This Valentine’s Day, I think I would like to send a token of love to Cusco, Peru. As my introduction to South America and my first time below the Equator, Cusco couldn’t have been a more happening, thriving, vibrant place to be. Sure, the altitude hit me as soon as I got off the plane (another person collapsed immediately), but the sheer beauty of Cusco – a city tucked in a valley in the Andes – kept the woes of altitude at bay. I would write, in my love letter to Cusco, of how much I loved her streets, which radiate from the hub of the Plaza de Armas into labyrinths that leads her visitors to Inca walls, colonial Spanish architecture, and people hustling and bustling near small squares (do check out Plaza de San Francisco) and churches. The San Blas neighborhood is wonderful, and home of many of the Good Eats set in Cusco on this site. Museo del Sitio del Qoricancha (the textiles and weaving museum) is worth a visit, though buying textiles here will require more than a budget traveler’s souvenir fund. Cusco is full of hustlers – if you take a picture of someone, they might ask you for money, kids will try to sell you everything from sunglasses to finger puppets, and the “Inca Warriror” by the 12-pointed stone will warn you against touching the stone – but don’t let it wear on you. Save your energy for climbing the hilly streets of Cusco to poke around in its markets and shops, and don’t miss Sacsayhuamán and nearby Q’enqo, even if you’re pressed for time (you can walk there, it’s not bad). Happy Valentine’s Day to you, Cusco – your people, beauty, architecture, food, and history charmed my traveler’s heart and I can’t wait to visit you again!
Filed under: Latin America, South America | Tagged: Andes, art, colonial Spanish architecture, Great Eats Cusco, Inca walls, Inca Warrior, Latin America, market, markets, Museo del Sitio del Qoricancha, Plaza de Armas, Plaza de San Francisco, Qenqo, Sacsayhuamán, shops, South America, street hustlers | Leave a Comment »