Unwinding In The Unique City Of Cusco

Girls and A Sheep

Tourism is growing faster in Peru than any other country in South America. The catalyst is undeniably Machu Picchu, one of the UNESCO New 7 Wonders of the World which has made the Cusco region the most visited region in all of Peru.

Machu Picchu

From the moment you touch down in Peru, you are surrounded by Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. Whether it’s Machu Picchu’s iconic image plastered on the billboards for Peru’s biggest beer company Cusquena or the chattering of tourists conferring over whether they have chosen to invest in altitude sickness pills to alleviate the pressures of Cusco’s dizzying heights. There is a strong sense that the majority of tourists have ventured to Peru for one reason only, to get a glimpse of Machu Picchu.

Lynds back to Machu Picchu

All of the travel agents, friends and blogs we consulted ahead of our Inca to Inuit adventure advised us that the only must in South America was Machu Picchu and the Inca trail. As such it was the first and sole element of our Inca to Inuit trip to be pre-booked. Four weeks into our Inca to Inuit adventure and we had planned to fly into Cusco for five nights before we embarked on the Inca Trail. Naively we had thought little about Cusco, seeing it as nothing more than a place to relax after our Amazonian adventure and prepare for our second Peruvian hike.

Cusco Streets

Cusco is unlike any city we had seen in Peru. The architecture, plazas and use of space leave you feeling like you’ve been temporarily transported to the European cities of Rome or Madrid. The pre-Hispanic patterns and buildings that shaped the Imperial city of the Incas are still visible today, having been carefully preserved. With the occurrence of earthquakes, the invincible Incan-built buildings have stood the test of time, outliving the newer 16th-century baroque style buildings that were introduced by the Spanish in the 16th century. It is this blend of architectural styles which gives Cusco it’s unique appearance today.

Plaza de Armas

Cusco is undeniably the most touristically developed area in Peru. As a result, you can very easily spend your day’s seamlessly strolling from block to block sampling international menu’s and spending your Peruvian Soles in western shops. Step out of the main square and you can easily loose yourself in the plethora of independent restaurants, shops and museums.

Child playing with materials

Here are a few of our favourite places to explore:

La Bodega 138 – After sampling a Pisco sour at the Museo del Pisco head across the road to this stylish and exceptionally yummy restaurant. This place has an extensive list of beers, inventive pizza’s, and huge salads.  Make sure you give this place a try!

La Valeriana Specialising in tea and cakes this charming cafe offers deli style sandwiches, empanadas and hot dishes. Be sure to keep room for dessert!

Valaria Cafe Cup CakeLos Perro’s – This small boho-style bar serves exceptionally good food and at a reasonable price. Try their massive bowls of warming soups on a cold Cusco evening or their monstrous chicken and avocado sandwich to refuel after a hike up to Saksaywaman.

Museo del Pisco – Less of a museum and more of a bar! Great spot to start the evening and sample some of the ingenious flavour combinations on offer. Our favourite was the Pisco and purple corn sour!

El Tabuco – When only a pizza will do, take a stroll to this tiny restaurant situated slightly out of the centre of the City. The owners are exceptionally friendly and the food is outstanding and affordable. They also do take away, so if like us after the Inca Trail you need a Pizza fix, get takeaway and eat in bed!

Jack’s Cafe – Despite being a tourist hot spot the quality and variety of food on offer here is unbeatable. Try their mint, citrus juice and a Tacco’s.


Museo de la Coca – This free chocolate museum offers one on one tours where you will learn all about the history of Coca not only in South America but Globally. As well as multiple free chocolate samples you can sign up for a chocolate making lesson which are held daily within the museum. If after all that you can still stomach some more chocolate head to the Coca cafe for a chocolate fondue.

Caco Museum

If like us you plan on hiking your way to Machu Picchu via the Inca Trail make sure you take some time to visit Sacsayhuaman. This ceremonial fortress is a 2KM hike up and out of Cusco. Sacsayhuaman is the largest architectural work made by the Incas during their heyday and offers spectacular panoramic views of Cusco.

Lynds cusco landscape

Traditionally dressed women Cusco

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