Cusco, Peru – City Guide for Nomads and Expats

Cusco, Peru.

Located high up in the Andes Mountains of southeastern Peru. A very important destination for travelers wanting to visit Manchu Picchu, which is only a day trip away. Other than Lima, this is probably the most touristed city in the country. 

Cusco is a charming town with friendly people that, despite the hoards of tourists, has managed to maintain a sense of identity and authenticity. In 1983, Cusco was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. By the way, if you fly to Cusco for a few days without acclimatization, altitude sickness may spoil your stay. Physical fitness does not protect against it. Cusco sits at an elevation of 3,399 m (11,152 ft).

Population: 360,000


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THINGS TO DO IN CUSCO

Visit the Museo y Catacumbas del Convento de San Francisco de Asís de Cusco.

Visit the Museo Casa Concha, a museum full of artifcats from Macchu Picchu.

Visit the Qorikancha, an Incan ruin turned museum.

 

BEST BARS & NIGHTLIFE IN CUSCO

7/10

Several bars to choose from in Cusco, and open every day of the week. Unfortunately you’ll have to share it with the worse examples of hippie gringo tourists. But least there’s still fun to be had. You might think Cusco parties every day of the week, but it’s mostly only good from Thursday to Sunday. Plaza de Armas is where all the action is. There are pubs, salsa bars, discos, sports bars, hip-hop and rock spots. Quite a good selection, but not the greatest company.

Bars that My Latin Life recommends:

El Muki or BajoZero.

Mama Africa: a truly foul place full of tourists and Cusco’s infamous bricheras.

 

WHERE TO STAY IN CUSCO

Staying near the historic center makes sense.

There’s a backpacker hostel called Ioki Cusco.

 

RENT AN APARTMENT IN CUSCO

$400.00 is a good baseline for renting here. If you find a place with a couple roomies, you can shave this cost down considerably.

 

BEST CAFES IN CUSCO FOR DIGITAL NOMADS

Café Dwasi Peruvian Coffee: This place is great and the wifi is stable.

Three Monkeys Coffee Cusco: Awesome coffee shop with fast wifi.

Siete y Siete Cafeteria: Amazing, relaxed place with exceptional wifi.

 

COST OF LIVING IN CUSCO

The following data is from Expatistan a crowdsourced database of prices and cost of living around the world.

*Figures are listed in USD

You will need a minimum of $766 USD/month to live in Cusco, Peru

cost-of-living-cusco-peru

JOB OPPORTUNITIES IN CUSCO

Yes!…well kind of. Plenty of volunteer opportunities with NGOs helping out and teaching English and whatnot, but most are unpaid or will even cost you money to register. I met a couple people teaching English here. The gigs didn’t appear to pay well, but apparently they paid something.

 

IS CUSCO SAFE?

A lot of swindlers and pesky little pickpocketing kids in Cusco, but nothing too sinister. It’s very unlikely that you will be a victim of violent crime here, but you may very well “lose” your cellphone. Be mindful of your surroundings, particularly in crowded streets or markets.

 

HOW TO GET TO CUSCO

Your best bet is to fly from Lima. You could also take a bus from Arequipa, but this is not recommended. Cusco is 500km from Arequipa, and the route crosses  some gnarly mountain peaks.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

If you’d just had a breakup and need to get the poison out, come to Cusco. You’re a virgin? Come to Cusco. If you need to forget about life for awhile, come to Cusco. If you’re interested in the Inca Empire, come to Cusco. Cusco is amazing and fits all your criteria if you like mountains. But, if you’re looking to get away from intolerably entitled white tourists who use “spiritual and cultural enlightenment” as a vale for doing cheap drugs and hooking up with other travellers in a developing country, don’t come to Cusco. 

It’s a jumping off point to Machu Picchu. Two or three days is enough to see what you’ll want to see.

 

OVERALL RATING: 6.75/10

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