Most people who visit Peru spend at least a few days in Cusco. The city, which serves as a gateway to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, has more than its fair share of tourists traipsing around in clunky white sneakers, wearing backpacks and talking too loudly. I didn’t actually expect to like Cusco very much… too many pizza restaurants and men in socks and sandals for me. However, I was happily proved very wrong.
Cusco may have more tourists than you can shake a stick at, but it also has many beautiful colonial churches, small and serene city squares, a vibrant local market and very good Peruvian food. We spent almost a week in Cusco and enjoyed every minute.
We wandered around the city centre, toured the cathedral, had lunch with the locals, drank beers in an Irish pub and spent hours just people-watching. It may have been a bit tame and gringo-ish (there is literally a street in Cusco named Gringo Alley!) but after a month of roughing it in Ecuador, Cusco has felt like a relaxing haven. We’ll be sorry to leave!