Getting ready to travel to another country can be an exciting experience as well as a slightly scary one if you don’t know what to expect. Now if we add another factor into the equation such as altitude then things can get a little bit complicated. What to expect in Cusco? Well there certainly are a few key points to consider when arriving to this high altitude city.
Firstly, let’s go over a few facts. Cusco is situated in the Peruvian highland region, it’s altitude is of about 11,000 feet above sea level or 3,200 meters above sea level for those using the metric system. What to expect in Cusco Peru? Let’s start with this very point, the altitude.
Travelers will arrive at the Velasco Astete airport located in Cusco, the airport is very close to the main square; about a 15 minute cab ride from all the major hotels and restaurants. Upon arrival you might feel a bit of pressure within your body. A lot of travelers however state they don’t feel this immediate altitude change, we can attribute this to the excitement of arrival. Many travelers feel fine the first they so they decide to go explore the city as if they were near the coast instead of going through the protocol we lay out for all our incoming clients. You can expect to feel the altitude change a bit more within the first 24-48 hours in Cusco. This is why we recommend relaxing on your first day, light meals, plenty of water and a light walk will help adjust to the altitude.
Arriving to Cusco you can also expect very warm and friendly locals, many of the “Cusquenos” are well accustomed to saying hello, good morning, etc to absolute strangers. You can also expect plenty of people from all over the globe. Cusco is the first stop in Peru (other than Lima of course) to anyone that wants to go to Machu Picchu so it easily receives thousands of tourists from all parts. The weather tends to fit a certain norm throughout the entire year. If it is sunny out it will most likely be very warm and if it is cloudy it can get a bit chilly. The only difference might take place during the rainy season which runs through January- March, February being the rainiest month in the highlands.
Hotels are located very close to everything you need from restaurants to clothing stores, markets, supply stores, drug stores, etc. Just about anything you need will be walking distance from your hotel so there really is no need to hail a cab unless you are going to the airport. If you are taking a day tour or are being picked up to head to one of the treks such as the Inca trail to Machu Picchu the agency will of course send transportation for you.
Restaurants as mentioned before are plentiful. From the gourmet La cicciolina to small mom n’ pop restaurants offering meals for under $3 to fast food chains like McDonalds you are sure to get a good meal. For the vegetarians and vegans visiting, you’ll be happy to know that there are many restaurants throughout the city catering to your lifestyle so no worries.
Touring around the city of cusco you can expect to see very old architecture, cathedrals, churches and museums. There is no shortage of important locations to visit around the city from the cathedral at the main square to Koricancha a few minutes away. Planning a tour to the sacred valley or Maras y Moray? Ollantaytambo or heading straight to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo)? No problem is all starts in Cusco.
So, what to expect in Cusco, Peru? Friendly locals, plenty of food, several places to visit, beautiful weather and plenty of fun. For more information on Cusco, Machu Picchu tours, treks or Peru travel as a whole contact us with our form below!