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Overview to Cusco: Travel Guide and Tourist Information

Plaza de Amas, Cusco

Right across the board, Cusco is a really rather inspiring place. Its attractive historic center is held in by dramatic hills and strewn with a wealth of Inca sites and Spanish churches. It also boasts one of the most exhilarating, non-stop nights out to be had in the whole of Latin America.

The Plaza de Armas - much as it has been for about the last thousand years - is the city’s bustling heart. To its north, the Old Town, once the center of the great Empire of the Incas, fans out in a dense mishmash of Incan and Spanish styles.

The Spanish, in fact, leveled the city save for its mighty foundations, which they incorporated into their new constructions. A closer look at many of the bases of the buildings reveals remarkably hewn rocks and, crucially, no cement.

The effect is both intriguing and rather mournful as one can only imagine, for example, what the gold-bedecked Temple of Koricancha must have looked like before the Conquistadors stripped it bare.

After the sun sets, the city’s outstandingly vibrant nightlife extends (roughly) from the Calle Plateros corner of Plaza de Armas. Here, a melee of little hole-in-the-wall joints and jumping music bars cater for the hordes of enthusiastic revelers.

Before setting off on a night out, though, a meal in one of the charming old inns known as ‘quintas’ is an absolute must  - although the squeamish traveler should probably avoid ‘cuy’, or guinea pig, the region’s signature dish.

Cusco, like Peru as a whole, is a wonderful place for backpacking. Relatively cheap, full of outstanding historical monuments and with a pace to life that’s laidback by day and lively by night, backpackers invariably find themselves tweaking their itineraries to stay in the city just that little bit longer.

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