A wallet-friendly trip to Cusco


Cusco is the land of $700 per night hotels, but it’s also a great destination for those with a more modest budget.

Cusco fills the valley. In the background, one of the mountainsides has "Viva El Peru" etched into it. The city is so different from the other Peruvian cities I have visited. The rooftops are almost all covered by red stone shingles. The Plaza de Armas is clearly visible from up here next to the White Christ statue that watches over the city.

Near the Christ statue are the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, which offer some amazing stone work by the Incas. To enter the ruins you’ll need to purchase a tourist ticket, which lets you into many of the sites and ruins surrounding Cusco and the Sacred Valley. The ticket costs 130 soles or 70 soles for students.

Even if you don’t get the tourist pass, the walk up to the Jesus statue takes only about 30 minutes from the Plaza de Armas, and it’s free, with a great view of the city. Usually there are people selling souvenirs, posing in traditional clothes, and playing traditional music up there.

I expected Cusco to be expensive. There are a lot of places and people that seem to target the foreign tourist with higher prices. However, it’s pretty easy to find cheap food or decently priced souvenirs, you just have to look a little. I found a great menu place for only 6 soles a plate right around the corner from my hostel.

But, for just a little more, Cusco offers a good selection of food. About two blocks east from the Plaza de Armas is Choquechaca Street, which is home to a number of great eateries.