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Cuzco






Fast Facts

  • Location: In the middle of Andes in southeastern area of Peru
  • Attractiion Type: Inca cultural heritage
  • Significance: UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its remarkable stone architecture
  • Best Time to Visit: Throughout the year
  • Visiting Hours: Daytime and evening
  • How to Reach: By flights from Lima or Arequipa; alternatively by bus from Puno, Arequipa, Nazca, and Lima
  • Nearest International Airport: Rodriguez Balloon Airport, Arequipa
Cuzco in Peru is among the most visited destinations in South America. Cusco or 'Qosqo' in Quechua in the middle of the Andes Mountains was the capital of the Inca civilization. Literally meaning 'navel', Cuzco was founded by Inca Manco Capac in 11th century AD. Being at the center of the Inca territory it was considered a divine place and later came to be recognized as the 'archaeological capital of America'. Cuzco at a height of 11,217 feet in Central Andes is located in south east Peru.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is remarkable for its architectural stone structures and broad squares. The Inca civilization with its center in Cuzco spread to Machu Pichu and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Inca structures built without mortar and cement is baffling. The stones were so perfectly shaped and placed that the structures still stand today. Spanish settlers 15th century onwards built their houses on the stone foundations built by the Incas. Cuzco city is the perfect representation of Quechua culture which later combined with Spanish lifestyle and trends.

Activities

The 'Sacsayhuaman' is the most remarkable ruin representing a giant falcon guarding the capital of the Incas. This fortress surrounded by walls 5 meters high and 2.5 meters wide enclosed three big towers, terraces, and the Royal House of the Sun. Never miss the Sacsayhuaman on your visit to Cuzco. Take a stroll in the 'Plaza de Armas' and discover the churches, bars, restaurants, and shops. Enjoy exceptional coffee from the coffee shops lined in Plaza de San Francisco.

'Sapo' is a local game that involves throwing of small coins on a table attached to a bronze toad or 'sapo'. The coins should land in holes on the table or inside the 'sapo's' mouth. This game is best enjoyed with the accompaniment of 'chicha' or local corn beer. Savor their roasted 'cuy' which is a delicacy in Cuzco and preparations of alpaca.

Accommodation and Dining

You can choose from a wide range of hotels for accommodating yourself in Peru Cuzco. Hotel Monasterio, Hotel Marqueses, and The Garden House Hotel are the luxury hotels of this city. If you want to settle for a comfort hotel, then you might choose amongst Hotel El Balcon, Orquidea Real, or Hostal Familiar. In case you are traveling on a budget try out Amaru Hostal I, Amaru Hostal II, or Hospedage Corona Real.

Food is wholesome and mouth-watering in the restaurants of Cuzco. Alpaca steak, 'aji de gallina' (chicken with boiled eggs and olives served with yellow sauce), lomo saltado (beef tips with onions, spices, and tomatoes served with rice and French fries), and 'Papa Rellena' (stuffed potatoes with boiled eggs, vegetables, olives, and beef) are some of the local delicacies. Jack's Cafíé, Cross Keys Pub, Yaku Mama Grill, and Mama Amerika are famous eateries of Cuzco.

Related Links :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfzYOj3neh8&feature=related: This is the first of a three-part mini-series on Cuzco. Check it out not only for some wonderful sites of the region, but for lots of relevant information as well.

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