Cathedral on Plaza de Armas
First thing. Taxis. Anywhere not withing walking distance, you're pretty much going to have to use them. But they're dirt cheap and fun to ride in. They ARE going to try to rip you off. They see white faces and see $$. So kinda be wary and ask more than one taxi how much it is to different places you're going. If they see you start to ask someone else, they're going to lower their price. From the airport to the main square (Plaza de Armas or PdA from here on out... ) pay no more than 5 soles. You could find it for 3 or 4 though. Pretty much everything you need is within walking distance of PdA. Theres a great grocery store with an atm on the northeast corner of the square. You can walk to the Central Market (pure craziness, watch your pockets and valuables.
..) by walking straight south from the southeast corner of PdA about 5 BIG blocks. The street you want to take to get there is Santa Clara I think... I have a pretty good map of the city you can take. Also... Don't buy "alpaca" from the Central Market. Most of it is fused with synthetic. Go to one of the really nice stores on PdA just to feel how soft its supposed to be before you buy anything. I would suggest not actually buying from these stores though, because they're over priced. But you can find some really good deals on alpaca hats, sweaters, blankets etc. at other smaller shops around the city. And BARTER. With everyone. You can always get them to go cheaper. Try Cusquena and Pisco Sours. Theres 3 different types of Beer in Peru. Cusquena, Pilsen and Cristal.
Our room at Saya Wasi
Good in that order, in my opinion. Try em all. For the best pisco sours we found go to the Pizza place I was telling you about. Its called Sumaq Mijuna. Its on Choquechaca really close to Jack's Cafe. Just a bit farther west. The Pizza there is amazing. We tried a few places for that too, and this is the best. Really cute waitress too. I'm assuming she'd still be working there. Another place you have to eat is La Ratama. Its on the West side of PdA you enter below and go upstairs. Go for dinner around 8 or 9 or so because every night they have live music and dance performances that are really really cool. Also, if you're going to try Cuy (Guinea Pig) This is the place to do it. They serve a full Cuy, and its awesome. They also have great Alpaca steaks.
Its a little bit more on the pricey side, but not toooo terrible, and if you stay at Saya Wasi I think they'll give you a discount. 20% or so.
If you're arriving to Cusco
early, and want breakfast on that or any other day, the BEST spot I found was Jack's cafe. Try the French Toast. Fking BOMB bro. And the OJ is stellar there too. Hell, its all good. You could have the taxi take you right to it if you want. They'll know what you're talking about. Its on the corner of Choquechaka & Cuesta in the San Blas district. San Blas is really nice. Its where the Hotel/Hostel I was talking about is. Its called SayaWasi (www.sayawasi.
com) Like I said, it has an amazing view of the city, and its really reasonably priced. Check out the pics on the website, and if its something you'd be interested in, let me know, and I'll talk to Marisol, the girl that runs it, and I'll let her know you're coming, and get you the cheaper rate. Theres a lot of stairs involved daily if you stay there, but its worth it. Also, I can probably have her send someone to pick you up at the airport and bring you there first to drop your things. But if you do this, be wary... it'll probably be a guy named Federico. Hes a cool guy, but he runs a tour company, so he'll definitely try to sell you some tours. Which are good, but I'll get to that later...... I attatched some pictures of the room we stayed in and the view.
And if you haven't already go to my myspace to see other pics, and if anything sparks a question just let me know. I added you last night. Theres another good breakfast place thats right on PdA. I can't remember the name of it, but its just west of the main Cathedral. Theres a small street that runs between it and the Cathedral. Really good eggs there.
Ok, for tours of Cusco. Theres a lot of ruins really close to the city that you should check out. I'd suggest taking the sacred valley tour to see Ollantaytambo. Really amazing, and the people there are really interesting. Also, it takes you to the Pisac market which is a great place to buy gifts and souvenirs. TONS of stuff. You're going to see a lot of the same stuff everywhere you go.
Stairs. Lots of 'em
And people really want to sell things to you. You'll see. Around PdA, you'll have people walking up to you trying to get you to buy postcards and dolls. This tour also takes you to Chenchero. A absolutely beautiful high altitude city. Again, I'll tell you to check out the pictures from Peru on my myspace to get an idea. They don't do it any justice either. Go to www.boletoturisticocusco.com to see more about what you can see on this tour. They won't take you to every one, but you'll have the ticket to see them if you want to. Its 70 soles for the full tour ($23). Theres another set of ruins that you need to see. Its called Sacsayhuaman (pronounced similar to sexy woman) DON'T take a tour here. If you get the 70 sole full city tour, you'll have the ticket so just go by taxi.
I enjoy mountains
The tour we took only allowed us 10 min at these ruins when you could easily spend over an hour. They have a Christ statue similar to the one in Rio (only much smaller) and its near Sacsayhuaman and we didn't even get to go over to it because of limited time. Qorikancha is another place you'll have on the same ticket, but I'd say skip it... Not really necessary to go inside. The outside is kinda cool though. So maybe make a point to go by it. You'll see it on the way to PdA from the airport. Its on Av El Sol. Which is the Main road from the Airport to PdA.
Nightlife. Good Clubs- Mythology, and Mama Africa. Mama Africa is the best. A lot of locals go there and between the two clubs, you're going to meet most of the young crowd staying in the city.
Very proud of this picture
Stay away from Uptown Bar. Pretty lame. There will be tons of people on PdA handing out free entry tickets for it to get you to go in. The locals really don't like it though. (Let me also say right now while I'm thinking it, all this is just what I experienced. My opinions. Obviously you need to make your own trip, and make your own decisions) Whats good for me, might not be the best for you. You seem like the kind of guy that already is aware of this, but I just wanted to say it) For a really CHILL bar to just sit and drink theres a place called Los Perros. to get there, theres a street in the middle of the west side of PdA. I think if you walk up that it'll take you right to it. If not, take Av. Plateros straight west and turn right on the first street. That leads right to the door. Theres also an American tavern called Norton's on the East side of PdA thats pretty chill. It has the only pool table I saw in South America lol. Nice place to go early evening too and sit on the balcony. For the REALLY young crowd, theres a place called Vegas close to San Francisco plaza. Don't be surprised if some young Peruvian girls offering massages invite you to meet them there later. You will be offered massages everywhere you go. I never got one.. you might want to check it out. I should have. Its cheap