For the journey from La Paz Bolivia to Cusco Peru we decided to use Bolivia hop; a hop on hop on bus designed for tourists for comfort and help with border crossings and safety. Sure it’s more expensive than a local bus but for the three days we used it the cost was about 40 NZD. On the way we stopped off in Copacabana and visited Isla del sol for a day trip and then we stayed one night in Puno and visited the floating islands. I spent the overnight leg of the bus from Puno to Cusco with terrible food poisoning and most of the ride on the floor of the moving bus toilet. Word of warning – stay away from trout in this little part of the world.
Cusco lives up to its reputation, it’s a cute little city that is the perfect place to base yourself before doing Machu Picchu. We spent four nights here before Machu and did not get bored of wondering the streets.
Stay at Pariwana hostel. It is a bit more expensive than other options but it is a really good hostel. Clean, nice beds with two pillows per person, good activities and nice breakfast.
WHAT TO DO:
Free tours by foot – this is a free walking tour company that we used twice and would recommend. The tour that starts at 10am shows you the markets and talks more about the history of the city. The afternoon tour at 3.30pm is more spiritual and talks about the different healing methods the Peruvians believe in and use, this one also has good views over the city. Just remember to leave tips at the end!
Jungle trek to Machu Picchu – Because of our budgets we could not afford to do the original inca trek at about 1000 usd. You also have to book this quite far in advance which can be restricting. Instead we decided to the jungle trek and it was a good experience. 4 days and three nights of walking, zip lining and rafting before seeing Machu Picchu on the final day. This is also not cheap and lots is not included but it cost about 500 nzd all up. This includes staying in hostels rather than camping as well. However you choose to get there Machu Picchu is as breathtaking as you think it should be. If you get the chance also walk up huanya picchu which is the mountain overlooking Machu. It’s a tough steep walk up but it’s worth it for the views.
If you are looking to party head to Loki hostel. There is a non stop party there and visitors can enter for the bar area. Chango is also a pretty decent club.
WHAT TO EAT:
Jacks cafe – DO NOT MISS THIS. We ate at jacks five times during our trip and I could just eat there every meal forever. Australian owned; the menu is a slice of home. They serve all day breakfast as well as a large lunch/dinner menu. I tried the granola with yogurt and strawberries, the green curry (twice) and the burgers with fries. Everything on the menu is huge portions and delicious. Choquechaka 509, Cusco, Perú
Kion – Chinese fusion restaurant. Really amazing food and a nice restaurant that does not feel like it should be in Peru. Has Mekong baby vibes for those auckland people who will know what I am talking about here. Cost is not too bad either and dishes are good for sharing. We shared three dishes; a rice dish, noodle dish and fried chicken and cost was 91 peso. Triunfo 370, Cusco, Perú
Green point – Vegan restaurant that you also should not miss. 15 peso set lunch menu of salad, soup, main and desert. You get so much food and it is really tasty. I am not by any means vegan but it was so yummy I went back a second time. Calle Tordo 310, Cusco, Perú
Green organics – Good food, deserts and cocktails. They also sell alpaca here if you want to try it. My friends loved the alpaca sliders. Sta Catalina Angosta, Cusco, Perú