1. Take a Walk
Cusco is filled with celebrations, monuments, museums, and more. Every corner holds something new. By walking, you get to find things you would have never seen otherwise. One of my favorite things to do in Cusco is to start at La Plaza de Armas, turn in a full circle, see something interesting and follow it. One day I ended up walking for five hours! I saw a wedding procession, a marinera traditional dance competition, several markets, and I went into the museum Qorikancha. Without following the sound of some good music, I would have never found half of these things. In terms of not getting lost, I had great experiences with asking locals for directions and was able to find my way back fairly easily. Make sure you reference landmarks rather than addresses and try and stay on bigger roads.
2. Attend a parade
Parades happen every Sunday in La Plaza de Armas. Often there are events hosted by local schools during the weekdays as well. The parade I saw included members of the military, police officers, and many local dance groups. The plaza was filled with both tourists and locals who wanted to watch. The parade changes every week with schools and local community organizations participating and it is a great thing to see while in Cusco. If you cannot make a Sunday parade, stop by during the week to see if you can spot a group practicing. Many days, a school will be out there practicing in the afternoon.
3. Go to a Church Service
One of the best ways to spend time with your host family and appreciate the beauty of some of the historical churches in the area is by attending a service. Catholicism is a big part of Cusco and a part of my host mom’s life. One day we went to the Cathedral in La Plaza and it was amazing to experience a Catholic mass for the first time and see what it meant to my host family. In addition to the Cathedral, there are many historical churches in the area. One of my personal favorites in San Cristobal. San Cristobal is on top of a mountain so it is a bit of a walk, but the view is definitely worth it. Many of the churches are also museums. You can learn a lot about their history by taking a tour or walking through.
The world awaits…discover it.