24 Hours In

24 Hours in Cusco, Peru

Maddy Breeling is a student at the University of Nebraska and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Cusco, Peru.

Exploring the entire former capital of the Incan Empire in one day can be overwhelming. There are hundreds of restaurants, shops, and historical sites all over this city! Don’t fear, this list will provide a guide for the highlights and can’t miss places to visit if you are crunched for time in this ancient center!

9:00 AM:  To start off the day, a visit to the Regional History Museum will provide the background knowledge and information to fully appreciate the city. It is full of artifacts and art to represent the Pre-Incan, Incan, and Colonial periods of the Cusco region.

Some of the ceramics on display that represent the history of the Cusco Region. Photo via The Only Peru Guide

Some of the ceramics on display that represent the history of the Cusco Region. Photo via The Only Peru Guide

10:30 AM:  Grabbing a cup of fresh juice from one of the local cafes around the city will be the perfect snack for the day. I would highly recommend trying lucuma or guanabana, two native fruits to Peru!

Juice is a common snack and my group and I often grab it in between classes or have it during our meals at home!

Juice is a common snack and my group and I often grab it in between classes or have it during our meals at home!

 

11:00 AM:  A quick ride up the mountains will take you to one of the most important sites for the Incan empire: Saksaywaman. This area was once a religious site, and now you can see enormous stones that were moved, cut and placed perfectly together. You can also go down the Incan slides which are made from a unique stone formation.

You can really gain some speed going down these!

You can really gain some speed going down these!

12:00 PM: Close to Saksaywaman is Cristo Blanco, a tall statute of Jesus that overlooks the entire city. This present from the Muslim community in Peru provides by far the best view of the city because the entire valley can be seen.

The view from under the statute of the city of Cusco

The view from under the statute of the city of Cusco

1:00 PM: You can find every kind and style of food in Cusco, especially near the main Plaza. For lunch I would find a Picanteria, which provides native cuisines, including the famous cuy and anticuchos.

Cooking the meat outside to entice us to come eat!

Cooking the meat outside to entice us to come eat!

2:00 PM:  Walking across the Plaza you can’t miss the Chocolate Museum and Shop. In the museum, you learn the process of making chocolate and get to taste each step along the way. At the end there is chocolate tea, chocolate pisco, and chocolate jam that are all free to sample! You can also make an appointment with a chocolatier and make your own!

Making our own chocolate with a professional chocolatier!

Making our own chocolate with a professional chocolatier!

4:00 PM: If you are looking for souvenirs, the San Pedro Market is perfect. It is an enclosed space with vendors in every corner. Besides looking for the perfect alpaca sweater, they also sell amazing fruits, flowers, and other things that can only be found in Peru.

This is in the food stall area, one of the many different ones, where you can find fantastic chicken soup!

This is in the food stall area, one of the many different ones, where you can find fantastic chicken soup!

6:00 PM: On every corner of the city is a “polleria,” or a place that sells Pollo a la Brasa. This is perfect dinner and consists of a rotisserie chicken with a mountain of French fries. Don’t be afraid to dig in with your fingers and grab a plate of Picarones for dessert!

This is by far my favorite dish of Peru!

This is by far my favorite dish of Peru!

9:00 PM: The Plaza de Armas is the spot to go if you are looking for live music, a pisco sour, or to dance. The Plaza comes alive after 9 PM and you can’t miss the dozens of bars and restaurants that surround it.

Me standing in front of the main fountain in the Plaza

Me standing in front of the main fountain in the Plaza

11:00 PM: You have gotten to enjoy all the best sites within Cusco and a little bit of the Incan culture. Time to go back to your hostel, relax and prepare yourself for your next day of adventures!

The world awaits…discover it.

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