Things to do in Cusco, Peru: One day three ways

Peruvian women in national clothes sell the products of their weaving in the tourist spot of Sacred Valley on the road from Cusco. Peruvian women in national clothes sell the products of their weaving in the tourist spot of Sacred Valley on the road from Cusco.
杭州桑拿

Peruvian women in national clothes sell the products of their weaving in the tourist spot of Sacred Valley on the road from Cusco.

Peruvian women in national clothes sell the products of their weaving in the tourist spot of Sacred Valley on the road from Cusco.

PENNY PINCH

Locals say sugar is the answer to the altitude so start with sweet, Cusco-style coffee and pastries at Cafe Ayllu, Calle Almagro 133  ($6). Get your bearings in the main square at Plaza de Armas and get a feel for the city’s colonial past at Cusco Cathedral (qosqo杭州夜网m/cathedral.shtml, $10) – a gothic treasure house of Spanish-Catholic artistry built over an Inca temple. Another nearby Inca site, Qorikancha, was partly buried under a church and convent, but there’s still an atmospheric charge around its ruined altars to the sun, moon, stars and planets (qosqo杭州夜网m/qorikan.shtml, $5). Paddy’s Bar is clearly not Peruvian by design – it claims to be the world’s highest Irish-owned pub – but the pisco sours are cheap at happy hour and the shepherd’s pie is hearty (paddysirishbarcusco杭州夜网m, $15). El Tuco, a few blocks from the centre, is run by a local couple, with cosy, affordable rooms (eltuco杭州夜网m/cuscoperu-en/index-en.php, doubles from $50).

TOTAL: $86EASY DOES IT

You can load up on Belgian waffles and coffee at The Meeting Place Cafe without feeling too much like a greedy gringo, since most of the proceeds go to local community projects (themeetingplacecusco杭州夜网m, $20). The surrounding San Blas district has become Cusco’s art quarter, where you can shop around for gold and silver jewellery, tapestries and Quechua handicrafts. At ChocoMuseo you can find out how chocolate fuelled Inca civilisation, and taste the best stuff from nearby cacao plantations (chocomuseo杭州夜网m/english/our-locations/cusco-per). Take a dinner class with Cusco Cooking, where you’ll learn how to make classic local dishes (cuscocooking杭州夜网m, from approx $40 per person). Peruvian grape brandy is served in many cocktail variations at Chilcano Pisco Bar (Calle Plateros 326,  $25). El Balcon is a quiet place to crash in a lovingly restored pre-colonial house (balconcusco杭州夜网m, doubles from $80).

TOTAL: $165SPLASH OUT

Have an early gourmet breakfast at Cicciolina, with fresh bread from the in-house bakery (cicciolinacuzco杭州夜网m, $30). Pop into Planetarium Cusco, an offbeat attraction that superimposes Incan cosmology and astrology over modern maps of the constellations (planetariumcusco杭州夜网m, $12), before boarding the Belmond Hiram Bingham luxury train to Machu Picchu. Nobody comes to Cusco without making a pilgrimage to those spectacular mountaintop ruins, and this is by far most comfortable way to go – in a plush observation carriage with fine food and wine included, followed by an expert guided tour of the site (belmond杭州夜网m/hiram-bingham-train, round-trip from $700 approx). Squeeze in a massage at Inca Spa (incaspa杭州夜网m/en, from $50 for 30 minutes), then settle into a patio suite at Inkaterra La Casona, a beautifully restored colonial manor house that once hosted the revolutionary aristocrat Simon Bolivar (inkaterra杭州夜网m/inkaterra/la-casona, from $560).

TOTAL: $1360 approx

The writer was a guest of Inkaterra La Cascona.

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