Acclaimed for its mix of architectural styles and sophisticated urban planning, Cuzco is one of the best cities to experience culture, cuisines and to bask in the incredible landmarks. The center of the former Inca Empire lets you wonder around the cobblestoned streets and sightsee the Temple of Qorikancha, which is believed to be built in the 15th century in honor of the sun god, Inti.
In Plaza de Armas, the busy and vibrant centre of Cuzco, the Spanish influence can be clearly seen. From the wide stone pathways to the well maintained colourful gardens, it is no surprise Plaza de Armas is a popular pit-stop for tourists. Apart from the gardens and the pathways, the plaza is also home of the Cuzco Cathedral and the Church La Compania de Jesus which surrounded by numerous Spanish colonial buildings and stone galleries. The plaza is where most events and festivals are held such as the Inca Festival of the Sun and Corpus Christi—a religious festival.
Head to the San Pedro Market to sample salchipapas (fried sausage and potato) and even anticuchos (beef heart). The market is filled with Peruvian culture and delicacies that is out-of-the-ordinary, ideal for the adventurous eaters that are willing to try even the most bizarre. If you’re up for it, you can head over to a cuyeria to have a taste of cuy or guinea pig. Cuy is typically roasted and is served in one piece—head included. It is not an everyday cuisine that’s eaten by the locals, but it is a local delicacy that has been served for millennia.
Despite not being the capital of Peru, Cuzco still welcomes about two million people each year, visiting the UNESCO World Heritage sight on their way to Machu Picchu which is 50 miles from the Sacred Valley. Since the city sits at an elevation of about 11,150 feet above sea level, some visitors may suffer from altitude sickness for a couple of days. In the Inkaterra La Casona, an oxygen-rich hotel, you can book a room to help combat the effects of the altitude and get you properly adjusted to the elevation.