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Where to stay in Cusco

Choosing where to stay in Cusco, the roof of the world

Looking for an Inca-worthy adventure? If that’s the case, Cusco in Peru is your ideal travel destination. At 3400 meters above the sea level, Cusco will get you closer to the breathtaking Machu Picchu. The former Inca capital (from 13th to 16th century), Cusco is now a tourist hotspot and a lovely historic town that will leave you awestruck. In order to help you get the most out of your incredible travel experience in Cusco, we have selected the best neighborhoods you can stay in and focus on your explorations.

Image by Jorge Candia from Pixabay 

Transportation in Cusco

Even though you won’t find an elaborate transportation system in Cusco, you’ll still find the transportation option quite effective. Not to mention that both the taxi and bus fares tend to be rather inexpensive. You can also utilize combis and colectivos that pick up passengers randomly by yelling the destination. Of course, you’ll get to experience the city’s true glory by walking. For tours and transfers, check out this website.

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Five best neighborhoods to stay in Cusco, Peru

The crown of the Southern Sierras mountain range, Cusco is one of the cities at the top of the world, and very often, at the top of every traveler’s bucket list. Even though it may not be the largest place in Peru, its tourist popularity is growing every year. The best neighborhoods we’ve chosen to aid your trip and adventure are all pretty close to each other, with the majority of main attractions. These are the factors we considered for our top picks:

  1. The vibe and atmosphere of the neighborhood
  2. Historical and cultural importance
  3. Fun and interesting things to see and do
  4. Neighborhood safety
  5. Ease of transport
  6. Cost of accommodation
Best neighborhoods to stay in Cusco, Peru
Historic Centre For a first-time visit
San Cristobal For a budget-friendly stay
Plaza de Armas For nightlife fun
San Blas For the cool and boho vibe
Lucrepata For families/long-term stay

Image by renzonapa from Pixabay 

Where to stay in Cusco, Peru for the first time – Historic Centre

Historic Centre is, as the name suggests, at the very heart of Cusco. It’s close to the Wanchaq Train Station and has everything you’d need within a walking distance. This is the ideal area of the city to get the best feel and view of the Inca empire remnants. With a bunch of museums and ancient sites, you’ll have your days planned out completely.

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Where to go in the Historic Centre

  • Enjoy yourself at the San Pedro market
  • Check out historical and cultural treasures

Best for foodies and shopping fun: San Pedro market

San Pedro market located in the Historic Centre will make your visit to Cusco more charming as this is the best place to get local goods. Foodies should definitely try out the local specialty roasted guinea pig. If you want to buy something for yourself as a keepsake, an Alpaca wool jumper is just the thing.

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Best for history buffs: Calle Hatunrumiyoc

Historic Centre has many fabulous and mysterious sites from ancient times to tickle your imagination. Check out Calle Hatunrumiyoc Inca walls and take the time to imagine what the stones were used for. Then head over to the Inca Sun temple, Qorikancha.

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Where to stay in Historic Centre

Airbnb accommodation in Cusco’s Historic Centre usually costs around $40 per night. These are our favorite options:

This cozy budget apartment

This fantastic mid-range loft

This amazing lux apartment

Check out more Airbnb options here.

Where to stay in Cusco on a budget – San Cristobal

A 25-minute walk away from the Wanchaq Train Station, San Cristobal is the hill neighborhood close to the Historic Centre. It’s great for everyone looking where to stay in Cusco, Peru on a budget. The views from the hill are amazing and allow you a clear sight of the ancient ruins. This is where the most famous Inca ruin, Sacsayhuaman, is located, and it’s free to enter before 7 am.

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Where to go in San Cristobal

  • Enjoy the nature and views
  • Wander ancient sites and churches

Best for outdoor lovers: Christo Blanco

If you want to witness some of the world’s most amazing views, head to the Christo Blanco statue of Jesus Christ at the very top of the hill. Many visitors don’t know about this, but the San Cristobel area also has a lovely little park great for relaxation and immersing yourself in natural beauty called Qolqanpata Historical Park.

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Best for history buffs: Sacsayhuaman

Sacsayhuaman is the most popular and well-known Inca ruin that’s free to explore before 7 am. Just behind it is the Planetarium, which will allow you to admire the clear night sky. You can also get a tour guide to show you around the San Cristobal church.

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Where to stay in San Cristobal

There are many popular Airbnb options in this area with an average price of $25 per night. Check out our top picks:

This budget-friendly loft

This modern mid-range apartment

This stylish lux apartment

Check out more Airbnb options here.

Where to stay in Cusco for nightlife – Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas is essentially a part of Historic Center. This is a square at the heart of the tourist area in Cusco. Plaza de Armas is lined with bars, restaurants, and historical sites, which makes it ideal for both sightseeing during the day and partying at night. You’re bound to have some great fun with locals and other international travelers.

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Where to go in Plaza de Armas

  • Visit a cathedral of Santo Domingo
  • Enjoy the atmosphere and drinks in many bars

Best for history buffs: Cathedral of Santo Domingo

Built in the 16th century, the Cathedral of Santo Domingo is one of the main historical and cultural attractions at Plaza de Armas. The building is beautiful, and you’ll get to marvel at the art too, not just the architecture.

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Best for party-goers: Plaza de Armas bars

You can pick and choose where you want to have your next drink in Plaza de Armas. If you crave a refreshing pint of beer, head to Paddy’s Irish Pub. The place for funky shots is at the wall of La Chupeteria. Visit Mama Africa and Norton Rat’s Tavern for a great atmosphere, as well.

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Where to stay in Plaza de Armas

There are several Airbnb options in the vicinity of Plaza de Armas at various price ranges, with the average price of $35 per night. These are our favorites:

This lovely budget apartment

This cozy mid-range apartment

This unique lux terrace house

Check out more Airbnb options here.

Where to stay in Cusco, Peru for bohemian vibe – San Blas

Slightly out of the city center is the coolest neighborhood in Cusco, San Blas. The area has a distinctive boho feel to it as well, which makes it an easy choice for where to stay in Cusco, Peru for the more alternative and edgier travelers. This is a great place to do your shopping as you have a great selection of boutiques and cheaper alternatives. You’ll also find amazing local artwork and quaint cafes for all you coffee lovers.

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Where to go in San Blas

  • Shop, eat, and taste coffee at local hotspots
  • Explore the gorgeous church called Iglesia de San Blas

Best for coffee lovers: Carmen Alto

At Carmen Alto, you’ll find plenty of cool coffee shops where you’ll be able to taste all of them and find your favorite. To keep your tummy happy amidst all the coffee tasting, head to the Pantastico bakery for some delicious snacks. Complete the experience by browsing the Andean markets.

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Best for fans of history and architecture: Iglesia de San Blas

Iglesia de San Blas was originally built in the 15th century in a distinctly Gothic style. Through years of updates and refurbishments, different styles were added, making this church a true sight to behold. Intricate wood pulpit carved in the Spanish Churrigueresque style adds a true Baroque feel.

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Where to stay in San Blas

Airbnb accommodation in San Blas area goes for around $40 per night. These are our top choices:

This budget apartment with a great view

This charming mid-range apartment

This lux suite with a garden

Check out more Airbnb options here.

Where to stay in Cusco long-term – Lucrepata

Close to the main center but still rather unknown to tourists is the Cusco’s neighborhood of Lucrepata. The transportation lines are great and the area is very peaceful, which makes it perfect for people interested in a long-term stay or those traveling with their families. You’ll still be close to San Blas and Plaza de Armas when you want to spice things up.

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Where to go in Lucrepata

  • Explore the nature and wildlife of the area
  • Relax at the Massage and Healing Center Paramatma Yoga

Best for outdoor lovers: Rainbow Mountain

Rainbow Mountain is three hours away from Lucrepata and the trip will be worth it for everyone who appreciates natural beauty. You can also pay a visit to the Zoologico UNSAAC center where you’ll be able to see many wild animals.

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Best for relaxation: Massage and Healing Center Paramatma Yoga

Massage and Healing Center Paramatma Yoga is one of the best places to get a massage and practice yoga in Cusco. If you’re already staying in Lucrepata, don’t miss the opportunity to get a rub-down and enjoy the benefits of professional healing work.

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Where to stay in Lucrepata

Lucrepata has many rather affordable Airbnb options with an average price per night of around $27. Check out our top picks:

This modern budget option

This mid-range wellness studio

This beautiful lux apartment with a balcony

Check out more Airbnb options here.