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Our Cusco Bucket List

by Meg · 8 comments

We recently arrived in the gorgeous Cusco, Peru where we will be for 8 days before our epic hike of Machu Picchu.  Our plan over the next 8 days will be to relax and prepare ourselves for the trek of a lifetime, while also exploring all the great sights that Cusco (the historic capital of the Inca Empire) has to offer.

We have received recommendations on things to do around the city from fellow backpackers and online reviews and here is what we have on our radar during our stay here:

  • Sacred Valley: The Sacred Valley of the Incas was the center of the vast Incan Empire and includes beautiful ancient ruins, villages, and the Urubamba and Vilcanoca Rivers.  It will certainly get Tony and I pumped up to visit Machu Picchu.
  • Statue of Christ (a.k.a “white Jesus on a hill” as the gringos like to call it): Based on the  statue of Jesus Christ in Rio and donated by Palestinian emigrants in 1946 as thank you to Peru for giving them refuge, the Statue of Christ lies on top of a hill overlooking Cusco.  Visiting this statue is a perfect way to get a refreshing workout hiking up the hill and offers stunning  views of Cusco – especially at sunset.
  • Rafting the Urubamba River: The Urubamba River runs from the Andean ranges down through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, past Machu Picchu and into the jungle and promises Class II, III and IV rapids.  Sounds badass but it is also expensive… Maybe we can get a sponsored trip!
  • ChocoMuseo: An entire museum dedicated to chocolate in Cusco.  Need I say more?
  • Jack’s Café:  Your typical gringo café serving up huge portions of American specialties. Added bonus: they apparently have the best brunch in town and are right across the street from a Starbucks.  At our current B&B, we have been stuck eating bread, butter, and instant coffee EVERY morning since arriving in Cusco.  I am thinking an “American Day” full of bacon, pancakes, and Frappuccinos is in order!
  • Pisco Sour at LIMO Cocina Peruana & Pisco Bar: Pisco Sour cocktails are an ongoing battle between Chile and Peru.  Which Pisco reigns supreme is the question?  Well, to all Chileans, Chile has the best Piscos.  To everyone else living in South America, Peru is where it’s at.  I trust the majority vote, and voters of Cusco say LIMO has the best in the city.
  • Fresh juices at Mercado San Pedro: As mentioned in my previous article, Mercado San Pedro is Cusco’s largest fresh market stock full of every type of meat, fruit, and vegetable.  Their claim to fame though is their incredibly tasty and cheap juice bars.  Sounds like a fabulous breakfast to me!
  • Cuy at Kusikuy: If you ever owned a Guinea pig as a pet, you may want to stop reading right now. Good. Now that we have that taken care of, let me introduce you to one of Peru’s famous delicacies… Cuy!  Also referred to as Guinea pig, Peruvians love these little critters fried whole… I have never owned a pet Guinea pig, so I have no qualms eating one.  And come on, what isn’t delicious fried?! Word on the street is that Kusikuy serves up the best Cuy in Cusco.
  • Chifa at Chifa Sipan: Chifa is a Peruvian/Chinese fusion of Chinese cooking using  ingredients available in Peru.  Chifa Sipan has the best in Cusco, but Lima (our next stop) apparently has out-of-this-world Chifa, so maybe we will hold out for Chifa in Lima.

It looks like we will have our hands full over the next 8 days.  However, if you have traveled to Cusco before and have any other recommendations for us, please let us know!

About Meg
Exhausted from traveling every week as a Business Management Consultant early in my career, I took a year off in 2012 to travel at my own pace. I am a high-energy girl that loves being active, eating food, drinking wine, and exploring the world with my partner-in-crime (and husband), Tony! I now reside in Portland, Oregon and continue to write about travel, food, wine, and the awesome adventures we have in the Pacific NW!

Jerry March 20, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Enjoy Cusco! Our first day there we did nothing because we were still adjusting to the altitude. The Jesus hike is a good hike to test your acclimatization on day 2.
What company are you doing your hike with? The hike is still fresh in our minds because it was such an awesome and unforgettable experience. There’s always a few things we’d do differently though.

Meg March 20, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Thanks! We arrived from Bolivia so we are already pretty acclimated to the altitude but I am still worried about the 4 day trek on the Inca Trail ahead of us. We are going with Peru Treks. How was your experience?

BTW, I loved reading about your dining experiences in Buenos Aires. We liked La Cabrera a lot, especially with the 50% off… although, I wish we made it to Don Julio. We heard so many great things and it sounded delicious! You should definitely check out a closed door dining restaurant while you are there!

Magz March 20, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Hollllldddd upppppp…. ChocoMuseo… a museum of chocolate?!?!? I NEED TO BE THERE.

Pure amaze.

admin April 16, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Yup as your sis-in-law I am confident to say that this place was made for you and me.

JR March 21, 2012 at 8:29 am

JR, the picture is beautiful and all the adventures you have planned sound great. Guinea Pig? are you kidding me? Sounds adventuresome and I am sure it will taste like Chicken :)

Meg March 21, 2012 at 9:49 am

haha we are huge fans of Anthony Bourdain and he always advises people to try local cuisines in foreign countries no matter how weird they may seem… So Guinea pig it is! We will be sure to take lots of pictures!

catherine rulli March 21, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Oh my, I cannot wait to hear about the Guinea Pig. It sounds better when you call it Cuy. Not much different than eating rabbit I am sure. Katniss in Hunger Games would have eaten it without a problem. Many people would. You could do a whole hunger game dinner. Wash it down with one of those fresh juices. Now that sounds good.

Tony March 21, 2012 at 9:12 pm

hahaha too funny

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