had incredible food, homemade fresh juices and

Top Bars
  • Black Cat Bar Great drinks, beautiful atmosphere and friendly service. The space is small, intimate and well designed. They know how to make cocktails and the prices are good.
  • Republica Del Pisco - Cusco A chain bar that has locations in Lima and Cusco, Republica Del Pisco has a great Cusco space and lots of pisco to choose from!
  • Aulita Restaurante Aulita is also a great restaurant and cafe. We recommend it as a cocktail spot because their cocktail menu is so well crafted and their space so well designed that is should be visited for drinks.

Other Food & Drink

Other Food • Limbus Restobar (best alpaca burger & good cocktails)

Other Drink • Cantina Vino Italiano, hotel bars (Hotel Aranwa Cusco Boutique, Monasterio, Palacio Nazarenas, Palacio Manco Capac)

Coffee Shops • Carla Pecana, Aulita Restaurante

Activities & Attractions

Top Activities
  • Machu Picchu and hiking the Inca Trail This trip takes you through mountainous Peruvian jungle, past dozens of Incan sites on the way to famed Machu Picchu. We highly recommend TreXperience tours.
  • Rainbow Mountain Hike to the summit of the beautiful Rainbow Mountain, which is so-called because of the colourful striped mineral deposits in it. Do the tour on horseback for the ultimate experience.
  • Sacred Valley Visit the ancient Inca sites of Saqsaywaman, Tambomachay and Pisac. This tour follows the famous road along the Urubamba river and takes you to Incan sites, the Salt Mines of Maras and a local market.


Hotels & Airbnbs
Lovely Apartment in Historic Center of Cusco • A beautiful Airbnb in the heart of Cusco with a spiral staircase, spacious living room, big king bed and a balcony overlooking a courtyard to relax on.
Hotel Aranwa Cusco Boutique • Occupying a 16th-century colonial mansion, this polished boutique hotel is located in the heart of Cusco.
Monasterio • Housed in a former monastery, this luxury hotel Refined rooms with gold-framed artworks. Some rooms have terraces and suites have living rooms with sofas and marble bathrooms with soaking tubs.
Palacio Nazarenas • Set in a former convent, this high-end all-suite hotel is located in the city center and has beautiful rooms and amenities.
Palacio Manco Capac • This beautiful hotel is in a restored republican mansion from the 17th century. Preserving the most traditional of its architecture, the house has 20 rooms, a bar and gardens overlooking the Plaza de Armas. In addition, the hotel has El Cubo, an ideal room for events with views of the city.