5 Ways to Explore Cusco – Cusco Travel Guide

I cannot say enough good things about Cusco. I had wanted to go here for so long and it was as awesome as I expected! Cusco was the last stop on our Peruvian adventure and I think it made it that much better.

The colors, the culture, the FOOD! It is seriously one of the cutest cities I’ve been to. Yes, it’s super touristic but it simultaneously has an authentic charm. Whether you are using it as a starting point for your Inca Trail Trek or appreciating it as a destination all on its own, you’re sure to love Cusco!

Where to Stay in Cusco

I adored our hotel in Cusco. We stayed at Tocuyeros Boutique Hotel and the room was super spacious for the three of us. We also had a delicious included breakfast on the rooftop terrace. We could see the entire city!

What to do in Cusco

1. Eat Delicious Food

Yaku – This is a colorful outdoor spot, great for lunch.

Cicciolina – We enjoyed this fancier tapas-style spot.

Morena – This is the restaurant we ate at (and got a little dizzy at – see altitude sickness) when we first arrived in Cusco. The table-side cocktails and ceviche were outstanding! Marin had a nice nap here lol.

Uchu – We love this cozy steakhouse with nice live music (I tried Alpaca…and then felt bad about it!)

Organika – Another great lunch spot! This garden style cafe has beautiful food almost too pretty to eat! I loved this place.

Limo – I’m usually not a fusion gal but this Peruano Nikkei hybrid restaurant was so good.

KFC – Ha! I can’t believe I’m admitting we even had KFC in the park one day. Sometimes ya girl needs some fried chicken, am I right!?

L’Atelier – This is a cute little coffee shop in the San Blas neighborhood. We also popped in an awesome wine and cheese bar. I don’t recall the name but see if you can find it. The owner was doing a trendy twist on his grandmother’s recipes!

Seriously all of the food was so delicious and beautiful presentation, so many fresh flowers!

Baby Marin’s favorite food was probably the leftover fish fingers he ate while reading Pout-Pout Fish! (Parents, IYKYK).

2. Go Shopping

It is so much fun to shop in Cusco! I loved all of the textiles and colors. Start with the San Francisco Artisan Market. We bought authentic alpaca sweaters (so soft!).

We especially loved the San Pedro market. It is huge and slightly chaotic! Be sure to buy some blueberries! So fresh and delicious.

3. Explore the Outskirts of Cusco

Take a day trip to visit Saqsaywaman and see the Cristo Blanco, aka white Jesus statue. We’re checking these off our list left and right with the iconic one in Rio and the lesser known but very beautiful one in San Juan del Sur. We had beautiful weather and there was a field full of families playing. There’s also a random trout farm restaurant where you can paddle boat in the same water the fish are in that you later eat. I don’t know why but this really disturbs me.

4. Visit the Plaza de Armas and Qorikancha

Plaza de Armas is a traditional plaza in the center of Cusco. It’s great to sit on a bench with an ice cream and people watch. Marin especially loved the fountain!

Qorikancha is a beautiful, historic temple in the center of town. Definitely pop in and check it out!

5. Go on Day Trips

There are some amazing day trips from Cusco. I wanted to visit Humantay or Rainbow Mountain but I was worried about the altitude and we had already made the little guy trek to Machu Picchu so we figured we’d cut him some slack and relax in Cusco.

What about altitude sickness?

I was especially worried about Baby Marin getting altitude sickness considering he was barely over a year old. I was reluctant to give him medicine so prevention was the plan! We arrived in Cusco by plane from Lima but quickly descended to the Sacred Valley to spend a few days acclimatizing before our trek to Machu Picchu. I’m glad we did because in the few hours we had in Cusco after deplaning we started feeling loopy!

Cusco is an incredible city. It’s family friendly and totally do-able with little ones.

Cozy in Cusco,


Note: We visited Peru in August 2021.

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