What Can I Do in Cusco While Acclimating?

Painting of a party in Cusco's main square.

Welcome to the high-altitude paradise of Cusco, where ancient history meets breathtaking landscapes!

As you go through the process to acclimate to the elevation, the question arises: “What can I do in Cusco while acclimating?” Fear not, intrepid traveler, for this blog is your ultimate guide to making the most of your time in this enchanting Peruvian city while allowing your body to adjust to the thin mountain air.

From exploring historic ruins to savoring local delicacies, we’ve curated a list of experiences that promise to turn your acclimation days into an unforgettable adventure.

So, lace up your walking shoes, breathe in the crisp Andean air, and let’s discover the wonders of Cusco together!

San Pedro Market

Situated approximately 10 minutes southeast of Cusco’s main square, San Pedro Market is easily accessible to everyone.

Whether you opt for guided tours that feature this traditional market or choose to explore independently, reaching San Pedro Market from the Main Square of Cusco is a breeze.

Starting at the Plaza, head in the direction of La Merced convent, follow the same street straight ahead, pass through San Francisco square, and shortly, you’ll arrive at the main entrance of San Pedro Market.

Refer to the map for guidance.

Directions to San Pedro's market from the main square.

There are plenty of things to see since the very bizarre stuff to the colorful fruits and handicrafts.

The “San Pedro Market” is a very picturesque place, often visited by national and foreign visitors, where you can find many alternatives to buy traditional souvenirs, as well as taste some typical food, good cheese stalls, accessories for traditional costumes, fabrics, stalls of healers and witchcraft, herbal tinctures, and ointments based on the tallow of certain animals.

Here you can buy coca leaves and prepare your own infusion; coca tea is one of the best natural remedies to combat altitude sickness and we are sure it will be very helpful during your stay in Cusco.

Nowadays some people who come from nearby provinces, come with typical costumes, carrying their babies on their backs in typical blankets, which will surely fascinate you. A whole experience to feel the pulse of an intense city that is not only touristy but also popular.

The pukara bulls are one of the most sought-after souvenirs in the locality.

San Blas’s Lookout

Nestled in the San Blas neighborhood, renowned as the most artistic district in Cusco, this location has been a hub for architectural and craftsmanship-based economies since ancient times. Characterized by colonial-era buildings and Andean architectural influences, San Blas offers a unique blend of history and creativity.

Unlike other viewpoints, the San Blas lookout underwent recent modernization, making it a popular tourist destination. The area is teeming with businesses, including hotels, hostels, restaurants, bars, and laundromats.

To reach the viewpoint from Plaza de Armas, take Hatumrumiyoq street, proceed along Cuesta de San Blas street until reaching Plaza de San Blas, then turn left, ascend Tandapata street, and finally, reach Pasñapaskana street (a pedestrian-only path) to arrive at the viewpoint.

A tourist takes a photo of Cusco from San Blas's lookout.

Take a Look at The Museums

In the city, numerous fascinating museums offer insights into the history of the Incas and other significant events in the region. Among the top ones to explore are Museo Inka, Museo Machu Picchu, and Qoricancha.

Admission fees are common for most museums, so it’s advisable to carry small bills.

Apart from the museums, a visit to Cusco Cathedral in Plaza de Armas is highly recommended. Easily manageable on your own during a morning or afternoon, the cathedral boasts stunning architecture, and the interior decor is truly breathtaking.

The many museums in Cusco may give you a response to the question. What Can I Do in Cusco While Acclimating?

Head to a café or dine at a restaurant in the historic downtown area.

Cicciolina, a premier restaurant in the city, presents a fusion of Italian-style cuisine with a Peruvian twist.

Their menu features dishes like quinoa-encrusted prawns and osso buco paired with pumpkin ravioli, adorned with local cheese and a hint of Andean mint.

The extensive selection includes seafood, duck, beef, alpaca, chicken, and vegetarian options, along with impeccably crafted handmade pasta. Whether you opt for the tapas or the full-restaurant menu in the bar area, you’ll be in for a treat.

Keep in mind that you can’t mix and match between the two menus, so consider visiting twice to savor both. With a delightful ambiance, a stellar wine list, and delectable desserts, Cicciolina is a small but charming venue that demands reservations.

Kusipata's square has a plethora of restaurants and cafés around it to choose.

Yaku Restaurant stands out for its culinary excellence, crafting a harmonious blend of traditional and contemporary Peruvian dishes using fresh produce sourced directly from their farm in the Sacred Valley. Widely regarded as one of Cusco’s premier dining establishments, Yaku consistently earns acclaim for its extraordinary cuisine, characterized by not only exquisite flavors but also visually stunning presentations.

The farm-to-table approach adds an extra layer of authenticity to the dining experience, allowing patrons to savor the true essence of Peruvian cuisine. Each dish is a masterpiece, expertly curated to please both the palate and the eyes. Yaku’s commitment to delivering exceptional food is evident in its consistent recognition as one of the finest dining destinations in Cusco.

Whether you’re an avid food enthusiast or someone seeking a memorable culinary adventure, Yaku Restaurant promises a gastronomic journey that celebrates the rich flavors and culinary traditions of Peru. Prepare to indulge in a feast for the senses, where every bite tells a story of the vibrant and diverse Peruvian culinary landscape.

Always with the Classics

Embarking on a leisurely half-day city tour to kick off your Cusco adventure might be a good way to spend time while you acclimate. This relaxing journey includes visits to nearby archaeological sites, allowing you to soak in the captivating landscapes without the hassle of intricate logistics or strenuous walking. Immerse yourself in Cusco’s cultural richness, making it an ideal introduction to the city’s past and heritage.

Explore the iconic Qoricancha (Temple of the Sun) & Santo Domingo Convent.

As we venture beyond the city center, a scenic drive takes us to the archaeological wonders of Sacsayhuaman, Qengo, Puca Pucara, and Tambomachay.

Cusco, with its enduring customs, traditions, and tales of a legendary past, unfolds before you on this enriching tour. Make the most of your inaugural day in the imperial capital of the Inca empire, creating lasting memories in a city that beautifully blends history, culture, and captivating landscapes.

Saqsayhuaman is one of the first stops for a typical city tour.

To finalize

In conclusion, acclimating to the high altitude of Cusco doesn’t mean sacrificing adventure and exploration.

As you gradually adjust to the breathtaking elevation, the city unfolds its wonders for you to discover.

From historical landmarks and museums to culinary delights and panoramic viewpoints, Cusco offers a myriad of activities that cater to every taste and interest.

So, take it slow, savor the unique blend of culture, history, and natural beauty that defines this imperial city, and let each experience become a chapter in your unforgettable journey through the heart of the Andes.

As you acclimate, Cusco welcomes you with open arms, promising an enriching and memorable stay, just let us know if we may be of any assistance for your traveling plans here!

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