As the very first destination on my travels, Cusco holds a special place in my heart. It's the city where I felt so incredibly lonely and lost, the city where I seriously asked myself if I had taken the right decision in travelling alone... Yet also the city in which I saw endless oppurtunities unfold before my eyes, where I got a taste of the wonders travel has to offer and knew within every molecule in my body that I could not have made a better choice than coming here.
I slowly fell in love with Cuscos cobblestone streets which I walked up and down and up and down, panting frantically during the first days before I got used to the altitude.
I had a complete freakout when I 'lost' my credit card, which led to an experience of uttermost kindness of generosity from complete strangers.
I cried my eyes out on the morning of the US election results and connected with people from all over the world who felt similarily desperate.
Most of all, I met so many interesting, kind and intelligent people. I might not meet them again, but some of these conversations gave me an entirely new perspective and planted seeds for though which I'm excited to cultivate.
Without further ado, Here are some of my favourite places in Cusco!
- Supertramp Hostel
This place was everything I needed.
Situated at the top of Sun Blas, it's quite the hike to get to...after which you're rewarded with an amazing view over Cusco. Their outside are is perfect for getting to know people just as well as chilling out with a book and the people working there were extremely welcoming; they took me out with them for Halloween on my first night there and we had a great time! I loved that most of them were latin americans, so I could improve my spanish skills, but they also spoke english.
The rooms are the best I've stayed in so far: each bed has its own locker at the foot of the bed, a little shelf on the wall, a power plug and a small light. If you close the curtains, you basicalyy have your own little room!
This hostel is definitely not cheap, but you more than get what you pay for, I would recommend this 100%! It's nice and quiet if you want to relax and you can also party with the staff if that's what you're into.
- Green Point & The Vegan Temple
Cusco has a bustling vegan/vegetarian restaurant scene and these two were my favourites.
Green point has everything your heart could desire: from dumplings to (vegan) tiramisu to banana waffles, it's all there and every single dish I tasted was outstanding! I haven't met a single person who went there and didn't absolutely love it.
I only took pictures of the breakfast I had there (I was mostly too busy devouring the food as soon as it got to the table). The samosas and creole soup are to die for and I also adored the banana waffles and vegetable korma.
The Vegan Temple is extremely different and equally delicious! It's a small family-owned restaurant where you eat sitting on cushions on the floor while meditation music is playing in the background...
Their lassis are gigantic and super creative in the flavour combinations available, the carribean curry I had was sweet, salty and spicy heaven and their burgers are some of the best I've ever had. Also, the price is unbeatable!
- San Blas
This neighbourhood feels like you've stepped into a different world. Away from the busy streets in the centre of the city, you can find vintage shops, yoga studios, small cafes and everything inbetween. I spent a few days just walking around, grabbing a cup of coffee at L'atelier and doing some yoga at Yoga Room or just enjoying the sun at plaza San Blas.
This was by far my favourite area in the city!
- The Maras Salt Ponds
Ou of the sights I visited around Cusco, the salinas de Maras definitely stood out. The number of aslt ponds is growing continuously as more families move to the town of Maras, since everyone has the right to their own salt pond. It is quite the sight, rows and rows of rectangles of different shades of white continuing seemingly endlessly into the distance.
Cusco in general was not love at first sight for me. However, I truly adored these places (and more) and don't regret spending more than a week in this city. Cusco is definitely worth more than just a short stopover o the way to Machu Picchu!