Cuzco has been called ‘the navel of the world’. It was the capital of the Inca Empire, is a World Heritage Site, and serves as base camp for the Inca Trail. Beyond that, it simply a wonderful place to be.
Cuzco – Cusco – Qusqu – Qosqo
There was no written Inka (aka Inca) language and their history was passed down verbally in the Quechua language. Cuzco means centre (aka navel). In 1991 experts decided that the name of the city should be written as ‘Qosqo’.
Inca – Inka
The term ‘Inka’ in the Quechua language refers to the ruling class or ruling family in the empire. The Spanish adopted it as ‘Inca’ and used it as an ethnic term referring to all subjects of the empire.
Inkarri Hostel (more hotel than ‘hostel’ by North American standards) is well located in a narrow one-way street off the high priced tourist squares. Well sized rooms are simple and clean with tv. Quiet rooms face inner courtyards. If wanting WiFi be sure to ask as it is not available to all rooms. Complementary use of guest computers. Small breakfast included. Arrangements may be made to keep luggage while hiking the Inca Trail.
Hotel: Made reservation directly with Inkarri Hostel through email.
Tours: Self guided tour around Cuzco on foot; a definitive tour is not even required … simply stroll.
Inca Trail: Bookings for the Inca Trail were made with Wasai Lodge & Expeditions (booked Peruvian Amazon Jungle adventure at same time).
FOOD & DRINK IN CUZCO
BREAKFAST at the hotel was adequate for our needs (coffee, small juice, eggs, buns, butter & jam); but for a traditionally large breakfast eater it would probably be considered small.
Restaurants, cafes and street food is plentiful in Cuzco. Here are some we tried:
Cafe Ottito in the Handicraft Centre (Centro Artesanal) at Av Tullumayo & Pachacutec. There are four booth-type cafes next to each other. Only Cafe Ottito (on far right) had locals lining up for Griselda’s chicken pasta soup … delicious broth, pasta and a big chunk of chicken (approx. $2.50 US + tax). No English spoken but pointing works. When he is not studying law, her son Jaime (speaks English) helps her out .
Chifa Kuoda is a Chinese restaurant next to Romana Pizzeria at 775 Av Tullumayo. Inexpensive and cooked to order by beautiful and cheerful Lm. Eat in or take out. No English spoken but English menu available.
Los Apus Restaurant & Grill above Plaza San Blas. Set menu S/12. A tourist friendly restaurant in historic area of Cuzco.
PLACES TO GO IN CUZCO
Machu Picchu is the strongest draw for visitors to Cuzco. If you are making your own arrangements to visit Machu Picchu be sure to purchase your entry ticket in Machu Picchu Pueblo (previously known as Aquas Calientes) BEFORE getting on the bus as as tickets are NOT AVAILABLE AT THE ENTRANCE GATE (at least they weren’t when we visited).
Inca Trail trek needs to be arranged well in advance.
In and around Plaza de Armas Many of heritage sites are around the main plazas but you are encouraged to venture further to experience the day-to-day Cuzco.
People-watch & share. Try this: sit on a bench (the one opposite Inglesia de La Merced, a block from the cathedral, is ideal) with a roll of crackers or cookies and offer some to anyone who sits beside you. Even if you can’t speak the same language, you will have someone with whom to ‘people-watch’.
TO & FROM CUZCO
From Puno to Cuzco – PeruRail’s Andean Explorer.
From Cuzco to Puerto Maldonado – LAN Airlines.This entry was posted in PERU, SOUTH AMERICA