Saturday, 10 August 2013
Cusco is vibrant and buzzing place. It's the gateway to all treks to Machu Picchu. There are lots of tour operators that provide various packages to go and see the historic site. I wouldn't worry about booking a tour until you're in Cusco, just haggle a bit to get a good price and make sure they have booked you onto the train out of Aguas Calientes and then from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.
I stayed in couple of hostels in the town. The first was El Tuco which has a little way out of the centre but it was quiet, clean and friendly. There is a small kitchen where you can cook and there is a fairly large supermarket just a little way down the road. It's also not very far from the bus station which if it's light you can walk but it's fairly cheap to get a taxi there in the dark. The second hostel was the Pariwana Hostel which is a big hostel. It's a clean and the staff are helpful and friendly. There is no kitchen but there is a fairly cheap restaurant there which serves European food. There is also a good range of rooms if you wanted to treat yourself to one with a bath! It's quite nice after a trek to Machu Picchu! Also, just down the street there is a good laundry service which is cheaper than the one at the hostel.
Around the main square in Cusco there are lots of shops and restaurants. I went to Jack's Cafe which I thought was going to be a bit cliche but actually it was really good food, large portions and fairly priced. As you walk around Cusco you will stumble on many delights. Markets, street artists and music.