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What to do in Cusco, Peru: 5-day itinerary

What to do in Cusco (Peru) – 5-day itinerary –Cusco is one of the most important cities in Peru .It was the administrative and cultural center of the Inca Empire.It was the capital and seat of the kingdom at the time.And, currently, there are numerous cool places to be visited.

Check out in this postour 5 days in the city, with the bonus of getting to know Machu Picchu.


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Our 5 days in Cusco and Machu Picchu

Danubia and I had the opportunity to visit Cusco in 2014, alongside with three other friends (Bruno, Denise and Analice).

The choice of destination was by chance, when I saw a package promotion for Cusco/Machu Picchu, on Peru, on a website for group purchases.

When I showed it to Danubia, she said: we are going!!!After that, I told my friend Bruno, who was interested and invited his partner (Denise) and her sister (Analice).

So the five of us would go on our first international trip.By the way, it would also be my first flight !!!!!

So much expectation.

Plaza de Armas - Cuzco - Peru

What to do in Cusco (Peru) – Plaza de Armas – Cuzco

Over the next few days, we did a lot of research on prices, dates, tours, etc.But, in the end, we chose to close the package with Machu Picchu Brasil, an agency located in São Paulo, specializing in trips to Peru (they didn’t sponsor us).

5 days and 4 nights package – what to do in Cusco

At the time, the package cost R$1070 per personand included transfers, three nights in Cusco, one night in Aguas Calientes, city tourand archaeological sites, tour Sacred Valley with lunch, train to Aguas Calientes (Expedition) and return to Cusco (Vistadome), bus to Machu Picchu, travel insurance and guide.

All right!Closed package and tickets paid in April.But a tragedy almost put an end to this trip.My father passed away on June 30th and my sister and I had already given up on the trip.If it hadn’t been for our friends, we would have canceled everything.

Despite the sadness and unwillingness to take the tour, we went and enjoyed ourselves (as much as possible).

Our trip to Cusco – Our logbook

We left Belo Horizonte on Saturday, August 4th, heading for São Paulo.This was my first plane trip (as I said above) and I loved it!!!!!We stayed in São Paulo (at the airport) all day, and in the evening we flew to Chile, our first stop.

We stayed at the Santiago airport for about 2 hours and we took the opportunity to buy a local souvenir.Travel Insuranceis a very important and even mandatory item if you are traveling to Europe.

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From Santiago, we left for Lima, capital of Peru (Aeropuerto International Jorge Chávez).On the plane, we tasted a legitimate Peruvian Coca Cola: the Inca Kola.It’s yellow, looks like detergent and tastes like tuti-fruti.It’s not bad, but I prefer our good old Coca Cola.

Aeroporto de Santiago, ChileAeroporto de Santiago, Chile
Santiago Airport, Chile

Inca Kola, o refrigerante peruanoInca Kola, o refrigerante peruano
Inca Kola, the Peruvian soft drink

We took the plane to Cusco at 6 am on Sunday, August 5th.The trip took 1 hour to the Velasco Astete international airport in Cusco.The guide Giancarlo Chavez, from Machu Picchu Brazil, was already waiting for us.

Aeroporto de Cuzco - Peru - O que fazer em Cusco (Peru) Aeroporto de Cuzco - Peru - O que fazer em Cusco (Peru)
Cuzco Airport – Peru – Things to do in Cusco (Peru)

O que fazer em Cusco (Peru) O que fazer em Cusco (Peru)
What to do in Cusco (Peru)

From the airport, we head to the Hotel Don Bosco.There, we were welcomed with the traditional coca tea, suggested to alleviate the effects of altitude (mal de soroche), since Cusco is 3,400 meters above .

Onde ficar em Cusco - Peru - Hotel Dom BoscoOnde ficar em Cusco - Peru - Hotel Dom Bosco
Where to stay in Cusco – Peru – Hotel Dom Bosco

MAL DA ALTITUDE – Symptoms of altitude sickness are dizziness, headache, nausea and shortness of breath.The heart rate also accelerates and the higher the altitude, the more intense the symptoms.

That is why it is recommended to chew the coca leaf, drink the herb tea or suck on the candy made from it. .It is also advisable to rest until the body can get used to the altitude.

None of us feel any effect from altitude.And, to be honest: although necessary, coca tea is pretty bad (lol).

Accommodated at the hotel, we went to rest and then began our adventure in Peruvian lands.

Onde ficar em Cusco - Peru - Hotel Dom BoscoOnde ficar em Cusco - Peru - Hotel Dom Bosco
Coca tea to alleviate the effects of altitude – Where to stay in Cusco – Peru – Hotel Dom Bosco

History of Cusco

Cusco is located in the southeast of the Valley de Huatanay or Sacred Valley of the Incas, in the Andes.It is located 3400 meters above sea level and its name means navel in the Quechua language.

The city was the most important administrative and cultural center of the Inca Empire.It was the capital and seat of the kingdom at the time.In 1438, the ruler Pachacuti came to power and transformed Cusco into a spiritual and political center.

The architectural project of the municipality is still attributed to him. , which was built in the shape of a Puma, with the central square Haucaypata in the position that would occupy the animal’s chest.The head is on the hill (where Sacsayhuamanis).

Several times, the city suffered terrible earthquakes.In one of them, in 1950, more than 1/3 of the local buildings were destroyed.

In 1983, the city was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

O que fazer em Cusco (Peru) O que fazer em Cusco (Peru)
What to do in Cusco (Peru)

Where to stay in Cusco

Before showing what we did in Cusco, we selected 5 hotel options in city.Check out our experience there.

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WHAT TO DO IN CUSCO , PERU

1st day – what to do in Cusco, Peru

Our first move in Cusco was to exchange our dollars for soles, the local currency.Soon after, we went to the Centro Turístico to buy a ticketthat entitles you to entry to the city’s main monuments.In 2012, it sold for US$46.

As I said, the tourist ticket gives you the right to visit several places, but as we contracted the package with the agency , we had to follow the itinerary established by them and many attractions were left out.

O que fazer em Cusco (Peru) - Centro TurísticoO que fazer em Cusco (Peru) - Centro Turístico
What to do in Cusco (Peru) – Tourist Center

We had lunch in a very Good, but I don’t remember the name.It’s in the center.

Restaurante em Cusco - O que fazer em Cusco, PeruRestaurante em Cusco - O que fazer em Cusco, Peru
Restaurant in Cusco – Things to do in Cusco, Peru

Lomo Saltado no Restaurante em Cusco - O que fazer em Cusco, PeruLomo Saltado no Restaurante em Cusco - O que fazer em Cusco, Peru
Lomo Saltado at the Restaurant in Cusco – Things to do in Cusco, Peru

Craft Center of Cusco

On this first day, we went to see a bit of the city and the Cusco Handicraft Center.

This is a great place to shop for souvenirs, handicrafts and typical clothing.It was a great time to recognize the city and get in touch with this rich culture.

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O que fazer em Cusco (Peru) O que fazer em Cusco (Peru)
Craft center and city streets – Things to do in Cusco (Peru)

Plaza das Armas

We also visit Plaza das Armas, the center of Cusco.It’s where everything happens, like events and parties.It is also where the best restaurants, nightclubs, Mc Donald’s, churches, exchange offices and others are.

The day we were there, early in the evening, there was a marching band going on and lots of people running after them.

Praça das Armas - O que fazer em Cusco (Peru) Praça das Armas - O que fazer em Cusco (Peru)
Plaza das Armas – Things to do in Cusco (Peru)

Praça das Armas - O que fazer em Cusco (Peru) Praça das Armas - O que fazer em Cusco (Peru)
Danubia in the Plaza de Armas – Things to do in Cusco (Peru)

Centro de Cuzco - vista lá do hotel - O que fazer em Cusco (Peru) Centro de Cuzco - vista lá do hotel - O que fazer em Cusco (Peru)

Cuzco city center – view from the hotel – Things to do in Cusco (Peru)

Chafariz com estátua de Pachacuti - Praça das Armas - o que fazer em Cusco, PeruChafariz com estátua de Pachacuti - Praça das Armas - o que fazer em Cusco, Peru
Fountain with statue of Pachacuti – Plaza de Armas – things to do in Cusco, Peru

In the evening, we went for pizza at a pizzeria near the cathedral in Cusco.The ceiling is lined with bottles.

Pizzaria de Cusco - O que fazer em Cusco (Peru) Pizzaria de Cusco - O que fazer em Cusco (Peru)
Pizzeria de Cusco – Things to do in Cusco (Peru)

Before we went to sleep, the agency’s guide gave us all the guidelines on what our next day in Peru would be like.

THE WEATHER IN CUSCO –Our trip took place in August.At this time, during the day, it is hot.At night, however, the cold is intense.So much so that I burned my entire mouth with the three-degree cold lol.

Todos nós de touquinhas compradas no primeiro dia em Cuzco - O que fazer em Cusco (Peru)Todos nós de touquinhas compradas no primeiro dia em Cuzco - O que fazer em Cusco (Peru)
All of us of caps bought on the first day in Cuzco – Things to do in Cusco (Peru)


2nd day – what to do in Cusco, Peru

On this second day in Cusco, still in the morning and on your own , besides the typical city streets, we know two very cool places:

Pedra dos 12 Angles – what to do in Cusco

After breakfast, we went to visit the famous Pedra dos 12 AnglesCalle Hatunrumiyoc (next to Arzobispal Palace), one of Cuzco’s many tourist attractions.

The Stone of 12 Angles is one of the mysteries of the Inca empire.To this day, it is not known how the Incas managed to make such perfect cuts in huge blocks, fitting them together without using any type of mortar or product to “hold” each one of them.In the case of the 12 Angle Stone, they fit perfectly.

Funny things that always happen on trips – A curious and funny thing happened to us in this place.In fact, it’s a warning for tourists to keep an eye on.

As we approached, we stopped to listen to a person explain the history of this stone to a group of tourists.

We took pictures and started walking again.As soon as we left, the boy followed us to sell us postcards.As he said: it’s 20 soles for the postcard and the explanation.It’s a very common practice there.So it’s good to be smart, since the harassment is very big and even embarrassing!

As I had gone ahead, I entered a store and looked at the products until all my group also entered the same store.It’s a very picturesque place.Dozens of Peruvians sitting on benches, drinking chicken soup.The place has a strong smell of fruits and other typical delicacies.

The place is very dirty and we do not recommend eating there.This was even the guide’s advice!!!In fact, Danubia and Bruno stopped in front of a stall with saleswomen filling a bag with juice and tying a straw to the end.When the girl lifted the spoon from the cauldron, which she was stirring, a bunch of hair-like strands came out.A disgust!!!lol.

What about the frogs?And the yellow cheeses?Whole pig heads on the shelves.Not to mention flour, coca leaves and candies, clothes, flowers, vegetables, white chickens, torn off and hanging in the tents.I swear, it looked like people were eating soup with whole chickens in the bowl and apparently raw.

The funniest thing is that everywhere you go , sellers harass you to buy something.One of them was the Peruvian cap seller.The girl followed us several meters down the street until we could buy.In total, she sold us five on the very first day!I just bought three!

Mercado Central Mercado Central
Cusco Central Market

If you like to shop and know how to haggle, you’ll get great discounts there.What we heard the most was, “Hello Miss, how much do you pay?”

First they give you the price.If you say you don’t want to, they ask you how much you want to pay.Then the two begin the negotiation (lol).I got great discounts at several places.

After the San Pedro Market, we went for lunch and, as we were late, we were late to meet the group that was going to guided tour of other attractions in the city.

We had to walk from the hotel to the Templo do Sol, the first attraction of the city tourincluded in the 5-day package.

Restaurante Restaurante
Restaurant in Cusco


Things to do in Cusco, Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu:

Among the places we know on this three-day city tourare:
1st day – Temple of the Sun, Cusco Cathedral and ruins of Q’enqo, Tambomachay and Saqsayhuaman;
2nd day – Sacred Valley: Pisac and Ollantaytambo;
3rd day – Machu Picchu.

The details of each of these tours in Cusco and regioncan be found in three other posts (one for each day).

On the way back from Machu Piccho, on Thursday, I went to Danubia early to attend a mass in the cathedral of Cusco.Meanwhile, our three friends went to buy some more souvenirs at the Centro Artesanal de Cusco.

Extra tips:

– For those who have a few more days in Cusco, it is worth taking the tour to Laguna Humantay.The blog Browser Diaryhas a cool post about it.
– The blog Traveling in the Windowhas a tip about what to do in Lima.Check this post.

All the details of this trip to Peru can be found in the posts below:

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