15 Things to do in Cusco
With 4 million visitors a year in Cusco there are many things set up for the tourist. But what about those who want to travel differently?
Fly Kites with 100s of other people above the city…..
While everyone else is on their tour bus, hike up to the Cristo Blanco, Sundays during the month of August only, and fly a kite with 100s of locals. I promise you it will be one of the best experiences you have in Peru.
During the harvest season, June, July and August bury some papas in the ground and light them bad boys on fire and chow down. If you made it to the kite flying you will see most people doing Huatia. Building small dirt ovens and then cooking potatoes in them.
Señor de Qoyllurriti Pilgramige….
Sometime around the end of May beginning of June jump in on the huge festival known as Señor de Qoylluririti where the locals dress up in costume and dance, crawl, whip each other and carry blocks of Ice on their backs, all the way to the main festival area, the church where Christ appeared in a Rock years and years ago. If you can’t make it during the festival you can still hike it anytime of year and visit the site.
Aliens and Mummies….
It was big news, international in fact, that a possible alien mummy was found in the town of Huaro a few years back. Well that alien is now in the tiny and free museum of Andahuaylillas. It is located next to the famous Sistine Chapel of the Andes, quite possibly the oldest church in South America. Don’t miss the Incan mummies as well in this church and the part where they show you how they formed their heads from birth to 9 years old.
Cook food in a local wood fired oven…..
Every town in Peru has a local oven. People do not often have anything other than a wood fired stove, so anything that should be roasted or baked goes to the local oven. The cost is often 3 soles a pan. You can bring a whole chicken, pizza or some of your favorite meats with potatoes. Often these ovens will have a stick with a basket hanging off of it so you can find it. However, your best bet is to ask whoever you are staying with where to find one. “Horno Typico.”
Eat cuy at a locals house…..
This may be harder to find, so ask at your airbnb before you come to help you set it up. Cuy or Guinea Pig is best eaten with the locals. This meal is top notch! Get over that pet you had as a kid and dig in. These animals eat alfalfa and veggie scraps and they are super good for you and taste great. Ask about the Zorrito and see if anyone can find him.
Speak Quechua to the street vendors…….
Most people in Cusco speak Quechua. When you get bothered by the street vendors talk to them in their own language.
No- Manan (Ma-nan)
Yes- Ari (Ah-ree)
I don’t have a camera- Manan qanchu camara (Ma-nan kan-chu ka-ma-ra)
I don’t have any money- Manan qanchu colque (Ma-nan kan-chu cole-k)
Use this to basically say, I will buy from you another day…
Another day- uj p’unchay ( huek poon-chay) (who-(sound of the letter) k poon-chay)
Rent typical Peruvian dress and take pictures in front of Coricancha……
On Calle Matara near Grau there are stores where you can rent typical Peruvian clothing. Most people do this for festivals and dancing. You can rent this and then go two blocks over on Avenida Sol to the famous Coricancha and dance around on the grass and take pictures.
Ride Goat Trails with a sick bike…..
You will need a local rider to help you or we can organize it as well. Ride out in the country on animal trails that have never seen a bike while passing women wearing the same gear you just took pictures in yesterday. Kill two birds with one stone by riding sweet single track and eating cuy with a local.
Spend the day with a shepherd…….
Anyone who lives in the country and has animals has to go out daily to shepherd them. All day long walking around in the Peruvian Andes with a local sounds pretty sweet to me. I don’t even know where you would begin to organize this but maybe Bill and Nic can help.
Dig for gold……
I might get arrested for this one and if I don’t you sure might. There is gold everywhere. No joke. We have seen the small gold figurines of friends who have found them in their corn fields only 1 foot under. The Inca buried their gold everywhere to keep it form the Spanish. Be very careful though, here they say you must “pay the earth” before you uncover anything Incan or you will die…..or sometimes your arm will turn black.
Dancing on Avenida Pardo…..
Cusco never lacks traditional dancing. All year long someone is getting ready for a dance. Maybe it is a dance their school or work is putting on, maybe it is for the Qoyllurriti festival your getting ready to go to. A very common place to see people practicing is on Avenida Pardo between San Miguel and Grau.
We all know that South Americans love their football. Take a day to go and see a Cienciano game. Ask wherever you are staying to look into the schedule so you can enjoy what the locals enjoy.
Purposely get robbed at the baratillo……
If you like markets especially flea markets hit up the baratillo on Saturdays. Since you have prepared yourself well before coming to Peru and already read this blog, have some fun and bring an old phone or two- non-working or broke is fine. Hide anything of real value inside of your inside pocket. Or even better in your boot. Keep the broken phone in sight, pull it out to take pics and talk on it, leave it hanging out any one of your pockets, or make them work hard and put it in the zip pocket and see how long it takes. It’s only pickpockets so don’t be scared.
Shout Sexy Woman in Public and not get dirty looks…..
Saqsayhuaman are the ruins above Cusco. Everyone is always talking about them or asking if you have been there. Shout it out loud or ask around: Where is the Sexy Woman??