Safety Tips in Cusco

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Most Viewed Warnings and Dangers in Cusco

  • MAPI TREK

    by GBZanabolika Updated Apr 4, 2011

    Hello,

    Be aware of MAPI TREK. It is a travel agency in central Cusco.

    The owner tries to violate women at night.
    Do not support people like these!!! A complainment from the police is going on.

    Thank you!

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    • Historical Travel
    • Backpacking
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Do not pay in dollars local excursions!

    by GmoArg Written Mar 26, 2009

    Local excursions in Cusco (Sacred Valley, City tour and others) are sold throughout the city in soles. However, you will see the same excursions being sold in websites for the same amount in dollars. So, hold your horses and buy these excursions when you get to Cusco. As of March 20 2009, a City tour cost 15 soles and Sacred Valley costs 25 soles. However, this does not apply to the Inca Trail which costs between USD 260-330.

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    The sun IS strong!

    by Urzu Written Jul 29, 2008

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    When in Cusco or around the area, be careful with the sun! Although the temps might not be too high, think that you'll be at around 3,300 meters above sea level, so the sun hits pretty hard, make sure you put plenty of sunscreen on if you don't want to get a sunburn!

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    Hotel Peep Holes

    by drumachn Updated May 25, 2008

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    Make sure you check your hotel room for peep holes. I unfortunately found a peep hole right underneath the door knob of my hotel room in Cusco. They were strategically placed so as to look at anyone coming in and out of the shower. I caught it the night before leaving and addressed it to management at 3 am. We had the hotel manager get up from his cosy bed at home and show up to a really pissed off guest. I was able to show him 4 or 5 other rooms that had holes on their doors. He claimed to not have been aware of it. They ended up reducing our cost to stay at the hotel and I helped myself to a lonely planet book on South America. -People are horny everywhere!

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    • Women's Travel

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  • Getting spit on - research pays off

    by demulin Written Oct 12, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    So it happened to me just like I read about it happening to others! I was in Cusco from Sept 28, 2007 to Oct 2, 2007. 3 of us were walking on the far side of the bus station near the market. I was in a group of locals in the middle of the day and my 2 friends were about 100m in front of me. I felt somthing wet on my neck, in the first seconds I thought it was bird droppings...but I quickly realized it was SPIT. I turned around and saw an old sweet looking woman pointing up. She triggered a memory of reading about this scam with mustard and ketchup. I walked away quickly and yelled for my friends. I waited until I was in a safe area with police before I washed the spit off my neck. While it was an extremly gross experience....I did NOT get robbed, although I know that is what was coming next if I stuck around. This is a common scam. They work in 2's or 3's and often a sweet old lady is involved. They try to help you clean up while others rob you blind. Women: make sure, if you carry a purse/bag it has a thick bottom, as slitting purses from below is also a common practice. Otherwise my trip to Cusco was amazing and I would definately return in the future.

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    Food poisoning at restaurant in Cusco

    by tapu Written Sep 24, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    On our recent holiday (September 2007) in Peru we visited the restaurant Don Esteban & Don Pancho, located around the main square in Cusco.

    From the menu we chose the main courses Aij de Gallina (chicken) and the Savoury beef and as dessert we had Dulche de leche (milk dessert) and the cinnamon cake.

    Although the service and taste of the food was ok, we got violently sick from it and felt we were poisend. Over the course of 1 1/2 days I needed to throw up repeately and felt extremely terrible. Looking at it now, I assume that we got salmonella from the dessert dishes, because they contained milk and eggs.

    Given the fact that this restaurant charges high prices for food and tries to come across as a high-end restaurant for trusted food, this is absolutetly not the case and I would recommend NOT to go there.

    Throughout our holiday we ate in other restaurants in Cusco and Peru (higher and low prices ranges) and always everything was fine. It made me realise that prices do not reflect the quality of food at all.

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    Money matters

    by bicycle_girl Written Nov 18, 2006

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    There is a lot of ATMs in Cuzco, so don't worry about not having enough. You can take money out in US dollar or in Soles. Whatever the currency you get, when you exchange in Soles, make sure you get lots of small bills, because the 100 and 50 Soles are hard to change for the locals. It would not be unusual that the clerk in a store or in a craft booth runs out to another business to ask for change.

    Avoid paying with your plastics (credit cards) since you will pay extra just for using your card.

    Certain areas of town are full of pickpockets or very skilled thiefs. Make sure your purse is hidden and your bills are out of sight, out of reach. If someone snatched your backpack, what would you lose?

    The Peruvian Government recommends not giving money to the beggars. It just encourage them to beg more. I hope that people follow these directions, just for the next batch of tourists. If I may suggest to give them food if you can't help yourself giving them something.

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    Street vendors

    by bicycle_girl Written Oct 30, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is more of an annoyance, the street vendors are everywhere! They find you when you leave your hotel for a tour selling you rain ponchos, and they will ask over and over if you want your shoes shined. (of course the price goes from 1 Soles to 10 in the middle of the process) Other things that they will sell you is finger puppets, belts, hand bags, water, cigarettes, weaved bracelets, or little girls will insist you take a picture of them with a baby lamb or baby llama under their arms, for a fee of course. If you don't want pressured sales, do yourself a favor, say no, gracias! and leave. No eye contact, and say nothing more. They will eventually try somebody else.

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    BYOTP - Bring your own toilet paper!

    by hethbill Written Aug 26, 2006

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    You may read about this in some Peru guidebooks, but it's a good idea to bring your own toilet paper as you are out and about in Cusco, especially sightseeing in the Sacred Valley. .... ....Toilets are interesting in Peru; many of them don't have toilet seats, so be prepared to squat, hover, or fall in, AND, many of them don't have toilet paper. In Cusco proper, in restaurants or museums, you will be ok, they usually do have toilet paper. But away from the city, like at ruins or on the Inca Trail, you will need your own TP. .... ...If you are really away from civilization or on the Inca Trail also be prepared for "Turkish toilets" or "Egyptian toilets" which are just holes in the ground. Yup, just a hole, no bowl. Good luck, ladies!

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    Don't drink the water!

    by hethbill Written Aug 21, 2006

    This probably goes without saying, but remember not to drink the water out of the tap! I asked at our hotel about it, and the response was an immediate unwavering - don't drink it!
    This is especially difficult when you're brushing your teeth, old habits die hard. but you'll regret it if you forget!

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    Save your coins

    by raraavis Written Dec 2, 2005

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    One sol coins and smaller coins are handy in tipping, buying bottled water, using the bathroom and other trivial, but essential functions.

    Some bathrooms will actually charge one sol to use it.

    The public toilet at Machu Picchu charges you one sol, so make sure you have change.

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    • Hiking and Walking

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    Money Exchange - Ask for small bills

    by raraavis Written Dec 2, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There are many money exchanging stands in the town center, most are legitimate and reliable. A commission is charged for travelers checks. Carry cash if you can. Cash can be taken out bank ATM on the main street.

    Many money exchanges will tell you they don't have small bill. When they do that, walk away and try another place. Once you go outside of Cusco to the more remote areas, small bills are extremely handy for shopping/eating/bottled water. Many small shops say they do not have change...for whatever reason.

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    Poverty is a Fact of Life, but Not Too Bad

    by AKtravelers Written Jul 30, 2005

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    We know people who won't visit Peru because they are afraid that they can't take seeing the poverty. However, in Cusco, real grinding poverty is not that evident. Sure, the people are poor and there are beggars, but for the most part you don't see the same desperate poverty that you see in Lima.

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    • Historical Travel

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    Outdoor Eating -- Not a good idea!

    by AKtravelers Written May 21, 2005

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    Around the Plaza de Armas, there are a few restaurants with outdoor tables that look enticing. The recall lazy hours in Rome sipping coffee on the piazza watching the amourous locals stroll by. However, a quick observation revealed that the scene in Cusco is much different than that. If you dine outside, you will be ceaselessly hounded by beggers and children trying to sell you things (like finger puppets -- see our shopping tip). If you eat inside, the restaurant management will keep those pesky people away.

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    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

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    Make Sure You Know Some Spanish

    by AKtravelers Updated Apr 17, 2005

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    In the Sacred Valley, we didn't find many people who spoke English. Jose and Irene, the owners of our Bed and breakfast spoke excellent English, but we encountered very few others who had any English at all. This is to be expected -- after all, we are in Peru!
    The big lesson here is that even if you arrange ahead for English, you may not get it. For our horseback ride, we paid extra for an English-speaking guide. But, we got Juan Carlos, who didn't know anything more than hello or "thank you". Luckily, Sarah is taking Spanish in high school and we had all picked up enough of the language in Lima to converse in rudimentry Spanish with Juan Carlos. I also carried my trust Spanish dictionary, which proved very useful. So, learn some Spanish grammar and buy a dictionary -- you'll need it!

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    • Horse Riding
    • Budget Travel

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Cusco Hotels

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Cusco Warnings and Dangers

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