¡Bienvenidos chicos! This is our final stop on one of the most visited cities in South America, Cusco Peru. A place that transports you back to different time periods at every turn. Friendly smiles from locals ready to help you with whatever you need. Great food that stems from years of perfection and influences from cultures evolving through time. We can only be grateful to have gotten the privilege to see Cusco, in all its glory, in person.
San Francisco Plaza
During the time of Spanish occupation, the Franciscans moved from the San Blas area to its current location formerly Qasana, as ordered by the Viceroy of Spain to Peru as homage to St Francis of Assisi. Like many churches in Cusco, the Saint Francis Church floor plan is also in the shape of a Latin Cross.
Right in front of the church is a small park called San Francisco Plaza where on occasion a flea market pops-up selling various souvenirs, food items and artworks featuring local artists. This usually overflows into the street and so they shut it down to automobile traffic. If there is no flea market, there is the Feria Artesenal De Productores south of the park that sells tons of handicrafts.
West of the plaza, pass the Arco de Santa Clara will be the church and convent of the same name. On the street opposite the church, sometimes there are living statues that will entertain you for some change.
San Pedro Market
This market is the biggest and most visited in the Historic Center. It is divided into different sections that includes fresh meat, produce, fruit juices, flowers, dried goods, souvenirs, and stalls that sells affordable meals at the back.
The market offer lunches that include soup, a simple entrée with rice and a drink for less than S/. 10 ($3.00). Perfect for budget conscious travelers!
San Pedro Church
The site where the church stands was previously a hospital that serve indigenous people during the colonial times. After the hospital was destroyed in an earthquake in 1688, church authorities built the church.
Have you tried a different kind of churros? Yes, the usual theme park churros are also for sale in the streets of Cusco, but Dely’s has a different kind which sort of tastes like doughnuts.
The bakery has other pastries and breads as well and it is located 5-minute by foot from the Mercado San Pedro. These Peruvian churros are freshly made for S/. 1.50 ($0.40). Do line up and pay at the counter before cueing at the churros stand.
Teatro Municipal del Cusco.
We stumbled upon this building while exploring and bought tickets for a couple of shows. The theater showcases plays, concerts, live shows, and musical productions that features local talents. It serves as a venue for young actors, artists, and directors to revive this industry amidst streaming services, social media, and the like.
There were a lot of families during our visit in support of the show. It was a different experience for us. We did not expect high budget sets and production, but for S/. 20.00 ($5.00) the shows were creative and fun to watch.
Church of La Merced
Another busy street called Calle Marques takes you back to Plaza de Armas. There are also coffee shops, restaurants, and shops on both sides of the street. One of our favorite spots here is Café Macchiato, especially when a balcony seat is available. It gives you a view of the churches’ domes and it is a great spot to people watch while resting our weary legs from all the walking.
The next block from Calle Marques is La Basilica de La Merced at Plazoleta Espinar. It is a smaller church compared to the giants of Plaza de Armas, but this is one of the churches that is open mostly every day. It was very busy most of our stay because of La Semana Santa (Holy Week). There are flowers and candle vendors right at the door, but bear in mind that you are not allowed to light candles and leave them inside all churches.
Plaza Regocijo (Kusipata)
This square sits in the center of government buildings, a couple of museums, hotels, and souvenir shops. A fountain sits right at the middle of the park and there are a few benches where people hangout and try to avoid the crowds of Plaza de Armas.
The city hall and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de la Municipalidad del Cuso is on the north block and the Museo Histórico Regional de Cusco sits on the southwest corner in front of Café D’wasi. Both museums are part of the Boleto Integral Cusco.
Cusco Peru Historic Center Finale
This post ends our Cusco Historic Center suite. We tried to make it thorough but not too information heavy. Our goal is to make it seem that you are walking and learning, as we traverse Cusco Peru. A city packed with a history of conflict, resistance, destruction, and rebirth.
Who knows what will become of this UNESCO World Heritage city? Will this colorful culture endure the rapid growth of the modern era? Will the ruins and monuments still stand for generations to witness? We don’t know, but as they say, when in Cusco, do as the Cusqueños do!
Be present. Enjoy the smiles of locals even when you talk to them in broken Spanish. Embrace the chill of the morning breeze and the warmth of the midday sun that shifts constantly throughout the day. Learn a way of life that is different from your own. Open yourself up to new delicacies, culture, and experiences. Know other people until they cease to become “others” to you. Break out from the confines of what you know. Seek adventure and live with intention.
Walk with us and know the do’s and don’ts when visiting Cusco Peru’s Historic Center.
Trial Retirements are periods of time we dedicate traveling to beautiful countries to know if they are perfect for us when we eventually retire. The time spent outside of work will serve as a preview of our habits and behaviors when we reach Financial Independence, and of course, our way to recharge after months of hard work.
Anything we missed? Questions? Violent reactions? Let us know on the comments below!