The best areas to stay in Cusco are the Plaza de Armas and the neighborhood of San Blas, both areas are the historic center, stay here will allow you to have a step the tourist attractions of the city and place you where the action is.
Almost 3400 meters high in the southern Andes of Peru and just over 435.000 inhabitants, Cusco shares capital status with Lima: the latter is the administrative capital of the country and Cusco the historical capital, as it was the most important city of the vast Inca empire.
Furthermore, in the following centuries under Spanish rule, Cusco occupied a very important place in the region at the administrative level and numerous monuments were erected that today make this city one of the most interesting in Latin America.
As for the accommodation in Cusco, it must be said that the prices are really cheap, since in Peru the SMI is 229 euros, which means that the average price for sleeping in Cusco in four and five star hotels is around 150 euros, and that in hostels or lodges can go down to 10 euros per night.
Having low prices does not mean that the quality of the accommodation is bad, in fact, the city has more than 1200 approved accommodations, which for a city of less than 400,000 inhabitants is a high density.Even so, the city also has 28 hotels of four and five stars for those travelers who want to stay in Cusco at all luxury and low prices.
The best areas to stay in Cusco
The areas with the highest density of accommodation in the city are the historic center, west of Cusco, and north of the Alejandro Velasco Astete Airport, also an area of tourist interest.
The so-called «historical center» is a district that includes several neighborhoods such as San Blas or areas such as the Plaza de las Armas, which deserve individual treatment.
The entire district is perfectly connected to the rest of the city by the 3S road that begins precisely in the historical center and reaches beyond the airport.From the airport to the city centre, by taxi or private bus, the journey takes no more than half an hour.
As for the type of neighbourhood that the traveller will find, it is the opposite of a residential area. In fact, it is the most tourist area and many of the properties are occupied by accommodation (of all types and prices), shops and restaurants, without counting the large number of monumental buildings.
Not far from the Plaza de Armas, there are a number of famous temples such as the Minor Basilica of La Merced with its convent, the Church of Santo Domingo or the Archbishop’s Palace, the latter two in colonial style.
The visit to these monuments can also be combined with the enjoyment of sacred places of the Incas such as Qorikancha, remains of a great temple erected to Inti, God of the Sun.
To the south of it, there is also another very interesting place: the Monument to Pachacutec, which extended the Inca Empire to its maximum extension before the arrival of the Spaniards, and one block from the Plaza de Armas, the Casa Concha Museum, with objects brought from Machu Picchu.
In addition to these places, we recommend a visit to the Pre-Columbian Art Museum, the Inca Museum, the Sacred Plants Museum, the Quechua Museum and the Cusco Regional Historical Museum.
But without a doubt, the best place to have them all on hand is the Mercado de San Pedro, in the southwest of the district, and where you can also find food for cooking.Another place of interest is the Chocomuseo, where you can buy Peruvian chocolate.
The options for good and cheap eating can also be found in the historic center.One of these places is the Cicciolina Tapas Bar, east of the historical center, which mixes Peruvian and Italian cuisine in a skewer format.
Another restaurant is the MAP Café, in the Plaza Nazarenas, inside the Pre-Columbian Museum.
Finally, to enjoy the Cusquenian night, we recommend pubs like Paddy’s Irish Pubs, east of the Plaza de Armas and with a very cosmopolitan atmosphere; the cocktail bar La Fábrica Sports Bar, quiet and cozy, or the Cholos Craft Beers Cusco, where you can try some of the Peruvian beers like Cristal.If you find accommodation in this area look no further.
– Accommodation in the Historical Centre
2.The Plaza de Armas area
The Plaza de Armas, Huacaypata for the Incas, is a place full of monuments, a mixture of baroque, neoclassical and Inca, with arcades in the style of squares like the Major in Madrid and a garden area in the center surrounded by benches to rest.Even on its west and north sides there are several hotels to stay in Cusco for up to 30 euros a night.
As for the main attractions, highlight the religious complex of the sixteenth century composed of the cathedral, the Church of Triumph and the Holy Family, east of the square.To the south, we also recommend a visit to the Portal de Belén, next to the Natural History Museum and the Church of the Company of Jesus.
In addition to shops like the Mystic Inca Shop or Tesoros Moche, it is common to find street vendors loaded with typical products of the country in the square itself.», ‘
Just walk through the arcades and choose between a Kentucky Fried Chicken, a typical Peruvian food restaurant like LIMO (which is also Pisco Bar) or the classic and well-known Barrio Ceviche, where they say the best ceviche in town is prepared.
To end the day and enjoy the cosmopolitan Cusco night in this area, the best clubs are Ukukus Bar, on Plateros Street, and Mama Africa, in the Plaza de las Armas itself.
– Accommodation in the Plaza de Armas area
3.San Blas area
In the San Blas area, the city rises, in fact, the area is also called the «Balcony of Cusco».It begins in the northwest area of the Historic Center and ends at the city’s border on that side on Circunvalación Avenue, from where you can also reach two temples on the outskirts: Q’enqo and the Temple of the Moon.
Although the neighborhood has a good offer of accommodations to stay in Cusco, it is much more residential than the area of the Plaza de Armas.
Officially, the neighborhood begins at the 12-angled stone fountain on Hatun Rumiyoc Street.From there, following the steep slope of San Blas, leaving aside artisan workshops such as Artesanias Makinchis, art galleries and shops, you reach the square of the same name where one of the most emblematic places of this area is the Temple of San Blas, one of the oldest churches in Cusco, built in 1563.
In the same square, there are other places of interest like the Coca Museum, the Olave Museum and Art Gallery or the shop of the famous Hilario Mendivil.
The surroundings of the Plaza de San Blas, the square itself and the slope are also the most interesting places to try Peruvian cuisine: On Carmen Bajo street is the restaurant Pachapapa; at the end of the same street, heading northwest, is Le Buffet Francés, and south of the same street, the famous restaurant for vegans and vegetarians Green Point.
Back to the Plaza de San Blas, the Km 0 restaurant can be a perfect place to enjoy the night. Finally, it is important to know that every Saturday there are fairs in the neighborhood, which include the installation of Peruvian food stands, music and dance performances.
After the visit to San Blas, not only do you become convinced that it is a special place to stay but also to sleep in Cusco.
– Accommodation in San Blas
North of Cusco, already in the outskirts, is the ancient fortress of Sacsayhuamán, an ancient Inca enclave for ceremonies and which for many (Incas and Spaniards) was the biggest ritual complex created by the Incas themselves.
To reach this place you can use transport from tourist agencies, rent a car or even walk along a road that starts at Don Bosco Street, on the northern edge of the city and provides magnificent views of Cusco.
It is not one of the most popular areas to stay in Cusco but rather a place where people go to visit.Therefore, as far as accommodation is concerned, there is none around the fortress, and the closest ones are in the area of San Cristobal, to the south, where you can choose between hostels and hotels.
In addition to the Sacsayhuaman fortress, the area has other places of interest around it such as the statue of the White Christ, to the east, which is twenty meters high and considered to be the protector of the city.Further down, in the area of San Cristobal, already in the city, there are other places of interest such as the B&O Art Museum; the San Cristobal Church or the Sacred Plants Museum.
San Cristobal can also be a place to enjoy Cusco’s gastronomy (besides good local music) in the Oveja Negra, a very bohemian and quiet place to enjoy a nice evening.
– Accommodation in the surroundings of Sacsayhuamán
In addition to informing you about the best areas to stay in Cusco we also recommend reading this post: Where to stay in Lima
The Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport is located in the district of Wánchaq, which extends from the southwest of Cusco to the historical center.
One of these attractions, precisely to the east of the district, is the Wánchaq Market, on Huáscar Avenue, which is open every day and has the largest selection of products. Close to the airport, the Ttio Market is also a must, north of 28 de Julio Avenue, totally covered and where you can find a great variety of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Further east, on Cusco Avenue, you can visit the Temple of San Sebastian, a large church from the colonial period (1560), in a very quiet area.To the south of the airport, there is another temple, the Chapel of the Lord of Wimpillay, which is on the way to the archaeological site of Muyu Urqu.
Close to Via Expresa you can visit the Warike Restaurant And Grill or La Bonna Pizza, while along 3S, the number of places is greater, such as Mr. Sushi Cusco, in the San Sebastian neighborhood, or Tacos Mexicanos «El Barril».
Finally, to go out at night, in Las Américas street, north of Via Expresa, you will find Frozzen Disco, a big concert hall in a somewhat industrial area which is recommended to be reached by taxi.
– Accommodation near the airport
What is the best area to stay in Cusco?
Although for many it is only a stopover to visit Machu Pitchu, Cusco , the historical capital of Peru, is well worth a visit for its rich cultural heritage.
The best area to stay in Cusco is the historical center , as close as possible to the Plaza de las Armas or Plaza Mayor , the heart and center of action of everything that happens in Cusco.To the north of the square is the area of San Blas , the neighborhood of the artisans’ workshops and their craft shops that retain all the charm of old Cusco. It is the preferred area for tourists. The only drawback it has is the typical problem of Peru and is that you are always going up or down steps.If we do not have mobility limitations, it is a safe and charming neighborhood that will make us fall in love
Apart from visiting the Plaza de las Armas and the San Blas neighborhood, another must see is the Sacsayhuaman ruins that besides its historical interest offer us a magnificent view of the city, a first approach to the Inca civilization, with a beautiful view of Cusco.
The map shows the best area to stay in Cusco is a selection of the best hotels to sleep in The range of accommodation in Cusco is very wide, ranging from cheap hostels for a young audience to expensive and luxurious hotels located in magnificent colonial mansions reformed.
If you are interested in knowing where to stay in Cusco , you may also be interested in knowing where to stay in Lima
Where to stay to visit Machu Pichu
If we want to visit Machu Pichu the best thing to do is to stay in Cusco, but there are other alternatives.
The closest train station to Cusco that will take us to Aguas Calientes, the closest town to the ruins of Machu Pichu, is located in Poroy, about half an hour drive from downtown Cusco if there is not much traffic.
Another alternative to get to Machu Pichu is to take the train in the town of Ollantaytambo, halfway between Cusco and Aguas Calientes, about two hours by car from Cusco.
And finally we can stay in Aguas Calientes, the closest town to Machu Pichu from where the buses depart to visit it.in Aguas Calientes there are more than 60 hotels, hostels and hostels where to stay.it is advisable to stay in Aguas Calientes if we want to spend the whole day visiting the ruins or if we want to increase the magic of the place watching the sunrise.