For those of you visiting Peru from the countries such as the United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the E.U., I have an important piece of advice that your digestive tract really wants you to know about: Though the fruits and vegetables in the markets may look inviting, be careful about eating uncooked fruits and vegetables. Only eat those items that you can peal (such as bananas). Otherwise, the produce may have been cleaned with the local water and you will experience an intestinal crisis. While such a predicament can make great stories in the right social circles, they are not pleasant to experience.
You will see that most tour companies offer a half a day city tour each afternoon. This is always done in the afternoon as most tourists arrive by air in the morning and leave to Machu Picchu the next morning so these tour companies want to quickly grab 40US$ (or more) of you money for this half a day rushed job.
They seems to spend less time in some of the most important sites and more time in the less important sites.
Obviously most in the sales offices where Alpaca stuff is sold.
My suggestion is don't take this half day tour. You can tour most of these sites besides the near by ruins for which you need a cab which you can hire cheap.
Some of those sites are even not worth visiting. Most of what you must see is walk able.
Try to allot 1 day for Cusco and not half and you can see most places by yourself.
Although I have traveled to many airports around the world, I have never had a roll of film ruined by an airport x-ray machine until visiting Cusco. Sadly, the roll of film that included photos from our visit to Pisac Market had the tell-tale green streaks of x-ray damage. Since we like to blow up our best ravel photos and hang them on the wall, we were pretty disappointed.
Interestingly, only one of several rolls was damaged. There was nothing special about the roll: a normal, everyday Kodak Max 400 roll of 24 prints purchased in the United States. Because we had left our photos of Argentina and Lima at my cousin's place in the capital, we have good reason to believe that te offending x-ray machine was in Cusco. So, we recommend hand-checking your film there.
Cusco's main square by nght is particularly beautiful, with the churches and restaurants all lit up and looking very picturesque.
However, if you venture to any of the busier pubs or clubs, watch out for all the boozed up gap year kids from Europe and North America who swagger around in their dreadlocks and ponchos in sinisterly aggressive manners.
We made the mistake of hailing for a taxi upon our arrival at the airport (rather than have one booked by the hotel), and on the way to the hotel, the taxi driver called up his travel agent mate. Before we even stepped inside the hotel, the travel agent ordered the porters to take our suitcases away, then asked for our passports and insisted on doing the check-in for us. He then sat us down and started bombarding us with tour offers, and trying to pack three tours for the three days we were there, and want the money there and then. We told him that we'd like to wait and see how we'd react to the altitude first, and then perhaps call him back. He seemed rather annoyed by this, and unfortunately we were given our key and room number at this point. After an hour or two, while we were resting, the phone rang but hung up when I picked it up. We suspect it was the tour tout.
When we were waiting to be taken to the airport, we saw two groups of people who were waiting to check in. They too, had tour touts explaining to them the absolute importance of booking their tours with them due to the restrict number of places etc etc etc. It is so important to rest for at least 5 hours and drink lots of water if you're arriving from Lima by plane so that your body adjusts to the altitude. We didn't have any serious problems with altitude sickness (only a slight headache and being out of breath after walking for a minute or two the second day), but it definitely wouldn't have been a good idea to go for a tour straight after our arrival as "recommended" by the tour tout.
Often tours for MP leave quite early in the morning. Mine left at 5am. When you are waiting for your bus or van to pick you up it is best to wait in large numbers or inside your hostel. This was one of the few times I did not use common sense and waited for my tour van outside my hostel door.... Well I was nearly robbed, lucky for me the van arrived just in time. I was later told there are many scams, and often a person will approach you and take something small, and as you run after him his friends arrive and take your large packs....happened many times but thank god not to me!
Because of the damage caused to the Inca Trail, poles with graphite or carbide tips which leave marks on the trail are not allowed.
You are better off purchasing a $1-$2 bamboo pole (or a pair of poles) at the trailhead to aid you during the downhills (pretty steep on day 2!).
Check with your tour company before you start - especially ask your guide to check your poles at the trailhead before the option of getting the bamboo ones if lost forever!
But remember that the bamboo poles need to be left behind at the ruins - you cant carry them out unless you manage to sneak them out! It's a shame, because with thier woven woolen colorful caps, I would have loved to kept mine as a souvenir.
If you want to leave Cusco, never buy your tickets in another place than the bus station. A lot of agencies in Cusco will sell you tickets, but they usually lie about the time and they will make you pay more than the regular price.
Si vous voulez quitter Cusco, n'achetez jamais vos billets ailleurs qu'au terminal terrestre. Des tonnes d'agences a Cusco essaieront de vous vendre des billets, mais ils mentent generalement sur les horaires et vous feront payer bien plus que le veritable prix.
In Cusco as in Lima you should be in general more careful than in other cities of Peru, the city is very touristic, thatfor there are as well a lot of pickpockets.
Especially the "Mercado de San Pedro" in front of the same called train station from where you start to Machu Picchu is a place where you must have a very close look on your baggage. They are very tricky and quick, believe me ;-), a friend of mine has had his camera in a trouserpocket of his "cargo-trousers" and didn´t notice when they cut this pocket and stole the camera while he has been strolling around on the market. Minutes later he noticed finally that his camera was stolen.
You also should be a bit more careful when you go home at night after disco visits, sometimes they follow you waiting for a moment when you are alone in the narrow streets on the way to your hostal to rob you.
I think I described the worsest cases, it´s neither that dangerous in Cusco, but one has to take care.
Oddly enough, we found the best Italian gelato place in Cusco. We had to have it at least once and often twice a day. There were great exotic flavors similar to the local fruits so it was still a local treat, if with a continental flair. Cones were too inexpensive which lead to our overindulgence. This photo was from the one time we truly splurged and got an amazing banana split. "I Due Mondi" was the parlor's name and you can find it at Calle Santa Catalina Ancha 336.
the often heard danger to be robbed or be stolen in Cusco..we really did not feel at all..we felt very safe..only at Plaza de Armas..all people tried to sell any kind of stuff..which was with the time a bit boring..
Everytime that I opened the tap, the water was yellow in color.and did not look eal
It did not look clelan at all.
I would suggest tha you drink only bottled water or water that you have treated.
We didnt really think of coming here until we started mapping out a plan of our independant walking...more
From the moment we arrived it seemed that everyones main concern was that we were happy and...more
Very nice hotel including all amenities, even wi-fi. Recommend the tours booked via Sergio at the...more