Traveller Hangouts: Cusco, Peru

A reasonably large city, the centre of the former Inca capital is a compact mix of attractive Spanish architecture and sturdy Inca walls. Mountains enclose the city.

Reasonable rooms and rates are plentiful. The city has lots of internet cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs – some with a good mix of Peruvians and travellers.

I’m craving chocolate cake, ice cream and, after so long on the road, would love a traditional British sunday lunch. Any chance of that?
No problemo.

Getting around
The centre is small enough to walk around but the steep streets and altitude are somebody’s idea of a joke and play merry hell to the unfit. Taxis are cheap: around 40p until 10pm, 60p after. The only problem is the streets are very narrow and the taxi drivers are very stubborn – preferring to recline their seat and snooze rather than back up.

Things to do
The main attraction of Cusco is as a base for the Machu Picchu trek. Other outdoor activities include rafting and horse riding in the sacred valley. Around town bar crawling is popular and their are plenty of churches and Inca sites to poke around in.

Expats and locals
The Peruvians are nuts, love to party and urinate in public. The expats are nuts, love to party but are less likely to urinate in public.

Cost of living
A decent room, two restaurant meals a day and a couple of beers will leave you with a little change from a tenner. Two for one drinks are available at different bars and clubs from noon to midnight. It’s been calculated that after a week you’ll have a pile of club and bar flyers high enough to reach the moon.

Any chance of working?
Voluntary work and teaching English are the best options. Some of the bars and tour operators will hire gringos. South American Explorers offer a free lunch or Spanish lessons in exchange for helping out.

Stay a while?
If you are still there after four months you’re there for ever.

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