Cusco is a major point on your way to Machu Picchu and Sacred Valley. Here are my #inside tips on where to stay in Cusco area.
Should I stay in Cusco, Ollantaytambo or Aguas Calientes?
Aguas Calientes is a 100% touristic settlement that was constructed in order to support tourism to Machu Picchu. It has only hotels, tourist markets and restaurants (everything is pretty costly). My suggestion – expect it as a 1-2 nights point of your trip to Machu Picchu and don’t book a hotel there for several days. Among places to visit and things to do there is only Machu Picchu there.
#inside: expect Aguas Calientes as a 1-2 night point on your way to visiting Machu Picchu. It’s absolutely tourist place that was built to support Machu Picchu tourism.
Ollantaytambo is a small town, it has a great archeological complex and it is a transit point on the way to Machu Picchu. I won’t suggest you stay here because it’s pretty small, geographically in the corner of the sacred valley and in comparison with the Cusco city offers you fewer activities, restaurants, and choice of tour operators.
#inside: choose Cusco city as your base point for discovering sacred valley. It is geographically in the center of the valley and offers much more options than the rest surrounding towns.
Where to stay in Cusco city?
Cusco is not a big city at all. And the answer is very simple here – stay as close to the Major Square as it possible for your budget. Why?
The first reason is that the historical center is the most beautiful and interesting. Best hotels and hostels, restaurants, tour and rental agencies, massage salons are here.
The second and pretty important reason is that Cusco, as lots of other Peruvian cities, has dangerous areas where you may be robbed of a violence.
Pisac – a hippie point.
I was pretty surprised, discovering Pisac as a hippie point. Pisac is quieter and not so commercial as Cusco. You may find here hippie vegan cafes with an authentic and original interior design, handmade jewelry stores and maybe your spiritual home. So if you are a person of this kind of mood, that will be the better place.
#inside: meet hippie culture in the heart of the sacred valley, at Pisac.