The day after arriving in Lima we headed straight to Cusco. We wanted to acclimatise before our trek to Machu Picchu. Cusco is 3,400m high, altitude sickness can become a problem from 2500m plus. We booked Hospedaje Turistico Recoleta. It was about a 10min walk to the Plaza de Armas. The hostel itself had a homely feel and a small kitchen that you could use to cook your own food. It was very quiet in terms of people so if socialising is at the top of your agenda this may not be the place for you. However when there were people it could be a bit noisy.
Cusco seems to have a pretty chilled vibe. Lots of yoga, places to get massages, amazing food and a lot of beautiful places to visit nearby.
Evergreen Yoga – A lovely yoga space, with a small shop for clothes and food. They have an affiliation with Green Point a vegan cafe we fell in love with so you can get some of their treats and energy snacks here. We did a vinyasa class and it was fantastic. There were only 5 of us in the class and the teacher was great. Chloe went to the live music and vinyasa 1.5hr in the Sunday run by the teacher and her husband. Apparently it was great but I wasn’t feeling so good so missed it unfortunately.
Healing House – Yoga studio and rooms to stay in. There are lots of classes here as well as massage and reiki readings. We did a candle lit yin class and although a little cold it was a beautiful class with lots of props and warm blankets.
Wow we were blown away by the food in Cusco. A highlight was the vegan restaurant Green Point in the San Blas area. Make sure you leave with one of their cakes. Literally everything you on the menu was dreamy and we should know we went there 3 times! The dishes however are very large almost to the point of being wasteful so keep that in mind when ordering.
Greens Organic – Amazing service, with a great cocktail list and fantastic food choices. On the pricier side but worth it and just off the main square.
Baco – We shared 3 pizzas and a salad between the 4 of us. My favourite was the blue cheese pizza by far. The service however was not as great as all the other restaurants we had been to but probably the best pizza in town.
Cicciolina – after the famous Hungarian/Italian porn star who made the move into politics (we had no idea about this person until after our visit). The restaurant gets busy so arrive early if you want a table. We just sat at the bar to eat which suited us fine. The atmosphere is great and the staff are really friendly. We had the beetroot pesto ravioli and it was delicious.
Conceptico Amazonia – A small concept cafe where we had some gorgeous acai bowls. They have some beautiful photographs in the cafe so take a look.
Jack’s Cafe – I would recommend here for lunch. An Australian restaurant with veggie/vegan choices. I had a large hummus and salad sandwich. Near the main square and San Blas.
Jardin Organiko – The ingredients here are fresh, seasonal and I think most are from their garden. Mix of meat, vegan and veggie choices. We had the summer lasagna and we were not disappointed!
Cusco is great to just walk around and get a feel for the place. The main square is beautiful with lots of stunning churches. San Pedro Market is the one to visit if you are after gorgeous pieces to take home and get a feel of a local market with trinkets, food and drink to buy. There are lots of markets around cusco but after a while they do all seem to feel the same.
We also did the Rainbow Mountains tour from Cusco. Up and out at 5am. The drive is a couple of hours to breakfast and then a nearly two more to the car park where you then walk around 1hr30 to the top. Now Rainbow Mountain is 5,200m. The climb you do is to around 5,000m as you look into the mountain rather than on it. The view from the top is amazing the colours from the minerals is just incredible but the walk towards the end is hard. We took it very very slowly in the last 20mins or so. Once at the top it is recommended not to stay more then 20mins because of the altitude.
The are plenty of tours from Cusco, cooking classes, salt mines, sacred Valley tours, lakes, horse riding, Pisac almost too many to choose from and tonnes of agencies too. It can be overwhelming but have a look around and check on trip advisor I am sure you will find your perfect trip.