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Latin America Cuzco (Peru)

This beautiful colonial city was constructed over ancient center of the Inca empire. Where Cuzco stands now, there was the center of the entire Inca´s universe. The legend says this place was founded by Manco Capac and his wife Mama Oclo. These “half gods” traveled all the way from lake Titicaca in order to find the right spot, the place where Manco´s scepter will sink into the earth. And they found it. Now, Cuzco is a perfect spot for trips into the Sacred Valley, for visiting Machu Picchu, Pisac and other nearby ruins. The altitude is 3400 meters above sea, so sometimes it is harder to breath and the evenings get colder.
What here: Just walk the streets, admire the colonial wooden balconies and old Inca´s walls that now serve as a foundation to new houses. Most movement is around the main square “Plaza de Armas” where you will also find the cathedral (opened early mornings during the mass). Worth a visit is also a convent “Coricancha” built over the Inca´s palace of the sun. If you have time, browse into the local market San Pedro. It is an amazing market, you just need to watch your belongings a little bit more :)
There are many smaller ruins around Cuzco, most of which you can reach by local bus. The closest to the city (just about 30 minutes walk uphill) is Saqsayhuaman, it also has the biggest stones! To enter these you must get a special ticket “Boleto Turístico” (130 Soles, Av Sol). It entitles you to enter many ruins including Pisac and Ollantaytambo.

Where to stay:
There are so many hotels and hostels, that it would be really difficult to recommend one. However, here is an advise – get a room with a heater! As for restaurants, you might want to try Pachapapa (touristy, pricy but fun) or El Marques (delicious fine dinning). The local specialty is Cui (guinea pig) but it is more interesting than tasty. Also consume coca leafs or mate since they will help you to deal with the altitude.
How to get here: By bus from Lima or Puno (7 – 8 hours). You can also fly from Lima, try TACA or LAN, you should be able to find a one way ticket for around 150 USD.