Cusco, the gate to the sacred valley.


Being in Peru means visiting the world wonder of Machu Picchu and Cusco the capital of the ancient Inca imperium.  Cusco as the matter infect is an inevitable stop before this world famous ruins.  It is the only place to buy entrance tickets at the official ticket sale, meaning by that: the cheapest way to visit the sacred valley of the Incas.  As being the centre of the Inca world, Cusco has its own ruins, a cathedral, lots of churches and a colonial style historical centre.

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The different markets, the lots of tourists, a sparkling nightlife, the university and the rather small restaurants in small streets offering culinary highlights (Cuy) of the traditional Andean/Inca kitchen are making Cusco a very lively city.

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So while figuring out the best way to do Machu Picchu and looking for the lowest price, we really have a good time, walking through Cusco’s streets from agency to agency.  Lots of them offer the full package (transport, bed, food, guide and entrance tickets) at a price range from unpayable till ‘only for millionaires’-prices.  But we want the lowest for u and our readers and that takes some time.  We stay at ‘Casa La Sambleña’, behind the San Blas church, just four blocks away from the cathedral, where the five of us have a dorm for us alone.  From there we have the right place to visit the neighbourhood of San Blas, a labyrinth of small – with lots of corners to discover and fountains to be found.  It has a small market where we buy every morning a different one litre fruit juice for only 3soles and some vegetables to cook diner in the evening. We find tiny shops with local art at each step we take and encounter stairs that take us to unexpected views of a skyline of brown-reddish tiles.

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And of course the ‘Museo de Arte Precolombino’ which is almost an obligated visit, to understand more about the culture, before entering Machu Picchu.  We learn how during the Formative period there are diverse cultures located in the coast.  They occupy up to the western strip at the mountain range of the Andes.  Among these sites there were Cupisnique, Salinar, Vicus, Viru and Paracas in its older phase or “cavernas”.  Although each society presents political, religious and administrative individual characteristics and obtains outstanding success, the diligent investigation by Rafael Larco Hoyle indicate that there exists a certain sequence in its development and defines common stylistic and technical characteristics, from sites of the first civilization process of Pre-Colombian Peru.  During this period there is a remarkable advance in ceramic art the five of us enjoy walking from hall to hall.  Painting and sculpture take in place; there are beautifully naturalistic and symbolic representations; many of them enriched by the use of incise decorations, in which the Cupisnique artist achieves a great degree of development.  And it gives us nice look inside its culture.

Collection Inca Collection Nasca

Collection Mochica Collection Huari

Collection Chimú Collection 1

So leaving the museum behind us we are ready to step into the world of the sacred valley of the Inca’s.

Our Recommendations:

–          Bus from Arequipa to Cusco is 30Soles per person and a 0,8Soles taxes at the bus station.

–           El museum Pre-Colombinos costs 10Soles each person

–          Casa La Sambleña is just great, located in a quite picturesque area and is definitely a wise choice for a stay in Cusco.  Moise and Zenaida provide us with lots of useful information, WIFI, clean rooms, book swap, laundry service and the most useful: luggage deposit while we visit the ruins.  Prices go from 15Soles in low season and 30Soles in high season.  Breakfast and airport-pickup are included!  We loved staying at this lovely place.

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