I’d live here. It’s absolutely bad ass. I mean it’s surrounded by the Andes, high up in the clouds and at the heart of it is an historic village that was ruled by the Incas.
Best of all it’s lost no charm to modern day measure, but that’s just a smidgen of why travelling Cusco is epic. I had big love for the setup of this place and I reckon I spent in total 10 days wandering it. Once alone, second time with the mother before the Inca Trail and I still wasn’t bored. I would say the altitude affected me but the first time I arrived here at 6pm I was up at 3am hiking Rainbow Mountain with two ozzies, my thoughts on that here and why it’s one of the best/craziest things I’ve ever done.
I spent Christmas here and by here I mean Wild Rover hostel. The place does exactly what it says on the tin. We headed out for Guinea pig on the eve and come 10pm we were on the tables, along with the rest of the hostel. Thankfully I’d booked at hotel room for Christmas day in a hotel, approaching 30 I was playing the hungover game in a dorm on Santa’s day. I loaded up with cake and ordered a pizza. Christmas was on top form.
Another reason why travelling Cusco is epic
Areas of Cusco kind of felt like the east-end of London. Endless boutique shops, cafes, ‘vegan’ eats I wasn’t spoilt for choice. Pisco sour replaced a beach side Pina at the many bars in the centre when not soaking up the delights of the Wild Rover jaunt. I spent a day exploring the Mueso Inka and Mueso de la coca, walking up to the view point and tasting the delights of the local market, a great place to pick-up hostel cooking needs. The free walking tour is a must to understand this place and it tee’d me up nicely heading into the Inca trail with a little bit of knowledge on the Inca culture.
The only time I nearly shit myself in Cusco was the plane landing. I’m a puppy when it comes to flying and being in a metal tube whilst it swerves around 5000m mountains to land ain’t for the faint hearted. Awesome views though. It’s an easy bus ride to the old town from the airport or a cheap taxi if you’re packing a load of gear. Actually come to think of it I was close again after sampling a cows heart but thank fully it passed fast. A solid note to self, don’t over indulge on the cows heart, although it’s supposedly full of protein and BCAA.
- Let loose staying in Wild Rover for a few nights
- Read my post here on nutrition and fitness for alttitude trekking
- Stick to the main tourist area. I wondered outside of it in search of a small Christmas gift and sdaly there’s a lot of pverty on the outer areas. It becomes quite run down
- Plan for a few days here giving yourself time to soak up the culture
- Visit Rainbow mountain for a day trip, you can read why here
- Visit the city view points
- Look out the window the entire plane journey. An airbus swerving through mountains is an experience you won’t forget
- The free walking tour
- Check out the mueso de la coca and Mueso Inka
- If you’re looking for someone to book Machu Pichu with here’s a couple of recommendations from my experience
- Push it to hard when travelling Cusco. This place is high and altitude sickness is pretty bad from what I’ve seen with friends. I’ve never had it myself although I have felt my heart racing for oxygen when there’s very little available from pushing it too much
- Get roped in to tours, there’s lots you can do yourself
If you’re doing the Inca Trail Machu Pichu I’d advise doing Rainbow Mountain beforehand. It’s one day of hard going to trek the summit but it sets you up fitness wise and expectation wise for the Inca Trail. In the group I did the Machu Pichu adventure with. The people who’d done Rainbow mountain before the Inca Trail didn’t find it as tough going. Anyway that’s my little sum up of why travelling Cusco is epic. And to the food…
Tips for healthy eats
- Not so healthy when travelling Cusco but Creperia La Boheme is where it’s at for the cheat meal
- Organika for super healthy green meals at bargain prices
- The local markets for smoothies and fruit bowls
- Mercado San Blas for many a various dish including some great veg and BBQ meals including Llama and Alpaca
How to get meat for that protein hit
- The markets serve up some great chicken BBQ
- On the side streets you can find BBQ steak, llama and chicken. It’s next to nothing for an entire skewer of either.
Where to exercise
Train in the martial arts gym on the second street that runs horizontal with the main one. The owner is wicked and it’s full of prison style weights. They had a power-outage one time and I trained by candle light. He’ll just ask you for a tiny fee to use the gym and you can even book a MMA session with him.