Hundreds of years ago, Cusco was the capital of the Inca Empire before the Spanish conquistadors arrived in South America. The rest, as they say, is history. Today, the city is the touristic capital of the modern day nation of Peru. From the Spanish colonial buildings lining the Plaza de Armas to the bright traditional fashion of the local Andean women it’s easy to see why tourists from all over the world come here. Oh and did I mention that the city is also the gateway to Machu Picchu?
Getting to Cusco Sitting at approximately 3300m above sea level, it’s quite common for visitors to experience a mild case of altitude sickness upon arrival, particularly if you are flying in from Lima which is at sea level. The flight takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes. It’s also possible to get to Cusco by bus from Lima (24 hours), Arequipa (10 hours), Lake Titicaca (8 hours), and La Paz, Bolivia (15 hours).
No trip to Peru would be complete without visiting Cusco and experiencing a bit of Andean culture. Even if trekking to Machu Picchu isn’t your cup of tea, there’s surely something to be found in the city that will suit your tastes, whether it’s llama steak or coca tea. Coca tea, by the way, is perfectly legal in Peru and helps with the altitude. Cocaine, however, is totally illegal. You’ve been warned!