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What to do in Cusco and Machu Picchu. Recommendations by a peruvian

Machu Picchu is one of the new 7 wonders of the world and it should definitely be on your bucket list. It only takes 1-hour flight from Lima to Cusco.

The city lies at 3400 meters above sea level. The only thing I don’t like about visiting Cusco is that I feel a little bit sick during the first day. This means I get Soroche” (Peruvian term for Altitude Sickness). The first thing you should do when arriving in Cusco is to drink Mate de Coca or take Sorochipil (pill for the altitude sickness) for acclimatization. I recommend taking Sorochipil at least the first day upon arrival. Coca candies are also a good option and they are sold everywhere. A bag full of candy will cost only S/. 4  Peruvian soles (around $1.20)

 

Mate de Coca (Coca Tea) is an herbal tea (infusion) made of the leaves of the coca plant

 

Our first stop after check-in was Plaza de Armas. It was almost lunchtime, so we visited a popular Irish pub called “Paddy’s Irish Pub”. The food is amazing! especially the burgers. Also, the prices are very affordable compared to other touristic restaurants located around Plaza de Plaza.

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One whole day was dedicated to visiting Coricancha (Temple of the Sun) and Sacsayhuaman. The Coricancha is an Inca temple. There you can visit Convent of Santo Domingo. For Peruvians, the entrance to the convent is S /. 10 (PEN).  That day, next to the main entrance, we were approached by a man who offered us to be our guide for S/. 30
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Coricancha

While walking around the convent with our guide “Justin Bieber” (that was his name), he was telling us about the history of the Spanish conquistadors and the Incas in the year 1533. After a couple hours, we  decided to move to Sacsayhuaman 

View of Cusco City from Sacsayhuaman


Another day, we visited Machu Picchu. January is the rainy season in Cusco and sometimes the roads to Macchu Picchu are closed due to landslides. We bought our train ticket at the Peru Rail office in Plaza de Armas. The route we were offered was from Cusco to Poroy Station by bus, approximately 1h 45m, and from Poroy Station to Aguas Calientes approx. 2h 30min.

Note: The total journey from Cusco to Machu Picchu was approx 6 hours.

 

From Aguas Calientes, visitors should take a bus up to the ruins, and the journey takes 45 minutes. Another option is to walk all the way up. 
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Wow! Machu Picchu is amazing. You will not believe your eyes 🙂

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We were very lucky when we visited the citadel, because when we arrived there was a little bit of sun, and when we were leaving, it started to rain. The best advice I can give you is that if one day you visit Machu Picchu, it would be better to stay overnight in Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley or in Aguas Calientes. For us, it took a whole day trip from Cusco to Machu Picchu and we ended up really exhausted.

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In order to relax after a long journey from Machu Picchu, the following days we spent most of the time enjoying Cusco. One of our favorite places for breakfast was  Jack’s Cafe.

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Plaza de Armas de Cusco

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Another common activity in Cusco, believe it or not, are massage services. In Plaza de Armas and surroundings, you will find girls handing out flyers offering “massage” for a very cheap price. I found on the Internet a place with good reviews so I just went for it. A hot stone massage + an hour massage cost S /. 35, incredible right?. It’s important to mention that the girls who give massages are not certified, but the service is still good.

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Don’t forget to try a Cusqueña beer while enjoying Cusco city  🙂

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Photo from the past:  First visit to Machu Picchu when I was 19 years old

Useful Spanish phrases:

  • Gracias = Thank you
  • Una Cerveza, por favor = one beer, please
  • Cuanto cuesta? = How much is it?
  • Una Botella de agua, por favor = A bottle of water, please
  • La cuenta, por favor = The check, please

 

Author: Fiorella

Fiorella is the author of Chica On The Road. She is a Peruvian girl, who loves to travel. She lived in Bolivia, Italy, Australia, United States, Canada, Germany, and Southeast Asia. She created this travel blog to inspire others to travel more and share travel tips. She is now learning Italian and still traveling.

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