Posted March 5, 2009 by Kate Hamman
Cusco may be the jumping off point for visits to the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu, but this lively city provides plenty of things to do to keep you entertained while you wait. Among the wide range of cultural activities, museums, and history, you'll find a slew of deals in low-cost souvenirs, a charitable hotel, and gourmet eats.
Centro Artesanal Cusco: For the ultimate deals in the city, pay a visit to the largest indoor market in Cusco, the Centro Artesanal Cusco. Here you will find hundreds of vendors selling a cornucopia of Peruvian goods and homemade crafts, arts, and textiles. If you're looking for anything made with alpaca wool, this is the place to find it. Many of these same items are available all over the city, but at heftier prices. Wear comfortable shoes for walking, as the market covers a large area and is about 15 minutes from Plaza de Armas.
Inka Grill: Though it is located on the touristy Plaza de Armas, the Inka Grill is a must-stop for its range of traditional dishes. The two-story Peruvian restaurant attracts visitors and locals alike with selections such as alpaca tenderloin, cuy (guinea pig), and cocoa-leaf crème brûlée. For the less adventurous, the Inka also serves a range of pizzas and pastas.
Niños Hotels: It's rare to stay someplace that lets you give back to the community, but at Niños Hotel, all profits from your stay go to help neglected Peruvian children receive food, clothes, and proper medical attention. Centrally located, this super-budget two-star hotel makes for an ideal home while in the city. And the comfortable accommodations make it all the more attractive. Rooms start at $36 for a double with a shared bathroom.
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(Photo: Dan Brandenburg, iStockphoto)
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