If you are wondering where to stay in Cusco, don’t worry, Peru’s famous city has many options. In this post, we will be covering the best areas to stay in Cusco for every type of traveler.
Cusco is one of the most popular cities in Peru and there is no surprise why that might be.
However, Cusco itself is a marvelous city and we highly recommend at least two full days to explore it.
We will be covering all the best places in Cusco, where visitors would do well to stay and enjoy this magnificent city to the fullest.
Are you ready to find out which are the best areas to stay and the best hotels in Cusco?
PRACTICAL ADVICE ON CHOOSING WHERE TO STAY IN CUSCO AND BEST AREAS
I have always imagined Cusco as some small but busy cute village with locals bustling around.
After finding out that Cusco is not such a small village, but a city that has over 400.000 inhabitants, we were wondering what is the best area to stay in Cusco. We mostly avoid tourist central and always try to stay on the outskirts to find the best budget hotels.
Luckily, you will find a wide range of hotels and accommodations fitting every budget in all areas in Cusco. You can choose to stay in fancy hotels, but also budget middle-range hotels, hostels, and even book an Airbnb apartment just for yourself. The options where to stay in Cusco are endless.
HEATING IS EVERYTHING
Depending on the time of the year you are visiting, you need to know that nights and mornings are cold in Cusco. Before you book your hotel in Cusco, make sure to check if it has heating and if the hotel provides heaters in its rooms. Trust us, you will need it. Unless you are a Yeti.
AVOID ALTITUDE SICKNESS
Many people think that going to Machu Picchu is the hardest part of their Inca trek. But Machu Picchu lies above 2.400 meters, so if you can crack the first few days in Cusco, then you are good to go. I have to say that I was short on breath after we arrived at the airport. Once you land in Cusco, you might need a few days just to acclimatize your body as Cusco lies above 3500 meters above the sea.
BUDGET TRAVELERS ARE WELCOME IN CUSCO
If you are not sure whether you can stay in the city center, because your budget is limited, we have some good news. Cusco is affordable, and you can definitely afford to stay in the city center without breaking your bank.
READ MORE: THE BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN PERU
BEST AREAS & HOTELS IN CUSCO, PERU
If you are not sure what is the best area to stay in Cusco, then here they are. There are several areas in which you can choose to stay once you are traveling to Cusco. My absolute favorite ones are the Historic center, Plaza del Armas, and San Blas.
HISTORIC CENTER OF CUSCO: PLAZA DEL ARMAS
The areas around Plaza de Armas and San Blas are, without any doubt, one of the best places to stay in Cusco. I think you guessed it, but simply because you will be super close to the main attractions. This is where the historic center of Cusco is located as well.
So if you really want to be close to the action, then we highly recommend you staying near Plaza del Armas or San Blas.
ADVANTAGES OF STAYING IN PLAZA DEL ARMAS
CLOSE TO THE TOUR OFFICES
The biggest advantage of staying in Plaza del Armas is that you are in the heart of the city and will be close to restaurants, markets, and, most importantly, tour offices. If you do not have any tours booked yet, then you can easily walk into the tourist office and book any trip you like. (please check the reviews beforehand). Here it’s also convenient for tour operators to pick you up. And of course, you cannot miss the actual Plaza del Armas.
PLENTY OF ACCOMODATION TO CHOOSE FROM
Most of the hotels in Cusco are located around the Plaza del Armas. Make sure to book your accommodation in advance especially during high season and holidays.
CHECK ALL HOTELS IN PLAZA DE ARMAS, CUSCO
BEST HOTELS IN PLAZA DE ARMAS
BUDGET: We really liked Selina Plaza De Armas Cusco which is located in the heart of Cusco and has beautifully affordable rooms with breakfast included.
MID-RANGE: Just half a block from Plaza de Armas you can find lovely Hostal El Triunfo.
LUXUS: If you would like to get splendid, then have a look at Tambo del Arriero Hotel Boutique, located just 5 blocks from the Plaza de Armas.
YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE FAMOUS BUILDINGS
This large square, which features one of the most famous churches in Cusco, was built around 1500 by Spaniards (during colonial times). Plaza de Armas is a lovely square where you can sit down and do people watching. Or you can walk in one of the cute cafes with balconies overlooking the bustling Plaza and have a hot coco.
If you have spare time, make sure to check out Museo de Inca which is a 5 minutes walk away.
CLOSE TO THE CUTE SOUVENIER STORES AND RESTAURANTS
The whole area is packed with adorable tourist stores selling everything from cute souvenirs, sweet coca candies to comfy alpaca sweaters.
PS: You can’t bring any coca home as it is prohibited in most countries. I know, we were also bumped. So make sure to consume it all. If you cross over to Bolivia you may take it.
You will also see many locals selling their goods and local treats. But one of my favorite things was actually taking pictures with local ladies dressed in their traditional dresses and possing with llamas and alpacas. As you can see, one of the biggest reasons why Plaza de Armas is the best place to stay in Cusco.
The selection of restaurants area around Plaza del Armas covers literally everything, from Subway, KFC to fancy ceviche restaurants, night clubs, and bars.
CLOSE TO THE AIRPORT
The airport is not very far from Cusco’s historic center, to be precise only around 6 km. It usually takes around 15 mins to get from the city center to the Alejandro Velasco Astete airport (and vice versa). It is mostly because the city center is connected via road 3S to the airport district.
That’s why it is very convenient to take Uber or grab a taxi to the airport from Plaza de Armas or San Blas.
In the eastern part of Plaza de Armas, you will find another great place to stay in Cusco. For us, one of the most romantic and charismatic areas of Cusco: San Blas.
If you would like to have a great view of the city then we highly recommend you booking your accommodations right in San Blas. You can also explore Plaza del San Blas where you can see the Temple of San Blas. In the area, there are also several interesting museums such as the Coca Museum (which you need to see) and several artisans and craft shops.
San Blas area has a cute nickname: The balcony. Here you will find more residential houses and San Blas is also a perfect area to find yourself an Airbnb. Hilly San Ablas area is full of cute cobbled stone pathways and colonial houses.
We stayed in the Kimsa Hotel for several nights and we loved it. We choose the place because it was a very affordable, great location and they had heaters. This hotel is located very close to the Iglesia de San Blas and San Christobal Church and you can also easily walk to Plaza de Armas.
Also, from the hotel, you can walk to Mirador el Camino del Inca (observation deck) for spectacular views over Cusco. It takes around 15 minutes on foot. If you would like to go for something fancier, check Hotel Tierra Viva Cusco San Blas.
There are many excellent restaurants in San Blas, known for cool hipster vegan cafes and restaurants. It is definitely less touristy and absolutely authentic. If you would like to try typical Peruvian cuisine in a more fancy style, then check out Casa Merida. They serve one of the best Peruvian foods in Cusco (make sure to book in advance though).
There is no doubt that San Blas, is one of the best places to stay in Cusco.
PS: Make sure to have lunch at Green Point. Some of the dishes are a bit pricey, but they’re super tasty. We promise you will love it.
READ MORE: IS SOUTH AMERICA SAFE? SEE ALL OUR TIPS AND ADVICE
Not many people would consider to stay in this area of Cusco, but hear us out. Res Huancaro is an area located quite far from the historic city center. However, we liked this area as it was more peaceful and more local.
We stayed here in an Airbnb called C&C Apartment and we had the entire apartment for ourselves and lovely hosts that helped us out when Nico broke the key.
During our travels, we loved to stay in apartments to have a feeling of home for a few days. Again, don’t forget to ask if the owner provides heaters as it will be very cold at night, and houses in general in Peru are not well insulated.
If you want to get to the Historic center, then the best way is to take an Uber. It is around 10 minutes and if you would want to walk you will need around 40 minutes. We had a great experience with taking Uber in South America, and you can read more about it in the article.
If its your first tome staying in Airbnb, make sure to use this link for $37 off on your first stay.
Another good area where you can stay in Cusco is Sacsayhuaman (pronounced Gringo style: “Sexywoman”) district. No joke!
One of the biggest advantages of staying in Sacsayhuaman is that you will have more peaceful surroundings without thousands of tourists around you. Here you can actually experience real local vibes. Sacsayhuaman is located on the northern outskirts of Cusco. If you are staying in Sacsayhuaman, you can easily order yourself an uber or just grab a taxi.
You definitely shouldn’t spend your entire stay in Cusco nearby the Airport, as you will be missing out a bit of time (duh…). However, if you have an early flight or you just scared that your taxi driver won’t turn up, then you can book one night in the hotels in the airport area.
CHECK ALL THE HOTELS IN CUSCO, PERU
You wouldn’t think that there are so many areas to stay in Cusco. Well, we thought so neither. We hope that you enjoyed our guide on the best places to stay in Cusco. Whichever area you will choose, you will love it for sure.
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